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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Introducing Patrick Poulin

Meet funny man, man's man, man about town Patrick Poulin!

Patrick is proud to say he is from West Roxbury, MA. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire and majored in nothing related to theatre. He has performed throughout his life as an actor in real-life situations such as: the time he wanted to make it seem like he felt bad about taking the last slice of pizza, acting like he was happy for the other team that beat his in the little league baseball championship, and pretending he knows more about current professional sports than he really does. Patrick so excited to be a part of the cast of play.Discovery, especially considering he went into the audition thinking the CoLab was where he had an appointment to get blood-work done.

See Patrick as Dane at 18 (Jick and Dane and Love), Jake (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 Cash at the door.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meet Director - Meron Langsner

Meron Langsner (Director – Pendulum) successfully defended his dissertation this past May and will be receiving his PhD in Theatre History from Tufts University in August. Previous directing credits include No Exit at Tufts, Tonya & Nancy: The Opera at the Zero Arrow Theatre, and various selections from Susan-Lori Parks 365 Days/365 Plays project. Meron was one of three writers in the country selected for the National New Play Network Emerging Playwright Residencies, his work has been performed around the country and overseas and published by Smith & Kraus, Applause, YouthPLAYS, and others. As a fight director, he has composed violence for Merrimack Rep, New Rep, Lyric Stage, Company One, Zeitgeist Stage, Whistler in the Dark, and numerous academic venues. Meron holds an MA in Performance Studies from NYU/Tisch and an MFA in Playwriting from Brandeis.

See Pendulum (by Cassie M. Seinuk) as part of play. Discovery July 13 & 15, 2011 @ 8pm. Unity Church of God, 6 William St. Somerville MA. All tickets $5 cash at the door.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Meet The Moustache's, Rachel Kurnos!

Rachel Kurnos (Mary, The Moustache & Ensemble) is an actress, director, photographer, theater educator, preschool teacher, and singer. Basically, she's too many things to fit onto a business card. Summed up: Rachel is a teacher by day, actress by night. And she is excited to make her CoLab debut! Recent credits include: Sis in WASP (HMT), Third Witch in Macbeth (Gurnet Theater Project), Nurse in Alice in Bed (Do it Live! Productions), and Jess inHer Dying Wish (SLAMBoston/Holland Productions). College credits include: Isabella (Measure for Measure), Erica (subUrbia), Sophia (Fools), Alice (Squabbles), and Lillian (I Hate Hamlet).

See Rachel as part of the play. Discovery ensemble and in Boris Babakov's The Moustache July 13 & 15 @ 8pm. Unity Church of God, Davis Square. $5 Cash at the door.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Aspiring meets Inspiring

*This post was written by Guest Blogger and play. Discovery (Jick and Dane and Love) playwright MJ Halberstadt*

One time on Arlington Street, I fell in love with a bench. Its slender and curvy frame was carved carefully out of a beautiful and light-colored wood. The back of the bench wound itself in a letter ‘s’ suspended above the seats, forcing two sitters to be faced away from one another. The model was labeled ‘Alienation Bench’ and was displayed prominently in the window of Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers.

This was not a rare outburst of objectophilia, it was the common occurrence of inspiration which will make anyone who knows me roll their eyes. The most seemingly random every-day things inspire me to jot a note in a pocket-sized book that prompts a play later on. Usually the play has nothing to do with the source material and in the case of the alienation bench, the play (His Husband and Her Wife) ended up being about two people whose outlooks on life mimic the position of sitters on said bench: failing to engage in friendship despite being in very similar places and looking for relief from outside.

My antennas for inspiring gems became alarmingly sensitive during my 365 Plays in 365 Days project, itself a product of having been inspired by Suzan-Lori Parks similar exercise. This is where Jick and Dane and Love comes from, which I wrote shortly after listening to Meg Wolitzer’s story “First Love, Long Island” on the Moth Podcast. Wolitzer speaks of her own evolving idea of intimate relations as she matured, a similar journey Jick experiences during the play, antagonized by her friend Dane’s alternate idea of ‘maturity’. If you’re interested, Sufjan Stevens’ song “The Owl and the Tanager” came up on iTunes DJ partway through my writing the final scene, and I credit it as being like a cold shower after dirty thoughts.

There really is no way to pin down what strikes one’s fancy, and I’d love to be able to shut it off so I could sleep rather than feel obliged to write after such mundane experiences as staring at someone’s shoes in a waiting room or burning rice or being served by a disgruntled employee at Panera. I suppose it is equal parts curse and blessing and sometimes pays off in funny ways. For example, Joseph Stollenwerk, a salesman from Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers, loved the play about the bench.

*** MJ Halberstadt is Playwright-in-Residence at FV Productions and working towards his MFA in Playwriting at Boston University. He graduated Emerson College in 2010 (BA Theatre Education) where he produced his plays Asymmetry and Lethologica (EVVY Award) and served as Historian for RareWorks Theatre Company. As Literary Intern for Holland Productions and Artistic Director of The Bantamweight Plays(RareWorks Theatre) and 24/24 (Umbrella Theatre Company), he has helped produce and select for several new play series. Jick and Dane and Love comes from Halberstadt's 365 Plays in 365 Days project which contains plays that have been developed, produced and read by STAB, Happy Medium Theatre, Emerson College, Umbrella Theatre Company and Camp Stanley, among others. Many thanks to the production team, CoLab Theatre, Brian and Nicholas.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Controversy In Boston!

