Saturday, December 31, 2005


2005 was a great year for me, as I developed spiritually, athletically, and professionally.

I had a lot of great opportunities to do different things this year, from teaching Acting at The University of Richmond and doing Shakespeare for Television to doing more voice-overs and commercials than in previous years. I also worked with some great people, and made a lot of new friends.

I also took my vows of refuge with Lama Norlha Rinpoche, and worked at the Buddhist practice of meditation with a little more diligence (although there is always room for improvement!!) and I watched my lovely wife Jennifer's amazing artistic dimension blossom into a million possibilities.

In addition, I have had a remarkably rewarding experience this year serving as a mentor for an incredibly sensitive and warm-hearted sixteen-year-old young man named Zac, who is a really cool kid in spite of the fact that he roots for the Yankees. The sky is the limit for this kid, and both Jennie and I love him dearly. I hope to watch him playing baseball this spring-- Keep those grades up, dude!!

This year also saw my return to the baseball diamond in the Virginia baseball congress, where I batted like .228 or something but I finished strong and I'm amped to try it again this spring!!
I also started a friendship with Jarvis Masters, a Buddhist practicioner in San Quentin whose literary works I have read and deeply admire.

My New year's resolution is simply to try and be myself-- To not be afraid to reach out and try something new, and to work a little harder every day on those things that I enjoy, whether it be acting, writing, working out or hitting in the cage.

The most profound thing that I read all year has become my new mantra:

"If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room."
-Anita Koddick

Here are some images from 2005.

"Ladies and Gentlemen-- Now batting-- Don Knotts!!"

This picture is frickin' sweet.

Reggie runs the household, basically. We're HIS pets.

Big Papi carried the 2005 Red Sox on his back all year long.

Elliott lobbies for a new ballpark in Downtown Richmond .

I shaved my head in January of 2005-- I look like the lead singer of Midnight Oil.

Jen's Photography and paintings are remarkable.

Big Suprise-- The Pats did it AGAIN!!

Elliott and Petey-- moments before I pull out my lightsaber, cut Elliott open and climb in for warmth.

Jarvis Masters has become a pen pal of mine.

Thrown out at second on a steal attempt *Cough*-bullshit--*Cough.
(The Indians get all the calls, man...)

Jennifer is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen... she majored in DAMN! at VCU.

Zac is headed in the right direction.


-Scott Wichmann

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Happy Bodhi Day to All Beings Everywhere!!!!

However young,
The seeker who sets out upon the way
Shines bright over the world.

But day and night,
The man who is awake
Shines the radiance of the spirit.

Live purely.
Be quiet.
Do your work,
With mastery.

Like the moon,
Come out from behind the clouds!


-from the Dhammapada,
translated by Thomas Byrom

"The future is a notion. The future is made up of only one substance, the present. If you are taking good care of the present moment, why do you have to worry about the future? By taking care of the present, you are doing everything you can to assure a good future.

Is there anything else you can do?

Live the present moment in such a way that peace and joy may be possible here and now--
That love and understanding may be possible. Dwelling happily and peacefully is the best thing we can do to ensure peace and happiness in the future."

-Thich Nhat Hanh, Listening Deeply For Peace

May all beings be happy.
May they live in safety and joy.
May all living beings,
whether weak, strong, tall, stout, average or short,
near or far, seen or unseen, born or to be born,
May they all be happy.

Let no one decieve another or despise any being in any state,
let none by anger and hatred wish to harm another.

As a mother watches over her child,
willing to risk her life to protect her only child,
so should one cherish all living beings,
suffusing the whole world with unobstructed loving-kindness...

From the Metta-Sutta

To all Buddhists and non-buddhists alike; friends, relatives, and all beings of every culture, faith and creed everywhere: may you travel your life's path with peace and compassion, and may the blessings of love and friendship always light your way.

Your Friend,

Scott Wichmann

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Back on the Field

This picture just makes me long for summer, for baseball...

Just a quick post to say I'm back in the swing of things, and
Scapino! is up and running again. We had a great run of shows last week, and the rib contusion has healed nicely (as of this writing, it only hurts when I sneeze). Thanks to all who sent well-wishes, and happy thoughts. Theatre IV/Barksdale sure could use those positive vibes lately, (as well as your financial support) as they suffered a crazy week, only part of which was due to my nasty little spill. Go to to find out how you can help.

It is sure to be a hectic week, with several jobs coming in on the heels of the good publicity Scapino! has generated. I also auditioned for Barksdale's Production of The Full Monty which promises to be an amazing show no matter who they end up casting. Props to Barksdale for taking a chance with such a saucy show in what can sometimes be described as a 'buttoned-down' city--I'm sure it will be awesome.

In the world of sports, the Red Sox have named co-general managers Jed Hoyer & Ben Cherington, while 'Lucky Larry' Lucchino remains the puppet-master... also at Fenway, there are rumblings of a Theo Epstein re-signing and a possible 'Rocket revival', as the Sox front office has contacted the agents for Roger Clemens to express their interest in bringing him back... Meanwhile the Patriots are quietly 8-5 and getting stronger (Shhh!)... The Celtics and Bruins are swimming in a sea of mediocrity...

...And it is something like 65 days until pitchers & catchers report for spring training...

Until next time...


Scott Wichmann

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Instant Karma's Gonna Get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Every one you meet

Why in the world are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear
Why on Earth are you there?
When you're everywhere
Come and get your share

Well we all shine on,
Like the moon
and the stars
and the sun,


Come on......

Monday, December 05, 2005

"I want my Babybackbabybackbabyback...Ribs..."

Contusion: A severe bruise which indicates blood within the tissues under the skin due to injury. Sometimes the area will swell quite a bit over 1-3 days. Apply cold compress internittently for 72 hours to reduce swelling, then warm compresses after that to help clear up the blood within the tissues...


So, here's how it went.

Over the weekend, I was doing the matinee performance of Scapino!, and during the 'Sack Scene' with Jack Parrish, I vaulted up onto the five-foot plus-high dockside piling to do the 'Intro' for the Japanese 'Sausage Ninja' character.

