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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Making a Discovery

Annoucing play. Discovery

Performing: July 13 & 15, 2011

3 to 5 male actors
3 to 5 female actors
ages 20 - 35.

Auditions will be held Thursday June 9, 2011 from 6:00 - 9:00pm

Callbacks will be held on Saturday, June 11 in the early afternoon.

Please prepare a one minute monologue and come prepared with a special trick or talent - auditions will be given in 5 minute slots.

E-mail us at colabtheatre@gmail.com for an appointment.

This year's plays:

Jick and Dane and Love
By: MJ Halberstadt
Directed by: Daniel Bourque

Jick and Dane and Love is the chronologically impossible story of two 9-year-olds growing up one at a time and too quickly for one another. When Jick is 18, she is too emotionally conservative for Dane but when Dane is 18, he is too sexually liberal for Jick. Jick and Dane and Love is the September 2 play of Halberstadt's 365 Plays in 365 Days project inspired by Suzan-Lori Parks.

By: Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by: Meron Langsner

Ada and Van, a psychiatric assistant and an elementary school English teacher, knew they were in love the moment they met, but after a traumatic event at a local mall leaves Ada in shambles, she gives her husband, Van, the permission to sleep with other women. When Van returns home from his first encounter with another woman, Ada isn't so sure she made the right choice.

The Moustache
By: Boris Babakov
Directed by: Mary-Liz Murray

Friendship, subterfuge, and the pressures of time come together in this tale about the dangers of too much orange juice in your vodka. The moral of the story is that a compact of pressed powder can solve almost any problem. Or can it?

And ...

a piece to be written and created by the ensemble cast
Directed by: Mary-Liz Murray

Friday, May 27, 2011

Shakespeare the Musical

I'm used to somehow spending my summer with Shakespeare. About this time I'm rewrapping my brain around the language and naturally thinking about the wherefores and whatfores that go into producing the Bard professionally. But this year, I will be content with blogging briefly about it.

With Shakespeare we all start in the same place -- the text. Before you pass this off as another "dedicate-yourself-to-the-text" missive I want to say that the only reason you do so is in order to dismiss it. The best performers are so immersed in the language that even when they go up on their lines they're able to improv in iambs. You have to intellectualize this incredible poetry simply to understand and live in the text. We have to relearn how to hold the words in our mouths and live in these worlds.

So you've checked your lexicon for obscurities, rocked out your scansion, and done your breath work already? Great. Now what are you feeling? Why are you saying it? I've never been more bored watching Shakespeare than when emotion was mechanical and language was completely misunderstood. They might as well be saying:

daDUM, daDUM, *sad* daDUM, daDUM, daDUM
*angry* daDUM, daDUM....

If you can't tell your coach or best friend the arch of your soliloquy, it isn't ready for the stage. What does your character realize by the end?

Now get into your body! Don't remember the words -- remember the feelings! What does your body do when it's sad, incensed, delighted?

It's the soliloquy that kills or thrills the audience. Maybe it's because I'm currently working on a musical, but I'm ready to argue that a Shakespeare monologue/soliloquy isn't much different than breaking out into song. There comes a point in musicals where words are useless, and the only effective way to communicate this heightened feeling is to sing it!

Think about Hamlet's decision not to kill his uncle in the chapel (III.iii).

Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him: and am I then revenged,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't;
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays:
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.

Now let's think about Sweeney Todd's "My Friends." (For those of you unsure of the melody here's a bit of YouTube for you to listen along. I've removed Mrs. Lovett's lines so follow closely to Todd's lines.)
These are my friends.
See how they glisten.
See this one shine...
How he smiles in the light.
My friend.
My faithful friend...
Speak to me friend.
I'll listen.
I know, I know you've been locked
out of sight
all these years, like me
My friend...
well I've come home to find you waiting.
Home, and we're together!
And we'll do wonders.
Won't we?
You there, my friend?
Come let me hold you.
with a sigh, you grow warm in my hand.
You're warm in my hand.
My friend!
My clever friend...
Rest now, my friends.
Soon, I'll unfold you.
Soon you'll know splendors
You never have dreamed
all your days
my lucky friends
'Til now your shine
was merely silver.
Friends, you shall drip rubies,
you'll soon drip precious rubies...
At last! My arm is complete again!

Both characters are thinking revenge, both have sudden changes. Both are ripe with ideas, consequences. Both are secret internal conversations. Both build! Both are the truth!

If you know Sweeney Todd I dare you to re-read Hamlet's soliloquy and NOT try singing it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Call for Actors

Hey friends and followers,

If you have a block of time free during the days next week and want to pick up a project, students at the Center for Digital Imaging Arts (shout out to our amazing Kickstarter director Casey Preston!) are working on a short narrative film and need actors. They're working with a script written specifically for the project, a crime drama, and need 2 males and 1 female 20s - 30s. Weekday availability and transportation to Waltham center is necessary. The footage will be available for actor reels.

If you're interested shoot an email to caseyapreston@gmail.com.

Happy Rapture!

