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

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Best Friend Bias

Hey All. By now you're probably used to the fact that I expound upon my made up philosophies a lot on this blog. First, there was "The Tinkerbell Effect." Next came the Erika-cized term, "Audi-drenaline." I now present to you, dear readers, "The Best Friend Bias."

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to see my bestie, roomie, and all-around fabulous gal pal(ie), perform in show produced by The OnStage Dance Company. I'm going to admit that I was not expecting much when I arrived at the venue. I expected R to be great, for sure, but after years of attending college dance shows I was nervous for the caliber and duration of the evening as a whole. As I munched on my latest chocolate acquisition from Trader Joe's as the lights went down and the music started, I was met with a performance better than the one I had anticipated but still not one that blew me away. As the group danced to Peggy Lee's Fever, they were decent but not totally in sync with each other which was a bit frustrating to watch. However, they weren't bad by any means, they held our interest and we looked forward to the next act. (Side note, if you're still thinking about treats... it was a Dark Chocolate bar with Caramel and Sea Salt - do it. You won't be sorry.) Anyways, as the first act progressed, we were impressed by how quickly everything seemed to be moving, the variations between the acts, and the clean scene transitions.

It wasn't until R's group took the stage though that I was truly vested and interested in what I was watching. First off, they were IN SYNC with each other. Not only was each girl on beat, but they each possessed a sort of attitude that the music, the costume, the choreography suggested. They were *gasp* acting. I don't pretend be an authority on dance, but I know passionate acting when I see it - and this dance fell under that category. As intermission arrived, my friend L and I could not get over how much we enjoyed R's dance. We just kept saying to each other, "That was the best dance we saw in the last hour." And it got me thinking, was it truly the best dance in the act or were we biased based on the presence of a mutual close friend? I like to think that I see enough theatre and general performance events that I have an eye, ear, general understanding of what makes a performance worth seeing, but I know that my personal emotions about the parties involved definitely can help to enhance or reduce my enjoyment. So what was I experiencing? My true feelings as an audience member or The Best Friend Bias?

As we headed into the second act, I was absolutely blown away by the first piece. This company was started by several girls that I went to college with - girls who were phenomenal dancers in school. (What is it with these Brandeis kids and their companies?) I'm not sure why I doubted their ability to put together a great show, but here was proof that talent definitely improves with age. The piece was mesmerizing. But again, they were acting. There was a story. There was passion. And I came to a decision, while I was definitely effected by The BFB, I wasn't so blinded to think that I couldn't enjoy or laud a piece that did not include my best friend. I saw a range of things happening on stage - fabulous choreographers where the dancers emoted nothing, nervous girls who wouldn't remember the steps, and girls with more energy than the steps allowed. At the end of the night, the outcome was simple - when I was watching a spark on stage, there was a spark inside me. Sounds elementary, right? I suppose, but it's still nice to be able to know why you're complimenting someone at the end of the performance.

Things learned last weekend? 1. R is a fantastic performer. (Okay, I didn't newly learn that - but I was reminded.) 2. The show was worth the $10 ticket - I'd definitely check out their spring show. 3. The Best Friend Bias is a thing - we all experience it (how do you think our parents sat through all of those ballet recitals?!) but nothing can match true passion and skill. :)

Happy Weekend.
- E

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No Small Roles

Hey all, you haven't met me before, but I've been working as the administrative intern for CoLab for about a year now. So far I've really enjoyed my experiences and I'm so excited to finally be able to start blogging!

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining Erika at an event called "Something Rotten - Hamlet Re-Mixed" hosted by Whistler in the Dark and Imaginary Beasts as part of their repertory event that included Tom Stoppard's Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth and Ionesco's Macbett.

Mary-Liz was involved a piece directed by Meron Langsner that was an interpretation of Act V of Hamlet. It involved swords and in the words of the director "Rampant Badassery" of varying kinds. What it did NOT include was Fortinbras. I was waiting for all 10 minutes of the piece just anticipating his arrival. Not only did he not appear in Act V...but he wasn't mentioned in any of the other four acts as well. You would think that somewhere throughout the collective process to bring an interprative version of Hamlet together that SOMEONE would have thought to include the true foil to Hamlet himself.This massive oversight reminded me of the old addage "there are no small parts, only small actors". In attempting to recreate the classic (albeit in a condensed version) the creators of each small piece took very broad strokes.

For such a project as "Something Rotten" it is understandable to me that certain nuances and details get cut to the wayside, but it is interesting that a personality that pervades the play in so many ways can so easily be disposed of.

It has come to my attention that the newest full production, being produced by Psych Drama Company (opening tomorrow 11/30/11) also cuts out Fortinbras. There are other liberties being taken with the script, and cuts and changes have become common place in Shakespeare productions. But what do you cut when you cut a character like Norway? What do you lose in the meaning and understanding of the story, the text, and the playwright's intention? What would happen if you cut Mitch from A Streetcar Named Desire ?

Fortinbras is a device in the play that serves as an antithesis for Hamlet. And for all of our Shakespeare scholars/enthusiasts/actors out there, you know that you can never undervalue antithesis. It is what colors the play, the characters, the text.

His presence in the play prior to act V (through other characters' text) as well as his final speech (see below) also create a context for the action of the play that is undervalued by most producers/directors of the play. Fortinbras provides the reality check that no matter how hard you try or what decisions you make, the final outcome of your life actually has very little to do with you. It puts Hamlet's struggle into stark perspective. Fortinbras, with his threats of invasion and ultimate take-over of Denmark, is a reminder of that. If Hamlet had lived and made different choices, who's to say Fortinbras still wouldn't have won in the end? The presence of this larger force, embodied by this tiny character, has the ability to change the tenor of the play in a major way. Why sacrifice layers of what is considered by some, the best play in the canon, to cut 9 lines of text and one actor from production? Whether or not the young Dane had avenged his father sooner, or with more vigor; whether or not he was mad; if he had chosen love and Ophelia rather than hatred and vengefulness do not change the fact that there are outside forces, larger than yourself, that determine much of how your life turns out. And to highlight that struggle is to highlight the true and universal questions that Hamlet offers to himself and the audience. Without Fortinbras those questions are lost in the senseless deaths of the young men of this play.

So really, just don't cut Fortinbras.


Let four captains
Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royally: and, for his passage,
The soldiers' music and the rites of war
Speak loudly for him.
Take up the bodies: such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

Looking forward to the next one:


** Gary Howard is a junior at University of Chicago studying Geopolitics and Theatre

Friday, November 11, 2011

Filmed in Front of a LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE!!!

Hello BlogLand!