My foot slipped.

The piling caught me under the arm as I fell, hitting me between rib numbers 7 & 8, and knocking the wind out of me. The audience gasped, but I shouted out "I'MA O-KAY!!" and they laughed heartily. I finished the scene and got out of there quickly. My ribcage was all banged-up , my right forearm was scraped, and I had a cut on my right wrist. It was kind of hard to get a good deep breath.

We finished the show, (Pretty strongly, too) but we had to cancel the evening performance and the sunday matinee. I went to Patient First and they X-rayed me. I told the x-ray technician that she had to take the photos again because, as I said, "I blinked." She stared back at me like I was from Mars. The Doctor looked me over and said I should be fine in two or three days. He had me sign two prescription slips. as I signed them, I managed to wheeze out a self-deprecating joke, "Now, Doc, don't you go selling my autograph on E-bay,..." He, too, stared vacantly back at me, saying, "I'm sorry?"

That Patient First, I tell ya-- Tough room.

As I write this, it is Monday evening, and I feel a great deal better. My side is still sore to be sure, but it is a marked improvement over yesterday. The cruelest twist is that, of all things, it hurts to laugh the most, so I couldn't talk to Dave Clark for very long yesterday, because he seemed to delight in tormenting me with his comedic stylings, Dat Poughkeepsie Baaa-stid. Family Guy and American Dad almost killed me last night, too. So I must be stern, grim, concentrated, focused, and--


Whoa!! I just farted... Heh-heh...haha-HHHAAA--OWWWWWWWWW!!!MOTHEROFPEARLBAILEY!!!!

...Unhh..., anyway...I am up and moving around a little, and my aim is to do some Yoga tomorrow to stretch it out & release some of the muscle tension in that area.

Thanks to everyone who called or wrote to me asking if I needed anything. I really hated not being physically able to do the show-- It made me appreciate the opportunity to do what I love even more, and to cherish every moment. I am also very thankful, because it could have been a lot worse.

I also wish to extend a special thank you to my wife, Jennifer, who took care of me through it all-- It amounts to caring for a whiny thirteen year-old boy for three days straight...

See you on wednesday, when hopefull I can return to full YAAAAA!!!!Strength...


Scott Wichmann

Thursday, December 01, 2005


" Take that, cheap-ass Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs !!!"

Oh, Captain Jumbo Joe, we hardly knew ye-- you are now a San Jose Shaaahk.

In the immortal words of Ray Piniero--"YO!! THAT'S FOUL!! I'M BITTER!!!"

Looks like another 'Rebuilding' year is in store for the Black & Gold... Ugh...

('Course, they beat Ottawa 3-0 tonight-- Can y'all say Ewing Theory??)

Props to Mark Poutenis for the kickass artwork (slipped to me via 'Karate Boy' Steven Lowell)

Check out Mark's other cool sh--er--stuff at

....On the Scapino! Front, I received the greatest compliment I've ever gotten for a show in my life this evening. I'll share it soon....

Go Sawx,


Tuesday, November 29, 2005


"Pimpin' ain't easy."
- Sir Laurence Olivier

Tuesday 11/29/05: Jennie & I are just taking a short break from the zaniness of Scapino! for one day. I spent the afternoon in my sweatpants eating pizza & reading about two months-worth of Sports Illustrated's that I haven't had a chance to even glance at until now. (Did y'all know the White Sox are in the World series?? The Colts are 5-0?? No way?? Holy Crap!)
I also traded for Josh Beckett on my MVP Baseball 2005 Playstation game. He got lit up like a christmas tree by the Oakland A's. Not good. Maybe he had a virtual blister.

As I write this, Jennifer has knitted herself to sleep on the couch.

It is Seventy degrees in Richmond, VA, in November. Good God.

Joan Tupponce wrote a great review of Scapino! for and I've posted it below. We have a matinee tomorrow at 2pm. We run until January 22nd, so if you can make it, please come. Just log on to for the performance schedule. They have online ticketing, and you can also find details on the rest of the great '05-'06 season.

My Father, the one and only Ted Wichmann, will be in attendance on January 13, believe it or not!! He'll be taking the 'Chooch' (his own words) down here, and I can't wait. Mom saw the show this past weekend, as she drove up from Wilmington, NC. The cast signed a poster for her & she loved it.

Here's My Shambhala "Thought of the day" by Chogyam Trungpa:

"Don't assume the posture of a wilted flower."

(Scotto's quick-capsule definition: "Stand up straight & rejoice in being human, dumbass!!")


ps--This is just a rehearsal photo. At no time during the show do I use a foam pool floatie.
"First and Ten, New England!!"

Free for All
Scapino! is now playing at the Barksdale Theatre.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Trying to describe Barksdale Theatre's new production of "Scapino!" is like trying to explain the thought process behind a well-crafted joke — in both instances, it's better to enjoy the humor rather than concentrate on the meaning. Set in present day Naples, Italy, "Scapino!" is a modern adaptation of a French farce written by Moliere. The madcap tale revolves around two young men who fear that their miserly fathers will not approve of the women they love. Both eventually turn to the tricky Scapino to help them secure their fathers' acceptance.

The end result: a slapstick comedy that combines the silliness of "Saturday Night Live" with the antics of the Marx Brothers and the frenzied energy of comic Robin Williams.

One can't talk about Barksdale's production without singing the praises of Scott Wichmann, who plays Scapino. His off-the-wall performance combines his genius for improv with his talent for zany comedy. Wichmann's on-stage persona is much like that of Robin Williams — you never know what he will say or do. On opening night, one audience member who was sleeping during the performance awoke to Wichmann sitting next to him still in character, joking about the man's inappropriate nap time.

Director Dawn Westbrook is to be congratulated for not reigning Wichmann in, for letting him be spontaneous. Westbrook's interpretation of the play allows the actors not only the ability to interact with the audience but also the leeway to use every imaginable space as their stage. Along with Wichmann, other notable performances include those of David Clark (Sylvestro), who shines as a clumsy goon and Bridget Gethins (Argente) for her believable performance as a man. Plus, Jack Parrish (Geronte) makes gullible funny. Special mention goes to Ford Flannagan in his role as a mute bum. Flannagan's subtle facial expressions and gestures solicit as much laughter as a well-rehearsed line.

