Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What's Next?

2011 is scratching at our windows and I've been reflecting on what GreyZelda Land should become. Any suggestions, dear readers? What would you like to see?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

GreyZelda has Left the Building

God speed to GreyZelda.

A week ago today, I proposed to GreyZelda's company members that we dissolve the company and they accepted it as a good idea. An implosion prompted it but the decision was, honestly, two years in the works. I had to get both brain and heart behind the idea before calling it a day and, for those wondering how I'm doing, I'm feeling pretty good.

Fact: We had $2000.00 in the bank. To produce the March show, I wanted, at least, $5000.00. I don't think, with the manpower we had, that we could've achieved that goal. Nicolle had submitted the Driehaus information and maybe that would've come through, but I wasn't willing to continue based on a gamble. We've never run business on a credit card. We worked with what we had. Chris and I, before 2007, used to supplement the budgets with our own money. Now that Clara's in the world, I'm not working, and the fact that it still seems like we're living paycheck to paycheck, there's no way we could do that anymore and, frankly, we didn't want to.

Fact: Nicolle resigned when I told her I thought it was a conflict of interest that she went to see Seven Snakes after a recent episode with Bob where he didn't return our property when asked. I thought it was inappropriate for our Managing Director to be giving him money and showing her physical support for a production using stolen property from GreyZelda. She didn't like that. When she resigned, I thought, "Eh. To hell with it, I'm sick of driving this puppy forward."

Fact: There's a plethora of storefront theatre companies in Chicago. We're oversaturated. GreyZelda won't be missed for long, if at all.

Fact: I formed the company with Chris. We founded it with anger, chaos, spit, aggression, inspiration, energy, and an overall "We're gonna kick your ass, possibly literally if you piss us off enough" type of attitude. That's not sustainable and Chris and I have changed as people. Earlier this year, Chris decided that he no longer wanted to be a decision maker with the company because he's been more focused on being Clara's Dad, being a band member, and working full time. The decision took a lot of wind out of my sails because GreyZelda was, and will always be, our baby. I don't resent that he made that decision and was glad that he was honest with himself. I just wasn't ready to be honest with MYself. We attempted to ask others to step up and I now consider that short time (eight months) as an ineffective epilogue of playing house and platitudes. A couple things were accomplished but I was still heading up everything which is not what we had wanted when we asked for help. So, do I consider it all rather pointless? Yes. It was a waste of time, friendship, hopes, and commitments.

I'm proud of what GreyZelda and its collaborators accomplished between 2004-2008. I'm happy that I've been able to meet so many incredible people. I'm excited about what's next. I wish I could have had enough clear sight to end it when it should have ended. People meant well, but good intentions aren't actions.

I know this is a negative post. It didn't end with butterflies and double rainbows. It ended with karmic appropriateness and didn't go sweetly into that good night, so the poetic justice speaks volumes. That's alright with me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Post Ubergarden

What's next?

Well, our managing director and board heads are currently on vacation, so when they come back, we will congregate, talk about how the Ubergarden went, and set plans for the next step towards the 2011 season.

The Ubergarden went extremely well and was an overall blast. We raised over $1000, everyone got right drunk, and the online world was given a little taste of what GZ has to offer. Karaoke was sung, the fire outside burned, stories were told, people dressed up and looked super fly, playwrights were introduced, the devil called a few times ... I don't know of a better evening, frankly, and, if one exists, don't tell me about it because ... I. Don't. WANT. To. Know.

But ... what's next?

Answer the question, RZ!


Auditions for the 2011 season are going to be sometime in November. The date will be determined at our next meeting. If you're interested in auditioning, please feel free to email your headshot/resume to greyzeldatheatre@yahoo.com and we'll give you a call to come in and read for us. If we haven't seen you before, we'll also ask you to perform a 2 minute monologue.

We're going to send out subscription information soon and get ourselves a snazzy Sarah Stec made flyer. Flyers can be silly, but ... Sarah does a knock up job and they always look like a hundred bucks, imho.

Then, you know ... we'll start rehearsals, keep on fundraising, maybe throw another Ubergarden, who knows? Meeting's comin' up!

If you're interested in helping out on a production in some capacity (stage managing, assistant directing, box office, light board, design, etc, etc), please feel free to contact us: greyzeldatheatre@yahoo.com I'm always looking for an excellent assistant director, so ... let me know, my friends, if you'd like to collaborate with us somehow. We're game.

In the meantime, feel free to head on over to Gene's youtube page where you can watch Dave Lykins and the Crimebusters at the Ubergarden. He's uploading lots of footage from the evening, so keep checking back in.

Talk to you cats soon. Hope you're all doin' well.


The Lion King Review at Terroristic Optimism


Went to see The Lion King last night with my sis. Here's my review.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Welcome to the Ubergarden!

Welcome to the Ubergarden! We're going to kick off festivities at 5 pm CST today so please join us below. Periodically, we'll have other folks from around the nation join in, so we'll share their links on the ustream channel or you can find their streams directly under ours. Feel free to hang out here for announcements, follow @greyzelda or @rzcrow on twitter, or like GreyZelda on facebook.

Nice to see you! Make sure you join us in the chat window.

Here's our live Ubergarden Stream (If you're unable to click play here, please head on over to our ustream site:


Chat with us!

Old Mr. Scratch (Click here to be redirected to the ustream site.)

Ask Mr. Old Scratch all your burning questions!

Click here around 8:30 to chat with one of our upcoming season's playwrights:

You can chat with this amiable chap right here:

To donate to GreyZelda, please visit our paypal site or email us at greyzeldatheatre@yahoo.com for further information:

Thank you!

