Wednesday, February 27, 2013

37th Humana Festival of New American Plays Days 5, 6, 7

The thing about Humana Fest. that I am finding so far is that as much happens outside of the rehearsal hall as in.

For instance, Mondays are our Dark Day--meaning the artists' are on their day off. The theatre building itself is open and the administrative staff is working their non-traditional 9-5 jobs as some may have to come to events after regular business hours and on weekends! As I was saying, Monday is our day off, our weekend if you will. Monday evening Actors Theatre graciously planned for an artist outing or The Humana Company Kick-Off Party.  This party occurs once all of the casts are in town and working and is a chance for us all to mingle, meet, and have a drink or two.  This year the party was held at Sports and Social Club (S &SC) at Fourth Street Live! conveniently located in the heart of downtown. Something like 100+ people showed in all and had a great time bowling, drinking lovely bourbons, and eating wings, pizza and the occasional veggie. It was really fun to kick back and meet new people and embrace the weirdness.  We all are put in a crazy but fun position each time we work on a new show which is to grow incredibly intimate with perfect strangers. So naturally there will be some weirdness--we don't all talk the same or care about the same things. What we can agree on is that we love what we are doing here, even if it can be described in tortured terms--we're so dramatic! Just kidding we aren't all anything, individuals all, joining in a common purpose--Humana Fest! The night ended with a lovely convo with playwright Will Eno and a not very high bowling score-doh! Must practice.

Tuesday's rehearsal felt short. For some reason when we get into that theatre, the Victor Jory where we are performing our play--so nice to be in the space from day one!--it's like we travel through a worm hole and we are unceremoniously dropped at the end of our rehearsal time always wanting more TIME! It's a good thing to feel as that is not always the case. Yesterday we worked on some top secret spectacle that we are preparing for y'all--should be beautiful.

Tuesday night, after rehearsal, was the Public Kick-off Party for Humana Fest. The public is invited to join the theatre in welcoming the artists and formally opening the Humana Festival. This is the invitation Stephanie Spalding, Audience Development & Special Events Manager, sent us for the event:

Come one; come all to the public Kickoff of the Humana Festival!
All are invited (and your friends too!) to celebrate the Festival with the local community during this super fun, relaxed evening of food and frivolity. This is a FREEcasual event with cash bar and…

-Tastings from 13 local eateries!
-Photo booth courtesy of Magnolia Photo Booth Company
-Live music from Nachbar darlings Squeezebot courtesy of the KY Center for the Performing Arts

Aww man! There's a really great graphic that came along with the invitation--a great mask broken on the floor with what looks like the remains of a party decor. It's a good image because that party was raging. Some of my peeps came out to play: Uncle Phil and Aunti Lynn Miller and my momma Dr. Laura Chipe--locals represent. The band SQUEEZEBOT was making a lovely racket behind the food vendors detailing their offerings to the party. The music was sort of jazzy with some bluegrass in it, I knew the banjo player Mic Sullivan! (formerly of Fire the Saddle and other local bands) It was awesome! And the food was soooo good. Favorite: the lima beans from the Mayan Cafe. Hands down the best! Everything was delicious though so no one went home hungry--if ya did it was your own fault! Here's a photo of our photos courtesy of the lovely Magnolia Photo Booth Company:

Wednesday, no rehearsal sooooooo I've been handling business, took a yoga class, and worked on lines.  All in all a great day. Ciao until tomorrow!

p.s. I almost forgot! Monday morning was the Humana Festival Press Conference where all the playwrights spoke briefly about their plays. Emceed by Artistic Director Les Waters.  For more info on Upcoming events:

Also, Happy First Preview to the opening show of Humana Fest, THE DELLING SHORE! (Opens Friday March 1) ©Gisela Chípe 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