Accolades also go to Scenic Designer Kimberly Parkin — her Italian café and adjoining dock brought a taste of realism to the silly shenanigans — and to Lighting Designer Lynne Hartman who created the show's party-like atmosphere.With all that said, "Scapino!" does have a few glitches, including Italian accents that are sometimes difficult to understand when the dialogue reaches blistering speeds and blocking that often has the audiences on the side looking at the actors' backs, making it difficult to hear the dialogue.All in all, "Scapino!" is a fun romp that offers a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

The play runs through Jan. 22 at Barksdale Theatre.

Single ticket prices for "Scapino!" are $38 with a $4 discount for seniors, students and Ukrop's cardholders. Tickets can be purchased by calling (804) 282-2620.

....AWWW, YEAH... You know how we do!!

Sunday, November 27, 2005


"This farce is not interested in plot... as much as in hyperkinetic physical shtick and characters yelling at each other in bad Italian accents."
-Dan Neman, RTD 11/27/05


Scapino! is open!! Curtain went up the night after Thanksgiving, and the first weekend's audiences were eating it up. Opening night was a hoot, and it offered up a few priceless opportunities to comment on what was taking place in the audience. The first time a cellphone went off, Dave Clark (Sylvestro) and I said, very enthusiastically "Please, go ahead, answer it-- we'll wait!!" A few scenes later, I spotted a healthy young man in his mid-forties dead asleep about five rows back. I ran up to wake him & tell him he was missing the plotline.
His embarrassed wife shook him frantically & he quickly woke up-- then he promptly fell back to sleep.

The audience freakin' howled.

Later on in the evening I shouted to his wife, "Lady-- You must cook one hell of a turkey!!" obvious reference to tryptophane... Guess yahaddabethere.

In act two, I spotted Dan Neman, the local Times-Dispatch movie critic, who rarely likes what he sees (Though to be fair, there's a lot of crap out there-- Too many Dukes of Hazzard's, not enough Ghandi's) yet I couldn't resist the urge to ask him in passing "Hey, Dan Neman-- How come you no like'a STAR WARS?" He chuckled & sort of turned red, and everyone shared a big laugh. I think he had a lot of fun, to tell the truth!!

It can be tricky ad-libbing when stuff happens-- you can lose the momentum of the show if something isn't worth taking the time to acknowledge, and you can also make people feel stupid, which is not cool. I feel very much that it is my responsibility to take care of the audience, and to make them feel like a part of the show. we hit some of the right beats at the right time this weekend and audiences loved it. I'm looking forward to living with this for the next eight weeks-- The director, cast, and designers are first-rate and the Stage Management and crew are a joy to see everyday.

Anyway, Mr. Neman reviewed the show that night, and the text of his review is posted below. Thanks for being such a good sport, Dan-o!!!

More later,



By Daniel Neman
Times-Dispatch staff writer

Nov 27, 2005

Scott Wichmann is a force of nature.

Like the Tasmanian Devil in cartoons of old, he tears tornadically around the stage, bursting off quips, one-liners and ad libs. The ad libs, particularly those directed at members of the audience, are actually funnier than anything in the script of "Scapino!," the new show he stars in at Barksdale Theatre.

"Scapino!" is Molière's "Les Fourberies de Scapin" by way of England's Frank Dunlop and Jim Dale and an abundance of others since it first came to America three decades ago. It is a kitchen-sink kind of comedy, where anything and everything goes and where a tone merely over the top is disdained as too subtle.

The audience loved it, laughing robustly at all the jokes, which come with such relentless speed and fury it can be hard to distinguish which few ones are funny (the Bill Clinton joke) and which many are not (the pointless references to Jon Stewart and "Gone With the Wind").

With a Chico Marx accent ("You get-a your upper lip stiffened to meet-a your father") mirrored by most of the rest of the cast, Wichmann stars as the title character, a servant smarter than the wealthy men in town, present-day Naples. The crafty Scapino specializes in trickery and deceit, traits that come in handy when two young men come to him for help convincing their disapproving fathers to allow them to marry the women they love.

At least, that's what it seems to be about. A mountain of exposition at the beginning is impossible to climb, presumably intentionally, and it gets the show off on the wrong foot. But this farce is not interested in plot - another wrong foot - as much as in hyperkinetic physical shtick and characters yelling at each other in bad Italian accents.

The second act, it should be noted, makes more sense than the first and is consequently more enjoyable. But the encore, a singalong of a song that isn't funny the first six times it is performed, could easily be dropped.

Though the show belongs entirely to Wichmann, Ford Flannagan is also a quiet presence in pantomime, recalling Harpo Marx. David Clark appears briefly in Groucho glasses, completing a Marx Brothers trifecta.

Director Dawn A. Westbrook keeps the proceedings at a constant frantic pitch in an attempt to preserve the commedia dell'arte of the original source. But while Molière may be responsible for the silly plot, Westbrook and company look for inspiration more from Looney Tunes.

It's all Bugs Bunny, all the time. When two characters share a love scene, or rather a kissing scene, three others sit in the background watching and eating popcorn. To keep one of the fathers (Bridget Gethins in drag) from talking, Scapino repeatedly stuffs his mouth full of spaghetti.

How much one likes it depends on one's tolerance for slapstick.

Sara Grady's costumes are a must-see for fans of décolletage, while Kimberly H. Parkin's set recreates a seaside restaurant in Naples of the sort that caters to tourists. Like the set, Lynne M. Hartman's lighting is bright and sunny. She often turns up the house lights to bring the audience into the show on the far-too-frequent occasions that reference is made to the obvious fact that we are, in fact, watching a play.

Contact Daniel Neman at (804) 649-6408 or

Friday, November 18, 2005

Kickin' it Old School

I had a great conversation with my friend, mentor & High School Drama teacher, Ralph Hammann last night. Ralph directed me in the title role in Scapino! Fifteen yeears ago, and his students are opening their production of Scapino! tonight at 8pm at the Pittsfield High School Theatre in Massachussetts.