Donor Levels
Donor Gifts
Tonight's Line Up

Friday, October 15, 2010

Eve of the Ubergarden

The big night is about ready to pound through our virtual doors. I thought I'd sit down in the eye of the hurricane to (briefly) reflect on what's been and what will be. I don't have much time to sit down and write this morning because I have a house to clean, food/drink to buy, hair to be cut, eyebrows to be waxed, gels to pick up, songs to sing, and final Ubergarden Central preparations to make. It's a busy day. Throw a 2 year old into the mix and blend. Plus! I have a couple of blog posts to work on once I get a few things from folks.

The idea for this fundraiser came courtesy of Amanda Palmer, who throws lots of Parties on the Internet. I like to throw parties. I've met a lot of friends on the internet who I'd like to revel with. The math added up. I also love being able to share what we do with those who are not in Chicago's borders. If we could take GreyZelda on the road, babies, I'd love it. We'd bring it!

Like all creative undertakings, we put a whole bunch of stuff into a murky pond and waited to see what rose to the top to claim its inclusion during the party. I like my acts to remind me of Grendel, see? I think the line up that you'll witness on Saturday is pretty incredible.

We've had our ups. We've had our downs. Still working through a couple of *surprising to me* downs, but it should all come together by tomorrow. This process has been very organic, yet planned as much as such a thing can be. The night will depend on who's tuning in, who's at the party, how much booze we've consumed, etc, etc, etc. It's a mad, joyous Beast.

I hope you can join us.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What You Can Expect

The Ubergarden. Coming oh so soon. Saturday. October 16th. 5 pm.

First things first.

You'll see this:

You can watch the livestream here or you can head over directly to the ustream site where you'll be able to participate in the live chat. I'll also embed a link so you can see the live chat.

So, keep a window open with the stream going.

There's gonna be lots o' action and discussion on twitter during the night. If you're on there, search for our #ubergarden hashtag and follow @greyzelda or @rzcrow.

I suggest grabbing a drink of your choice and making yourself comfortable. We'll have drinking games and I'm sure most of us will raise a drink in your honor if you let us know you're watching.

As you know, we're raising money for our 2011 season. Our members will periodically tell everyone about the donation levels, donor gifts, how GreyZelda will incorporate you donation, etc. We're a 501c3 nonprofit theatre company and your contributions help us deliver the type of theatre you've come to expect out of our company. We can't do it without, my friends.

You'll see our partygoers sing songs both with guitar accompaniment and karaoke, perform scenes, tell stories, and generally have a great time. We'd love to hear your commentary and talk with you, as well, so please communicate with us through ustream or twitter. You can also email us at greyzeldatheatre@yahoo.com or leave comments on the blog.

Looking forward to seeing you on Satuday!

To donate to GreyZelda, please visit our paypal site or email us at greyzeldatheatre@yahoo.com for further information:

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Line Up, Ladies and Gents

I'm sure you've been running to your computer every morning upon waking, skipping your coffee, teeth brushing, constitutionals, what have you, just to check out our blog to see the list of the Ubergarden performers. Well, today's your lucky day. No need to thank me. Seriously, it's cool. My pleasure.

Here we go. Hold on to your slippers.

5 o'clock - Dave Lykins and the Crimebusters. Or, as I call them this morning, DL and the Rowdy Roddy Crimebusters. A certain founding member and former GZ co-artistic director plays bass for this fine band of musicians. Dave Lykins has acted with us and is an all around favorite friend. And, Phil, the drummer is helping out on the Ubergarden technical end. All while making a big, badass noise.

6 o'clock - The Bindlepunks, featuring Max Koknar, will be joining us, live, from San Francisco. There's going to be fire. And a talk with the Dark Lord himself, Old Mr. Scratch. GZ got to know Mr. Max via "The Twitter" and he's a part of the #2amt crew that I love so much.

6:15 o'clock - Jamie Prahl and Morgan Manasa will be conducting a Horror Readers Theatre session. Ms. Jamie was last seen in The Skriker and Ms. Morgan has been a supporter and fan of the company for years now. They're both swell, beautiful, and full of wit.

6:30 o'clock - Special Storefront Theatre Guests. It's a secret. Teehee.

7 o'clock - Mr. Max and the Bindlepunks, Part Two.

7:15 o'clock - Another visit from a Special Storefront Theatre. Woohoo!

7:30 o'clock - Mr. Eric Ziegenhagen will be joining us to share his most excellent music. Again, I got to know Eric through Twitter and the #2amt crew. He's kind, thoughtful, succinct, and full of revolutionary ideas.

8 o'clock - Max: Part Three. Too awesome.

8:15 o'clock - First Show Announcement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8:30 o'clock - Second Show Announcement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9 o'clock - Scar-y Stories to Tell in the Dark

10 o'clock - The #2amt Hour.

And, scattered in between, like glorious flotsam and jetsam, will be musical performances, scenes, karaoke numbers, drinking games and conversations with our online viewers, as well as GreyZelda members telling folks about the fundraiser, our company's history, etc, etc, etc.

I've been telling you it's gonna be quite a night. I speak no lies.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Scar"-y Stories to Tell in the Dark

Did you ever get a chance to read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books when you were little?

Yeah, I did, too.

LOVED 'em. Scared the bejesus out of my impressionable young mind. I learned the word pinochle from the first book. Couldn't pronounce it properly until many years later, but ... that's neither here nor there.

Around 9 o'clock, on the night of the Ubergarden, we'll be heading out to our backyard to sit around a fire and tell stories. We'll start out by telling you a little bit about the idea of the 360 and then we'll get down to spinning yarns.

Spinning yards about what, RZ?

Why ... Scars, of course!


Yup. Everybody's got 'em. I'll be sharing the story of how I got a scar on my knee by running into a metal bench at a professional tennis tournament in Indianapolis when I was fourteen. The blood, Mother! Oh, god, the blood.

If you're tuning in from outside of Chicago and would like to participate, here's a few ways to go about doing so ...

If you're on Twitter, start tweeting your story and use the #ubergarden hashtag.

You can email me your story at greyzeldatheatre@yahoo.com and someone will read it around the fire.

You can film yourself telling the story and we can put it up on the ol' bloggy blog the night of. Just email me (Rebecca) at greyzeldatheatre@yahoo.com.

So, 9 o'clock. The Scarring Hour.

Join us.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Here. There. Everywhere.

Good morning! I've got my first cup of coffee and have put on a pair of warm socks so the day is officially on its way. Clara's watching The Cat and the Hat, just begged for milk and pizza, and is wearing toasty pajamas so she's also good to go.

Wanted to let you know a little more about the Ubergarden on this chilly Fall a.m. This blog (yes, this blog right here) is going to be our Central Online Hub. You'll be able to watch the livestream and prerecorded videos, find out about our donation levels and gifts, see what's coming up next on the schedule, find out how you can participate in what's currently happening, etc, etc, etc. This is the Place to Be, if you can't Be with us in person.

We're kicking things off at 5 pm, CST, and the schedule's chock full of va-rye-a-tay, much to my delight. I'll tell you more about our performers in the next few days so keep on tuning in here for info.

Head on over to our facebook invitation to RSVP, if you haven't gotten a chance to.

What else, what else? Any questions from you, dear Readers? I'll answer them or, of course, The Ubergarden, that irascible scoundrel, can field the inquiries, as well.

Saturday, October 16th. Here. There. Everywhere. 5 pm.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Editor’s Note: This Blog originated and was sent out into the Universe on Thursday, 9/23/10, but was intercepted by a group of Fae. After cross-world arbitration, we were able to come to a mutually agreed upon settlement, therefore retrieving the words of the magnanimous “Übergarden”.
(P.S. quick tip, never tell the wee pixie folks you like their outfits, they will talk about it for hours!)

9/23/10 from the Übergarden:

Music, smell-o-vision treats, silly games, impromptu surprises, raffles, exploring realms other than your own…….any of this sound like fun to you? Well, guess what, Männer und Frauen, you can be a part of all the joys that are planned for Saturday, October 16, 2010. What is this, you say, an event I have to dress up for and leave my home for? Nein!!!! The Ubergarden event will be an online fundraising event, via ustream, also a link will be provided on the Greyzelda.com website (where you can also conveniently donate via paypal). I can assure you that the level of entertainment provided and depending on your level of donation, the raffle gifts, will be worth your attention and time.

I, the Ubergarden, have borrowed a poem (as I am a creature of creativity) from my friend the ÜberMensch – who wrote this as his ode of attendance for the event of Saturday, October 16th.

Saturday night, oh the fun, but why bother.
To dress and to coif is time wasted, just foddered.
What else could I do, on this night of reprieve?
Why go to a bar and pay 10 bucks for mead?

I could stay in my home, comfy and sound.
My pajamas are calling for wearing, let’s lounge.
But wait, I remember, that something with flair.
Is occurring on-line, this evening, how rare?

I’ll check facebook events and check on the Twitter
To remind myself, wait….who is this “Mitter”?
Oh yes, GreyZelda, how fresh and creative
Are streaming an Übergarden, I can see it!

This craziness I’m watching, so addictive and fun
I’m sending them $25.00 bucks, and it’s done.
That paypal link was speedy, just perfect
I can’t wait to see.. ....wait is that a Turkey?!?

You really, must join on October 16th
All the cool kids are doing it, so don’t be a dink.

Signed: The ÜberMensch

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Who am I, this Ubergarden?!?!

Since yesterday, I, “The Great and Fantastical Ubergarden” have had many questions as to what I actually am. Allow me to illuminate you all on the awesomeness that is about to descend upon you. As I believe you know, if you don’t, you should, October 16, 2010, beginning at 4:00 p.m., (CST), I hit the airways (or cyberways) via ustream, twitter and facebook. So…what am I?

I was created in a lab, which oddly enough resembles a dining room, as a way to reach friends, both afar and near, to raise funds for the incredible upcoming season of the GreyZelda Theatre Group. I am also the avenue being used, not that I mind at all, for which GreyZelda will officially announce their 2011 Theatre Season. I’m so excited, I could pee my metaphysical pants.

Let me break it down to "ya’ll" (that’s a word the GreyZelda crew seems to banter around quite a bit and I find, I like it!). “Uber” has many etymological origins , but was mainly brought into the forefront by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In 1883, Nietzsche coined the term "Übermensch" to describe the higher state to which he felt men might aspire. BTW, he still owes me thirty Deutschmarks (or for you diehard Germans "Deutsche Mark") for a shipment of pickles….but bygones and all. “Uber” can be roughly pared down to a higher state. “Garden”, not to insult anyone, is a fertile ground where items are planted and grown.

In summary, the existence of me, the “Ubergarden”, is a higher state of cultivation where ideas can be planted, grown, nurtured and harvested.

Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but you won't tune in to see a furrowed plot of land, you are going to tune in as a witness to the ideas (and some are straight up crazy, ya'll) that these GreyZelda folks have planted and are growing.

We will be using the ustream program to go live and will be answering questions on the spot, involving viewers in game participation, and taking suggestions via “the twitter” online during the event. We have assigned a “Master of the Twitter”, you may refer to him as the “Mitter”, who will be corresponding with the viewing public.

Do not miss the Ubergarden, 10/16/2010, 4:00 p.m. (CST)…..I hear it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Auf Wiedersehen until future updates.

The Ubergarden

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Ubergarden Will Answer Questions .... Now

Reader: Ubergarden, I didn't know you could answer questions ... that's amazing!

Ubergarden: That's not a question.

R: True. So, what the heck are you?

U: I'm an event of epic proportions. I'm bodacious with possibilities. I'm outrageously out of control. I'm -

R: (interrupting) Ah, yes, that's great, but ... what do you do? Other than share your conflated ego?

U: That's what makes me Uber, suckas.

R: Huh.

U: That's right ... NEXT!!!!!

Reader 2: I'm still not sure what you're going for ... can you give me the details?

U: That I can do ... I'm happening Oct. 16th at the GreyZelda Pad. I'm going to be livestreaming to the ends of the World. I'm going to be hosting a gorgeous and Hell bound cast of mortals. There will be music playing in the bowels of the Earth. Singing. Dancing. Drinking. Fire. Talk. Next Question ...

Reader 3: I think I'm busy that night. Wish I could come, but ...

U: You can still tune in from anywhere. It'll be streaming. Live. You can tweet to me, email me, join the livestreaming chat, text, whatevs. I'm frightfully convenient. No more questions. Thank you. I (or one of the GreyZelda Uber reps) will be back to tell you more on the morrow. Good day.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Howdy, friends.

It's been a mighty long time since last I posted and I apologize with all my heart. However, you'll be pleased to know that THINGS ARE FINALLY HAPPENING AGAIN! Rock and roll.

On September 14th, a Tuesday, we'll be having a Reading/Feedback Session for Mr. Joe Wescott's new play 10 & 2. It'll be at Strawdog and we'll start the reading at 7 pm. Your cast, ladies and gentlemen:

Sara Simon - Melissa Gordon
Ellie Matthews - Betsy Morgan
Patton Glicksman - Dennis Frymire
Woman - Nicolle Van Dyke

Gene Van Dyke's reading the stage directions and Tom Gordon's leading the discussion afterwards.

Do join us. It'll be lovely to see you. $5.00 suggested donation.

Have you heard the word Ubergarden floating around on the winds filling the ethereal void? You have?! How delightful!

We're having a Season Announcement Fundraising Event on Saturday, October 16th. Mark your calendars. It's going to be epic. And it's coming to a computer near you. Stay. Tuned. It's gonna BLOW YOUR MIND. And your speakers. So, remember to turn down the volume.


10 & 2.

Let's do this.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Chapter Four: The Insanity of Mary Girard

A hand. Raised by ghosts. A hand that has remained still by her side for weeks . . . nay . . . months. Ever since the girl came through their doors. Ever since they found her slumped against the trash heap outside. The same heap that is scavenged by opossums and alley dwellers alike. She came to them in her dreaming. They bathed her, allowed her fresh air in the cobwebbed chair. The chair they tried not to use, if they could help it. But she had said the name . . . Mary. And she had said more . . .

Faint Going down to the floor Aides called Unlock them Prison The beginning Not sure of trust Big space Follow her close

The urge Go Down
At the end Lum
Parchment Whisper Too much
Let the Marys continue Despondent Get away The Warder
Pauses are fine Understanding
Like it Don't
Touching Embarassment Reputation
Be cautious The Warder
The kicks Wandering Glum Lum
Stand up Bring it down
Whoreline Sally

Six Moves
The father plays Notice
More love in an hour
Where is he
Who is he
The pauses Be good Six move Flow over Caged Animals Don't let him out
Be normal
Be right
People at Windows
Turn Scorn Deny
Let the caress come

(written by R. Zellar)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Chapter Three: The Thimbleberry Gallows

Dear Sirs or Madames,

Many apologies for the long period of silence. Though I'm sure you must have been very worried for my well being, I can now write that I am in good health and spirits and have returned from my long tarry in the northern lands. Sojourning in the woods for many months now, I have seen virtuous beauties and terrors, air sweet with Spring, down pouring heavens, barreling rivers spilling into endless lakes, waves of light dancing across the naked night sky and the eyes of unknown beasts watching as we sleep.

The tale begins in the city, as usual, with Sir Mulch and Lady Crow desperate to escape their inundation of humanity. So, the three of us decided to play the adventurers and traveled far into the northern regions of the Upper Peninsula, exploring and trail blazing our ways back into the very essences of ourselves, to the place where again there is nothing but quiet. Alas, however, once Lady Crow and Sir Mulch had communed enough, they decided by committee that I must return to the coarseness of city life with them. Unable to refuse their wishes, I devised a plan to strand myself and make my own way in that wilderness. It was in the coach on the journey back that I, feigning sleep, made myself the smallest Ive ever become, the very smallest, in fact, and climbed to the window where I let the rushing air sweep me away from my caretakers.

Upon arriving in Chicago, it wasn't long before my absence was noticed and Sir Mulch and Lady Crow quickly devised a rescue mission for me. They recruited the help of M. Kulhmann and devised a strategy for my extraction over many nights of suppers and libations. I understand the three reflected for months on how this effort would be executed. It had to be original in form and contain precise amounts of chaos and lucidity. The name of the plan became The Thimbleberry Gallows. The name is taken in inspiration of the indigenous berries grown in the UP. Thimbleberries are like raspberries but with a sharper, earthy flavor, more seeds as well. The whole thing, in fact, resembles the efforts of pioneers in the 1840s. The area of my reprieve, as it were, was modeled after Copper Harbor, Michigan, and it was here that in 1844 an army base was established to explore and protect newly found copper deposits. Fort Wilkins was only in operation for two full years until it was decommissioned. While active, though, the people that lived there were subject to some of the fiercest external conditions one could imagine. Six month long winters, average snowfall of 200 inches per year, being completely isolated from any communication brought by schooners once the lake froze over, and during the summer impenetrable swarms of biting, black flies. You might recall that my previous excursions included insects as well - Gregor and Flea, but these are a whole other breed of beastie. Aside from the elements there was also immeasurable boredom, frustration and the uncertainty of just how long they would remain there.

And so it was that the team was assembled with Lady Crow at the helm, Sir Mulch filling in for a supplanted comrade, M. Kulhmann for the muscle, Thom Sigsby returning from the flea and new recruits Brenda Barrie and Tom Gordon. The effect was a spinning vortex of time where something got lost in people, and something else was discovered, all with the help of a little girl named Fanny Hooe. I'd like to think that was me, but then again, no one has yet to name a lake after yours truly.


(written by C. Riter)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Chapter Two: Metamorphosis

Released into the harsh realities of the world once again, GreyZelda was uncertain which way she was to go. Protected for many years by Sir Mulch and Lady Crow, her senses were now aflutter with the electric ring of the firmament. As incertitude swept through her, she began to run down a one-way thoroughfare, which appeared bright enough to present the illusion of safety. Yet with each progressive step the lane darkened, and, sensing an impending shadow pressing upon her, she ran faster. Down the corridor hideous bystanders, grimacing with fearful glee, flailed arms that begged of her to fall in line and join their cloudy ranks of indestinction. Her instinct drove her on. She ran, laboriously, from the grasp of the silhouettes now engulfing any light into dimness. Darkness overcame her avenue. Vacuous silence shrouded her. Out pealed a scream.

With each step she neared the span of an impenetrable webbed fence no less than ten feet high. How to scale this obstacle? she mused. Suddenly, within a yard of her sure demise, she felt a stirring within her pocket and remembered her dear companion - the little flea with which she had been sent forth as a talisman-guide from Mulch and Crow. He was reminding her of his residence. She reached inside and brought out the minute creature. The wee flea was named VernonVirgil - Vernon, for the quiet vitality in which he lived his days, and Virgil, after the exiled Roman poet who lead Dante through the Circles. Recalling some forgotten advice her parents had given her of the flea, she cupped her friend in hand, bent her ear down, and whispered words unheard by men, and shan't be repeated today. Nodding in determination, she plunged, headlong, upon the cords of web with shadows encircling. In an instant, VernonVirgil exploded forth into a parliament of rooks, whose sure claws weaved around the fingers of GreyZelda, lifting her beyond the perimeters of the wall, beyond all buildings, street cars, pavement, and the everreaching beams of the city's lights . . .

GreyZelda awoke from her dreams of soaring, unable to discern reality from unconsciousness. It seemed the ground beneath her was bubbling with molten liquid. Her slow exiting sleeping visions revealed a transformatory upheaval of the world as she had known it. She gracefully gave way to her destiny and remembered her dear flea friend and wondered if he was happier flying with the rooks.

Her mind relinquished its battle, and gave her up to a hypnotic wave below. Behind her irises, in the darkness of familiar sleep, GreyZelda saw a strange, but calming face with weary eyes. The face told her what paths lay before her. There was no mistaking that a reckoning was coming. She continued to sleep in the presence of her dream guest, and it watched her sleeping for many days, when she finally and fully awoke. She now felt no fear for what she had been through, nor fear of what was to come. This new place with the kind face was different. She found herself in a kingdom - a place that endured history by embracing its impoverished terrain. Her host and the humble, sad face were in her sights. She was surprised to see that his body was that of a brown, segmented insect. Spindly legs trembled slightly. His look was compassionate, yet repulsive. He spoke to her in broken gargle and said, "My name is Gregor Samsa . . ,"

(written by C. Riter)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Chapter One: One Flea Spare

GreyZelda was born in the hoary winds of Chicago, Illinois.

Orphaned in the most foul year of our lord, 2003, her abandoned countenance was discovered roaming the city's back alleys seeking harbour from the scurvy knaves of a most disinterested world by two travelling rogues, Sir Mulch and Lady Crow.

For years prior, the surly couple attempted in vain to create a child-being of their own; an anomollous creature whose nature displayed a fecund synthesis of their own peculiarities. Alas, the tragic efforts of the two yielded only sadness and heartache, until they found Zelda, hunkered inside only a cloak and hood, grey in pallour from the harsh exile of Love's mother, Winter. She was weak and with little breath.

Perceiving deliverance to years of searching in the form of this nearly dead, young girl, the couple swept her up in their arms and hastened in carriage to a meager flat on the city's northwest end, known as the Manor of Ravenswood. There she was warmed, fed, and, over the course of the following years, schooled in unknown arts, past and future. The couple knew that soon she would be ready to step into the world as a practitioner of her own devices.

However, Sir Mulch and Lady Crow knew, also, that GreyZelda would need companionship on her long journey ahead. So, they gave her the gift of a single, tiny flea . . .

(written by C. Riter)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Birth of a Star

Greetings GreyZelda followers. Rebecca and Chris are taking a much needed break and traversing the Southern portion of our great nation, so guest blogger here, Nicolle Van Dyke, Managing Director.

I will fully admit to not being as involved in the electronic mediums most theatre companies utilize these days (including our own) and have vowed to change that. It has finally happened,,,,I'm an officially twitterer or have twittered (and will not attempt the past tense, as it may offend).

My first twitter filled me with great anxiety. It's like having a blind date and wanting to make an excellent first impression. So, I chose a phrase from a dear friend's refrigerator magnet, don't judge, because it resonated with me.

