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Archives for : TheatreKapow

Exciting Week Ahead

Just want to write a quick post updating all the crazy things going on right now in my life.

This past weekend, I took in two great shows: UNH’s production of “Comedy of Errors” and my mentor David Kaye’s one man show: “How I Brought Peace To The Middle East: A Tragicomedy.” Both shows were wonderfully enjoyable. “Comedy of Errors” was delightfully hilarious, and David’s show was a brilliantly written and performed piece. After studying under Professor Kaye for years, it was still mind-blowing to watch the master at work. He effortlessly portrayed multiple distinct characters, made the audience laugh, cry and think, and was simply inspiring.

Now on to this week.

On Friday night, I will be heading back to my old high school for the selection processes of 24 Hour Play Festival, presented by TheatreKapow and Wax Idiotical Films. The five playwrights will be given their prompts, pull directors out of a hat, and then assigned their actors. We will all return the next morning to begin rehearsing on the plays the writers will spend all night slaving over. I have been asked to guest-blog for TheatreKapow about Friday night’s process, so be on the look out on their website for that. I cannot wait for this unique directing challenge.

After the 24 Hour Play Festival will have concluded, and I have gotten some much needed rest, I will head to 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee rehearsal. We will have the entire show staged and be having our first full run-thru of the show. I am extremely proud of how well the show is coming together, and that we will have just under a month to polish this musical. Mark your calendars for Nov 21-23rd so you do not miss what is going to be a very special show!

Also, we have been getting everything in place for next year’s Cue Zero Theatre Company productions. News and updates to come soon!

Hope to see you all at both of my next two performances.

Another great announcement!

I am very pleased to announce that I have been selected to be one of the five directors participating in theatre KAPOW and Wax Idiotical Film’ 24 Hour Play Festival 2014! Performances are 7:30 on Oct 18th at the Stockbridge Theater in Derry, NH.

Quick blurb about the Festival (from the Theatre Kapow website): “Some plays require years to write, cast, rehearse and stage, but not these!  The festival will present five 10-15 minute plays created entirely in just twenty-four hours.  At 7.30 pm on Friday, October 17, a group of playwrights will meet at the theatre to learn the theme for the festival, receive their list of guidelines, a director, and their cast. The next morning, the scripts they write that night will be distributed to the actors and directors to rehearse.  At 7.30 pm on Saturday, October 18, the curtain rises! That’s it, just 24 hours to write, rehearse and mount an evening of new plays.”

This will be a very unique directing challenge. As someone who enjoys taking weeks to prepare for rehearsals, hours dissecting characters and plots, and many rehearsals working with my actors, this will completely knock me out of my comfort zone and test myself as a theatre artist. I would like to thank Theatre Kapow for this awesome opportunity and look forward to competing in October!

A Week of Discovery and My Next Big Project

So this should really be two separate blog posts, but I’ve been so busy that I’ve fallen behind on updating the site as need be so I apologize for cramming two huge topics into one post. I want to talk both about my week at the TheatreKapow Artists’ Retreat, and my next directing project.

I spent the 11th-15th of August at the Chanticleer Gardens in Dunbarton, New Hampshire with some amazing artists. The TheatreKapow 2014 Artists’ Retreat covered many different types of theatre/actor training and was extremely refreshing, eye opening, and gave me some great moments of self-reflection. We explored the methods of Michael Chekhov, Viewpoints, and Integral Transpersonal Theatre:  La Poetica dell’ Invisible. The Transpersonal Theatre workshops were especially powerful, we were working with its creator, Valentina Lattuada, a theatre artist from Barcelona. With Valentina’s work, I initially was hitting a metaphorical wall. We focused a lot on breathe and being natural, following our actual impulses and not “creating” (forcing) anything. I really had to turn my brain off (something not easy for me) and just let my body/emotions do what they wanted to do. I was able to gain a whole new level of listening and person-reading through these workshops. The Viewpoints and Michael Chekhov work also helped me get in touch with various places in my psyche and physicality that I had previously not known how to reach. We also had a brief workshop in Shakespeare and Company’s technique called “Dropping in,” which is a way to create instant connection between actor and text. I cannot wait to use all of these discoveries about myself, as well as some new techniques, in both my directing and acting lives. I would like to thank TheatreKapow for their continual dedication to actor training, and for alway pushing me to be a better artist (and person.)

As for my next big project, I am very excited to announce that I have signed on to direct the Windham Actors’ Guild’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” This will be a very unique and fun directing challenge and I’ve spent the past week ripping apart the script, attempting to get at the soul of this character-driven musical that has a lot of heart. It is a show that is very quirky, and a lot more complex than meets the eye. I cannot wait for our first production meeting on Wednesday, and for auditions the following week. We will need some very talented performers to put this show on, and I’m certain we will find them. WAG is full of some delightful people, and it is an honor to get to work beside them on this show.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I need to get back to dissecting the spelling bee script, re-reading “A Director Prepares” by Anne Bogart (one of my favorite books), reviewing some directing class notes, and so much more. Oh! Also, the first meeting of the school year for FRC Team 3467 is tomorrow. Really excited for that as well. I hope my schedule allows me to continue to mentor these amazing students. Okay, for real now. Signing off!