For those of you who are looking for a great sitcom to watch endlessly on DVD as the weather turns cold (sort of), I highly recommend CBS's The Big Bang Theory. And it's not just because one of the lead characters is a Cheesecake Factory working actress with a bunch of humorous and adorkable friends. There's something about the way the characters are so well thought out and executed that draws me in. The show definitely builds on itself (You must watch it from the beginning - it's like Arrested Development or HIMYM) - once you start to understand the recurring jokes, the funnier the show becomes. But what's most enticing about this sitcom, is the sense of ensemble you feel while watching the show. I love thinking about ensembles at work. When I watch reruns of Friends, I often think to myself, those are six lucky people. They get to work day in and day out with a group of people they understand, trust, and excel at their craft with. What could be better?

And that's what I see when I watch Big Bang. This group of friends who goes to work every day to have some fun and make some entertainment. Sometimes when I consider what it's like to work in a medium other than live theatre, I wonder how the actors do it without the audience. I was recently having a debate with someone about whether or not acting for film or acting for theatre are one skill set or two. I am (was?) of the camp that they're two different skill sets (much in the same way that auditioning and acting are two different skill sets). But, Best Friend, I'm beginning to think that I stand corrected. A quiet house is an obstacle for even the most experience actors (and sometimes fatal for those who are just starting out) but it never occurred to me that one could have that same experience on a sitcom where, let's face it, the point is to make us regular folk forget about our humdrum lives, financial issues, and broken hearts and lift our spirits for 30 minutes at a time.

My favorite character is quickly becoming Mayim Bialik's, Amy Farrah-Fowler. (Gee, that name's familiar you say? Well for TGIF fans out there, she was TV's Blossom as a teenager.) Like the members of The CoLab, Mayim (I feel like we're on a first name basis since her status updates appear in my FB news feed), blogs on a regular basis about a number of things, including her stint on Big Bang. And interestingly enough, tv actors HAVE NOT forgotten about the importance of laughter when it comes to camera work, and even more importantly, they haven't forgotten about the importance of trust and ensemble. As she puts it,

"Working alongside two-time Emmy winner Jim Parsons is unlike working with anyone I have shared a stage with. He and I go about our work very similarly, from how we view our characters’ idiosyncrasies, to how we execute them. Jim and I also seem to agree–all of this is unspoken–that no amount of preparation all week can brace you for the lovable beast that is a live studio audience. You can’t really know how to play a scene until you can hear the audience gasping, giggling, laughing, and hesitating; breathing with you as you breathe and feel the nuances of your character. The way the failed seduction/cuddle scene shook down on your TV screens was, for me, different by eons from how it played all week in rehearsal."

And this has definitely got me thinking (once again), that the reason I'm uncomfortable doing film is because I don't understand it. I don't nearly have enough on camera experience to form a judgement about what it's like to act either way. I know that I'm a stage-lover, but if you really have the right scene partner... okay. I'm not sold on it yet. I'm not sure that ANYTHING will replace my love for the instant gratification of audience laughter, pain, confusion but this week I'm considering Mayim's thoughts regarding on screen acting.

If you're interested in reading more I highly recommend the rest of the article which can be found here. And if all you want to do is see that ensemble-audience dynamic first hand, there's plenty of live theatre happening in Boston this weekend. Go enjoy it!

Happy Watching... I mean Weekend, Folks!


Monday, November 7, 2011


I had a brief stroll around East Cambridge yesterday, around sunset. For the first time in a long time, I found myself taking the the long way home, taking my time and just enjoying the scenery. I wish I could say it was relaxing, though on the plus side it was necessary.

I'm coming to grips with a strange realization. From graduation in spring of 2008 until the fall of 2010, I was living the rough and tumble, young artist life. I found myself underemployed and living on two friends' couch, working the occasional odd job and industrial to barely break even. The entire time, I was also on the search for better employment working to get CoLab off the ground. I partied a little too hard, but I also kept busy and constantly working towards something better.

Over the past year, I started making some more money and CoLab starting taking off. It's been rewarding and exciting and I'm very thankful for those two things.

And yet, I came to the realization yesterday that this has also been one of the most sincerely depressing periods of my life. If you haven't seen me posting blogs as often (and you haven't) and wonder why I'm not taking to the streets with my opinions on Herman Cain and Boston Theatre Economics like I usually do...

To paraphrase Fight Club, you're reading me in a very strange time in my life.

As I walked through the empty, dim glow of the Genzyme and MIT labs I realized that no matter how much better things get, they will also be difficult and it will be very easy to give up. CoLab makes me happy. My job makes me happy. My apartment makes me happy. So why aren't I happy?

It's worth noting, that this current slump really starting about two weeks after Dearly Beloved wrapped up. It's also worth noting that I've had slumps all my life, and I'm aware that life fluctuates and in a few weeks I'll probably feel the spark of life come back. But for the time being, I have to cope with the fact that even though life always gets better, it also always gets worse.

I have a long overdue "Man-date" this week with one of my many hetero life mates. (If confused, please consult feature film "I Love You, Man".) We have been talking about similar themes in our lives. We both experienced a severing of bonds in the past year and we both have a sense of anxious malaise, so I know what I'm experiencing is in large part a symptom of my 20's. So I figured this is something worth sharing with ya'll. I'm not sure how other people cope, but I guess I'm figuring it out for myself now.

The quarter-life crisis. It's a thing.

And I'm okay with that.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Haiku For My Droid

i love my android
otherwise life is chaos
google calendar

A year ago I didn't see why the heck I would ever need a smart phone. Let's review the facts:

Occupation: Actress/waitress. No immediate need to return work emails. And plus, I didn't really want them "following me around."
Marital Status: Single. No schedules to match up. No bank accounts to sync. No soccer practice to get to.
Schedule: Perfectly accessible on my wall calendar in my bedroom. Places I needed to be: work, rehearsal, the occasional CoLab meeting.
Other devices: I own a computer and an ipod. I can check my email, go on Facebook, listen to music - all on regular basis! Why would I need a smart phone?

Check, check, check. Everything was taken care of. Why would I need a fancy phone? Six months ago, things started to change. As a company, we started to schedule weekly meetings. (Add one thing to the Google calendar.) I began working a second job. (Read: THANK YOU GOOGLE CALENDAR) And we started pre-production on NOT ONE but TWO shows. (Seriously, Google calendar OVERLOAD.) And I started to miss emails. If I was on a double, I'd head to work around 11 a.m. and sometimes not get home until after midnight. After a twelve hour day, the last thing I wanted to do was make decisions and write out opinions. And so emails weren't responded to in a timely manner. And the company wasn't running at the rate or in the manner we wanted it to.

