November 26, 2007

Hand in Pocket

Ah - live theatre...

This performance report was forwarded from a local college theatre production:

Note from recent stage manager's report:

2.) A crew member got both hands stuck in his jacket pockets 15 minutes prior to curtain. Stage management was able to quickly help him free his hands. He was able to perform his crew duties without a problem.

When asked if this was a joke, the Stage Manager's response was:

"Sadly no, it really happened. It was our light board op too so he really needed his hand

November 19, 2007

Betting on Brendan

True story. I had a phone message this morning. The caller had a bet going - she and her companion had seen Brendan and they disagreed about what that textured brown wall upstage was meant to represent.

I've seen it called a cobblestone road in a couple of reviews. She thought it was dirt, her companion thought it represented Brendan's brain. Yep, that's right, his brain. It was where Brendan's Mom came from, after all. A dinner at B&G Oysters was on the line. I was charged with settling the debt.

The designer prints labeled it "Dirt" wall. I think it was meant to be a visual representation of the Brendan's homeland, the old sod, so to speak. A brain though? Maybe - and why not...

I've always been amazed how differently people can interpret the same thing. What did you think it represented? Who won the bet? And should I get a dinner at B&G too?

November 17, 2007


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Streamers - Video Clips

One more video for you. This one compiles some of the others and includes new performance clips.

The reviews have now hit - take a look in the sidebar (Recent Theatre News) to see what the media and blogs are saying. You can also click to read the Variety and Boston Metro reviews.

November 15, 2007

"Streamers" - Audience Reaction

How would you describe Streamers?

What surprised you?

What are you going to tell your friends?

click below to add your comments.

Shea at BPT, Noone at BUR

BU Today has a video feature about Comp, a new play written by Huntington Playwriting Fellow John Shea. The show runs through this weekend at Boston Playwrights Theatre.
Click here to watch the feature.

HPF Ronan Noone appeared on WBUR today. Click here to listen in, requires RealPlayer. Ronan's portion of the item starts about ten minutes in.

November 10, 2007

Streamers: Fight Direction - Rick Sordelet

Take four young guys - add race, sex, class and war - and you are sure to end up with physical violence.

The fights in Streamers are intense, bloody, and shocking. I'm not one to suspend my disbelief easily but it took a lot of effort to stay in my seat the first time we ran them full tilt onstage this week. OK - so I really didn't manage all that well. I hate blood. I left the room twice. I really hate blood. Once I tried to get over it by donating - I passed out in the waiting room. Duh. ANYWAY...

Stage fights and combat are very complex things, intricately choreographed and intensely rehearsed. They are run every day, before every show.

To be safe you need an expert called a fight director. Period. Stop. Get my point?

If you want them to be safe - AND look thrilling, AND serve the action of the play and the vision of the director, AND feel very real, then you need Rick Sordelet. We've been lucky enough here at the Huntington to work with Rick for MANY years now. He has some film credits, dozens of Broadway and Off-Broadway credits, and I'll bet HUNDREDS of regional credits for fight direction. That's Rick in the photo - showing off his Edith Oliver Award for Sustained Excellence at the Lucille Lortel awards this past May.

This post started with a simple Google search: Rick Sordelet fight.

The things you take for granted! I had no idea. If you don't have all day try these two links. First - a Talkin' Broadway interview from 2000 when Rick was working on the Scarlet Pimpernel (he had just finished filming Hamlet with Campbell Scott). Second - see Rick talk about his work in a video filmed during rehearsals for Broadway's Lestat.

Thanks Rick!

PS> Don't worry - none of the blood you'll see on stage actually comes from the actors. Some of it comes from Hershey's chocolate - and that, my friends, is a story for another post.

November 9, 2007

Alexander Dodge: 'Brendan' et al

'Brendan' 2007-2008

The Hub Review, by blogger and arts critic Thomas Garvey, wrote yesterday to request some photos of work by 'Brendan' Scenic Designer Alexander Dodge. He published a very nice post last night, "Here's to Alexander Dodge", before I was able to look through my files and get back to him.

