Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let's Go to Work

I've been reading about and looking forward to the upcoming Summit meeting proposed by Andrew Hobgood of The New Colony and a few thoughts have been whirling around in me ol' noggin as I've been checking out the various blogs starting to crop up. I, too, have concerns and it's more about how the *tone* (gasp!) of the first meeting is going to be and how I fear that if it turns into a bunch of people railing about how it didn't work before, then we're never going to get the horse out of the gate, yet again, because it will squeeze hope, energy and good cheer right out of the room. I'm sure those three words make those looking to fuck shit up cringe against the wall as a vampire gasps when facing garlic and a cross, but, seriously, you can't get anything going without a little inspired spark and good faith. How did you start your respective theatre companies? Or your blogs, for that matter?

I don't know why Andrew has to earn the trust of the Calloused. I don't know the guy yet. I haven't heard all that he has to say. I don't even know what the chap look like. I'm not going to cast my judgments until the meeting is over. I'm going to try to not cast judgment at all, if I can help it. I'm looking to make good on what is proposed, talked about, and acted upon. You realize that you, too, have to earn his trust. None of us really know how we work, how we handle projects, how we handle tasks, how we handle working together as a group. Unless you've worked together. And, even then ... think about it. I don't know how everyone works, because I've never worked, personally, as an artistic director with anyone planning on attending this meeting. Why should I trust anyone? Why should I trust you? Why should you trust those you've known for years? How do you know they're not undermining you at every turn? To be quite honest, I give everyone the benefit of the doubt until they fuck me or mine over and then, bam, that trust is gone. It might be earned back, but ... it definitely takes time. And, I probably won't work professionally with those people ever again. So, right now, I trust Hobgood. Until he shows me otherwise or proves that trust wrong. I'm going to hope for the best and take that little leap of faith I mentioned earlier.

Truth be told, I'm excited to hear about Alternatives. Alternatives to the League. Alternatives to the Jeffs. Alternatives to why this deal will work when the others haven't gotten off the ground. I like that this might be a Summit for just the Storefront scene. I want to collaborate with my Storefront brethren. We've got major collaborations in the works for 2011, in fact, so I'm interested in seeing what we might put on the table together.

I like a lot of the ideas already proposed online. Danielle's Physical Resource Sharing. Scott Barsotti's Critical Recordings and Volunteer Co-op. Tony's Rental Sharing and Theatre Crawl. All of those ideas were found in the comments here. I love how Nick Keenan and Dan Granata are slowly but surely taking action to share online resources and buoy the general spirit of our Chicago theatre practitioners.

As far as my attendance at the meeting goes, I plan on being present in every way possible, listening and going with whatever is proposed if it works for my sensibilities and the good of my theatre company. If the ideas don't have the potential to hold water or, to be honest, I don't want to work with the people attending the summit because they're showing that they don't want to work with anybody but their own kind or I and others can't get a word in edgewise because you're blowing your hot steam, loudly, in all directions, I don't plan on making a stink about it. I'm just going to accept that it ain't my scene. I'm going to keep on doing what we've been doing all along. No harm. No foul. I'll wish everyone luck in their enterprises and hope that the Summit will accomplish something. Anything.

I just want to see what happens. I'm hoping for the best. I don't want to have a meeting that reminds me of Reservoir Dogs where everyone's blazing their guns and their ideals and looking sexy lying in their own pool of blood at the end of the day, sweaty hair plastered to their foreheads. If that happens, however, I'd like to go on the record and say that I'm a Mr. Pink kind of girl. He's the only guy who got out of the place alive with his professionalism in tact and he's the guy I'd get behind in the end. Even if he doesn't tip. Mr. Blonde might bite instead of bark but he's a crazy motherfucker. Mr. White's too goddamn loyal and trustworthy for his own good. And, of course, we know about Mr. Orange. Even if he is awfully cute when he's fuckin' dying, Larry...

So, I propose, before the meeting has a date, that we all get our grievances out on the blog table, so we can join the Summit with all that crap left at the door. I want to move forward. I want to accomplish ... something. Again ... I know it can happen.

I'll see you at the Summit.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I've Things to Say ...

... but I can't find the time to write them at the moment. I'll have some free time to myself on Saturday evening, so I plan on writing my thoughts in regards to the upcoming Summit meeting that's being planned by The New Colony's Andrew Hobgood. Ah, motherhood and entertaining a house guest. They don't allow for a lot of blog writing time.

So ... stay tuned. I'm also going to talk a little bit about where GZ is these days. She's in a good place, I think.

Super cool.

R to the Z

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret

For the record, I received an invitation from Point of Contention to write something about their show and was comped and given a press packet. It was fun coming to the show from the "other side" if you will. I'm not the biggest advocate of the "public peer review" but thought I would post a little sumthin' to get the word out there about the show.

Susanna Centlivre wrote The Wonder and it's a classical, light hearted piece with occasional sword play, lecherous servants and a few weddings to tie it all up at the end. Very happy. Very trite. It all works out in the end and, lo and behold, a woman kept a secret. Margo Gray directed.

Whenever I see acting of the classical variety, I always like to hone in on the one or two people in the cast that really seem to have it down pat. Megan Faye Schutt (Violante) and Sean Patrick Ward (Colonel Britton) were really comfortable with the language, took their time, were clear as a bell with their enunciation, married their speech with their bodies, created the language's images without indication, etc. Megan reminded me of Ms. Melissa (Kuhlmann) Gordon, actually and I was plotting about casting them as sisters someday in my mind whenever she came on stage. She was strong, interesting to watch and held my attention from the get go. Sean Patrick Ward was elegantly charming with his appropriate shark teeth grins and arching eyebrows. I enjoyed both of their performances very much.

Morgan Manasa and Hayley Rice played the requisite saucy servant girls and were both solid. Morgan also played a few more characters with varying facial accoutrements and pulled out some of her sword play now and again. She's a sword savvy type of gal and I found myself wanting to see her enter as a new character with each scene because she really committed herself to the physical changes required and cracked me up consistently when she would make an entrance.

I'm not the biggest fan of seeing classical work done by my storefront brethren unless the cast is totally on the same talent level with their understanding of the language and its requirements. You often get a few shrill, indicative and predictable performances with the actors delivering their lines too quickly to overcompensate for the fact that they're not completely comfortable with what they're saying. I also couldn't get behind some of the miming and silent scenes that they were directed to do occasionally. Actors exited and entered without a lot of motivation and some of the busy work just seemed like filler.

I also wasn't the biggest fan of the costumes. I didn't have as much of a problem with the ladies garb. The men's clothes were a bit distracting, however. Some of the guys were wearing their modern day job uniform of long sleeved shirt, trousers and shiny work shoes accented with a vest or medallion or sword. Not 19th century enough for me. Sean Patrick Ward looked the most appropriate but it didn't seem like a lot of thought went into the guys' getups. Again, the ladies looked fine and the costumer (Carrie Hardin) did a nice job with layering and stitching up the skirts with the occasional bow accent.

The actors and director had to work on the set for Boho's The Tempest which worked fine for a mad-cap farce with doors being opened and closed nonstop.

The show definitely got stronger as the night went on. It's 2 1/2 hours. If you're looking for something lighthearted along the classical bent to do after work, then you should go check this out.

The show is being performed Mondays-Wednesdays at 8pm through August 28th in the BoHo Theatre at the Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood.