Archive for September, 2007

The Story of George Washington

GW Poster ArtThere are many artists in the theatre industry who will never have an opportunity to work on a new play. There are some people who will shy away from the work load. But, this group of area teens have the opportunity and are not shying away from it. They have taken on the grand project to tell the story of George Washington: Young Man, Young Country.

The project began in May with a small group collaborating on crafting the play. I will tell you I was a bit wary about many minds on one play. How will we make it sound like one voice? What if they all have different ideas and can’t find a middle ground? Continue reading ‘The Story of George Washington’

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Theatre Is A Conversation About Your Community

There are those that think of live theatre as an event. You attend. You enjoy (hopefully). You walk away. Event over. Actually it is much more than that. This year, Virginians for the Arts, the organization that lobbies our Commonwealth’s government for funding for the arts, has adopted the slogan, Theatre Builds Communities.

Talk about timing. In many ways building community and the conversations that surround that enterprise is what we are all about at Wayside Theatre. I moved back home to Virginia from Chicago to be the Artistic Director at Wayside Theatre for the primary reason that I wanted to be creating theatre and conversations in a community where the process of creation can have an impact. In Chicago, there was so much theatre that much of it was disposable. When we do a show, any show, at Wayside Theatre it matters. That is a wonderful thing. Continue reading ‘Theatre Is A Conversation About Your Community’

Diary of the Raven: Stray Feathers

He is, indeed, still stalking me. Found today on the blog of Neil Gaiman, of whose gift for language and for world building I would feel grateful to posess even a tenth, was this essay Neil wrote for a collected edition of Poe. You can read the entire essay here, but I’ll share this passage, which gives me a far better rationale for why Poe’s stories belong on stage than I’ve yet come up with:

But there are secrets to appreciating Poe, and I shall let you in on one of the most important ones: read him aloud.

Read the poems aloud. Read the stories aloud. Feel the way the words work in your mouth, the way the syllables bounce and roll and drive and repeat, or almost repeat. Poe’s poems would be beautiful if you spoke no English (indeed, a poem like “Ulalume” remains opaque even if you do understand English — it implies a host of meanings, but does not provide any solutions). Lines which, when read on paper, seem overwrought or needlessly repetitive or even mawkish, when spoken aloud reshape and reconfigure.

I’ve turned thirty years old while working on this piece (literally during the first read-through), and it really is permeating every facet of my life. (The other day, I named my newest World of Warcraft character Ligeia.) It’s fascinating to discover, as the process goes on, just how deeply he’s buried in the modern American consciousness. Part challenge, part burden, part mind trip, all intimidating. Continue reading ‘Diary of the Raven: Stray Feathers’

The Company…Cabaret

The time is drawing near until I hear those words over the headset from behind the curtain call concessions bar “Plaid’s over.” September 14th and 15th are the two night performances of a large intern/staff/actor production; Songs We’d Never Sing: The 2007 Company Cabaret. The theme is this; songs we would love to sing but realistically never get the opportunity to perform on another stage. I have to say, that this being the first intern production I am nervous, as anybody has the right to be with such a large company. But its been a fun experience. And I invite all of you to join us as we perform Songs We’d Never Sing: The 2007 Company Cabaret at 10:30pm on the Curtain Call Stage in Royal Phoenix Front Royal, Virginia.