So in April, I bought a Droid. And it literally changed the way we operated as a small business. Our entire organization runs off of GoogleDocs and Aps. I could access both my personal email and my CoLab email from my phone. Both my calendar and the company Google calendars synced to my phone. I could access all of our Docs. Which meant I could read and edit agendas, drafts of scripts, resumes, etc. I could respond to auditionees for play. and edit details for Dearly Beloved production. And suddenly, there was no question about it. I needed my Droid to run my small business. play. Discovery and Dearly Beloved really would not have gone up without it. The world moves faster every day and today, I think Ferris might say, "If you're not connected you might miss it." I'm not saying I want to be married to my phone. I love it and some days really all I want to do is beat that one pesky level of Angry Birds that I can't get through. And some days I turn off the sound because I really don't need my email following me around for the day. But there are days and times when having a Droid makes my existence as an actress, a producer, a director, and a small business owner possible. And for that, I'm glad I own it. So, thank you, Droid. Thanks for allowing me to leave my computer at home when I travel. Thanks for letting me check the weather when I want to. And thanks for letting me improve CoLab productivity. And now if you'll excuse me, those stupid pigs don't know whats coming.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hocus Pocus

Ok, I'm going to share a secret with all of you: I am terrible at Halloween.

I know, I know, it seems like a natural fit for an actor with a costume background to just go nuts about the dress-up holiday but for some reason deciding on a costume and getting into the Halloween spirit always puts my teeth on edge. Something about the pressure for finding some funny, non-obvious, socially relevant, pithy costume and all the scary-spooky stuff happening is just too much. I'm not a horror fan and social humor in costumes is usually beyond me. I mean I love seeing trick-or-treaters come to the door and I always had fun as a kid, but somwhere along the way, Halloween lost its luster.

I have managed (just today) to throw together some plans and a costume idea for the weekend. And I'll be making little candy baggies later this week to give out on Monday night. And thankfully there's some theater out there with a vibe more than appropriate for the festivities and good to get anyone in the All-Hallows mood.

Go see:
By: Allison Moore
Apollinaire Theatre Company
Now through November 5
Tix: $25 in Advance, $30 at the door, $15 student rush ID requires

By: Jennifer Haley
Happy Medium Theatre
Now through October 29
Tix: $5.00 - $17.00

By: Norton Juster and Sheldon Harnick
Wheelock Family Theatre
Tix: $20.00 - $30.00

* Mary-Liz

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Breaking Up With Julius, Morrie, and June Or, The Epilogue

Closing a play is like a congenial break up. It's time for things to end but suddenly you have way too much free time on your hands and a little hole in your heart. Closing Dearly Beloved left me with a bizarre feeling in my stomach. When I woke up on Sunday, September 18, I took a breath and was thankful I was done. We spent a year and nine months from start to finish on the show and while the final two months were worth it, they were exhausting. I slept until noon for about a week straight (thank goodness for evening shifts...) and didn't feel guilty about it at all. That is, until I started to think about "what comes next."

And I'll be honest with you, I don't know what comes next. I've been wanting to write this post-show post for a long time but I haven't been able to truly organize my thoughts on the whole thing. Dearly Beloved was more successful than Kenny, Mary-Liz, and I imagined it would be and for a few brief weeks, all I could feel was the thrill of putting on a successful show. But as I return to waiting on tables, coming to terms with some major life changes, and the constant struggle for ANYONE out there to return our emails regarding performance and rehearsal space, I'm starting to realize that what I'm feeling is the lack of closure. And I'm not sure how to obtain closure from 81 pages of text and three characters that don't actually live and breathe outside of the 90 minutes run time the show allows. I think part of my problem is simply, I am so proud of this show that I want my next great exploration to just land in my lap tomorrow (or preferably yesterday, but who's counting) and that's just not going to happen. Everything in this business is about making something happen for yourself.

And we're planning - we're planning for the next piece of The CoLab adventure but the fact that I know I won't be in rehearsals again for at least another two months is still killing me. Someone recently suggested that this quiet period is me stuck in a rut as an actress and a performer. But I'd prefer to think of this time as the post-relationship mourning period. I'm rebounding from a rehearsal schedule with sleeping in and endless episodes of The Big Bang Theory, but it won't always be like that. I'll pull myself up off the mat soon enough and I'll be off again. Because, while Dearly Beloved and I may have found our resting place, my love affair with the theatre is still burning bright. And I'm not ready to move on from that just yet.

So what I'll leave you with today is some words I wrote in 2009 when I was contemplating this crazy career decision. This excerpt is from a play entitled Splatter Paint. It really is amazing how you learn new things from every relationship, every play, and still how you always feel the same. Anyways, this is how I feel today. Enjoy. And Happy Sunday.

- E

Splatter Paint, Scene Three: The Office

ELLE and BOBBI are seated at high stools around their worktable. ELLE holds a bowl of popcorn. BOBBI has a stack of photos in front of her; she holds them up one by one for ELLE.

ELLE: Crap. (Throws a few pieces of popcorn into her mouth.)

BOBBI: Okay. How about this?

ELLE: Not quite as crap as the last one.

BOBBI: This?

ELLE: Shittiest of them all.

BOBBI: Do you ever like anything you shoot?

ELLE: No. (Tosses a handful of popcorn at BOBBI.) If I was a happy artist I’m not sure I could call myself an artist.

BOBBI: You gotta choose one.

ELLE: They’re all shit.

BOBBI: Even this one?

ELLE: Oh God, put that away.

BOBBI: We have to choose one. Maybe if we go back through –

ELLE: Nooooo. Let’s take a break, okay?

BOBBI: Okay. (Pause. Stares at ELLE. ELLE throws more popcorn at her.)

ELLE: You going to keep staring at me or are you gonna ask?

BOBBI: Ask what?

ELLE: Ask me.

BOBBI: I don’t –

ELLE: Ask me about what you saw yesterday.

BOBBI: Elle, I… I didn’t…

ELLE: I know. But you saw, so ask. Seriously – I don’t mind.

BOBBI: I’d rather not.

ELLE stares at her, obnoxiously chomping on her popcorn. BOBBI gets more and more nervous as her stare bores into her. She tries to busy herself going through the photographs on the table but ELLE never drops her gaze.

BOBBI: It looked very private.

ELLE: It was private. That’s why the door was shut.

BOBBI: (Pause.) I’ve never seen you like that before.

ELLE: Well, that’s because I don’t paint topless in the center of the break room.

BOBBI: That’s not what I meant. That… possessed. No not, possessed – obsessed. No, I… I’ve never seen you look that happy.

ELLE: I wasn’t aware that I look happy when I’m embarrassed.

BOBBI: Before you realized –

ELLE: Yeah.

BOBBI: You aren’t that absorbed when you work.

ELLE: I photograph Lotus Blossoms and Sun Salutations all day. After awhile, I can only get so excited about it. (BOBBI stares at her. ELLE breaks into fake smile.) I love my job.

BOBBI: And everyone knows it. Why don’t you quit?

ELLE: I can’t quit.

BOBBI: Why? Go take pictures of children in the park, or real lotus blossoms in India, or Orville Redenbacher… something you like.

ELLE: How old are you, Bobbi?

BOBBI: Why not?

ELLE: Tell me how old you are and I’ll tell you.