37th Humana Festival of New American Plays Day 2, 3, 4

In my excitement and perhaps naivete I committed to writing a paragraph (at least) about each days' rehearsal while here, my first Humana Fest, exploring unknown territory of premiering a New Play.  We are, after all is said and done, going to premiere a New Play, a work that may have never been seen or heard before or at the least never fully produced.  It's a delicate thing, I am finding.  Not to discount my experience by limiting myself in what I write
we are planning a surprise.
We are attempting to give each audience a "first time" experience of the play. That said if I write too closely or in detail of the rehearsal process for this New Play, won't I give some of what it's about away?
This is why I say in my naivete . . .
If I wrote a play I would want to give it a chance to be seen keeping as many of the surprises a secret until the public shows up the first Day! So for those of you, if any, who are reading this I want you to know I am not giving up on the assignment. I am renegotiating the contract on which I based my initial foray into this part of the blog.
I am being vague.
Basically, I'll be writing about some of the things we talk about in rehearsal, but not all, and I'll be sharing some of what we've read so far, but not all . . . you'll get the picture, sorta.

For now I'll say this. Time is passing strangely. We have been in rehearsal for a total of 4 days but it feels like we've known and worked with one another for weeks now. The work of a company to put on a play never stops.  That is, we do the work that is consigned to the rehearsal day--read the play aloud all together (so great because up until then we've been playing all the parts, like Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream), block (stage/set the physical motions of) the play, make deeper and deeper cuts into the play or specify moments between characters, work on a vocabulary that will help us understand one another as we pour our varied and divergent energies into this single purpose . . . we do this in rehearsal, and more. But then outside of rehearsal we think about the play, do research on-line or talk with people who may have experiences that match the given circumstances of the play, bond with cast-mates (gym, bar, apartments, eating, exploring our new neighborhoods--we've traveled all over!), we think about the play some more, ask questions of the play (what am I saying, what does it mean, to whom, why, where, when, etc), attend to our bodies, minds, hearts--because we are the instruments we play, we play on ourselves. (like a cellist plays on a cello)

And so now I am going to take a break and appreciate another kind of performance in a different medium--film, which I love.  I am going to watch the Academy Awards.  With my cast-mates.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

37th Humana Festival Day 1


Ok. Ok ok ok ok.


I am committing to writing one paragraph a day describing my Humana Festival experience.

Day 1

I am in a dream. I am walking through this dream and find solid people, sounds, and theaters.

We all gathered together as a company in the Pamela Brown Theater to see the throng of people that make up the 37th Humana Festival of New American Plays. From Playwrights, designers, actors, to apprentices, operations staff and all the departments--marketing, literary, outreach-- everyone stood and was acknowledged with grateful applause and genuine appreciation for the massive effort and astonishing commitment to excellence Actors Theatre and it's staff have to what we are trying to accomplish here--bringing new and exciting plays to light to give them a chance to thrive.  We are actively generating vibrant THEATRE.  This all under the helm of Artistic Director Les Waters, this his inaugural Humana Festival.

 I am very excited--no I have used that word too many times already, I'll find a new one--to be a part of this. I cannot begin to express how much. So I'll try again tomorrow. ©

Friday, February 8, 2013

Closing Weekend of BOEING BOEING at the Delaware Theatre Company: Thanks Bud Martin and . . .!

Well it's that time again! I am packing up and having as much fun as I can before I head off to my next adventure.  It's been an incredible experience working with the talented designers Stephanie Hansen (Set), Kim Sorenson (Costumes), Bill Browning (Lighting), and John Stovicek (Sound)--the work of the actor on-stage could not be appreciated if we weren't lit, costumed, and accompanied on a set that doubles as a playground.  I am so grateful!  Thank you Katie Ringwood for being our champion in the rehearsal hall and back-stage--you really are a gem! And I cannot say enough about our fearless leader through the trenches Margie Price who doubles (3x, 4x . . . ) as Mom and Nurse, and oh she's our Stage Manager extraordinaire!

My dear and impossibly funny castmates Sara Bruner, Heidi-Marie Ferren, Sarah Doherty, Jason O'Connell, & Jeffrey Hawkins I will miss most.  They are tireless, courageous, creative and make me laugh hysterically and so often it's like a balm to my soul--I know it's a bit gushy but it's true! And to Steve Tague who directed with clear focus and amazing sense of humor and farce know-how I thank a million times over for giving me this opportunity and for tirelessly playing with this play!

Here are some pictures for your delight--all that color and cheesy grinning!--as I say Happy Travels to all on this closing weekend.  See ya soon!!

all photos are ©®™Gisela Chípe