WARNING: The opinions expressed below are DEFINITELY those of The CoLab Theatre Company! Learn more at www.colabtheatre.org!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I am thankful for:

My smile. It comes from my mom and it's my best professional calling card.

Being continually surprised and delighted by new talent in Boston.

Friends. The ones who know my non-theater related self as well as my actor/director/administrator self. It's important to remember the balance and have people who can appreciate me on different terms.

Dedicated artists who have made Boston their home for better or for worse and continue to work here because there's no place they'd rather be.

My family. Always.

Officially being able to say, at this point, I have spent half of my life involved in theater.

Macaroni and cheese. I think the obsession started the year I decided I hated turkey at Thanksgiving. It was a life saver. And we've seen some great times together.

Feeling a sense of commitment to my work and feeling appreciated for that.


I hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and take some time to take stock of the things you are thankful for.

May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life.* Apache Blessing


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stuff Theatre People Like: Free Music

So I love free music. You love free music. And this music is an art in itself. For those of you who don't already know Girl Talk, I'm happy to introduce you.. for free. Girl Talk is the stage name of Gregg Gillis a super fabulous mash-up artist from Pittsburgh. He takes music from a variety of genres and generations and literally mashes them together. The tracks are meant to be listened to in succession and I love listening to them. (He's also an incredible performer - I saw him live once and in college and he blew my mind.)

Here's a link to his newest album. I highly recommend this for all of your theatre folk out there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


My life seems to be piles of things lately. Piles of laundry. Piles of lists: to do lists, long overdue phone call lists, things I should research lists. Piles of scripts. Piles of friends I haven't seen. Piles of shifts I don't want to work. Piles of workouts that haven't been completed. Piles and piles and piles. And the piles never seem to get smaller.

And the piles of stuff turns into piles of stress. The stress turns into piles of a emotions that I hate feeling - tears that aren't worth it. Conversations that worry my parents. Late night ice cream with the roommates (a pile that I'm actually pretty okay with).

The more times I type it out the more I think to myself, "Piles is a funny word." And so I laugh at the word. And I think to myself. They are just piles. The laundry will get squeezed in. (The lack of a pile of underwear will make that happen.) I'll find time to memorize the lines. I'll cross "go to the bank" off my list. I might have to sacrifice a clean room for a bit and I might have to sacrifice making my breakfast for a Dunkin' coffee in order to get a few extra minutes of sleep. But I'll get it done. And the piles, will be just that. Stuff. In my life.

I'm stopping thinking about the piles. They'll probably get bigger before the end of the week but if I stack all of the piles together: family, friends, rehearsals, work, I'll have a pile of life. And I'm supposed to be enjoying life. So today, I embrace the piles*. And push onward.

*If anyone wants to do my laundry though. I'm cool with that.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Flying or The Art of Active Storytelling

Saturday night I saw Whistler in the Dark's production of Tales from Ovid.

I love Greek myths.

I love Ted Hughes.

I love watching people fly.

I was happy to support the show and definitely curious to see how the tiny little Factory accommodated flyers and silks. But, going into it, I was also concerned - neither the original nor Hughes' translation was written as a play, and the space could easily have been overwhelmed by tricks or choreography, and the myths and melodramas could easily have been over directed, over acted or both. But to my amazement and delight NONE of those things happened. With that said, I wouldn't say I saw a play or acting or anything I normally would critique a show on. But it was beautiful. And it was brave. And I can't really ask for much more than that.

The ensemble, directed by Meg Taintor, had an ease and understadedness that was fascinating to watch. They dedicated this piece to classic story telling, illustrating the themes and emotions connected in each myth with effective and deliberate choreography, sounds, and physicality. They targeted the audiences senses instead of their intellectl. That is a feat in and of itself. To disengage an audience from their brain and have them engaged enough just to feel what is happening. Each member of the ensemble had an energy all their own and they played together like the essential elements. Sometimes meshing, sometimes fighting against each other, but always ending in a neutral and cohesive state. They truly worked to present these tales in their most basic and relatable form. These are ancient stories that have been passed on and transformed and retold in every way imaginable. And so I applaud Meg and her cast for having adapted and put together a show that celebrates the art of a good story and the beauty of a simple and engaging storyteller.

And for taking risks.

