Thursday, September 30, 2010
So we talk a lot on this blog about "growing our community" and "expanding the Boston theatre scene"... I mean if someone started a drinking game involving the blog and those phrases, within four posts everyone would be sloshed.
I know for some of you it must seem awfully theoretical at times, like "Yeah, ok, so these kids want to 'grow the community' but aside from talking about on their freaking blog what are they DOING about it?" Well folks, here's an opportunity - there are moves being made in Southie to build a new arts and cultural center in the abandonded D Street Police Station. It would include a new 150-seat theatre as well as rehearsal and studio space and a myriad of other artsy things like a gallery and the headquarters for the South Boston Historical Society. I mentioned this movement at the beginning of the summer and posted about sending a support letter. Tonight there is an Open Meeting to go over the proposal and continue to gather support for the new arts center. I will be there. I hope you'll consider joining me!
For more information on the meeting and the proposal please visit www.sobacc.org.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
It's so difficult, in reading your blog, to understand what it is you're trying to say. I'm surprised most to read you criticizing anyone else's grammar or spelling when yours is so abysmal you seem to be taking every side, while criticizing both. What is your point?
Come on guy... I just want you to love me...
As I said in the post: dude, take it down a notch. We're not talking Israel and Palestine here. Yeah, I could afford to proofread my blog posts more closely. I agree. I also don't get paid to do this, have a full time job, and don't care. I like blogging informally. It's my style, at least until I start getting full nights of sleep and remember that people actually read this thing.
People like you. How nice of you to respond in barely more than an hour! It's nice to have fans. Between you and the publishing agents for the Kurt Weill Foundation, we have quite the illustrious readership! (Who are you anyway? I'm wicked curious!)
Anywho, I do appreciate your feedback. Seriously. The grammar thing is good to note. I won't change the conversational nature of my posts, but I did have a few obvious typos and grammar errors in my previous post. My bad.
But do you have to be so belligerent? See, this is what I'm talking about! Maybe I was a bit snarky. See, if I didn't like you, if I didn't think you'd made some worthwhile statements, I would've been much harsher. And I'd be ripping you apart right now. I do like what you have to say, but I couldn't help expressing myself. Quite frankly, despite my errors, I think I'm comprehensible. Certain sections of your statement...make absolutely no sense. Here's an example:
In terms of the form they are installing as the answer to what theatre can be in
the future the vessel is empty and void of any truly challenging ideas.
i want to be a part of the avant garde but only
when it is defined as the advanced guard that is moving forward with the skill
of a soldier to reconnoitre with intelligence the landscape and proceed as
guardians of what should always be considered sacred.
Dude. I had to read that like five times. Hence, I was pretty annoyed. You couldn't have taken a few extra seconds to fix the run on sentences.
As for my point... Maybe you don't understand it, but that's what dialogue is all about. Let's talk, guy! Why am I taking every side? Well, I haven't made up my mind yet. But I'd like to talk about it. I think the Boston theatre community can be better served by talking about it than by anonymous sniping on the internets. I'm not afraid to speak my mind. Quite frankly, I respect everyone I've talked about on this blog (except for the agents for the Kurt Weill Foundation. )That's why I dont make apologies. That's why we're different.
And that's why you're reading us right now. And others. Because we're willing to take emotional and professional risks to ask the difficult questions. And you, good sir, are helping us in that very endeavor.
Thanks, guy! Friend me on Facebook?
First, John had a great point regarding the number of Boston actors that Donkey Show and Sleep No More employed. I think that's a great trend, but what I'm really talking about is extending a hand out to the community as an equal partner rather than as a paternalistic LORT behemoth. As I said in the post, I'm not saying it's necessarily intentional, but at the very least it's a crisis of communication. Many members of the arts community do feel alienated by the A.R.T. Of course, the A.R.T. doesn't have to do anything if they don't want to, but I the choice is theirs to make: Do we remain a cog in the theatrical industrial complex? Or do we refocus our efforts on local development and community outreach...
Afterall, I'm pretty sure it's a 501 (c)3. Correct me if I'm wrong, of course.
So in that vein, I would propose that the A.R.T. conduct events such as open workshops with their resident (oops) company, or perhaps holding more widely publicized readings to the public. And having to talked to actors who have performed in Europe, where it's considered a professional sign of respect to comp local performers, maybe send out a few extra discount tickets on StageSource every so often? What you might lose in ticket revenue, you'll gain in support. Because god knows, the last thing I'm going to spend my money on during hard times is a 50 dollar ticket. And I can't keep using my old student ID to rush tickets forever...
