August 29, 2012

A Dispatch from GOOD PEOPLE Rehearsal

Melanie Garber
Rehearsals began last Tuesday for our production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People. The magic from page to stage is particularly poignant this time around because we have a local story (Southie native Margie, played by Johanna Day, is our protagonist) being told by actual locals (actors Karen MacDonald and Nancy E. Carroll and director Kate Whoriskey, to name a few).

In keeping with this focus on local authenticity, we've had a lot of discussion at the table where we can pull our inspiration from to perfect the Boston accent and attitude. We've talked about going out into the city and observing first hand, as well as drawing on movies like The Departed and Gone Baby Gone.

There is also a continuous effort to stay true to the pacing of the language. For example, deciding when these characters have forethought versus when they plow ahead with unfiltered reaction in the heat of the moment keeps cropping up as we muck about in rehearsal. The juxtaposition of playing these two elements adds a humor and sincerity to the performances that’s already paying off as we rounded out our first week together on Sunday.

Until next week...

- Melanie Garber, Assistant to the Director for Good People

August 23, 2012

281 Offices on the Move

Contributed by Jessica Andrewartha, Development Associate

There in an orange crate in my cubical big enough that I could crawl into it. At least one of my co-workers has already done just that. The orange crate is the physical evidence of the big inter-office move that just happened here at the Huntington. The co-worker inside the packing crate? That’s evidence of the mental toll the move took on all of us.

 Last week, the Administrative Offices of the Huntington Theatre Company were reorganized. It was basically one big fruit-basket turnover as many of us changed offices or cubes to so Finance and HR could be next to each other, making daily operations easier, and so Marketing and Development could be next to each other, making our patron services more streamlined. Of course, a move that big involved a lot of cleaning, purging, well thought-out preparation, and snacks. Lots of snacks.

My highlights of the move:
  • The “move lounge” which contained juice, bagels, and sandwiches, as well as very eclectic musical selections and soothing pictures of nature to help us all cope with the moving stress.(Thank you, Michael Comey.)
  • The moment (at hour 6) when my co-worker created a circus act using one of the big orange packing crates.
  • Finding not one, not two, but three screwdrivers we didn’t know we had in the back of a drawer.
  • Going back to my old cubical and discovering that half of one of the walls was gone.
  • Watching everyone wander around the office in a bit of a daze trying to find each others' new spaces.
  • Being one of the three people managing the move of a lamp known as “Faboo-Kitty,” the “biggest rock star of our office.”

Now my Chewbacca bobble-head, my inexplicable buffalo calendar, and I are all settled into a brand new cube and ready to start the 2012-2013 Season!
Jessica Andrewartha

August 10, 2012

Rehearsals begin in Washington, DC for INVISIBLE MAN

By Lisa Timmel, Director of New Work

Monday nights are usually a night off for theatre folk, but last Monday night sixty or so artists, administrators, and patrons gathered at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC for the first rehearsal of the Huntington/Studio co-production of Invisible Man. After a buffet of barbecue chicken, sweet potato fries, and cornbread we gathered in the theatre for a welcome from Studio artistic director David Muse and remarks and presentations from the Invisible Man creative team. Muse spoke eloquently about how moved he was by the world premiere production that he saw last winter at Chicago's Court Theatre. This play, in his view, is a labor of love, a unique experience that captures the whole variety of style in the novel in theatrical form, and a remarkable feat of adaptation.

Teagle F. Bougere in Invisible Man, photo: Michael Brosilow

Director Chris McEleron assured everyone gathered that this ambitious new production would "kick our ass just as it did in Chicago, just as it will in Boston." Along with his projection designer, he emphasized that he novel and the play are reflections of the collective American experience. With an ensemble of nine actors, the set and costume design, as well as the projections, the production will create a mosaic of memories out of iconic, original and some contemporary images. With that, the cast assembled and read on into the night. When they were done, we left, exhausted and exhilarated.

We can't wait for this ambitious, important, fascinating play to get here.

The Huntington Theatre Company's production of INVISIBLE MAN by Oren Jacoby runs January 4 through February 3, 2013 on the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115. Tickets and information here or call our Box Office at 617 266 0800.

August 8, 2012

Our visit to DC's Studio Theatre for INVISIBLE MAN.

Contributed by Justin Seward, Asst. Props Master 

This past week our Asst. Technical Director Dan Oleksy and I took a trip to Washington, DC to visit our friends at the Studio Theatre, who are currently building our co-production of Invisible Man, an adaptation of Ralph Ellison's novel by Oren Jacoby, A co-production allows multiple theatres to join its resources and budgets, as well as actors, artists, and staff in order to produce the best possible production. Scenic designer Troy Hourie recently visited our prop stock to choose items for the production. Last Wednesday morning (August 1), the prop shop loaded the Huntington van with props and set dressing for the journey to DC. 

I met Studio Theatre's Props Master Deb Thomas on Thursday afternoon to unload.  Afterward, she gave me a tour of their great facility.  At the same time Dan O. visited the scene shop to check out the progress of the set construction. The Huntington’s BU Theatre is very different from the Studio’s theatre, so both scene shops face a bit of a challenge to make sure the show fits properly into both spaces.
That night, I was lucky enough to see Studio's production of “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” which was fantastic. The Studio’s run of Invisible Man begins Sept 5th After DC, the production will be packed and shipped to Boston where we will then load it into the BU Theatre for its Huntington run.  It's already shaping up to be a fantastic production. 

As a bonus, I was able to stay with my brother and sister-in-law in Gaithersburg, MD... and see my new nephew, Huey!

The Huntington Theatre Company's production of INVISIBLE MAN by Oren Jacoby runs January 4 through February 3, 2013 on the Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115.  Tickets and information here or call our Box Office at 617 266 0800.