As ya'll may or may not have heard, The StageSource ice recently received an anonymous letter with a list of grievances regarding the casting process and difficulties of being a Boston actor. The excerpts posted by StageSource are worth reading, and many people have commented, but I have additional thoughts:

I read this letter wearing two hats. Responsible, thoughtful analytical Kenny. And "z0mg what a whiny little..." Kenny. We shall start with the first hat.

So many of us are freelancers, and I think we all have at least a little sympathy for the frustrations of moving up the ladder in a competitive market. I know plenty of actors (and directors, playwrights, etc.) who have expressed frustration with the predictability of some companies and their casting choices. Sometimes these gripes are valid and sometimes they are not. Casting directors and producers are sometimes scared to take risks, and play it safe. As a small theatre producer and director myself, I assure you, that we're scared shitless when it comes to casting. It takes balls to take a risk on new or unfamiliar faces, though I do agree that the risk is well worth it.

However, I do not believe this is unique to Boston. I know there will be a few people who feel this way, but it's so easy to believe that one's feelings are universal. I would be interested to see a legitimate study done on this topic. TCG does these surveys on a national level all the time. Before we go making large, broad accusations, maybe we should try collecting some data and getting that ball rolling. Hell, the writer of this letter did just that, though I'm not sure they expected to be published. I for one commend StageSource for making such a big deal about this, because yeah, it is a really important question to discuss. And to those who immediately go off about "Nothing will change"...

Grow up. This is a self defeating attitude and there's nothing I find more frustrating than the whiners who do nothing.

(Excuse me while I put on the second different hat.)

I've always been a late bloomer. When I started out as a freelancer in Boston three years ago, I was sleeping on couches, surviving off expired food and going to every audition I could go to. I had no name, I had no resume outside of college and I certainly had no confidence. I did a few shows my first year, some of which I enjoyed, and some of which I had some gripes with. Rarely, did I ever feel disrespected or treated like cattle, which is something that does happen in some of the larger markets. But I, too, became frustrated with some aspects of the Boston theatre status quo However, as loudmouthed as I am, I did one thing very different.

I did something about it. My main gripes about theatre, as many people know, are 1) lack of paid work at the fringe level and 2) the lack of focus on solid, improvisational and liberated acting in favor if overly polished, excessively rehearsed mechanical acting. But I digress. What's really important is that I did something about it. I self produce, I network the hell out, and I publicly own up to all my crazy thoughts. I have confidence in my logic, passion and righteousness and that is why I put my name on things. This goes for all things in life, whether it be art or politics or love or what have you.

I'll go off topic for a moment and recall the 2004 presidential elections. I remember being a young lad in college, sighing with disappointment at the apparent reelection of Grover Cleveland, the dasterdly yankee president who put down the Whiskey Rebellion (look it up) and I wondered what would happen to this nation. How could we have lost? And then I remember the chorus of whiners: "I'm moving to Canada" and "Americans are so stupid, I can't believe we elected Cleveland on two nonconsecutive occasions" types. The whiners. The people who bitch and moan from afar, but whose idea of "political activism" meant wearing a hat covered in political slogans and preaching to the choir in the student campus center, enjoying their care packages shipped overnight on their mommy's credit card...

Woah... Sorry. I got off topic there... So my point is, there's a mature way to go about things. And there's the one that makes you feel good, but ultimately does nothing to solve the problem.

Grow up and do something. Self produce. Organize. Stir up controversy. Be like Ian Thal or Thomas Garvey, and HAVE SOME BALLS! Nevermind what you think about their opinions, these dudes are heard and people take them seriously. Say what you think, be bold and take that risk because chances are, people are out there who agree with you and will stand with you. They're just waiting for someone to speak up.

Hmm... I didn't swear as much as I thought I would...

And finally, I'm going to take off my hat and tip it to StageSource. You guys were attacked for no reason. It is not your job to tell theatres how to run their businesses. You did your job beautifully by engaging the community in a constructive manner in the face of adolescent tantrum tossing. I would've been tempted to just take that letter and either 1) throw it out or 2) show it to the office, laugh and throw it out or 3) post it on the blog edited with MS paint. Which, of course, is totally immature...

But seriously. Alot of people are talking. I'm not the first, and I know I won't be the last. The CoLab strives to break the chains of safety casting, and I know there's many other young producers and directors out there who will take heed and think seriously about the real underlying issues at hand here.



Kenny Steven Fuentes
Founding Artistic Director
The CoLab Theatre Company

You know how to find me.

We believe in the how, not the what. The process, not the product!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Headshot Dilemma

I enjoy doing things on a whim. It's who I am, and it's probably why I'm in this profession. Except in my line of work, I call whims instinct. But that's another story for another time. The point is, I walked into my hair appointment today and I said to my hairdresser, "Get rid of it." I could blame Dianna Agron and the Glee season finale. If her short hair didn't look so damn cute I might not have cut it. But I did.

And I like it. A lot.

But I have an audition tonight. And I look completely different from my headshots. Now, I've been needing new headshots for awhile. (I won't tell you when my last set where taken but I need a new face. To print.) But in my current one, you can at least tell it's me. I keep my hair around the same length, don't wear a lot of make up, and my look hasn't changed that much since college. (Well, there's a hint...)

BUT I'm about to walk into this audition with a totally different hair cut. This obviously wasn't a big concern for me when the whim swept me, but I'm thinking about it now. And so here's my question, what's the rule with headshots? I'm not an Equity actress. Most of the time I don't get paid for my work. How often should I be replacing my headshots? I'm obviously not going to run my life around what I look in these photos, but should that have been a forethought instead of an afterthought?

I DONT KNOW. I'm asking you, loyal readers. My photos are here for your viewing pleasure. Would you recognize me post-auditions? What should I do about my next set of auditions?