"One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." Nietzsche

We have been running around lately, most of us, chaotically pursuing the "Chase Giving Campaign" carrot and while you can argue for or against all you want, few people have noticed that theatre companies are actually "Talking" about theatre. I can't recall the last time I've seen dialogue amongst Storefront Theatres regarding 1. What is Art? 2. What do you have to say that deems you more worthy than other companies to receive a grant or donation? and 3. Whose main task is it to fund the arts and take responsibility for a production, be it a success or failure? All previously listed questions are excellent, and we are communicating the answers, most of us.

I know some bile has been spewed by negative comments, finger pointing and the "Who gives a shit" bloggers, but here's the thing folks....regardless of what the "Chase Giving Campaign" has intended to do, it has us asking vital questions of our Theatre Board Members, Actors and Directors. The "against" camp has posed some interesting questions regarding the debasing nature of chasing votes, which sparked furious debate and the validity of what constitutes fundraising and what constitutes begging,,, fine porcelain lines involved there!

The majority of us pursued theatre or created/joined companies so we could say what we wanted to say, when we wanted to say it, which makes for extremely colorful discussions among educated and passionate people. I think it is more than safe to say that freedom of speech is alive and well within the Chicago Storefront community and it makes me unbelievably proud.

It has been amusing, frustrating, hurtful and inspiring to read/watch the posts flying back and forth.........in a sense, witnessing the frenetic energy that has become the quest for the "Holy Grail" of grants.

I know the reason my first twitter seemed so appropriate to me. We theatre folk all seem to have the chaos required to give birth to a dancing star. I sincerely hope we have the fortitude, gratefulness and commitment to nurture that star once it arrives.

I'm not going to link you to the "Chase Giving Campaign" again. Chances are, if you are reading this, you know where to find it. However, please take a look at the newly re-designed www.greyzelda.com, where we are discussing our new projects, blogging and doing our damnedest to nurture those stars as they show up on our doorstep.

Best to all.


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Video for a Sunny Wednesday

A video in which I speak of GreyZelda and the Chase Campaign:

Casual Conscience from Rebecca Zellar on Vimeo.

To vote for us, please click here. It takes a second. You know what to do.

And here's where I write more to tell you about our theatre company in case you didn't get enough information from yon video.

First off, if you don't know about GreyZelda and would like to get to know us a little better, please spend some time on this blog. I started it in 2004. There's lots of information on here and a little bit of dirt cuz that's how I roll.

You still have questions? That's cool. I've got time.

Why are you called GreyZelda?

It's purposely nonsensical but it was influenced by our grey kitty, my last name, Zelda Fitzgerald and the name Griselda, which makes me think of a princess in a gothic faerie tale. If it captures your fancy, than it's done its job. I've always imagined GreyZelda as a shape shifting young girl who's filled with an unending sense of adventure and whimsy.

What made you start your theatre company?

My husband and I both love directing and feel like our artistic voices get heard through that medium, more so than other theatrical positions. We have an aesthetic we want to share with our audience and like painting with people. We like offering a safe place for our artists to collaborate, experiment, and explore in.

There are so many other theatre companies in Chicago ... why don't you just work with other people?

Very true. We're not ready to let go of the ghost just yet. We have tales we want to tell you in our own way. I love working with our core members. I would turn the question around on you and say why don't you just work with us? The more the merrier!

Why do you deserve the $20K more than other theatre companies?

Well, as I barely articulated in the video above, I don't think we deserve it anymore than any other storefront in town. I can say that I think what we do is really good, has a distinct GreyZelda flavor, insists on excellence regardless of whether we have a lot of money or not.

Above all else, I believe in the people we've worked with through the years. Our actors - Lisa Wilson, Brenda Barrie, Missy Styles, Thom Sigsby, Tom Gordon, Melissa Gordon, Aris Tompulis, Meredith Lyons, Dave Goss, Dave Lykins, Kat Daniels, Kelly Yacono , etc. Our set designer Heath Hays. Our former musicians, Robert Filippo and Kristen Strezo. Sarah Stec, our intrepid graphic designer. Gene (the machine) Van Dyke, who has saved our technological arses time and time again. My dearest partner in crime, Chris Riter, who has worked with us as a playwright, an actor, a director, and an all around Renaissance Man. And, yeah, I believe in myself.

What are you going to do if you don't win?

Something else. There are tons of options out there and we're crafty. We'll try it for it next time if it comes back around.

Thanks for the questions, yo.

In the meantime, consider voting for us and telling all of your peeps to vote for us, as well. Check out our new website on Friday. Enjoy this beautiful summer. Let me know if you have any other questions because I like talking with yins.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Arts and Culture are Viable

The Chase Community Campaign certainly has its detractors. I'm not one of 'em. In fact, I want this so badly for my theatre company and for our sister/brother theatre companies that I'm willing to get louder and louder about it.

Chase considers Arts and Culture to be viable charities. So do I.

However, if it makes you feel icky to ask for votes for a theatre company, you can vote for primary and secondary education, youth development, healthcare, housing, community development, the environment, combating hunger, human services, and animal welfare. (And, if it makes you feel icky, in general, to participate in this competition then just put a bubble over your head for the next 18 days. It'll be over soon. No need to worry.)

Which brings me to my favorite part of this particular competition.

You can vote for what you believe in and you can know your vote counts. Or, on the other hand, you don't have to vote. It's your choice. But, above all else, a choice is given to the people, the fans, the supporters, the believers. The people have the say. The little guys can win if they try. It's an equal playing field. And, once you vote, you can vote for 19 other charities so you can help out your fellow community. It's very much about the give and take.

You don't have to donate a penny to a charity, though, of course, the charities will use your pennies wisely.