- The CoLab

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Capital T

A Facebook quote recently reminded me of a Stella Adler quote:

"The word theatre comes from the Greeks. It means the seeing place. It is the place people come to see the truth about life and the social situation."

Hmm. What a novel idea. Right? Truth. We can see something fictitious and still believe it. We can see something outlandish and still believe it. But if we see something false, it's dead to us. What makes it false?

This brings me to two thoughts about Truth that are probably dissertations in themselves -- in theatre and culturally.

Say we see an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. Outlandish characters, larger than life personalities, unrealistic situations and riddles (for the most part), but we still go along with it, because we see Truth in Alice (and, ultimately, Dodgson/Carroll). We can see ourselves vicariously making critical choices throughout the performance. In a more realistic production, O'Neill or Letts for example, if there's a personality or circumstance we don't quite get, i.e. "why would anyone keep dating her," we don't have to identify with the character as much as we have to find a clue as to why they are acting this way. There must be evidence on stage -- even for a fleeting moment. It doesn't have to be said, it can be shown. It can be a bit of compassion or a slice of kleptomania, but it has to be justified. We are interesting Humans in that we need this, no?

False theatre can happen whenever character motivations are poorly portrayed -- or even overlooked. And this can be the fault of the the playwright, the director, the actor... but it will never be the fault of the audience.

My second thought on "Truth" asks a much larger question culturally. Ms. Adler's quote reminds us of the Greeks who traveled thousands of miles to see "truth about life and social situation." Here, Deus ex Machina and the Cheshire Cat aside, we see that theatre is the cultural tell-all; that drawing parallels allows us to say make statements about our own lives.

So, where does America go for truth?

I'm not trying to be a FOX, CNN, CNBC, Daily Show commercial, though you (and I) will notice the first things that came to my mind to write were news stations. Theatre is a slice of life and a form of entertainment, and is still drawing parallels as well as lines in the sand, but will it ever fully reclaim the place of Truth? Has it evolved? Has it de-evolved? Frequently, in countries other than our own, theatre is still the best way to inform people of disease, political action, and more! Does some of this have to do with literacy and language barriers? Sometimes, but never always. Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed focuses on the daily lives of citizens. Through Forum Theatre they create ideas that demonstrate the truth so that the audience can do what they wish with the information. What empowerment!

The Truth is under so much gloss today. Most of us know we're being sold to. Even comedy has evolved to such a detached level that we are making Rebecca Black #1 on iTunes. You have to be considered a conspiracy theorist (WikiLeaks included) before you can make a point about questioning the government (I bet there's a great piece of theatre in that thought -- anyone wanna work on it with me?). However, I will say, that it is becoming increasingly hard to consider a conspiracy theorist false these days.

That was a bit of a wild tangent, but I'd love to hear your thoughts. Is theatre evolving or de-evolving from its truth telling roots?

Friday, May 6, 2011

What to see this weekend

Hi everyone!

So it's been a few weeks since my last post, tsk tsk tsk. But can you blame me? It's been a whirlwind of things going on! I had a really quick and dirty run of a show at the Factory, helped launch our Script-in-hand-Staging of Dearly Beloved, have been reading and reviewing our many play submissions for play. Discovery, scheduling interviews for potential directors, and last but not least getting our super-duper Kickstarter campaign up and running. It's been tough to make time to sit down and get thoughts to page. I have managed to squeeze in a little bit of theatre going, though and here are some things I'm seeing this weekend (or would like to see this weekend) so I encourage you to do the same!

Blood Rose Rising: Episode 3
- Performs tonight only at 9pm - Zero Church Street, Cambridge, MA (First Parish Church, lower level), I saw episode 2 last week and was really wowed by the concept. It's a workshop performace intended to gain some investors for a fully realized production, but I had more fun watching this show than I have in a while. Check it out, it's a really neat idea and definitely gave me some food for thought about the future of the audience experience.

Book of Grace - Company One - Through 5/7/11 at the BCA Plaza Theatre. I haven't seen this one, but the critics love it, and I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the C1 clan. Tix at www.bostontheatrescene.com

True West - RoughWeek - An all female cast takes on Shepard's classic brother dramedy in their apartment, with wine to boot. You couldn't keep me away with a sharp stick. Sataurday and Sunday at 8pm

Hotel Cassiopeia - Fort Point Theatre Channel - The earnest and off-the-beaten-path company takes on the surreal and whimsical Charles Mee. A natural fit. I'll be ushering next weekend (I think...) but it's opening weekend so head on down to Fort Point and check out their new space and what promises to be an interesting night of theatre.

{Working Title} Film Festival - presented by local spoken-word group ARTiculation (a group originally cultivated by Company One) and sponsored by The Video Underground. A night of short films by young and local film makers with a $5.00 cover. Check it out TONIGHT ONLY at
The Yes. Oui. Si gallery space on 19 Vancouver St Boston, MA.

Hopefully I can catch up on my blogging in the next couple of weeks with some more substantial postings, but for now GO SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL THEATRES. And if you haven't already, throw a few dollars our way to help us reach our Dearly Beloved production budget of $1500 through Kickstarter.

Happy Friday,