Thursday, June 10, 2010

Notes from Justine-Forum Rehearsal 6/9/10

Notes from Justine-Forum Rehearsal 6/9/10
Week 4 is the week for theatricality - with visions of hell, continuations of fairy tales and after a very long intermission; Act II of our lesbian, drag musical version of Romeo and Juliet. I’m so proud. No, really.

First up I saw Constriction by Jennifer Barclay, directed by Dara Malina, featuring Joey Faranda, Ava Kelley, Rachel Lin, Melanie Siegel, Jeanne Lauren Smith and Lizzie Stemper. So cool, so dark, so loud! We talked about the intensity, how to maintain it and yet give the audience time to take it in. We talked about the vulnerability of the characters whether they are good bad or ambivalent. These characters have the opportunity to be quite complex within the constraints of this ten minute play. Do we have time to see that? I think so. In the upcoming rehearsals the creative team will make the time.

The second play of the night Swallow It also by Jennifer Barclay, directed by Laura Hirschberg featuring Toccara Castleman, Lauren Hayes and Kevin Russo is a vision of what comes after the traditional fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. You may think you know. Well, this version is quite different. Yes, they did escape but not undamaged. Is the damage physical or psychological? I think I’d have to say both. You’ll have to see the play to find out more specifics. Laura and I also discussed character but focused more on relationship. We also had a lively talk about the time and place of this play. Oh, did I mention? The singing is great.

Finally I settled in to watch ACT II of Ampersand: A Romeo & Juliet Story by Mariah MacCarthy, directed by Amanda Thomspon, featuring Brigitte Choura, Doug Harvey, Lauren Hennessy, Jeremy Michael Lagunas, Teddy Lytle, Sarah Primmer, Kevin Reed and Jordan Tierney. Finally! Been waiting to see how this thing would play out since the last Forum! You do not want to miss this. You’ll be able to say “I was there when” about this one. Fabulous play, fabulous director. OK, it’s a workshop and it needs some polish. Characters, relationships, structure, logic, love, violence, reverse-gender acting, etc, etc, what didn’t we talk about? I know things will change in the next couple weeks but there are so many possibilities as to direction. Is Tybalt a monster or just a bit of a jerk? What kind of friend is Mercutio? What kind of mothers are Mrs. Capulet and Mrs. Montague? And….how deep is their love? Tune in June 24-27 to find out. Oh, I can’t talk about the singing in this one because I didn’t hear the songs last night, but it is indeed a musical. Can’t wait to hear what the composer/musical director has cooked up.

I have to thank the ADs Eva Gabrielle Schelbaum and Katherine Sommer for keeping the evening moving along. We weren’t always on time (partly thanks to my keys) but they were extremely helpful in making sure things kept going and we stayed on track, even starting the third play a little early !

Week 4 promises to be a fantastically theatrical culmination of a wonderfully diverse Forum.

THIS week we get to see some reinvented Shakespeare, too. Othello with a female Iago as part of week 2 opening on Thursday June, 10!

Justine Lambert
Founding Artistic Director, Looking Glass Theatre

Monday, June 7, 2010

Notes from Justine-Forum Rehearsal 6/3/10

Notes from Justine
Forum Rehearsal 6/3/10

Another Wednesday another Forum rehearsal! Once again we have two highly diverse plays. Yet it seemed to me that both center on victimized female heroines. Now I’d bet you good money that both playwrights would argue with that word “victimized” and for some very good reasons. So, why are they victimized? That question came up in both discussions (perhaps not in so many words). I wonder if I’ll find out the answer in two weeks.

Leap Year by Kate Marks, directed by Ariel Francoeur, Featuring Mark Gordon, Brianna Kalish, Laura Killeen & Stacy Ann Strang was sharp, clear, abstract, absurd, vague, precise and touching. In a word; Kate Marks. Ariel, Gretchen and I had a lively discussion about everything ranging from acting to sound cues to the effect of aging on the energy of the soul. Sounds complex doesn’t it? So is the play, and yet only 20 minutes long. Oh, I almost didn’t mention the crazy multimedia aspect. Seems a large portion of the play I saw (in rehearsal it was all done live) will be video projection! I think it’s going to be super cool. If any group can handle this kind of technical challenge, this is the one.

Jane's Room by Monet Hurst-Mendoza, directed by Rebecca Lewis-Whitson, Featuring Rosemary Brownlow, Juan Carlos Diaz, Lindsay Dunphy & Noreen O'Neill is possibly a period piece, possibly a ghost story, possibly an abstract discussion on women being trapped. Also sounds complex doesn’t it? This 50-minute piece by a newcomer to our Forum has the luck of starring not one but two of our acting interns this season! The team and I had a long discussion, which was still going full steam when we were ever so politely interrupted by Do These Jeans Make My Butt Look Massive? needing to rehearse. On my way out, I had the chance to say hello to members of the cast of week one having their dress rehearsal. Whew, another busy busy night at Looking Glass.

Assistant director Gretchen Ferris was super helpful throughout the evening. I’m so glad to have had the chance to work with her.

I’m very excited that this week I get to see one of the first fruits of these labors come to the stage. I’m attending week one of the Writer/Director Forum tonight!

Justine Lambert
Founding Artistic Director