It's like development... if you establish a relationship with me now, I'll look at the A.R.T. as more than a transaction, but something I'm a part of. And in the long run, that's worth much more than 30 dollars in cash.
Moving onto comments by "Anonymous"
read more here about some of the behind close doors deals. much of what is beingI would suggest reading that article first. It's interesting, as sections of the article seem to imlpy that there's some sort of nepotism going on at the A.R.T. However, it's not as damning as you made it seem to sound. I'm not sure if anyone's accusing Eric Bogosian and Jo Bonney for their collaborations. Since you bring it up, I do believe the burden is on you to make a case using that piece of evidence.
expressed by the leadership is idealized banter appealing to artists looking to
break out of the mold and into new forms.
In terms of the form they are installing as the answer to what theatre can be inNow, I do find this rather parochial. Do you attend fringe theatre? There's been a number of productions produced at Oberon utilizing the space in a manner that would've been impossible at a traditional theatre. I find it doubtful that anyone of these young, vibrant artists were not inspired in some part by The Donkey Show itself. Theatre is an event, and as much as you wish to take away from what it means to audiences (and artists) who experienced catharsis during the said event, your grand statement merely serves to put words in the Diane Paulus's mouth. You seem to know a thing or two about theatre. But frankly, I do think you could afford to take it down a notch. You are being rather presumptious.
the future the vessel is empty and void of any truly challenging ideas. there is
room for more inside of the structure of the donkey show to express, whether it
be Shakespeare or not, more than a thesis that extends no further than ' gee
weren't the 70's fun? anyone want to take their shirt off for another bump of
i would ask if you consider theme park entertainment theatre? can't we haveOkay, the grammar is starting to annoy me. But I'll try to respond nontheless. Do I consider theme park entertainment theatre? I guess I would, but I also wouldn't say that it's good theatre. It serves it's purpose. If one can make a smal child smile, isn't that worth something on it's own? I don't go to Disneyland expecting to see Lope de Vega. Although I did catch a great production of Mother Courage at Chuck-E-Cheese as a child...
changed forms with substance? i want to be a part of the avant garde but only
when it is defined as the advanced guard that is moving forward with the skill
of a soldier to reconnoitre with intelligence the landscape and proceed as
guardians of what should always be considered sacred. whether comedy or tragedy,
entertainment or agitprop, the theatre is a tool for a community to hold the
mirror up to themselves and evaluate what they see.
I believe it's spelled "DuBois".
As an artistic community shouldn't we be more concerned that our two main figure
heads ( Dubuis and Paulus ) are more interested in developing, living, and
collaborating with our neighbors in NYC? When will we have an artistic director
who throws the weight of the budget around to add to debates and conversations
that are happening in our community? Rise up fringe you are on the outskirts no
more there are cracks in the pavement and there we can plant the seeds for a
revolution that will crack the foundations of any 'institution'.
That being said, I do agree with this sentiment. I don't believe the future of Boston theatre lies within The Huntington or A.R.T., though I do believe they serve an important purpose. I guess I am concerned with it, but at the same time, I'm not sitting on my laurels waiting for things to change. That's why I produce. That's why lots of people produce. The major changes in theatre come from the the bottom up, and I'm okay with that. I'll continue to see the Hunt and ART, and I'll continue to criticise their bad shows and laud their good shows.
In the meantime, I think your passion and energy is better spent strengthening the fringe than bashing Diane Paulus. Give the woman a chance. I still think it's too early to tell.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Exclamation Point 8! –MASKS.
Fort Point Theatre Channel’s Exclamation Point! #8 offers diverse new works & works in progress on the theme of “masks” from playwrights, filmmakers, mask makers, animators, poets, dancers
The evening includes work by Featured musicians, writers, actors, actresses, and helpers: Holly Adams, Sylvie Agudelo, Tammy Blue, Eric Bornstein, Joe Burgio, Curt Klump, Lou Cohen, Mary Driscoll, Kurt Cole Eidsvig, Conor Fitzgerald, Christie Lee Gibson, Silvia Graziano, Tim Hoover, Angie Jepson, Andrew Kluger, Rachel Kurnos, Hugh Long, Brett Marks, Krina Patel, Larry Plitt, Marc S. Miller, Mark Levine, Robert Murphy, Mary-Liz Murray, Jeremy Newman, Paula Plum, Stacey Polishook, Rachael Rosner, Matt Samolis, Jonathan Samson, Skip Schloming, Vincent Siders, Robin Smith, Ian Thal, Elaine Theodore, Nick Thorkelson, Douglas Urbank, Daniel J. van Ackere, Mark Villanueva, Betty Wang, Mark Warhol, Walter Wright . . . and friends.