BOBBI: I’ll tell you how old I am when – you know what? No. This is ridiculous. You hate your life – fix it. Don’t you listen to what they tell you at the end of each class?

ELLE: It’s kind of hard to focus when everyone’s sprinting out the door to avoid the rush.

BOBBI: Take time for yourself – renew, refresh, all that crap? They say it for a reason.

ELLE: Seriously, how old are you? Twenty?

BOBBI: Twenty-one.

ELLE: Come back to me in five years and tell me how easy it is to change up your life and do something you love. I gave up on that a long time ago. I have bills to pay, a husband, we support each other – I can’t just pick up and leave this job because I’m bored. I think we all have a grace period where we get to figure it out… I didn’t figure it out soon enough. And here I am.

BOBBI: I know that this is impolite, you being wiser and older than me, but I think that’s pathetic.

ELLE: Excuse me?

BOBBI: Pathetic. You looked happy yesterday, Eleanor. Genuinely happy –

ELLE: I’m happy with lots of things.

BOBBI: You spend forty plus hours a week doing something that you hate. That’s so… senseless! So you what, paint on the side to make yourself happier?

ELLE: What’s wrong with that? You think all of the computer analysts and accountants out there do nothing to complement their work lives?

BOBBI: I think that if you have a marketable talent – you shouldn’t use it to do something you loathe.

ELLE: I don’t loathe working here.

BOBBI: Then why do all your photos suck?

ELLE: Excuse me?

BOBBI: If you loved taking these it would show. Those photos suck because you hate taking them – and you know what the sad thing is? If you were any other person, I’d say, “hey that photo isn’t so bad.” But for someone with as much potential as you, these photos are awful. I’ve seen your shows, Elle.

ELLE: I haven’t done a show in years.

BOBBI: I looked you up.

ELLE: (More flattered and shocked than angry.) You looked me up? Where?

BOBBI: The Eveson Gallery has a file on you. I saw your stuff… and it’s really good. And I think you’re wasting, well, pretty much everything by working here.

ELLE: Which collection did you see?

BOBBI: Generational Gaps.

ELLE: (Laughs.) Oh god.

BOBBI: If you even say its crap –

ELLE: No. (Pause.) I know. If possible I try to think about that show least.

BOBBI: It’s your best one.

ELLE: Compared to what?

BOBBI: I looked through all of your stuff – it was the best by far.

ELLE: I was a kid.

BOBBI: Okay, first of all – you’re not that old –

ELLE: I grew up fast.

BOBBI: So that means you block it out?

ELLE: You saw a couple of crappy shows I put together years ago. They’re about stupid emotional crap I was going through at the time. They’re past and they should stay past. (Pause. BOBBI awkwardly stares back at ELLE.)

BOBBI: I saw something I liked as an artist and I thought I’d share. Look, I know I’m just your twenty year old assistant or whatever, but I’ve seen a few photographs in my twenty years and I know what moves me and what doesn’t and those old photographs– they moved me.

ELLE: Lotus postures aren’t supposed to move you. They’re supposed to sell yoga classes.

BOBBI: Then why does it matter if they’re crap or not? Pick one and be done with it.

ELLE: I still have to sell the classes.

BOBBI: So you do care.

ELLE: Bobbi, this is my job. It’s enough – it pays the bills, I usually don’t want to kill the people I work with.

BOBBI: So you care enough – but not too much. Should I be looking at a pie chart or something?

ELLE: Bobbi –

BOBBI: (Mimicking) My job is 40% income, 25.8% standing the assholes I work with, 12.2% the dental benefits, and maybe trying to squeeze in LIKING IT IN THE LAST FIVE PERCENT!?

ELLE is silent.

BOBBI: Tell me you’re happy. Say out loud that you’re happy living this artist’s life of quiet desperation, so quiet in fact that you won’t even admit to yourself that you’re desperate.

ELLE: I am NOT desperate. How dare you –

BOBBI: Then why do you sit behind closed doors and paint pictures of yourself on your lunch break? Why do you come in here in the mornings looking like you’re about to walk to the scaffolding? No one thinks you’re happy Eleanor.

ELLE: I’m happy. I’m fucking happy. Don’t you dare tell me I’m not happy.

BOBBI: Then tell me you are.

ELLE: I’m happy enough.

BOBBI: Oh I’m sorry. I was wrong. You’re not leading a life of quiet desperation, you’re leading a life that’s FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH ADEQUACY!

ELLE: Get out.

BOBBI: (Starts to grab her stuff.) Maybe you should take your own advice. Get out.

ELLE: (Knocks the popcorn bowl violently to the ground.) GET THE HELL OUT.

BOBBI: There. Right there? That’s what I saw when you were painting. You were alive. That painting was alive. It’s not about size or exposure, or the kind of camera you use. It’s about heart. A photo taken with heart. You can take it anywhere, of anything. If you love it, it’ll be the best photo you’ve ever taken. These photos are dead. Call me when you quit.

BOBBI exits and ELEANOR is left standing in the middle of the stage. She throws the collection of photos on the ground in fury. Pauses, stares at them, selects a random three out of the pile, puts them in a manilla envelope, drops it in a box labeled “Final Prints” and walks out.

End Scene.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When the smoke finally clears

A little more than a week ago we closed Dearly Beloved. A labor of love and a testament to using resources well and producing something good on the shoulders of a supportive community with limited means. Putting Dearly Beloved up was one of the hardest things I've ever done in theatre. A lot of what I blog about here is what I love about theatre and why I love producing and creating. And Dearly Beloved showed me a whole new set of things that I love and also things I'm good at that I didn't know about. But it also showed me some things I really hate and really struggle with when it comes to producing, in a way that I didn't expect. Not just because producing a show, no matter what your budget, is more work than any sane person wants to do, but because it was mine. My name was going to be all over this thing. And not in the tangential way your name goes in a program as a character or stage manager or crew person, where if things go horribly wrong you file it under "when bad shows happen to good people". This is my company. Our company. What can this show do to our names? What will it say about the kind of theatre I value? Will people like it? Will people COME? For the week before the show I was overwhelmed with these thoughts. Opening weekend was a complete blur of trying to hold myself together, run the show, and not dissolve into a puddle of liquid anxiety.

2 years ago I sat in the Bertucci's in Kenmore Square across from Kenny and Erika. I met Kenny performing together in Holland Productions' Aloha Say the Pretty Girls and Erika I had just met. We sat and ate and talked. Or mainly I talked and ate and they asked questions and listened. I guess it was an interview of sorts...but I wasn't really sure for what. I knew Kenny had some ideas about starting a fringe company and I knew Erika helped him run the Brandeis Theatre Collective in college and was interested in being his creative partner. I really had no idea where I fit in or what they were looking for. But as always I was just happy to talk shop with people I think are interesting. About a month later we all met again and I realized that Kenny and Erika were under the impression we were all starting a theatre company together. They had a name and a company structure all laid out. And their enthusiasm was exciting.