The cool thing is-- I'm working on the title role in Scapino! right now at Barksdale Theatre in Richmond, VA!! How freakin' cool is that?? Our production opens next week at 8pm.


Ralph Hammann has been a great friend to me for almost eighteen years now. One of the great things about him is that he always treats his students-- and expects them to behave-- as though they are professional actors. Nevermind that most of them will grow up to be something else entirely-- business majors, career military personnell, doctors, lawyers, or even burger flippers, and may never set foot in a theare again after high school-- Mr. Hammann forces them to take what they are doing very very seriously, and to bring the totality of who they are to a given project. In so doing, he instills a strong sense of self-confidence into his students, and allows them to trust themselves and one another. In nearly thirty years of maintaining one of the most unique and challenging arts programs of any public school system anywhere in the country (a four-year intensive drama program more comprehensive than the curriculum of some colleges) Ralph has given his students a forum to find their voice, an invitation to take risks, and a place to land squarely on their feet. The man creates ensembles for a living, with the discipline of a football coach, the fearlessness of a true artist, & the mischevious warmth and humor of a circus clown.

So tonight, I wish Proteus, the PHS Drama Society a heartfelt 'Break A Leg!' as they tread the boards and act like knuckleheads in the wacky commedia dell'arte farce that is Scapino! I'm proud to be a part of the lineage & tradition of Mr. Hammann's ensemble, and I only wish I could get up there to see it.


-Mary Sue Carroll: The Show of her Life. A Memorial Celebration of the life and artistic energy of beloved local actor Mary Sue Carroll will be presented on Sunday, November 20 at the Firehouse Theatre Project. Music and stories by family and friends will be the backdrop for the celebration, which includes a video collage of memories. A film of Mary Sue's performance in The Devil and Billy Markham will immediately follow the celebration. Pre-show music at 6:15 for a 7:00 curtain. The Firehouse Theatre Project is located at 1609 W. Broad St. at Lombardy. Free and ample parking across the street at Lowe's. Call Bridget Gethins for more information 231-3118.

-A Midsummer Night's Dream Monday night, 11/21 at 9pm on WCVE Richmond Channel 23, the broadcast of our five actor version airs. Catch the great physical comedy of the ensemble that includes Frank Creasy, Cynde Liffick, Heidi-Marie Ferren, Cameron Knight and myself, with original music by Andrew Hamm. Directed by Grant Mudge.

-Scapino! Friday night, 11/25/05 and runs until 1/22/06. Catch al of the details, plus a swell picture of me gesturing towards actor Adam Suritz, who plays Ottavio, just seconds before he kisses my wife, Jennifer, who plays his love interest, Giacinta. I hate this business. Check it out at

-Congrats to local filmmaker Keith Marcum, whose short film, Shades of Grey, won 'best narrative' at the veneration film festival. Jennifer and I were both featured in that film-- Jennifer as a florist, myself as a bald-headed thug who contributes to the demise of the main character; a nice, altruistic gentleman played by actor Walter Schoen. I'm a bad, bad man. The list of other honorees can be found at

-Foster Solomon's new short film, Tamed, has it's premiere this week as well. Catch the article on his new venture at the link below. Best of luck to that project, which has film festivals all over the country clamoring for it, featuring Richmond Actors Justin Dray and Kristen Swanson.

That's all for now. I leave you with my Shambhala 'Thought of the Day',
by Chogyam Trungpa:

"To Overcome Uncertainty is Utterly Good."

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Baseball & The Bardo of Becoming

Last week, I took refuge with the Venerable Lama Norlha Rinpoche at Ekoji Buddhist Sangha of Richmond, VA, officially voicing my deep aspiration to follow the teachings of the Buddhist path. In a very moving and joyous ceremony, I publicly took refuge in the Buddha (The 'One who is Awake') The Dharma (His teachings for the benefit of all sentient beings) and the Sangha (The community of practice).

As a means of thanks for the opportunity to learn and share in the teachings, I gave Rinpoche a baseball.

You read that right. A baseball.

I thought it would be viewed as a strange gift-- That is, until I saw another practitioner give a few bags of Fritos to one of Rinpoche's Attendant Students, obviously for his consumption. I snickered to myself Imagining Rinpoche singing the old fritos commercial jingle "Muncha-Buncha-muncha-buncha..."

When I got home from Ekoji and told her what I had done, my wife Jennifer smiled and said "You know, you just gave the Lama a part of yourself."

Looking back over the week, I think it's true.

I'm a lifelong, Diehard Boston Red Sox fan, a Baseball-Crazed Mutant, and I just recently started playing organized hardball again, in the Virginia Baseball Congress, a local 28+ men's league. My wednesday night softball league team is tied for first with two games left. I can find a Red Sox connection in anything-- Literature, Film, Music, Art, Politics, you name it. It's annoying.
ask my wife.

It seems kind of corny, I know, but I see Baseball as more than just a game-- I see it as a way of life. Play hard, play fair, be disciplined and have joy in your heart... all of that stuff has transferable value to daily life. Baseball also places a focus and value on coming back home-- to get back to where you started from. Amazingly, that is one of the aspirations of Buddhist practice. There are other amusing, more superficial similarities.

In Buddhism, there is a Diamond Sutra and four guideposts on the journey to enlightenment (The Four Noble Truths) -- In baseball, there are four bases on the path, which is shaped like a Diamond. Buddhism also espouses an eightfold path of conduct which leads to the extinction of suffering, which includes:

Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.

This year in the VBC, I play Right Field. Go figure. I also wore the number 3 in a conscious decision to 'take refuge' in the triple jewel while I was on the field. Good thing my teammates didn't know, or they would think I was crazy.

I pointed out to Lama Norhla Rinpoche that there are 108 stitches on a baseball, there are 108 beads on a Catholic rosary, and there are 108 beads on a Tibetan mala-- An auspicious number!!