Curated by Marc S. Miller, Robin Smith, Nick Thorkelson, and Douglas Urbank
October 2, 7 pm
Art at 12 Gallery, 12 Farnsworth Street, Fort Point, Boston
Refreshments will be served.More Info at: www.fortpointtc.org
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I saw the Huntington's Bus Stop tonight. And it was fine. It wasn't bad. The set was perfect but not noteworthy. The direction was, as I see it, antithetical to the playwright's intentions but not out of the ordinary to how the play is generally produced. Most of the acting was competent but not interesting or particularly watchable. I sat, I watched, I laughed a little, I didn't care at all about the characters, I listened to the words and saw a very average production.
I like Bus Stop. I think it's a simple soulful play about average American people with real lives and relationships and problems. It's wistful, and sweet, funny and dark. It has the potential to be intensely moving and greatly funny.
The play I saw tonight was completely on the surface. There was no depth. There was no heart. It looked good, it sounded good, it hit the marks as far as standard American situation comedy goes. It was played for an audience who wanted to say they "saw a play at the Huntington last night, and we had a good time". It was not played to honor the playwright or to make a directorial statement, or to give actors the chance to explore rich characters. It was not played to push boundaries or explore something new or present something interesting. It was presented to season subscribers as a fun season opener with a few local and a few semi-famous names attached. It was produced to not offend anyone and to keep people happy.
And that's fine.
That is a type of theatre that exists. I'm not a fan. It doesn't mean anything to me. For me as an actor, producer, and especially audience member, to produce theatre to placate your audience is a useless creative endeavor. I believe we need to push our audiences. Will it lead to some backlash? Sure. Might you lose some subscribers? You bet. Might you gain some new audience members and engage a demographic of people who are truly interested in theatre, who want to be pushed and engaged and can leave your theatre with something other to say then "Well, that was fine."? Hell yeah.
Bus Stop plays through October 17 at the BU Theatre.
~ Always, MLM
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Now, some may argue this will only serve to make us even smaller and more insular as a community, and that eventually each company has to strike out on their own to be a viable organization and to promote healthy competition and a greater talent pool. And it's a legitimate argument.
But I think this culture of cross-promotion can only make our organizations stronger and more stable. So far it has encouraged new work and new companies and strengthened the independent missions of our varied organizations. To see two or three companies work together on a night of one-acts or a short festival or even in the creation of S.T.A.B (Small Theatre Alliance of Boston) , you can tell which organizations bring what to the table. You see side-by-side the different aesthetics, approaches, and philosophies that our companies are creating and acting upon. Aided by organizations like StageSource, ARTSBoston, and now also by S.T.A.B, as well as growing initiatives by our larger and more established companies to collaborate (see this article in Sunday's Boston Globe about the Shirley VT plays happening this fall) the community here is flourishing by working together to grow audiences and artists. It seems that the model that started in fringe theater of, "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine." is creeping up the ranks as a shrewd business practice as well as an rewarding artistic avenue.
So why is this Boston's niche? Because our community is still on the edge of forming it's identity as a theatre town. Although we do have a supportive community, there is a long way to go in growing an solid audience base for most of the theatre that is produced locally. And we also have a long way to go before artists are able to make a sustainable living. Nationally, our identity is still blurry and new, no one is quite sure how to categorize us except by saying we're "a smaller market than New York". This is our opportunity to use each other to create the identity of a supportive and integrated community with a completely different ethos than New York (or anywhere else for that matter). One that's based on dedication and collaboration instead of the bigger picture every man for himself idea. We still need to improve on our methods of collaboration and cross-promotion. Until it's truly embraced as our strongest asset it will be hard to get it to make as big a difference as possible. We need to continue to work on crossing the lines of "big vs small" appealing to our bigger and better funded companies to sponsor and promote the smaller companies. Showing audiences that quality theatre can be found in the Boston University Theatre and around the corner at The Factory and that patronizing both is the best way to keep Boston theatre growing is key to the success of cross-promotion. But I know we can get there. The Shirley VT plays are just the beginning of that.
By embracing this growing desire to support each-other's work on not just a personal level, but also on an organizational level, we have the opportunity to help each other grow. To help our city grow. And to help the identity and importance of professional theatre grow on a national level. Publicizing shows on the backs of programs, co-producing a one night 10-minute play event, sharing fund-raising ideas and production materials and costs, and promoting artist cultivation through co-sponsored trainings and workshops is a way in which we can show both audience members and artists that we are dedicated to producing good theatre to satisfy our missions, our supporters, and the actor's, director's and designer's who work in this city. Giving up just a little of our own ego to build a stronger environment seems well worth the sacrifice.