This is the kind of performing that makes people take notice of what is happening in the tiny spaces on the tiny budgets with people who just want to create. It is a challenge. It challenges the audience to open their minds to a non-traditional theatre experience, it challenges the involved artists in physical, mental, and emotional ways, and I think it also challenges our larger companies to produce more honest and engaging work.

So take the challenge, because with these Tales you have nothing to lose.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Michael Caine Impressions

My life has been a bit of a mess lately, but I had to share this with you as things start to look a little more upbeat:

Be well,

Friday, November 5, 2010

She's Just My Type

When I hear the phrase "typecast" I often think of it negatively. I associate it with an actor or actress who plays the same role over and over again, i.e. Michael Cera in the geeky, meek(y) high school would-be hero role. Now, there are different challenges involved when it comes to typecasting, for me I think it is the following: HOW do you make each role different? Just because you ARE typecast in a role doesn't mean that you have to play each role exactly the same.

This week, however, I've discovered a new appreciation for typecasting and a new challenge involved with approaching such a role. And this is a positive thing. On Monday, I started rehearsals for 11:11 Theatre Company's December show, Her Red Umbrella. If I were to type myself, I think that Cara is my "typecast" role. She's a 21 year old college student, intelligent, driven, likeable, with a girl next door thing about her. (I say type myself, because I haven't really played a role like this since I was in You Can't Take It With You in high school.) At rehearsal on Tuesday night my director asked me a few questions about Cara that made me realize that I was not differentiating between Cara and Erika saying the lines. Granted, it was the first time we had read the scene on our feet, but it still made me realize the importance of creating a character. When I originally accepted the role, I didn't know the challenge I was accepting and in the past week I am pleasantly surprised at this new segment of my acting career. Don't get me wrong, I didn't think this show would be easy (I'm done with accepting roles that won't advance me skill-wise), but after tackling Refuge this summer, I saw this in a very different category.

So this is my new challenge: how do you create a believable character from a character that shares so many of your interests and ideals? I'm ready to tackle this and excited as well. First step? Write her history. Second step? Create a new physicality for Cara. Third step? Unsure. I think things will naturally fall into place once I memorize my lines (I guess that's a step in there somewhere!) but chalk this one up to experience: every role is challenge, just not in the same way. And I'm excited about it. Stay tuned, there's more process to come.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Helter Skelter

So it's been a week since our last post. I missed two last week, and we just got behind. Life is crazy. I spent 4 days in Chicago, Kenny was in DC trying (although, I will argue unsuccessfully to restore his sanity ;-) ) and Erika held up her end of the bargain amidst restaurant madness and starting rehearsals for a new project I will let her introduce you to. We were literally running in three different directions.

It's tough working three busy schedules into one productive artistic endeavor. Creating is hard work. It's so much energy, and time, and money. We're constantly fighting our jobs, rehearsals, classes, trips, and social engagements to get on top of the operations. And sometimes it's hard to stick with it. To make the sacrifices. To say "yes, I will focus mainly on this right now."

We're not in that place currently. It's hard to admit that.

We are making plans, we are doing the best we three can to give our energy to the company. We talk almost everyday, and have three different things we're working on right now. Planning a production, a new audition workshop, and a fundraiser. But it is a little helter skelter. For me it's important to acknowledge that. And to share it with you, our supporters. To say, "sometimes I can't make this my whole life." Honesty in creating is something I personally (and I'm 96.75% sure I can say that for Kenny and Erika as well) am always striving for. And running this company is no different. Part of this blog is staying honest about what it means to freelance, work, and self-produce, no matter what the realities may sometimes be.

But we do have continue to work to make it fit into the lives we're leading to stay viable. To keep our momentum up. To stay fresh and motivated.

So this is where you all come in. We need some feedback on fundraising. What fundraisers (FOR ANYTHING) have you been to that really work? That you would attend again? That make you want to support the cause? and also, what doesn't work for you? Currently our financial goals include joining StageSource, producing two-workshops and a full length show in the next eight months, and possibly gaining 501 (c) 3 status. Help us get there with your passion and ideas and we know the money will follow.

Send thoughts and ideas to us at colabtheatre@gmail.com.


And, as always, see something this weekend:

Tales from Ovid - Whistler in the Dark - The Factory Theatre

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby - Lyric Stage Company

The Shirley VT Plays - Huntington Theatre Company, Speakeasy Stage, and Company One - All in the Calderwood Pavillion at the Boston Center for the Arts