The Month Where Too Much Happened

Since I last posted a blog update, I’ve had so many crazy things happen that I don’t know where to begin! I’ll try to be brief since no one likes to read long, self-indulgent posts.

First, I’ve spent many days this past month touring various venues in an attempt to find a home for the Cue Zero Theatre Company’s “Project Zero” night of one-acts that will be taking place this summer. This hasn’t been as stressful as anticipated, and I have really enjoyed each venue as they were all uniquely charming. I have sent in an application to my number one choice (fingers crossed) and am eagerly waiting to hear back.

A few months back, I interviewed to direct Oliver! at Windham Actors’ Guild. While they decided to go with someone else, they did offer me the position of lighting designer, which I accepted. I am very excited to be working with such an enthusiastic company on a show that is looking like a very bold and charming night of theatre. The show runs the first weekend in April at the High School in Windham. I hope you will all check it out!

Speaking of adding credits to my resume, shortly after the Super Bowl ended, I received a message from my dear friend Kimberly D’Agnese, who had a crisis she needed me to solve. She was directing the musical [Title of Show] at UNH, and during the week before set load-in and strike, she lost her technical director due to reasons beyond everyone’s control. While I had never served as Technical Director before, I was the most qualified person available. I have always been raised under the principle “take care of your friends,” so I gladly accepted, did some research, made some phone calls, and drove the forty minutes each way to Durham for Saturday and Sunday. It was a great learning experience for myself. I learned that I can drive a U-Haul without mowing down traffic cones, teach basic carpentry skills to most people, and by the magic of theatre, somehow the show (usually) always comes together in the end, despite endless adversity. Kim compensated me with all the free food I could eat, which was delicious, and although it was a very stressful process, I was glad I was able to help such a powerful show come together. When I returned the following weekend to view the show, I was very moved by the musical, and I hope all of my friends are as proud of themselves as I am of them.

The technical “Build Season” has come to a close for FRC Team 3467, but we still have plenty of work to do before we go to competition on the 6th and 7th of March. I am very pleased with all my students have accomplished this year, and I don’t know if they realize just how much they’ve grown since I met them in October.  The team is driven and motivated, and filled with the best and the brightest young adults Windham has to offer. The team is going to do great things come competition season, and hopefully will bring home some “hardware” (awards).

The final fun happening was that I got to do a little bit of acting this past week. On Tuesday I got a call from my wonderful friend (and clowning partner) Gabby Archambault asking me if I was free the next day. She was involved with a video shoot for PC Connection for their HR videos, and they needed another guy. I gladly emailed the director all my information and they accepted me. While it’s been a long time since I’ve done any on-camera work, it was lots of fun and a great change of pace. So if any of you ever get a job with PC Connection, be on the lookout for me during your training!

The word training just sparked my memory! I once again attended Open Training with TheatreKAPOW, and I LOVED the work we did. This month’s training gave explored spacial relationships, and really got both my actor-brain and my director-brain churning. I must give them my stamp of approval and highly recommend their work to everyone.

Thus far 2014 has been stressful but fruitful. It’s the moments when I have so much going on that I enjoy a bit more. When I have time to slow down and actually thing about how busy I am, it’s a little overwhelming. But I’m not afraid. I said this was going to be my year, and that’s still the plan. This is the beginning of the rest of my life, and I am running into it full speed. Wish me luck!

First post of 2014

Hope everyone had a wonderful New Year, I know I did. If you came here from the main blog directory, you will have seen the picture for this post is of me with my good friend Jacob Randlett from the 1920’s themed New Years Eve party that we attended. Good times had by all.

So just like how I had my 10 goals for the 2nd half of 2013, I have drawn up 22 goals for 2014. Eleven of them are professional, eleven of them are personal. For now, let’s just look at the professional ones:

Produce a weekend of theatre
Lead FRC Team 3467 to an award
Read 30 plays
See 25 shows
Write 4 plays
Enter a playwriting contest
Direct a short film
Script a comic book
Do design work for a show
Attend at least 10 theatre related workshops
Read ten educational/professional text

I believe I’ve put together a good mix of accomplishments to shoot for that will all bring about professional growth for myself. The wheels are in motion for several of these already, and I will be keep everyone updated on them periodically.

The first goal I should be knocking off is seeing one of those twenty five shows, as next week I’ll be spending a few days in New York City alongside another one of my good friends, Dani Pancoast (who is an excellent designer and stage manager by the way) and we will be taking in “Waiting for Godot” on Wednesday afternoon. Very excited about this road trip.

When I return from NYC, I am looking forward to continuing attendance at Theatre Kapow’s Open Training sessions they hold every third Saturday of the month. We have done some great work at the ones I have attended thus far, and it is always a pleasure to be in a welcoming creative environment like the one Theatre Kapow creates.

Cue Zero Theatre Company update: We have a lot of good things happening, and a lot of people excited about getting involved with CZTC. I have had some very important meetings recently, and will be making some major announcements as soon we have details hammered out. I don’t mean to keep constantly pumping the hype machine, but I’ve never been more excited for a project than I am for our production that will be taking place this summer.