~ Always, Mary-Liz
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Without Prejudice: Why all the Royal Opera House posts have disappeared
For additional commentary, which put it better than I could:
On Why It's Time to Listen (Or a Love Letter to Theatre Bloggers)
And if you never read about the time we got threatened by an international publishing corporation:
Photo Shop Fun Post
Friday, September 10, 2010
Here's a list of some things playing right now (or this week) and opening the 2010/2011 season for us.
Let the games begin:
The Real Inspector Hound: Publick Theatre
Running through September 25, Plaza Theatre BCA
Cabaret: American Repertory Theatre
Running through October 29, Club Oberon
Boston Marriage: New Repertory Theatre
Running through October 3, Arsenal Center for the Arts
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: Lyric Stage
Running Through October 2, Lyric Stage
Romeo and Juliet: Independent Drama Society
September 16 - 25, The Factory Theatre
Bus Stop: Huntington Theatre Co.
September 17 - October 17, Boston University Theatre
In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play): Speakeasy Stage
September 17 - October 16, Roberts Theatre BCA
This list clearly runs the gamut and it's exciting to see so much different kinds of work happening at the same time. I've already crossed two off my list - how about you?
PS - Don't miss the StageSource Season Kick off event Monday September 27! Details TBA but check www.stagesource.org to stay updated.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
ALL THINGS HORROR: All Things Horror Presents-our monthly film series...: "All Things Horror Presents is a monthly film series showcasing new voices in horror. The event takes place at Somerville Theater s..."
ALL THINGS HORROR: About Us: "All Things Horror is run by two friends who share a love of the taste of karo syrup, the smell of latex, and the sight of stupid teenagers m..."
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Nothing out of the ordinary. If anything, that information should be expected right? I mean, if I continue to want to get cast, I'm going to have to continue to audition. And I have been. For months....and months...with 0 results. Which is also to be expected. It happens.
So ok, Wednesday I went into this audition, sides and headshot in hand ready to just go in and do my thing an leave. And then I got up infront of the auditors and did the monologues and just KILLED it. I mean I was on. It was the first time in about 3 months where I really felt like I belonged in an audition.
Then we read sides. And reading through them, I fell in love with the play and the character I was auditioning for. I mean I read it and it felt like part of me, something I'm supposed to work on. I could so easily live in this play for the next couple of months. And not just because I'm desperate to get on stage in a full length play, but because I relate to her...more than that I like her.
And then it occurred to me. I REALLY want this. Not because I want an audition to go well, or because I need to get something new on my resume, but because I want to dive in and make it mine. Because I can be myself in this play and do good work. It's a full fledged character. And I can make her me. OR make me her. Or some of both.
And so, I really want this. It was one of those audition experiences that reminded me why I like to do this, and why I keep putting myself through auditions. Because sometimes there are parts that you are just supposed to do.
And now I'm waiting...and hoping the director feels the same way I do.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
1. We're classy, respectable and attractive individuals.
Here, MLM demonstrates her modest, natural beauty by demonstrating a classic 1990's "painted whore" look.
Kenny Steven Fuentes, known in social circles as "El Bossa-Nova Casanova", is a sweet, old fashioned lover who knows how to make the ladies swoon. He might not pay for dinner, but he knows how to treat a lady!
2. Nobility and a History of Mental Stability
How often do we find our cultural aristocracy engaging in uncouth, rock-star behavior? Kenny and MLM are hard working theatre professionals and producers who know how to work hard, play hard. They always keep a cool head.
Mary-Liz demonstrates her "about the author" style photogenic dignity.
Kenny continues to demonstrate that he has never been succesfully committed to a mental institution despite several court orders by the state.
3. We're classy broads.
Seriously, check us out!
On both counts...
...We're finger lickin' good!
So people have been asking "What does Erika think of all this? Who is she going to vote for?"
Well, we can't tell you, but she's very excited to hear that Kenny will ALSO be participating in the kissing booth.
She seems a little uncomfortable. Must be that other guy.
In anycase, whatever your choices, please come to support Holland Productions! It's going to be a fun night, and if last year's fundraiser is any indication, there will be a dance party galore!
HOLLAND PRODUCTIONS HOMECOMING DANCE BASH!
Friday, September 10
Elephant and Castle, downstairs
161 Devonshire Street, Boston
$10 (all proceeds go to fund our 2010-2011 Season)
I'm on a horse.