Sorry Tom, and thanks.

Alexander's body of work here at the Huntington is broad - having done at least one show a season here since 2001. Brendan is a great example. We love the challenges his design brings. Here, in no particular order, are some further examples of his fine work here in Boston.

'Present Laughter' 2006-2007

'The Rivals' 2005-2006

'Butley' 2003-2004 Boston
2006-2007 Broadway

'Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme' 2001-2002

'A Month in the Country' 2002-2003

'Hedda Gabler' 2000 - 2001
2001 Broadway

'Heartbreak House' 2002 - 2003

'Heartbreak House' 2002 - 2003

'Love's Labour's Lost' 2005 -2006

'Love's Labour's Lost' 2005 -2006

Most off these photos are by T. Charles Erickson

November 8, 2007

In Box - Playwriting News

Hello Blog Readers,

I wanted to take a few minutes to update you on the state of the Huntington’s exciting new play programming. This season marks the fifth anniversary of the Breaking Ground Festival of new play readings (this year it’s scheduled for April 3-6, so mark your calendars), as well as the fifth year of the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program.

Here’s a stunning statistic: by the end of this season, the Huntington will have presented or produced FIVE plays by Huntington Playwriting Fellows, and EIGHT plays that have debuted in the Breaking Ground Festival (there is some overlap in these numbers). Why is this important? One of the unfortunate truths of the American theatre is that many worthy plays become entangled in endless cycles of development – that is, numerous script-in-hand readings or workshop productions at theatres that are interested in the material, but not interested enough to produce it. The play gets vetted for months or years, but never finds its home, and so, never gets a full professional production. All the while, the playwright has to fend off the too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen trend, whereby at each reading or workshop production, there are people with excellent advice on how the writer might refine the work, but there are also plenty of people with opinions on how the writer might “fix” the play. There are, of course, no guarantees that once “fixed,” the play will get a production, so playwrights have to become ever-vigilant in sorting out the very good and helpful suggestions from the dross. It can be exhausting.

There are many many excellent development programs in this country, but there are also suspect ones (like those described above). When I created the Breaking Ground Festival and the Huntington Playwriting Fellows program in the 2003-2004 season, the goal was to find ways to execute good and helpful programming, to make our resources available to writers in a useful way, and to be aware of the ways in which we might avoid poorly executed new play development. Five years on, I feel confident in saying that statistics prove us out: we have put our producing mettle where our rhetoric is. It’s not just the playwright who benefits from this effort, it’s the audience as well. Those who were lucky enough to see the first Breaking Ground Festival in 2004 caught the very first public showing of Melinda Lopez’s Sonia Flew; it premiered at the brand new Calderwood Pavilion mere months later, and since then has had an active production life all over the country. If you attended Breaking Ground in 2006, you might have seen the debut of Theresa Rebeck’s Mauritius, which went on to premiere at the Calderwood that fall, and just this October it opened on Broadway. Consider this: where else does one have the chance to see the progression of a newly conceived and executed piece of art, from its inception through its premiere? How often do you have the chance to be present at the birth of a young playwright’s career? We aim to give you just this kind of opportunity.

All this is to say: there are a lot of great plays by Huntington Playwriting Fellows in Boston this season! At this very moment, there are THREE: Brendan by Ronan Noone at the Huntington, Comp by John Shea at Boston Playwrights Theatre, and The Bluest Eye by Lydia Diamond at Company One – all play until the weekend of Nov 17-18. Later this season, catch Rebekah Maggor’s one-woman cabaret Shakespeare’s Actresses in America (which, she emphatically states, “is not like school”), and Sinan √únel’s heartbreakingly immediate The Cry of The Reed – both will be mounted by the Huntington at the Calderwood Pavilion.

Furthermore, we are about to officially announce the members of the newest class of Huntington Playwriting Fellows, some of whom also have productions scheduled for this season around Boston. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on this blog as soon as the news goes public.