So I went with it.

It's been an interesting two years. I have been completely in awe of how quickly we have grown; amazed at how accomplished I feel doing the work that we've done; incredibly lucky to get to wear all the hats I want and not have to paint myself only in the "actor" or "producer" or "director" box; and proud to put my name on this company next to Kenny and Erika's.

I realize now, after DB's very very successful run and only now starting to feel normal again, that my anxiety was just a manifestation of my two year investment in The CoLab. So much of myself is stamped on our mission, our productions, our outreach, that it's impossible to separate myself from the event. Of course Kenny and Erika are stamped in there too (thank god, because without them I definitely would have liquified over opening weekend...this business surely is not for the faint of heart) and we wouldn't be The CoLab if any one of us were to jump ship. But it is hard to tie so much of your emotion and energy into something that's ultimate success does not lie solely in your hands.

The run of Dearly Beloved was a huge milestone for the company. And the amount of support and turnout we received were better than I ever hoped for. But the entire process of production was monumental for me. It took everything I had and burned it. Slowly at first and then in a huge raging blaze. And now, the smoke has cleared, and I can see so much more about what the last 2 years have meant to me. And what The CoLab means to me. And how to keep up with it and keep learning and changing with it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Lesson from my Grandfather

Learning is a process that is never complete. People are always susceptible to change and that change is inevitable. My hope is just to embrace it and attack it head on, whether successful or not.

I didn’t want this blog to be anything about my thoughts on what acting or theatre should be. My novelty within the entire scene deems those thoughts comical, to me especially. Although I do not consider them insignificant I know they will probably change by the time I am finished writing this blog.

Instead, I want to use this opportunity to share a few lessons that my experiences over the past year have reawakened.

My grandfather, Papa, is ninety years old. He has lived a life that I cannot even begin to fathom. He was a fighter pilot in WWII, was shot down twice (obviously survived), earned nine Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Air Medal with twenty gold stars, and countless other medals. He was the cofounder and president of a college, he married the love of his life, has six children, twenty-four grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren, and the list of achievements goes on.

The root of his successes are the relationships he has been able to build throughout his life. He has performed countless acts of generosity that he will never admit to. He treats everyone he meets with the same kindness and genuine interest. One of my earliest memories is going to Papa’s office and into the back door of one of the college kitchens. He would greet everyone from head chef to dishwasher by name and ask them about specific members of their families (unbeknownst to me he also had a habit of giving spontaneous bonuses to these same employees).

He had a tight knit group of over twelve very close friends. He and my grandmother, Nana, are the only surviving members. Sometimes it is hard to understand why these things happen but I think in this case I can offer an explanation. Throughout his life, and to this day, he has attacked every day with incredible zeal. He has managed to discover the perfect recipe for easy-going ambition. He breathes life and lives without regret. One of his favorite quotes, and one that he uses whether making good time to dinner or sinking a ten foot putt, is “Plan your work, work your plan”. While easy to say, this quote is not as easy to put into practice, though he would make it seem otherwise. When things work out for me and more often when they do not, I think of this quote.

It’s easy to lose track of things when going through the day-to-day grind. Having to meet new people on a weekly basis through my newfound theatre adventures has shown me once again that the smallest action or inaction, whether good or bad, affects someone else. Someone is always watching and listening. Understanding that people will be affected by words and deeds is crucial. It is not always possible to understand it completely but just thinking about it feels like a step in the right direction. It seems whenever I have been in an uncomfortable situation, or a situation that involves choosing words carefully, I try thinking to myself “what would Papa do”. This thought has helped me more than I know and I wish it would always come to mind.

In theatre it has become shockingly clear to me that it is essential to become comfortable with those around you. It is not easy. Embracing awkward moments and taking a risk, with the possibility of making that moment more awkward, is something for which I can thank Papa. He is the king when it comes to interrupting uncomfortable silences. Although I can’t pull off some of his jokes yet (server at a restaurant comes to the table and asks if he wants any dessert, he nods to Nana saying “I have my dessert right here”), it is a continuous learning process which I am currently enjoying.

Getting involved in so many new projects all at once (classes, plays, and other shows) has made me understand the importance of these lessons. “WWPD” finds itself in many aspects of my life and it has become even more apparent over the past year. I am so thankful for it. My point, if there is one, is not to try to influence anyone else but to express how grateful I am that these ideas have once again come to light.

Even if the only thing that is taken from this blog is that Patrick has an unnecessarily large family, I hope this can at least add another ingredient to the pot. For me, right now, I don’t know what kind of a product or result will come of these experiences and thoughts. Right now, I’m happy just enjoying the process.

**This post was written by Patrick Poulin who you can see as Julius in Dearly Beloved opening Friday September 9 running through September 17. Tickets: $11.50 online presale, $13.00 cash only at the door. www.brownpapertickets.com

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hearing yourself think

I am now of the opinion that everyone should experience having their own words read out loud in front of them. Even for a minute, just so they literally can hear themselves think for the first time. It doesn’t have to be with actors on a stage or in front of a camera. Even if you have to pay someone 15 bucks to read something you scribbled on a Dunkin Donuts napkin to random patrons until the manager bans you from Dunkin Donuts for life. And lets face it, that’d be a double blessing because you could probably stand to lose a few pounds.

OK, maybe you don’t, but I should probably lose more than a few.

My point is, that nothing helps you understand your own thought process and its place in the world more than listening to and observing how someone else interprets and interacts with what you’ve created. It gives you remarkable and startling insight into how the world perceives what you say and do. It’s the artistic equivalent of hearing your voice on an answering machine for the first time. Your voice sounds almost foreign to you even though it’s using the same words you did when you left the message and then you’re struck by the fact that this is how the world hears you.

When someone reads what you’ve written out loud for the first time, often, jokes that you thought were obvious were missed; subtext you thought was clear turns out to be muddied; and elements of characterization you thought were unnecessary turn out to be vital. It’s these moments of miscommunication between artists that make it obvious how much collaboration is an intrinsic part of theatre. This collaboration creates a desire to make your intentions clearer for the sake of your collaborators and the work drives you back to your pen, keyboard or hammer and chisel to begin refining your work. Because, thankfully, unlike your voice on an answering machine, you can work to make what you write more like what you heard in your head.

I’d like to thank The CoLab for taking their time with Dearly Beloved and allowing me to hear my words out loud with a plethora of different voices and as many times as was practical. The script would not have been as close to what I imagined without this opportunity.

** This post was written by Brendan Doris-Piece, author of Dearly Beloved premiering at Unity Somerville TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY!