Rinpoche smiled, looked deeply at the ball, looked back up at me, smiled again, and said-- quietly, simply, and sincerely, 'Thank you.' I said 'You're welcome-- and thank you!!' as I shook the hand of this wonderful, radiant man, and I left him to attend to others who needed to speak with him. I put a spring in my step to get home before the Yankees-Red Sox game was over.

On wednesday night, my softball team lost the first game of a double-header 10-0. Down 9-3 in the second game, we roared back in the last inning, exploding for seven runs, then held on for a character-revealing 10-9 win. We were down, then, all of a sudden, we were up. Life is like that.

As I write this, I am trying to filter the 2005 Red Sox season through a Buddhist perspective. I think the perfect words come from Kevin Costner's character, Crash Davis, in the baseball movie Bull Durham:

"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes-- it rains."

In the Tibetan Buddhist teachings, the space between 'Falling' and 'Arising' is known as a Bardo. There are Bardos throughout our lives, everywhere-- In the space between our exhalation and the next in-breath; In the gap between thoughts, or chapters in a book; And especially in the gap between death and re-birth. In fact, this life itself, is, in effect, a Bardo-- a 'gap' between birth and death.

A remarkable Three-year Chapter in the age-old story of the Boston Red Sox came to a close yesterday with a 5-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park, plunging the franchise into the off-season... the Bardo of becoming-- And what they'll look like next year is anyone's guess.

We have likely said our last goodbye to Centerfielder Johnny Damon, Kevin Millar (The white M.L. Carr) , Third Baseman Billy 'Big Hit' Mueller, and, unthinkably, Left-Field Folk Legend 'Moonshot Manny' Ramirez, the 'Hitting Savant,' who could be traded in the offseason (for reasons which I will never understand.)

Last year at this time, I was riding the crest of a wave of excitement and energy that these guys generated-- A once-in-lifetime magical mystery tour into baseball history-- as the Red Sox erased an 86-year Championship drought, bringing pure joy to the six new England states and to pockets of 'Red Sox Nation' all over the world. It was an experience which I will never forget. I received calls from family members and congratulations from friends & colleagues, as though I actually did something on the field. it was pure joy, bliss, ecstasy, and it tied me to one-hundred and five-years' worth of something larger than myself. What a feeling.

But, as the title of the Jack Kornfield book states, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. Sox fans want to hold onto 2004, but we can't, because change is a part of everything. For me, the dissatisfaction, or Dukha, started last year--in the very December after the Sox won-- when my favorite player, pitcher Pedro Martinez, signed with the Mets. Pedro exemplified the Sox scrappy underdog persona. He was the centerpiece of the pitching rotation. He was Elvis. He was Sinatra. He was the maestro, able to make hitters look foolish even with a torn right rotator cuff. My 'fixed' sense of how I would like the world to be rebelled against the idea of seeing Pedro in a blue-and-orange uniform. No, no, NO!!! After all, I named my dog, Petey, after him!! He was supposed to retire as a member of the Red Sox!!! How could this be???

Eventually I accepted it (as corny & unimportant as it is to the overall state of the world, a world rife with starvation, war, famine, corruption & misery) but I still wanted to hold onto the idea of him pitching for the Sox; His defiant competive fire exemplified by his 'Hit-me-with-your-best-shot' glare, and his penchant for putting a fastball under the chin of anyone who got too comfortable digging in against him. (see: Matsui, Hideki, Yankees- game five, 2004 ALCS)

But the world changes all the time-- That is the nature of everything. And though I am a little depressed that another baseball seaon is over (at least for Red Sox fans) I can take solace in the fact that I was there to experience the totality of it: The anticipation and the heartbreak of the 2003 postseason; followed by the Hollywood-scripted 2004 Championship year; Even the exhausting 2005 campaign, which had some really great moments.

And for the record, David Ortiz' Bat is the sword of Manjushri, which cuts through all confusion & obstruction with fierce compassion.

MVP!!! MVP!!! MVP!!!

But, things will be different next year. They already are different-- they're always different.

"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes-- it rains."

So I just want to say thanks to all of the Red Sox fans, players and front office members who made this incredible run possible. We will all move on in our own way. I have a game tomorrow in the VBC fall league, where I'm playing for the Black Sox. (Okay, that's weird. and kind of funereal) My softball team is on the verge of the postseason... And thanks to Llama Norlha Rinpoche, The Buddhadharma, and the sangha, I go with all beings into the 'Bardo' of the MLB offseason with a newfound sense of warm, compassionate equanimity.

...But I swear, Red Sox Management-- if you trade Manny I'll be so pissed....

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Setiembre es el mes de mas fresco!!!!

-Well, the Firehouse Theatre Project's Where's My Money? is up and running, and so am I. I am wicked exhausted from projects & commitments, but I wouldn't have it any other way. The reviews for 'Money' have been generous & the audiences have loved every minute of this weird Dostoyevskian Marital Dramady.

Here's a snippet from Joan Tupponce's review of the play at

Scott Wichmann (Sidney) and Erin Thomas (Marcia Marie) play a bitter and confused husband and wife unable to salvage an empty marriage. Both Wichmann and Thomas provide powerhouse performances, nailing their roles with the precision of a master craftsman.

Director Rusty Wilson hasn't been heavy handed in his directing. He's given his cast space to act and his audience the chance to relate and reflect.

"Where's My Money?" is sometimes as real and relatable as it is surreal and quirky. It isn't a play for the masses but for those who enjoy contemporary productions that offer up food for thought, it's an entertaining night out.

We run from now until Sat, October 1st. Call 804-355-2001 for Tix. Check it out!!!

-On the Television front, I keep seeing my mug featured prominently on the newest Texas Hold 'Em VA Lottery spot, acting a fool. Last night I was watching Monday Night Football and there I was again, Big Buck-teeth and all... Honestly, I don't know what Jennifer sees in me, but I'm glad it's there, whatever it is...

-PBS affiliate WCVE Channel 23 is looking at a possible November 20th broadcast date for our five-actor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Check this site as the date nears for the final word. I bug WCVE's Dan Stackhouse constantly because I want to be one of those cats who says "I'm so-and-so, and you're watching the Community Ideas Station."