Your support of new plays is so important to us; thanks for being there for us, and for our writers. We can’t wait to bring you even more exciting new works by playwrights from near and far. Stay tuned!

-- Ilana Brownstein, Literary Manager

Sometimes you feel like a nut

Sometimes tech rehearsals can feel REEAAALLLLLY long.

Today's silliness is brought to your courtesy of the Williamstown Theatre Festival's lighting department (or BU West as it's better known around these parts).

November 7, 2007

Boston's 'Brendan' on WGBH

Ronan Noone and Justin Waldman recently chatted with WGBH's Callie Crossley about Brendan on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney.

Here's the direct link to the segment:
Brendan's writer and director on Greater Boston.
Requires Quicktime

Thanks to WGBH for the interview - I had mistakenly identified the interviewer in the previous version of this post and they were kind enough to call me to correct the error.

November 6, 2007

Streamers Boston - Video

I was wondering why there had been SO much chatter and excitement over the last 18 months about this play coming to the Huntington. I wonder no more. I know. I've seen it.

You'll have to wait until Friday, Nov. 9th for performances to begin in order to find out for yourself.

Meanwhile - we managed to get a lot of good video from our interviews last week. Here are four more clips for your viewing pleasure.

November 4, 2007

Brendan: The Sights and Sound of Boston

It's nice when I can get Terry Byrne to do my blogging for me and provide you with a little behind the scenes info. She interviewed Scenic Designer Alexander Dodge and Sound Designer Fitz Patton a few weeks back for these articles that ran in today's Globe. Thanks Terry!

The city of Boston plays a big part in 'Brendan'

Aural Fixation

Both designers spent a good deal of time wandering around our fair city and it really shows in the design.

The cast and crew are playing to nice big houses down at the Wimberly. I visited them yesterday afternoon to let them know that they were doing such great work that we were adding an additional performance! The show will now close on Sunday, November 18th, 2007. You've got about two weeks left to catch it.

Streamers Boston - Ticket Sale

Just tripped across this sweet discount on our main site - ALL tickets for Streamers Previews (November 9 through November 13) are now on sale for $25 each. Check it out!

If you are ages 21-35, tickets to Huntington shows are ALWAYS available for just $25.
See the sidebar for more info.

We started tech today - so I am taking advantage of the time in the theatre (ten hours today) to catch up on my blogging. The boys and the barracks are looking sharp and we are moving pretty quickly. It's a relatively easy show for us - not too many moving parts. We've got the full design team in house now, today will be mostly about sound and lights, and a little bit of re-staging that normally happens when a show gets on stage.

Streamers - Video Greetings

We had a few cameras up in the rehearsal hall last week to get you a peek behind the scenes in rehearsal. The video is currently being edited - though I was provided these teasers to string you along. Hint - I saved the best for last.

Brad Fleischer (Billy) made his Broadway debut in “Coram Boy” this year. Previously, he appeared in “Pig Farm” at South Coast Repertory Theatre and the Roundabout Theatre Company. He has appeared in the film “The Good Shepherd,” and the television shows “Prison Break,” “The Unit,” and “Law & Order.” He holds an M.F.A. in acting from UC-San Diego.

Ato Essandoh (Carlyle) was last seen in “Measure for Measure” at Manhattan Theatre Source and in George C. Wolfe’s production of “Mother Courage and Her Children” at the Public Theater with Meryl Streep. He appeared in New York productions of “The Three Sisters,” Ronan Noone’s “The Blowin of Baile Gall,” and had major roles in the films “Garden State,” and “Blood Diamond” with Leo DiCaprio.

John Sharian (Rooney) graduated from the Old Vic Theatre School in Bristol, England. He will be seen in the 2008 film “Staten Island” with Ethan Hawke and has appeared in numerous films and television shows including “Waz,” “Romasanta,” “Love, Actually,” “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Lost in Space.”