Dearly Beloved
by: Brendan Doris Pierce
Directed by: Erika Geller

Alyce Householter
Patrick Poulin
Tony Rios

September 9, 10, 16, & 17
TICKETS HERE: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/190125

Monday, August 22, 2011

An Autobiography Of A Newbie Director

Preface. Dearly Beloved, A Brief History: We received this play in its original form in early 2010. Scene Two was included in play. Discovery in July 2010. It was workshopped at an closed reading in January 2011 and given a script-in-hand staging in April 2011. Two directors, three casts, and several drafts later, we went into casting for the world premiere staging in July 2011.

Chapter One. Pre-Production: We've been talking about and workshopping this play for so long that I can't remember a time when June, Julius, and Morrie weren't on my mind. For a long time, the idea of producing the show went hand-in-hand with where we were headed as a company. It was most realized goal we'd had for a long time and a definite jumping off point for us. We started interviewing for directors, and we spoke with some really interesting and qualified candidates, but the more we spoke with people, the more we realized we weren't quite ready to put our baby into someone else's hands. We had spent so much time on the play to the this point, it made the most sense to put the show in the hands of one of the Artistic Directors. Since I had been the play's editor for the workshopping process, we decided that I was the most prepared to direct the show. So off we went.

Chapter Two. Auditions: I don't think I'm a nervous person by default. There are definitely situations where I become a Nervous Nancy, but my general disposition is that of jittery excitement. And so with all of that jittery excitement in tow, I walked into the audition room for Dearly Beloved and started on a new journey. They say you learn the most about auditioning once you sit on the "other side of the table." This is a true statement. But what's an even truer statement is that no matter how nervous you are about walking into the audition room, there's a good chance the auditors are even more nervous that you are. Why? Because they need the right people to walk into the room. And I only needed three actors. I can't even imagine what it's like to cast more people. (Another lesson learned -- putting actors together into organized and productive groups for callbacks is no small feat. Holy mother.)

So we headed into callbacks. I felt better about it, but I was still nervous about "seeing it." Seeing my cast together and feeling, "there it is." But, what they say (I don't know who they are but they certainly have a number of words of wisdom running through this blog post.) is true - when you know, you know. The callback process was not without drama or stress. But eventually, when I saw three names on paper, I knew I had my final June, Julius, and Morrie and that was a fantastic feeling.

Chapter Three. Rehearsals: I'm new at this. I've never directed a show of this length before in a professional setting. As I've mentioned, I was jittery, but it was a good kind of jitter. From the first read, I knew three things: 1. Alyce, Patrick, and Tony are the right trio. 2. This is going to be a lot of work. 3. It is going to be worth it. I have a plan, but I've definitely learned that flexibility is a valuable quality. I don't always have all the answers. In many ways, I know this script backwards and forwards. However, at least once a rehearsal, one of the actors poses a question or makes an observation that I hadn't thought of before (or at least in that particular way) and it reminds me why we call it a rehearsal process. At the end of the day, it is, in fact all process. And I'll confess a little something about my process, sometimes I make it up as I go along. When you realize your first technique is failing miserably, you have to change it up. And thankfully I've got three actors full of imagination, humility, and the desire to try. (Everything from slow dancing to tag to magic lessons - thanks, guys!) And I've come to the realization that "they" were right again. If you cast the right people, half of your job is done for you. We've got 17 days until we open the show and while we've still got a lot of work ahead of us, we're on the right track, and I know this is a show I'm going to be extremely proud of.

Stay tuned for Chapter Four - and we hope you'll join us for the final chapter - PRODUCTION. Catch my directorial debut and the WORLD PREMIERE of Dearly Beloved, September 9, 10, 16, and 17 at Unity Somerville. Featuring: Alyce Householter, Patrick Poulin, and Tony Rios.

--> You can purchase tickets HERE. <--

See you at the show! (I'll be the one grinning ear to ear!)
- EG

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Business of Working With Friends - And Other Tales

In Spring 2009, my friend Kenny approached me about starting a theatre company. In August 2009, we asked Kenny's former co-star to join us. In the last two years, that co-star, Mary-Liz, gained the title of "friend" and we all officially (read: legally! eep!) became "business partners." And there it was - Kenny and I were in business through friendship and Mary-Liz and I were friends through business. And for the most part, that works well. From time to time we have our squabbles - like any relationship built-to-last, we don't agree on everything. But at our roots, we share the same goals, ideals, and a set of vocabulary we use to communicate with each other. The language creates a set of boundaries and a set of rules for our world. A world where we sometimes say, "I'm taking off my friend hat for the remainder of this staff meeting and I need you to listen to me as my business partner." And that works for us. But, as we expand our horizons and bring more people into the fold, I've started to wonder how we communicate our rules and boundaries to newcomers.

It's easiest when we start by bringing someone in on a professional level because we can neatly say, "Here are our expectations, if you don't think you can meet these, let's renegotiate." Fine. Done. It either works out or it doesn't. But then you start to work with people on a more regular basis and they enter the "friend sphere." So a new set of rules are created - a set where you can ask both more and less of a person because they've "crossed over." But this can still lead to awkward situations because ultimately we have to do what's best for The CoLab as a unit. (In a way, this is simpler because these people knew you first as professionals and hopefully have come to understand that it's not a personal matter, but a professional one... but I digress.)

And then you have the friends who start to work with you within your business title. For me, this is really where things get murky. No matter how hard you try to uphold them, the boundaries and rules get jumbled and confused. Why? Why? WHY?! This is a question I've asking myself for the last six months, one that's particularly started to bother me as we invite people to come out for casting. I like to think that everyone we invite is a professional as well and they understand that an invitation is only invitation and not a guarantee of anything. But if that's true, why do I still get that funny (emotionally gray) twinge in my stomach when I send out a rejection email to an invited auditioner? We try to say - "We invited you because we've enjoyed working with you before and we want to work with you again. I'm sorry it won't work out this time around but please keep us in mind for the future." And it's true - but it still feels odd somehow.

And if you thought that was bad, things get even more confusing as we begin to creep into other fields: directors, techies, playwrights, volunteers, etc. When you're casting a play, the words on the page help you decide what the right move is. The final decision (the final boundary or ruling) boils down to: is this person the right actor for the part? When we move out of the audition room into areas of production, the rules are created as we go and with so many balls in the air, it's often hard to set a standard for everyone to follow ALL OF THE TIME. Now don't get me wrong, I've been around this business long enough to know that it is, in fact, A BUSINESS. I'm not saying that I'm scared of making decisions based on friendships. (Because I'm not.) But it's no wonder that companies go under with this sort of push-and-pull pressure that's on them. And at 24, there's all sorts of other pressures on me besides my new title of Massachusetts Small Business Owner. Basically, what I'm saying (and you might have guessed it) my brain in on overdrive 24/7.

