Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Forum 2010- Notes from Justine – Week 3

Notes from Justine
Forum Rehearsal 11/22/10

As I was leaving my Week Three observations last night, Assistant Director/Stage Managers Ashley Scoles and Elizabeth Swearingen and I all noted how this week is the most diverse group of plays this Forum. Two of the pieces are realistic tales with similar subject matter but one of the directors is not content with realism and has made embellishments of her own. The third play (that will be sandwiched in between them) is a light comedy based on the Adam and Eve story.

The first piece I saw was Clean by Nina Mansfield, directed by Laura Hirschberg, featuring Jake Miller, Taylor Miller & Erin Neufer*.

This slice of life in real time takes place in.....a church basement. So establishing location shouldn't be too difficult! Two people run into each other in the middle of the night; one has a desperate reason for being there, the other a casual one but they are connected through the addiction they share. This uneasy subject gives them a basis for a relationship. When the Pastor arrives it becomes clear that he may indeed share this painful secret with them as well. Our talented acting intern Erin Neufer and her co-stars are exploring different aspects of their characters while working together to form relationships in this uncomfortable, hopeful depiction of the struggle with alcoholism.

Juice by Nancy Gall-Clayton, directed by Yoleidy Rosario, featuring Tessa Reynolds, Delnaaz Irani and Joshua Mahaffey is a drama about…an alcoholic.

Thematically related to Clean, this play goes at the issue from a different place. This is about family and fear. Additionally Yoleidy has added a framing device that explores the inner psyche of the main character in the play. This exciting theatricality makes the piece’s tone completely different and yet they grapple with the same weakness in humanity. Theme nights are not our usual choice in the Forum but the illumination of both how multifaceted this issue is and how multifaceted our theatrical art form is in addressing it is an excellent argument in favor of choosing plays connected by subject matter.

Adam's Angels by Jacquelyn Priskorn, directed by Katherine Sommer, featuring Leigh Adel-Arnold, Scott Andrews, Jacob Lasser, Josh Martin, Caroline Ritchie & Elizabeth Wessa will be performed between the two plays described above giving us a touch of comic relief that may help us absorb the heavier content of the others.

Seeing Clean and Juice back to back made for a specific experience. Not a bad one at all. It had definite advantages but I’m guessing putting Adam’s Angels in the center, like a creamy filling, will be even better. This stylized comedy about Adam and Eve takes a modern approach, telling the bible story in a tongue in cheek manner. Gently poking fun at the concept of Woman as mere companion for Man the play has all of the Angels depicting aspects of humanity. If they are stereotypical they are nonetheless accurate in their comic representations of just a few of the possible types of companions Adam might have had. The team is clearly having a blast and will continue to explore the comic potential in this confection.

Assistant Director/Stage Managers Ashley Scoles and Elizabeth Swearingen were with me the whole way and are certainly enjoying a theatrical workout by participating in these three unique processes! I thank them for their work and insight all night long.

Week Three of the Winter 2010 Writer/Director Forum opens on December 16. I’m excited to re-experience this combination. It should be quite a ride!

Justine Lambert
Founding Artistic Director

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Winter Forum 2010- Notes from Justine – Week 2

Notes from Justine
Forum Rehearsal 11/22/10

Week Two of the Writer/Director Forum is a satisfying evening of theatre consisting of two basically realistic tales and one non realistic play. Interestingly, the stories of the two that take place in the real world are less concrete and revolve around character and location as much as storytelling while the one set elsewhere (not fully in the world but I won’t give away where) has quite the developed little plot.

First I watched a run through of No Boundaries by Yvonne Delet, directed by Eva Gabrielle Schelbaum, featuring Adam Auslander, Kimberly Carvalho, Alexandra Hiotakis, Gary Warchola & Michael Young.

The loose story about an evening at an open mike night shows us the insanity of people’s need to perform, be seen and express themselves. Equally, we observe the disregard they often have for others needs in pursuit of their own. This creative team is clearly having a blast creating the extreme characters and wonderfully quirky world of this play. Lots of fun character work is apparent in the acting and the setting is rendered with both love and ridicule by the author. Two weeks from now this has the potential to be a real treat of the ridiculous.