It takes a few seconds to vote for your chosen charities. It's as hands off as it gets. You don't have to open a Chase Banking Account. They're not passing out t-shirts to wear. Once the contest ends, you can remove the application. Done and done.

GreyZelda, sadly, has fallen WAY off the leaderboard but I'm not gonna sit here and bitch about the process, how evil Chase is for donating money to people's chosen charities (what?), or how it's a popularity contest. Those are easy things to say.

I know that if GreyZelda is to stand a chance at this, we need to go directly to our friends, fans, supporters and talk to them about our theatre company. We've been off the Chicago storefront boards since April 2008 which means some people aren't familiar with our work or others need to be reminded of what we do and why. I believe that we're a worthwhile theatre company. I believe that we can put on 4 quality-driven shows that will speak to our community with $20,000 which would also allow us to pay everyone involved in a production equally. I hope our push doesn't come across as obnoxious but, seeing where we are on the leaderboard, we're going to have to work a little bit harder than some of our fellow theatre companies. I'm going to attempt to "rock GZ's vote", so to speak. Many of the theatre companies doing well in this competition are doing so because they're putting on a united front that I very much admire. That's what our theatre company needs to do and this is a perfect example of how to go about doing so. We're gonna do this.

Nicolle, Gene, Chris and I are going to have an Action Meeting tomorrow night where we're going to make as big of a push for votes as we can. We're going to directly ask our friends for a vote. We're going to touch base with everyone we know. We're going to record videos as to why we believe that GreyZelda deserves to be a player in this competition. If we end up being contenders, or not, at least we've been able to reintroduce ourselves to the community and help our fellow theatre companies out. If we're not able to obtain the $20,000 donation, that's ok. I'll be bummed out but at least I know we gave it a shot and put effort into it.

By the by, if you still have a few votes left after voting for GreyZelda, please visit Backstage Theatre Company, Vicarious Theatre (Babes with Blades) Strange Tree, Barrel of Monkeys, Stage Left, Livewire, Will Act for Food, WNEP, New Leaf, Red Tape, Bruised Orange, Neofuturists, Halcyon, Bare Boned Theatre, Riverrun Theatre, Prologue, Chemically Imbalanced, Strawdog, etc, etc, etc, if you're looking for other local Chicago Theatre companies to vote for.

You can also donate to The GreyZelda Theatre Group through Paypal. All donations will go towards our 2011 and 2012 seasons which will include The Rough Guide to the Underworld by David J. Loehr and continuing our adaptations of Denise Giardina's Storming Heaven.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vote for GreyZelda

Hey, everyone!

It looks like Chase Bank has set up their Community Giving Campaign again and we would so appreciate your vote for our nonprofit theatre company. If you could take a second of your time and head on over to facebook, we will be most grateful. What's really cool about this campaign is that in its first go around, Chase awarded $25,000.00 to two local Chicago theatre companies, The New Colony and The Sideshow Theatre Project, so it's very possible that, if we get enough votes, we could win a substantial amount which would be amazing and would allow us to get our 2011 season underway plus secure us for the following season which will include our adaptation of Storming Heaven and THEN some. Wish us luck!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh, Life.

Hey, everyone -

The rights for The Music Man have been exclusively reserved in Chicago until next summer by another professional company. I'd still like to jump on this Tavern/Big Musical idea so keep your eyes and ears peeled for the next undertaking.

We've also decided to postpone our second idea of the Chaos Cabaret which was slated for Saturday, June 26th, at The Montrose.

I'll be back soon with some video talk.

Thanks for your patience as we figure out GreyZelda's new road. Life is, quite honestly, our 7th Core Member and we're learning how to balance everything with her and the Happy Delusion of Creating Nonprofit Theatre in Chicago. I say Happy Delusion with great love, of course, so be not offended by my choice in words.

Hope you're all well.


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Blog of the Video Variety.

Inspired by Dave Charest's Walks with Dave, I hauled off and recorded myself on the ol' flip cam to let y'all know what's up. It's my first whirl at this so please excuse ... many things. Do I say too much? Of course! Do I not say enough? You know it! Am I a total dorkus mcforkus? Heck yeah! Was it actually kinda fun to do? Yup. I'll keep on keepin' on with it because there's nowhere to go but up.

Thanks for watching, GreyZelda nation. Stay tuned for more videos from yours truly and our lovely company members.



An Unconfirmed Update from Rebecca Zellar on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Runnin' on Fumes made of Love

I just got done reading Rob Kozlowski's rules on how theatre companies should treat writers and he's got some great points but, on the other hand, it looks like we won't be working with Rob anytime soon because we won't be able to make him happy based on price alone. This got me thinking about budgets and, in particular, our budget so, in the spirit of true transparency, I thought I'd break down where we are right now and where our money goes when we actually have some.

GreyZelda currently has $500.00 in the bank. We have fundraisers getting set up and I'm currently putting my own money (that could be going to baby food, diapers, concerts, travel, what have you) down to pay for whatever is needed for the fundraisers, as are our other company members, just so we don't have to dip into the very small change purse that is our bank account. We're hoping that we'll be able to, ultimately, raise $5000.00 in the next few months so that we can put up our first show after a two plus year hiatus. We're also applying for grants, but one can never tell if you'll actually get one, so ...

What will we do with that $5000, you're wondering?

Well ... here's how it works out:

Boho Theatre Rental Costs - $2200.00
Marketing - $300.00
Costumes - $500.00
Set/Props - $1000.00
Rehearsal Rental - $300.00

That all adds up to $4300.00 and I'm just throwing out some projected costs here. I'm being conservative because I haven't officially broken it down, but, even if we're able to stay perfectly within this budget, we would have $700.00 left over.