I don't know that there's a clear cut answer to my questions or if I'm really looking for one. The past year has been a crazy-steep learning curve and I anticipate the next year to be an even steeper one. I've learned so much but the deeper we delve into this world, the more I realize that problems I've never considered before will pop up left and right for the next several years. And that's okay, but it gets me thinking because I got into the business due to my passion, my sense of discovery, and the bonds I forged making theatre. I want to make theatre in this professional Boston scene and I want this for a career. Clearly I don't do it for the money or the fame (ha!). I do it for me. Because I love it. And part of that love is the friendships that cross through this professional life. And no matter how I emerge from this experience, as a Boston fringe company slowly staggering to its feet, I want to keep as many professional and personal relationships in tact as possible. This is an exciting time for me, but there's also a lot of heavy thought going on. So, internet friends, I unburden a little of that thought onto you for the time being. Phew. (And sorry for all of the run ons!)

As always, thanks for reading.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why Alyce Does It

Why I Do It. (Theatre I Mean.)

I never wanted to be famous or have the paparazzi follow me. I never wanted to be the new face of Revlon or have my hand prints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. I just knew I wanted to act, but why?

The reasons for it changed throughout the course of my young life. First, it was because I wanted to express myself and seek the attention that I thought I rightfully deserved as a child. Then, it was to become someone else and escape the dreaded problems that were my teen years. Finally, when I attended college as an acting major, I began to realize that there was more to it than that. At this moment in my life, I have come to believe there are two solid reasons that I am drawn to work in the theatre.

*Reason 1: The Cathartic Experience that I have while acting has truly guided me through the struggles of my life.

When was in college, I was cast in a production of Samuel Beckett one acts. My one act was called “Rockaby”, which consisted of an old woman who spent 20 minutes in a rocking chair, just rocking back and forth, listening to a recording of her own voice, before she finally dies. At the beginning of the rehearsal process, I struggled to find those emotions and feelings that a person would go through before the end of their life. But suddenly, I received a phone call from my mother telling me that my father was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Because of my father’s already poor health, we feared that he may not make it through the surgeries and chemo. I couldn’t comprehend losing my father, and due to college and rehearsals for my show, I wouldn’t be able to attend any of his procedures. The guilt, fear, and utter sadness was very overwhelming and the only thing I had to get me through that very difficult time was dying in a chair every night. Without that show, I never would have been able to get through not being able to be there for my father. That role was meant for me at that moment in time. The universe gave me the perfect role to deal with my father’s illness, but also, gave me those struggles to be able to portray one of the most truthful characters I have ever played. I know this because my father surprised me on closing night and sobbed like a child watching his daughter go through the same fears and uncertainties that he faced in the hospital only hours before. Now, my father is cancer free and any time we discuss the play he always says, “How did you possibly know the feelings and thoughts that I had during treatment? But you did because I saw it in that play.”

*Reason 2: Theatre creates “oneness” that sparks an awareness of the world outside of ourselves.

Besides being an acting major, I was a Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution minor. I began a chapter of STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition at BSU, and I knew that I wanted to tie those 2 passions together in some way. So senior year, I produced/directed a play called In Darfur. The play focused on the genocide in the Sudan and all my actors struggled to relate to humans suffering through such an unbelievable crisis. However, by the time the production was ready to open, the actors had all found what they needed to portray their characters truthfully and with great honesty. The key for them was discovering more than their own self-worth, but the awareness of only their essence and connecting that essence with others. Stepping outside ourselves, with only our essence makes all characters and stories tangible.

Upon writing this blog, I found this video of Thandie Newton discussing this idea of “oneness”, much more clearly and eloquently than I. I believe her insight is inspiring to all people, not just performers. And these ideas of catharsis and oneness are the reasons I need to be routed in theatre. They are the reasons that I battle through the grueling audition processes and rejections. Because if I don’t, I fear that I will only get lost in myself and miss the connection to the people and world around me.

This post was written by Alyce Householter. See Alyce as June in our upcoming Dearly Beloved running at Unity Somerville, September 9, 10, 16, and 17. For tickets visit www.brownpapertickets.com

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tony Rios on training, ideals, and community

Hi. I have not posted to a blog before, so this is very exciting.

When Erika told us in rehearsal we would have a chance to post, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. It’s about an ideal theater training center I have; I like talking about ideal situations because you should always be working down from there if you can’t get your ideal situation, not the opposite. Before we go into that however, I’d like to share a definition of community: “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.” Well, theater communities everywhere have common cultural heritage to some extent, reside near each other, but don’t share much besides the stage and some drinks. That’s where the idea for this center came.

The center would be a place for the whole theater community to convene and train. It would be at a large space obviously, with “ideally” multiple studio rooms for actors, directors, and playwrights to book at no additional cost (there would be a small monthly fee for members just to pay rent and facilities). In the studios, artists could have workshops, staged readings, weekly classes, and if space is open, rehearsals.

Going with the idea that the center would be owned by the community all of the classes would be instructed by community members. I spoke, with my friend, of a Suzuki Method class in which there wasn’t one instructor, but the whole group were instructors for each other. We thought it would redefine the idea of ensemble building in Suzuki. A group would get together, stomp and run around a bit, and express positives and things that need work about each other’s training. The same could be true about Viewpoints; a group of actors can work in a grid until they decide they are done and talk afterwards. All together, it’s about having each others backs and trying to make the person next to you better as well as yourself.

Directors and actors can work together on scene showings, playwrights can have staged readings, actors can practice monologues, future instructors can take the reigns of a class for a day, designers can show their designs, the possibilities are endless if there was a space for the whole community.

The “ideal” once again, is just a place where theater artists can get together and train. I know for myself I can’t afford classes at a studio, or with a great instructor. The funds just aren’t there. This is a way for almost everyone to have access to training. This would be a way to create the tightest knit theater community in the country. But, like I’ve said ten million times by now to myself, it’s just an ideal. Where can we go from here?

This post was written by Tony Rios. See him as Morrie in our upcoming world-premiere Dearly Beloved by Brendan Doris-Pierce. Tickets and information at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/190125.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Confessions of a Multi-Tasker

So currently I'm working as production manager/ producer on two different and simultaneous projects. As well as holding down my day job at Tufts (where the back to school vibe started today...it's amazing how summer is over on August 1 like clock-work) and trying to keep some semblance of order and balance in the rest of my life (hahahahaha). Lucky for me, I am a born Multi-Tasker. I don't take the title lightly. And I enjoy doing the work I'm doing. But, if you know me (or another person who seems to handle juggling lots of projects/responsibilities at once with complete ease and even enjoyment) here are some things you should know.

Confession #1: It makes me secretly gleeful to feel more capable and productive than most people.

Confession #2: The level of anxiety created by the malfunctioning of my smartphone is seriously unhealthy.

Confession #3: I think "Getting Shit Done and Taking Names" should be officially added to all of my job titles

Confession #4: I actually prefer to get more than 4 hours of sleep. But I'm not supposed to tell anyone that.

Confession #5: Trying not to flaunt my multi-task abilities in an effort to make other people feel productive and useful is difficult.