That’s all I have for now. I’m spending the rest of today watching playoff football (Go Pats!) and tomorrow the family and I are venturing down to see Blue Man Group, among other things.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Time is a Funny Thing

The other day I realized I had really lost track of time. Not just for that day, but for a few weeks. I had no idea we were so close to the end of November, with Thanksgiving next week, and Christmas being little over a month away. 2013 is almost over, which is a bit of a scary notion.  As of today, I’ve been a graduate of UNH for 186 days, and I’m still attempting to get my footing in the world. I’m not worried that I won’t get everything figured out, I just thought I’d have a clearer idea of what I was doing at this point. I mean, a lot of people tell me I seem to have a better plan than most, but I don’t know, I guess everything is relative.

Anyways, back to what I did this week. Thursday night, Sam and I went to see “Spamalot” at the Palace Theatre, and both throughly enjoyed the performance. It was a very warm and charming production with the highest of quality when it came to sets, lights and the like. On Sunday, I took my mother to see “It’s A Wonderful Life” at Pinkerton Academy, which was a nice little student production. Pinkerton always puts on a solid production when it comes both to their fall drama and their spring musical. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mrs. West was still directing the productions, as she has been working at the Academy since 1959! Good for her, I hope my career is as long and fruitful as hers. So with these two shows, I am now one away from my goal of seeing ten different productions in the second half of the year, and there are at least two more shows on my calendar for this coming week, so I’ll probably reflect upon all these shows in next weeks post. Also this weekend I’ll be attending WWE “Survivor Series” in Boston. Not sure if most people would count this, but I do, as I have always argued that professional wrestling is the love child of musical theatre and comic books.

Last week I announced that I hope to self-produce an original piece for public consumption before my next birthday. I’ve set a target performance weekend of July 11th and 12th. I have also settled on exactly what I hope to produce. My idea is to do a night of two one-act plays both written and directed by myself. One play will be my play “Cheap Heat” with some re-writes and modifications, and the second will be a new play that I have begun writing this week. Ideally, I’ll have both scripts “finished” by the end of December. During January and February, I’ll get the script for the second play into the hands of very capable actors so we can “workshop” it, work out the kinks, and re-write it into a piece of compelling drama. Working on both pieces will continue into the spring, with a troupe of 4-6 actors recruited no later than mid-May, and formal rehearsals during the month of June. I’ll obviously have to bring in at least one other person to help out behind the scenes, and maybe even a business manager. Of course during these period I’ll be fund raising and advertising the hell out of the show.  I have a few ideas for a performance space, and I hope to nail it down sometime in the near future. I also need to find out a few more details about the business/legal/management end of producing, which I shall be investigating this weekend. I’m being really ambitious with this project, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

This past weekend I attended my first open training session with TheatreKapow, and I LOVED it. It was a great little workshop that crammed so much useful exercises into two hours. We started with a great relaxation exercise, which I am a huge fan of. I am always stressing to both my Sowa Entertainment colleagues as well as my robotics kids that the number one key to a good performance/presentation is being relaxed. After a group body exercise we did a short little active listening scene work, and in that moment I realized since I had been so consumed with directing and writing, I haven’t done any acting since April. Doing this thirty-second, on book cut from “The Seagull” was a great reminder of what I have been missing, and I really should seek out an acting project every once in a while, instead of purely focusing my efforts on directing like I have been over the past few months. While DJing is still partly a performance art, it still doesn’t capture the magic and rush of acting. The TheatreKapow monthly open training session is now marked down on my calender and I will be attending regularly

Speaking of acting, I’m about halfway through “Respect for Acting” and am still in love with the book. It’s been nice focusing on something that’s a bit more foundation level rather than the higher level acting/directing theory things I’ve been looking at over the past few months, as I am sure many of my actors in the near future won’t have as much, or the same type of actor training that I’ve had, and I need to be ready to deal with actors of all experience levels. Uta also discusses a few concepts I hadn’t given thought to before, as well as looking at ones I have but from a different angle, and having this widened perspective will be very helpful as both an actor and director. I am looking forward to applying some of her techniques in the near future.  I’m am also about twenty pages into “Laughter, Pain, and Wonder”  by my former professor David Richman. Since I know David personally, I really can hear his voice in the text, and his seemingly endless insight on Shakespeare, theater history, and directing is always a pleasure to hear. I’ll never forget taking one of his classes and feeling that this man knew everything worth knowing about theater. If asked him a question about theater history, and David didn’t know, I assumed it wasn’t a fact worth knowing, and no longer wondered about it. The last item in the subject of “What is Dan Reading,” I finished “Superman: Birthright” last night, which is a brilliant modernization of Superman’s early exploits. One thing I really love about these hardcover DC collections is occasionally they will include the writers original pitch for the story, which as a writer myself, I love to see thought process, especially when it comes to the Man of Steel. Mark Waid goes over every detail and justification for his choices for the novel, and it really shows his dedication and love for both the character and the history of behind him.

Well, this is certainly the longest post to date. Hope I didn’t bore you. See you all next week!