Hook a brother up, DAN!!

-Jenny & I made it onto the big screen recently, with a prominent scene in Kevin Hershberger's Civil War epic No Retreat From Destiny. I wasn't at the premiere, which took place at the historic Byrd Theatre in Carytown, but I heard it was Impressive. When folks asked me why I missed the long-anticipated event, I had to answer honestly, and with apologies to LionHeart Filmworks:

The Sox Were on.

That says it all, dunnit??

Curt Schilling was holding the Yankees to three freaking hits IN THE BRONX!!! What the hell was I supposed to do?? I know how the Civil War ended-- what I don't know is how we're gonna hold off the Bronx Bombers this time! They're like a half-game back!! Cut me some slack, yo!!

-I'm appearing in a short one-act play by my darling dear Martha Hill Newell called Names at Westminster Caterbury this weekend, saturday & sunday (Sept 24th & 25th) at 1:30 pm. For more info, call 804-264-6256.

-You can also come out to see me & the LeeCo Gang take the Amateur Softball Association by storm on wednesday nights throughout the month of October. We play at the Softball complex behind Henderson Middle School. Last week I was crap on a stick, but we split a doubleheader. The VBC Fall baseball season has also started, but I have had to miss the first two games due to my show commitments. (I'm a member of the Black Sox-- You BETCHA!!)

-Remember, we also have Theatre IV touch football at Byrd park every sunday at 9:30am. That's right, 9:30, bee-otch. (Across from the Unity Church at 1000 Blanton Ave) Last week we had like fifteen people. Numbers are gonna go down as soon as the temperature does, so let's see some new faces!!

That's all I got for now-- I Leave you with this short poem by 12th century persian poet Hafiz, who's obviously been wating a long time for his big break, so here it is.

Take it away, homes.

after all this time,
The sun never says to the Earth,
"You owe me."

Look at what happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.

...If the Sox don't win this division I'm gonna be pissed.

Friday, September 09, 2005

My Friend, Mark Vaughan

The first time I ever saw Mark Vaughan was In a promotional booklet for Wagner College. I was a senior in high school at the time, and I was doing a Production of Man of La Mancha. The photo in the booklet was of the Wagner production of the same musical, and in it, Mark, as Sancho Panza, rode forth alongside Chris Dell'Armo's Don Quixote in search of adventure.

The first thing that caught my eye was Mark and his impish grin. He looked unlike anyone I had ever seen. A little pudgy, a little short (Like I should talk) and just... different.

Like a magic visitor from a faraway land, where the people were able to hold onto the magic of childhood, the magic of being alive.

He was something out of a fairy tale.

I thought, "I have got to meet this guy."

My freshman year at Wagner, I saw him a few times around campus, and I watched him from afar. He was "The guy in the Photo" and I wondered what he would be like in real life. Boy was I in for a treat. He was quick to smile. He had an easy, reassuring grin that came flowing from a deep and honest reservoir of goodwill; he had a gravelly voice that seemed to have two simultaneous tones to it-- That of an older man and a young boy. He had a really great jaded sense of humor that came from what seemed to me to be fifty freaking years in showbiz. He was like a well-travelled old vaudevillian crossed with a young, wide-eyed boy.

He could offer informed opinions about any show or song, actor or actress, obscure movie or play that you had never heard of. He was a trekkie. He seemed to have six VCRs running at all times to tape the various shows he was following. His dorm room was full of Broadway posters.

We did two shows together my freshman year. The Prince & The Pauper, Lewis Hardee's charming musical adaptation of the Mark Twain novel, in which Mark played a court Jester who has to recieve an ass-paddling for every one of my character's transgressions; And Anything Goes, where the two of us played the oh-so-politically correct Chinese missionaries-cum-gambling addicts Ching and Ling, (both were fully fleshed-out characters with definite character arcs). We decided that Ching and Ling had a relationship not unlike Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street-- They were Gay lovers all the way.

Mark's character held the upper hand in the relationship, of course.

I never had so much fun as I did when I was onstage with Mark. He was not shy about chewing the scenery or cutting up backstage. The ladies adored him. He tolerated my stupid jokes and blabbings about sports. I felt a sense of being a younger brother to Mark, and I followed him around like a big, dumb dog, protecting Mark wherever we went. He was so small, so fragile, so vulnerable...I suspect others felt the same protectiveness towards him-- But he really didn't need our protection. He was too busy living.

He was also helping me to grow as a performer, and I never stopped to thank him for it.He would tell me all about theatre, about all the shows he wanted to do, saying things like "Oh, Me and my Girl?? you don't know that show?? That's a GREAT role for you!!" and I would say "Really? You think so??" He built my confidence up without knowing he was doing it... and he worked with me to learn some of the comedic bits in the play. He even sent me a copy of a movie with Robert Lindsay to watch over the summer to learn some of the hat tricks and pratfalls. I watched it religiously, and when Wagner decided to do Me & My Girl, I got cast in the role-- Thanks to Mark.

I played 'Ching' again in Anything Goes at a theatre in upstate NY that summer, but without Mark, it just wasn't the same. I sat around for three weeks watching TV and eating doritos, and I went home when my contract was up. Without Mark, it was just no fun.

He never waited around for the phone to ring. He had his own theatre company back home, and he made his own dreams come true, while giving others an opportunity to do the same. When he and his mom flew me out to Missouri to do Assassins in august of 1993, I saw first-hand the tireless theatre work ethic that propelled this amazing little guy. He had such a passion for theatre, for creating and telling great stories.

If there was a problem, he found a way to solve it-- In the most direct way possible. During the final scene of Assassins, Mark's character, Guiseppe Zangara, translates the ensemble's plea to Oswald into Italian. Unfortunately, the italian translation was not in the script. So Mark tracked down the phone number for Eddie Korbich, the actor who played Zangara in the original Lincoln Center production, and called him at his apartment in Brooklyn. It was worth a shot. Later in the day, Mark recieved an answering machine message-- From Eddie Korbich himself, giving the entire speech in italian. I can still see Mark rewinding, playing, and pausing the answering machine tape, frantically jotting down the speech with a shit-eating grin on his face. Problem solved.