Confession #6: Incompetence drives me insane and it is all I can do to remain calm when presented with raging mistakes, blatant tardiness, or flakes in general.

Confession #7: I realize that most of these things make me sound like a heinous bitch of an individual, but all I want is for people like me and to think I'm good at what I do...so I generally try to keep heinous bitchism to a minimum.

Confession #8: Asking for help makes me feel like I'm failing but being offered help is one of the most amazing things that can happen to me (even if I say I don't need help). Yes this is a flaw in the system. ** Related tip: the phrase "Thank you." goes an extremely long way.

Confession #9: There are times where I consider running away to join a minimalist colony in BoraBora leaving the rest of the world to their own devices.

Confession #10: I'm happy to take on more projects than a sane person should since it makes me feel like I have a place in the world and am lucky to get to do what I love every single day. Even when I want to throw things.

Stay tuned for more updates on my sanity level. And for the two projects I'm currently working on, our first production (!!!) Dearly Beloved by Brendan Doris-Pierce and Family Dinner a short film.

xo ML

Monday, July 25, 2011

This Could Really Be A Good Life

Ever get that feeling of excitement in your chest when you hear a certain song? It's this flutter. You feel like you can get up and save the world or run for miles or fall in love. "I've Just Seen a Face" by The Beatles does that to me. When it plays on our work soundtrack at the restaurant I usually forget what I'm doing and hum to myself for the next two minutes distractedly. But, I digress. Driving home from today's impromptu lunch with Mary-Liz, "Good Life" by OneRepublic came on the radio.

And maybe it was the thoughts of auditions on my mind but all I could think of was the forward momentum we have right now as a small group of theatre professionals. And with this in my mind, I got that excited flutter. My heart started pumping and I had one of those, "Oh yes" moments. There are times when I wonder if all the work we've put in so far will be worth it. Will it pay off in the end? Will we succeed? And then I remember our mission statement, "We focus on the process, not the product." Every day is a learning experience and every learning experience reminds me, this is the good life. Not the easy life, not the stable life, or even the forecastable life BUT THE GOOD LIFE. The life I want right here and right now - the life I'm putting together with people who share my goals and ideals.
I learned so much from play. Discovery this summer and I'm excited to put those lessons to use for Dearly Beloved. (You know, so I can make new mistakes and have new panic attacks. Ha. But seriously...) First lesson: list making will get you far. You can't plan for the half the things that are going to happen and a list will keep you on top of all of it. Second lesson: PLAN THE STUFF YOU CAN PLAN FOR. We've been working for so long under the umbrella KEML that it didn't occur to me how tough it would be to plan out schedules and problem shoot for 13 different people. Holy guacamole. (PS - Thanks, everyone, for being so patient and fabulous.) Third lesson: You can plug two sets of work lights into a heavy duty power strip, but the third set is just going to blow the whole thing.

In all seriousness though, after the overwhelming support we received during both our Kickstarter campaign and play. this summer, I have a new breath of confidence as we head into this new process. Our first full length production. I'll be blogging the whole way through (for serious this time, kiddos.) and you'll get to hear from some the other people involved with the process as well. It's going to be a wild ride, but in the end, I think this could really be a good life. :)

Oh, and you didn't think I wouldn't share this now, did you?!


Dearly Beloved By Brendan Doris-Pierce, Directed by Erika Geller premieres September 9-17, 2011, at Unity Church of God in Davis Square. In the mood to audition? We have a limited number of spots left for tomorrow (Tuesday). Click here!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Meet Daniel Bourque

No he's not related to the famous Bruin, but director of Jick and Dane and Love, Dan is definitely making his own mark on Boston.

Daniel Bourque is enormously pleased to be directing for the CoLab Theatre. He most recently directed for the F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company in their One-Act Festival and served as Associate Director on the OperaHub production of The Four Note Opera. His extensive area directing credits include work with the Footlight Club, Another Country Productions and Company One (SlamBoston Series) The Atlantis Playmakers, Turtle Lane Playhouse, Whistler in the Dark, in the Boston Theatre Marathon, for Playwright's Platform and many more. Regional credits include work with Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany NY where he spent two years as Assistant to the Artistic Director/Literary Intern, Stageworks in Hudson NY with the Summerstage Program and as an Assistant Director at the Westport Country Playhouse. A member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, he is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine and a Maine native

See Dan's work on Jick and Dane and Love by MJ Halberstadt as part of play.Discovery July 13 & July 15 @ 8pm, Unity Somverville, 6 William St. Somerville MA. All tickets $5 cash at the door. Reservations are still available for Friday's performance by emailing colabtheatre@gmail.com.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meet Tony Rios

Meet everyone's favorite dinosaur enthusiast and returning "play."er Tony Rios!

Tony (Dane at 9, Jick and Dane and Love) is a recent graduate of Brandeis University majoring in Theater and History. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with CoLab again, they're great folks. Previous theater credits include (directing:) Big Love, No Exit, and The Lonesome West. Previous acting credits include Three Sisters, Love's Labour's Lost, The Game of Love and Chance, Cloud 9, Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, Measure for Measure, The Einstein Project, among many others. He's looking forward to working his butt off in the Boston area. Big thanks to this talented crew of people.

See Tony in Jick and Dane and Love and as part of the ensemble in play. Discovery July 13 & 15 @ 8pm, Unity Church of God 6 William St. Somerville MA all tickets $5 minimum donation, cash only at the door.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meet Rob Orzalli

Meet recent grad and new play-mate Rob Orzalli!

Rob (Van, Pendulum) is a recent graduate of Brandeis University and is so excited to be involved in this production! He did a number of shows at Brandeis including Rent (Collins) and Story of My Life (Thomas) as some of his favorites. Now, he is exploring the big world outside of college and this show is a great transition.

See Rob in Pendulum and as part of the ensemble in play. Discovery July 13 & 15 @ 8pm, Unity Church of God 6 William St. Somerville MA all tickets $5 minimum donation, cash only at the door.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Meet Kim Klasner

Here's the hysterically funny Kim Klasner!

(Louise, The Moustache) A graduate of University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Kim is absolutely thrilled and excited to be making her CoLab Theater debut in play. Discovery. Some of her past performances include the Boston Actors Theater’s SLAMBoston, the Continuity Theater and Dance Company’s Savage/Love, and the Actors Refuge Repertory Theater & New African Theater’s The Vagina Monologues. When Kim is not working in the wonderful world of publishing, she enjoys dancing (poorly), knitting (projects she will never finish), listing out her life (top interests: charades and documentaries, top fears: sink holes and giant squids) and daydreaming about what it would be like to be Beyonce (of course, amazing, duh). If you ever see her around, don’t be afraid to say hello!

See Kim in The Moustache and as part of the ensemble in play. Discovery, July 13 & 15 @ 8pm. Unity Church of God, 6 William St. Somerville MA. Tickets $5 minimum donation, cash only at the door.