Music, theater, gardening, travel, current affairs, and my personal life, not always in that order. I try to keep it interesting, I rarely hold back, because one thing I truly believe in is the shared experience of this reality we call life. We're all in this together, people. More than we even know.
When Reverend Alexandra McCartney, a progressive Episcopal priest who has fought for social justice through most of her career, begins working for gay marriage in Iowa, she doesn’t know she’s fighting for her own daughter. But when Sarah comes home and asks her mother to marry she and her partner, Reverend Alexandra finds it’s easier to live up to your values when they’re not tested at home or in your own conservative congregation.
Featuring Melissa Blasek, Emily Culver, John Greiner-Ferris, Ashley James, Lyralen Kaye, Karin Trachtenberg and Cindy Wegel
C'mon people: support your local playwrights. See some new, interesting, and according to Image Theater's press release, naughty works.
Here's the scoop from Image Theater in Lowell, Massachusetts:
As you know, Image Theater is in the midst of its 5th year in this incredibly vibrant city of Lowell, and we are proud that, in that short time, we have produced the new works of over 60 local playwrights. We NEVER could have done this without your support and belief in the power and excitement of new plays by emerging playwrights and composers.
We are very happy to announce that this year, we purchased a brand new sound system to go along with our state of the art lighting system, giving us the ability to perform at venues all over Lowell.
As you know, we don't do anything predictable at Image. Instead of the usual auctions, etc... our fundraisers are always FUNdraisers... and this year is no exception...brand new sexy, silly, short plays by local writers and twisted, dirty ditties by area composers, all performed for you by some of the area's top talent in the wonderful atmosphere of Jerry and Finbarr's Old Court Tavern at 29 Central Street, Lowell We could all use some laughs these days... and we guarantee to deliver them!
Saturday, Nov 14th at 8PM.
Featured local playwrights are Meron Langsner, Steven O'Connor, David Schrag, Kelly DuMar, Jack F. Dacey, Karla Sorenson, Patrick Brennan, Michael Kimball, and songs by Steven Gilbane, Rene Pfister and Matthew Hanf
We are so appreciative of their writing talents and the time and hard work donated to us by our talented actors to give you an evening of fun, food and song...and some VERY crazy moments!
Admission is $25 and can be had by e-mailing Diarydoor@aol.com under the heading "Tickets", or by calling 978-441-0102.
As all of you know, seating is limited, and the "Naughties" do sell quickly. Tickets at the door are $28, so save that extra money for a Guinness!
That's it... the "ever long winded" Jerry Bisantz is now done. We really hope that you can come, laugh with us and support Image Theater... "the new theater for new plays".
I'd like to share part of an email I received from someone I know from a past life. He and I worked at a software company together. He lives in England and he's talking about his feelings about a community theater production he's helping with:
Though I have been chaperoning my little 9 year old boy whilst he and my daughter (17) perform in a musical "Blitz".
My God! Attending the relentless rehearsals, and then running around backstage supporting the costume changes and ensuring they are ready for their cue is harder than I thought. But that is nothing compared to the conceptualising, project management, coordination, team work and sheer bloody-mindedness needed to actually produce, direct, and give the performance. This is just amateur, and its 'Total-War' the way the WWII countries fought. What you go through must be crazy, and yet...
The excitement, even in the wings before the curtain rises, and the camaraderie is tremendous. That plus the mental, physical, and social development for the kids has made it more than worth it. Though I have little idea whether they will do sign-up when they are next asked.
It's all that, and more. People who aren't in the theater (though this particular man has performed) find it all so exciting and stimulating.
The costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props The audience that lifts you when you're down
Yes, it's all there, and it will continue entice and thrill and delight. But I've found that if the theater is going to mean anything at all to you, eventually all the glamor (ha!) and excitement and camaraderie gives way to other things. Because guess what? It's not always thrilling and exciting. Some day you find yourself working with a director with whom you simply can't connect, for whom anything you do is wrong, no matter how hard you try. You'll work with people who don't share your creative vision--or have no vision at all. You'll work with actors who are self-centered and egotistical (the theater seems draw this particular personality) who, in character, you have to show love and concern for on the stage but in the dressing room you want to hit between the eyes with a 2x4.
But strangely, masochistically, you continue to work in the theater. For through it all, hopefully, you're growing as a person and an artist.
But there is something you can do to increase your chances of doing good work and having an enjoyable experience, and that's simply find the people who bring out the best in you and work with them as much as you can. I know for me, that means working with actors who are open, and if you don't know what that means, it's a level of intimacy that only certain people are capable of reaching. I'm not interested in actors who prescribe to the "remember your lines and don't bump into the furniture" method of acting. Who reduce acting to "just telling a story." Actors who are afraid to risk showing who they are on the stage, who hide behind the character, instead of actively living inside the character and within the character's world.
I first got an inkling of this way back when a director by the name of Jim Barton cast me as Freddy in a production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile at The Vokes Theatre in Wayland. He told the night of the read through that we all have been cast because of who we were. Interesting, no? Subsequent rehearsals left me floundering until one night I mentioned to Jim that I was struggling with character. What does he sound like? I anguished. How does he walk? Jim just smiled and said he talks like me. Walks like me. Me. I was Freddy. And I'm the Reverend Muncie in Looking for Normal and tonight I'm Victor in The Wonderful World of Dissocia. Acting is being. Acting is living truthfully in an imaginary world.