I had a wonderful time in Missouri, and I felt as if I belonged-- To a community, to a theatre company, and to a very, very special family. The Vaughans are a group of hopeful, like-minded individuals who are constantly aware of what it means to be together. They knew that their time together with Mark was a precious gift, and their celebration of that gift extended outward to touch everyone they met. How many kids got a chance to be in their plays over the years? How many overcame stage fright or made new friends? How many discovered they had a talent for performing? How many people laughed or cried watching the stories they told?? How many people, how many lives did Characters & Company touch??

I don't know, but It was an amazing operation to behold, and the warmth, love, and support present in the Vaughan household was everywhere.

Now, I didn't know it at the time, but Mark had health problems which hung over him his entire life, serving as a constant reminder of his own mortality. Some people would allow that fact to freeze them into inaction, but Mark took the initiative to go further, to grow, and to challenge himself.

Over the years, I lost touch with Mark and his family, but I never doubted that he was doing some project or another-- His house was undoubtedly full of props, banners, sheet music, sewing machines, broadway CDs and promotional materials. Those six VCRs were no doubt retired in favor of three TiVo machines that were dutifully humming away. Barbara was probably sewing, Jennifer was probably on the phone to the press, and Mark was probably writing up a cast list while planning to do a full blown, full-cast, full-set version of LES MIZ in an elementary school cafeteria next season... because why not??

In my imagination, the beautiful chaos of the Vaughan household was no doubt intact.

I didn't know that time was running out.

Last summer, Norma Chartoff emailed me to tell me that Mark's health was failing. I was playing Charley in Where's Charley? and I emailed Mark to tell him that no one had come to their senses and kicked me out of showbiz yet. Unfortunately, I sent the email to the wrong address. When it bounced back, I said, "Well, I'll get in touch soon" and went about my own incredibly hectic and project-filled life.

This spring I got the news that there would be no 'soon.'

I should have done something when I had the chance. I should have called. I should have said "I Love You." I should have said "Thank You for being my friend and for being so steadfastly yourself." I should have said "You are a gift to us all."

I should have said "I knew it!!! I know the truth!! Goddammit, You ARE a magical visitor from a faraway land, sent here to make us all better people!!!

"Mark!! I'm on to you!!! I've known it since High School!!!"

I should have just called, and said what is simple and true.

"Mark, I think about you all the time, and I'll never, ever, ever forget you as long as I live."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Another Part of the Journey

"Everything is on its way to becoming something else."
-John Travolta, Phenomenon

Last night, a dearly beloved member of the Richmond Theatre Community left us as she continued her journey, becoming one with the light that makes up everything. Mary Sue Carroll had a long and difficult experience with cancer.

The tendency in these times is always to frame it in terms of 'winning' and 'losing' a 'Battle', but Mary Sue didn't see it that way. She bravely faced the inevitable truth which lies before all of us; She chose to investigate, to learn, what life was trying to say to her. She is so special, so warm, so incredibly, irrepresibly herself. Possesed of a childlike openness, and a firm belief in the miracle of being alive to every moment, Mary Sue Laughed, Cried, Lived, Loved, held on and then, when it was time, let go.

The last time I saw her was the night of the Dress Rehearsal for MSND at Agecroft Hall. I was at the Starbucks at Willow Lawn and running late (as usual) for my 5:30 call. I saw her sitting at an outside table with her caregiver and I immediately felt so blessed to see her. We hugged for a long time-- and we cried as she told me there were now seven tumors in her brain.

I tried to say something profound or sage-like, but there was nothing I could do or say. I stammered and couldn't look directly at her. But Mary Sue let me know that just being there was enough. She watched me with a mother's patient eyes. She said wordlessly that Just being myself--- in all my clumsy, goofy humanity-- in that moment with her, was enough. No need for answers.

The spectre of death was there, yes, but also the vibrance of life-- Burning brightly. In everything. Bouncing off of her and feeding her. In the birds hopping around the mall parking lot looking for food, in the sounds of conversations at the adjacent tables, kids in strollers, in the beautiful blue sky overhead. In her eyes. In our tears.

And then, improbably, in our uproarious, uncontrollable laughter.

I was an hour late for my call that day, but I thank whoever or whatever brought me to that moment-- to have a chance to be with her; For her to let me know that sometimes it is okay to not know. It is enough to be right here, right now, in this moment, to not fight the way things are. To see the beauty of what we are in our most open, unguarded self. To do that, and to be that, in the face of death, takes a deep courage of the heart. To face and accept the fear-- to dive into the heart of it with acceptance and wonder. What fearlessness. What beauty. What grace.

I have so much respect and admiration for my friend, Mary Sue Carroll. My heart is with her many friends, as well as her family.

Here is our last email exchange, just to preserve her strength and bravery for everyone to see.

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Monday, January 10, 2005 10:02 PM

Subject: Thinking of you!!

Mary Sue,

Robyn O'Neil sent word about the wave of experience you are riding on right now, and I just want you to know that you are in my prayers. I think it is incredibly brave of you to even consider trying to 'learn' from what you have characterized as your 'Tutor tumor...' Most people would simply close down and let fear rule the day. This is not to suggest that you aren't afraid at times, but I find your openness and curiosity incredibly inspiring. Keep looking and learning.

Every day, I recite the prayer of metta:

"May all living beings be happy.
May they live in safety and joy.
May all living beings, whether weak or strong,
tall, stout, average or short,
near or far,
seen or unseen,
Born or to be born:
May they all be happy.
May they have peace and the cause of peace.
May they have happinessand the cause of happiness.
May they be free from suffering and the root of suffering."

You are in that prayer. I love you, Mary Sue.
Please call if you need anything.

Scott Wichmann

Here is her response:

What a wonderful prayer I am honored and delighted to be included. Prayers are powerful medicine and I thank you for sharing yours. It does mean a lot to me.