I would like to split that $700.00 up to pay our designers, actors and playwright equally which would equal 8 people allowing everyone to have $87.50. However, that would put us back to zero, so we would need to make $5000.00 in ticket sales and additional fundraising to put up our next show. It would be awesome if we have more than $5000.00 per show but that's the number we're shooting for. And, even if we had more money to throw around, would bigger payouts to everyone, again putting us back to zero, be the best fiscal move for a business hoping to get to another season?

And, remember, Chris and I aren't seeing any of that money. Only the people who work project to project see it. So, our members don't get paid and our directors don't get paid.

I know GreyZelda isn't alone with this and, to be quite honest, this is part of the reason we've been on a hiatus for the last two years. We're moving forward with a new season because we want to do it and our company members want to do it. We want to create. We want to share art with our community. We're not doing it to make our creators happy through money. I wish things were different but if you're looking to make money working with our theatre company, you'll need to look in another direction.

The Love of the Nightingale

One of our company members, Melissa Gordon, wrote all of our core GZ members an email and highly recommended that we see Red Tape Theatre's The Love of the Nightingale so I wanted to spread the good word. It closes this weekend and Chris and I won't get a chance to see it but, please, if you're looking for a good show to see, check this one out. Here's what Melissa had to say:

Tom and I went to see a show last night that I think would be an EXCELLENT show for the rest of the GZ-ites to see. It's called "The Love Of The Nightingale" and it's being performed by Red Tape Theatre (for those of you who know Robert Oakes, this is his theatre company). It's Jeff Recommended, and Tom and I fully believe it's the production value of the show that got the nod. The production is truly excellent - large cast in a small space done well, great use of choreography, interesting use of stage and props, great costumes, music, lights - the whole shabang. While watching the show I thought about recent (and not so recent) conversations we've had about "creating a spectacle" and use of choreography, etc., and this is a great reference point for doing those things in a very creative and affective way. The show closes next weekend (29th) and if you are interested in seeing I would suggest reserving tickets because the house was pretty packed last night. Tickets are $25.

So, there you have it. Robert was in Desire Under the Elms. It looks like tonight's performance is sold out so get your tickets soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

What's What


We're in the process of figuring out what's what but I can tell you this ... Storming Heaven will not be making its debut in the fine year of 2011 but I do know it's on its way. The first drafts are being written but they still need to be put through readings, approvals, rewrites, etc, etc, etc. All the good stuff that goes into putting up original productions especially since we're working with more than one playwright.

I can also tell you that we'll be putting up two productions in March and October of 2011. I'm hoping that the shows will be Chicago premieres because I've got a taste for something new and different. It's funny what having a baby and a couple of crazy years will do for one's perspective. And it's all good.

I'm gonna get together with Nicolle soon to let her know the wild and wooly ideas that have been sweeping (and stalling) through my brain every other day. After that meeting, I'd like to get a meeting together with our company members to let them know our new gameplan. In the meantime, I've been reading original scripts and imagining potential collaborations with lots of people, both here in Chicago and beyond.

So ... just wanted to touch base and say, "Hey."


Monday, January 25, 2010

A January Update

I always visit our GreyZelda blog several times a day to see what new blog entries have been posted by my theatre peers and the like (they're located just to the right). I peek at the date of my last post and constantly remind myself to write a little sump'n sump'n but distractions with Clara, twitter, facebook, email, you name it hit me and I put it off for another day. For that, I do apologize. You can always keep up with me and my theatre ruminations on twitter: www.twitter.com/greyzelda or www.twitter.com/rzcrow. It's a hot bed of conversation over there these days so, if you're not on twitter, you should jump on board. I, for one, find it fun and illuminating.

So, what's been happening, you ask? Quite a few things, actually. Nicolle Van Dyke is officially our sole Managing Director and Chris Riter is back on board with assisting on the Artistic Director side. You may mark that down in black pen.

Our playwrights are still adapting. We may or may not be ready to roll by January 2011 but we will be rolling sometime that year, yes indeedy do. I've had to have a few deep conversations with myself, namely my Ego, and reaffirm that it's not all about the competition and always being actively present on the Production end of things. Storming Heaven is definitely going to be all about the Process, which I always enjoy anyway. We won't be able to roll out the plays until all four are ready to go and that's ok. It'll be well worth the wait. Plus, we're getting other theatre companies involved, too, so I think it'll be rather grand.

I've been helping out with the Chicago Storefront Summit, mainly on the organizational/administrative end. I've made an email list, twitter page, posted events on facebook, talked to Chicago theatre leaders about conducting Breakout Sessions, etc. I attended the first one yesterday which was about Gender Equality in Chicago and it went swimmingly. It was simple, yet effective which is how we all go about creating beautiful storefront theatre. Margo Gray of Prologue Theatre, Jenn Adams of Halcyon and Brian Golden of Theatre Seven hosted the talk and there was a good turnout. We discussed barriers, solutions and next steps for continuing to create gender equality and we'll continue the discussions throughout the year, as well as determining plans of action to spread the equality word. I hope you can join us.

What else, what else ... Sarah Stec has submitted new graphics for the website and Gene Van Dyke will be coming over sometime this weekend to fiddle around with our current website to see what the ol' gal can do. She, at the bare minimum, could use a few Botox injections. Hopefully, it won't make her look puffy like Tori and Madonna. Oh, snap. I'll also be talking GreyZelda business with Ms. Nicolle and coming up with a timeline for fundraisers, informational meetings/workshops/etc/etc.

I hope you're all doing goodly. Feel free to use the comment page to let me know what's been going on artistically, etc with your fabulous selves.