In a director I need one who has a strong vision for the script and the production, but also is a collaborator, one who looks to the actors for their contribution in terms of developing the characters and understanding the script. The word that best fits this kind of director--and the actors, too--is organic. Not wedded to their own specific preconceived ideas, open to exploration and discovery in the rehearsal process, more interested in internal motivations than outside gestures, inflections, or line readings.
As for the environment, I need one that actors call "safe." One where you feel free to explore and take risks. To put it in simpler words, an environment where you won't feel you're making a fool out of yourself if you try something. A place where the creative process is understood to mean that every idea is valid, every participant is respected for their talent, and together they have the power and potential to break new ground.
The excitement of an opening night, the allure of the makeup and costumes, will continue to attract people to acting. But it is the process and the promise for creative growth that keeps me.
In this quirky fable of innocence and experience, Moll, a girl who invents things, wins the science fair with a machine for hearing sounds that can't be heard. But when a shape-shifting Mercenary steals the invention (and her heart), she must embark on a quest to save noise as we know it. Accompanied by the last boy-virgin in the eleventh grade, Moll crosses chasms and rafts rivers into a world where sound is always more than what meets the ear.
Holland Productions and The Factory Theatre team up to produce Jordan Harrison’s KID SIMPLE: A Radio Play in The Flesh. KID SIMPLE transports us from the days of fireside radio dramas to a world of exhilarating science fiction and fantasy. The play premiered at the Humana Festival in 2004 where it was reviewed as, “The most inventive and satisfying piece…a thrilling abandonment of old school literalism.” – John Moore, The Denver Post. Krista D’Agostino, Producing Artistic Director of Holland Productions directs and Greg Jutkiewicz of The Factory Theatre designs lights and set.
The play features live sound effects by Foley Artist/Actress Joye Thaller, of The Post Meridian Radio Players and the acting talents of Joey Pelletier (Where Moments Hung Before, Boston Actors Theater; Blowing Whistles, Zeitgeist Stage), Mikey DiLoreto (Where Moments Hung Before, Boston Actors Theater; Aloha, Say The Pretty Girls, Holland Productions) Nicholas Chris (Emerson College) Brittany Halls (Emerson College), Crystal Lisbon (The Gingerbread Lady, Happy Medium), Cassandra Meyer (The House of Yes, Apollinaire Theatre Company), Kiki Samko (Dream of Life, Imaginary Beasts), Mac Young (Bad Jazz, Zeitgeist Stage; Aloha Say, The Pretty Girls, Holland Productions) and Matthew Zahnzinger (Blood Relations, Flat Earth Theatre).
In 2006, D’Agostino, along with two other Boston College graduates, founded Holland Productions with the goal of promoting the female voice on Boston’s stage. The company opened with co-founding member Emily Dendinger’s original work, Swimming After Dark. Holland Productions launched its first full-length season at The Factory Theatre in October of 2008 with Paula Vogel’s The Baltimore Waltz, praised by reviewers as “smart, sensitive and stimulating theatre.” Since then, Holland Productions has produced several full-length plays at The Factory Theatre directed by D’Agostino, including; local actress/playwright Philana Gnawtowski’s, The Halfway House Club (2008) and most recently Naomi Iizuka’s, Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls (2009) which received critical acclaim: "Under Krista D'Agostino's direction, this group of strangers...gels into one of the best ensembles to hit the stage this season." -- Kilian Melloy, EDGE
THE FACTORY THEATRE:
The Factory Theatre leapt onto the Boston theatre scene in 2007, reviving one of the city’s most unique theatre venues. Founded and managed by Greg Jutkiewicz, The Factory Theatre is proud to continue the tradition of providing a home for Boston’s best, and most intimate, fringe theatre. Their mission is to provide an environment to nurture and support local theatre talent and a space for those theatre artists that wish to create more courageous works. In 2008, their inaugural production of Mud by Maria Irene Fornes opened to critical acclaim: “Mud, unlike much summer fare, is blissfully unsafe and remarkably riveting. As for the company’s own mission, Mud brilliantly sloshes its way to pay dirt.” The Factory Theatre is pleased to host dozens of guest companies every year, including Holland Productions, Whistler in the Dark, Counter-Productions Theatre Company, 11:11 Theatre, Mill 6 Collaborative, Happy Medium Theatre, Independent Drama Society, among others.
The setting for Highland Center, Indiana, the new play I'm working on. The little house on the right, with the blue-green roof, is the "new" house, the fancy new house my grandfather built when he, Grandma, and Aunt Marcella (Babe) moved out of the two-story log house where my mother and her 10 brothers and sisters were born and raised. The "old house" isn't there, having been dismantled, numbered, and reassembled somewhere by some Yuppies who came through and bought it up. My relatives thought that was the silliest thing they ever heard.
To the right, across the driveway you can see remnants of Grandma's garden. Her garden stretched from the road to the end of that "scar" you can see next to that light colored field, where corn and hay was alternatively grown. (That "scar" is actually Concord grapes.) At the far end of her garden is where the old house stood.
The barnyard is overgrown with trees, but interspersed you can see the out buildings: the woodshed, chicken coops, storehouses, the smokehouse. I spent a couple of hot, searing summers on top of those buildings either painting them or tarring them. Right in front of the barn is a shiny circle: a corn crib.
You can see the locust patch that Hank and Billy cut through, and at the top of the image the creek that winds through the locust patch and behind the barn that they wade through.
To the left of my Grandfather's farm is Joe Diehl's farm. When my mother was a child, there was also a store and a post office at Joe Diehl's farm. On the other side of the intersection is Ronnie Hoog's place. (Hoog is pronounced with a long "o").