Things are going good. I just finished round two of Chemo and am halfway through the radiation. So far I have gained 12 pounds !! I have really been trying to pack on some weight as an insurance policy for the esophagal burnout the oncologist assures me will come in about another 10 days. At any rate I am working with a healer as well who is helping me clear my electromagnetic fields on a daily basis ... and I feel confident that standard side effects will be minimil (sp?)

So far no nausea at all, energy levels vary...I've developed a routine with the trips and the naps and can't believe it took something like this to give myself permission to take naps. A practice I highly recommend !

I am learning so much about myself and truly feel like I have been given an incredible gift from the universe. Besides I am collecting great material for a new one woman show... I couldn't make some of this stuff up the old truth is stranger than fiction or at least funnier
Us actors...we'll do anything for material.

Thank you again for your prayers. Please keep em' comin' and stay in touch.

Yours in Love and Light
Mary Sue

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Schill is gone...

What's up with Curt Schilling??

Last night he blew a 2-run lead in the ninth against the Tigers, halting (at least temporarily anyway) the runaway train-esque momentum of those badass beantown baseball boys. Hopefully he gets that nasty splitter back and makes it into the starting rotation in september. The Sox need bullpen help, that's for certain. ...and if Mr. Foulke can regain his mojo in the coming weeks, both he and Pawtucket call-up John Papelbon could be just what the doctor ordered. Fingers crossed-- GO SOX!!!


I Just got a confirmation for a Booking in Luray, VA on february 4th, 2006... Time to drag out the Penguin suit again & swing away with Jazz Pianist Bob Hallahan & the cats. I always love to do these gigs, and I'm really finding a comfortable groove and my own style at the microphone. I'll post details as they come in. You can check out Bob Hallahan's appearance schedule and much more at

My wife Jennifer has been dipping her fingers & toes into all manner of creative waters-- Her paintings will be on display at Crossroads coffee & Ice Cream starting next tuesday. da joint is located at 3600 Forest Hill Ave, Richmond, 23225 - (804) 231-2030. This is also the last weekend to see her in Hank Williams: Lost Highway at Swift Creek Mill theatre.
To view her performance schedule & to see some samples of her artwork, go to her new site at

Ekoji Buddhist sangha of Richmond's Vipassana meditation group meets every monday at 7:30 pm and every Friday at 5:30 pm. We are located at 3411 Grove Avenue. If you've ever been interested in meditation, come check it out. There's no religious ceremony or any of that; Just a cool group of people trying to slow down for an hour or so & let the mind settle. You can find information about other the other Ekoji Buddhist groups (Zen, Vajrayana, Pureland) by logging onto

Random Blasts...
Having a great time rehearsing Where's My Money? at the Firehouse Theatre Project-- Rusty Wilson is a great director & a real solid additon to the development of good theatre in this town... Watched Inherit the Wind with Spencer Tracy last night (I had never seen the film before) I still have goosebumps... Jesse Rabinowitz (Cry OUT!!) has written a new two-character play that is really great, called Three Week Shoot.... I read about the stampede at the Richmond raceway Complex-- The county was selling ibooks for fifty bucks a pop & the crowd of Henrico residents trampled one another to get at them when the gates opened-- Everybody CHILL!!...I am wearing a hawaiian shirt right now... The VBC Championship game is this weekend-- Go to .... I'll be in a softball league in the fall... Know who kicks ass?? The DEAD MILKMEN.

That's all I got-- Peace & Prosperity to all beings everywhere (Yes, Even Steinbrenner.)



Monday, August 08, 2005

Yes Yes Y'all-- And I don't Stop....

So this is what the blogosphere looks like!!

I feel really trendy right now, seeing as how I don't have an ipod, a blackberry, Or for that matter a cellphone, cable tee-vee or a PSP. Heck, I don't even posess a set of POPEET, the collapsible tupperware in five fashion colors-- and in the picture, I don't even have HAIR.
But doggone it, I went and got me a BLOG. Color me hip.
...Now what in the name of Avalokiteshvara do I write?? I could spout off on politics; I could talk about re-runs of 'The Greatest American Hero', or I could geek out on Star Wars or Baseball or Buddhism orthe fact that yes, ma'am that IS me going bonkers in the VA Lottery Texas Hold-'em TV ad. (I get that a lot in the grocery store-- it is usually followed by a COLLOSAL loss of interest on the part of those inquiring.) I'll discuss all types of stuff-- all in good time. But Right now-- some good old fashion PUB. Gotta pay the bills, yo.
Upcoming Shows/Appearances:

John Patrick Shanley's Where's My Money? at the Firehouse Theatre Project, Sept 8-Oct 1, 2005. Directed by Rusty Wilson. “(a) semi-surrealist comedy about revenge, retribution and the emotional and physical scars of modern relationships … Shanley’s gift for acid-laced one-liners and emotionally tumescent exchanges is certainly potent … Where’s My Money? suggests some intriguing ideas about the dangerous way men and women work out humiliations and frustrations from their past on their current partners.” Hmm. Veddy Eeen-Terestink. Call 804-355-2001 for details, or log onto
I will be performing the title role in Scapino! at Barksdale Theatre Nov 25, 2005-Jan 22, 2006. (I did the same role in the same show fifteen years ago as a junior in High School; Like you care...) Catch this madcap update of Moliere's classic comedy, Les Fourberies de Scapin (Or 'The Tricks of Scapin' for those of you who were lookin' at Green Lantern comics during 9th grade french class, like I was) Come to the Barksdale for a laugh-out loud respite from holiday chaos. Call 282-2620 or log onto for more.
I can also be seen this coming spring in Rounding Third By Richard Dresser. Directed by my good buddy Rick St. Peter, at Actor's Guild of Lexington, KY, April 20 - May 14, 2006. The soft sell: "Playwright Richard Dresser turns his sardonic with towards one of America's most treasured institutions: Little League baseball. Michael and Don are two mismatched Little League coaches thrown together to embark on their own season to remember. What happens when "It's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game" colides with "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing?" The hard sell: Call 859-233-0663 or log onto NOW!! PICK UP THAT PHONE AND/OR MOUSE!!!!!LET'S SEE SOME HUSTLE!!!