Inside the Three-0-Nine by Ruth Tyndall Baker, directed by Gretchen Ferris, featuring Bobby Gámez, Andrea Lattanzio, Genevieve Tarricco, Harrison Unger & Jill Wurzburg is quite a lovely little script!

Clocking in at thirteen minutes it manages to tell a touching story and make us care about the characters. Its brevity rarely, if ever, sacrifices the truth of what is being expressed. Gretchen and her ADs have a clear grasp of the piece and are telling the story with a light touch. Within that lightness the depth is beginning to emerge and I truly look forward to seeing this piece once it does. By the way, I don’t want to give away the story here because if you don’t know what the title means, the surprise element is delightful.

Less Talk, More Efficiency by Diana Stahl, directed by McKenna Dabbs, featuring Clio Davies, Keilly McQuail, Allison Whittinghill & Sharon Zaslaw is a bit wacky, which certainly fits in beautifully with the tone of No Boundaries!

Creating extreme characters isn’t the focal point for everyone in this piece however. There are some subtle ideas about the people’s lives and personalities being exposed here. This play is about Jess and Beth and seeing their lives juxtaposed against a stressful environment. It’s a comic and telling element in the play that this very stressful environment is ironically supposed to invoke peace. These two main characters seem pushed by their environment beyond the limits of a normal working relationship. I can’t imagine they are being paid well enough for this…but who knows; in this economy we’ll put up with plenty, won’t we?
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the beautiful and wonderful Assistant Directors/Stage Managers: Ava Kelley and Sarah Simmons for their help with keeping things going, and for their invaluable creative input all night long! It was a real treat getting to know them.

Week Two of the Winter 2010 Writer/Director Forum opens on December 9. I’ll be there with bells on!

Justine Lambert
Founding Artistic Director

Thursday, November 18, 2010


November 17, 2010

Seeking proposals from theatre companies.

Grantee(s) will receive performance space (anytime between January 5-January 16, 2011 OR February 14-February 27, 2011) including one technical rehearsal, and marketing and publicity (text provided by you) to our email press and audience lists and a listing or link on our web site.
For JANUARY: Non Prime Profit sharing! 60% of ticket sales go to Looking Glass, 40% to Grant Recipient.

For FEBRUARY: Prime time Profit sharing! 75% of ticket sales go to Looking Glass, 25% to Grant Recipient.

Grantee shows will be credited as COMPANY NAME, in conjunction with The Looking Glass Space Grant Program, presents SHOW TITLE

Additional rehearsal time will be made available at a deep discount when available.

DEADLINE: Applications accepted now through Monday, December 6 at 6pm.
NOTE: Early submission encouraged for January applicants. Will be considered upon submission.

Proposals must be submitted via email to Artistic Director Justine Lambert at LookGlassJustine@aol.com as one (1) attachment. Companies are encouraged to make contact (via the above email address) in advance indicating their intent to apply and/or with any questions. Applicants will be contacted with the final decision no later than Friday, December, 10, 2010.

What you provide: A production(s) that reflects our mission statement.

OUR MISSION-Reflecting life on the stage with truth and theatricality while exploring a female vision. See web site for more! http://www.lookingglasstheatrenyc.com/

Bottom line-Either playwright or director must be female (both is great but not required). Cast must be half or more female (gender bending casts are accepted to meet this requirement). Female subject matter not required. We are a non union house. No project with AEA members can be considered.

1) The Proposal-A one-page description of the project including story, concept, and tone. Include running time. Include technical requirements and keep them MINIMAL, shows will be sharing the space.
2) Creative Team-List of all creative team members already on board with short bios. (Director or Playwright must already be chosen)
3) Space Request- Your ideal opening date and performance dates requested between January 5-January 16, 2011 OR February 14-February 27, 2011 (Maximum of 8 performances)
4) Marketing Description-A description of how you will attract a crowd!
5) Company Mission-Your mission statement and a description of activities along with current staff list.

Please put the above sections in their stated order and include the number and name of each section at the top of that section. Recommended length about four pages.

Scripts are not required but may be requested after initial proposal review.

Looking Glass Theatre is located at 422 West 57th Street (btwn 9th/10th Aves). 212-307-9467

Justine Lambert, Founding Artistic Director
Jenn Boehm, Co-Artistic Director/Managing Director

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter Forum 2010- Notes from Justine

Notes from Justine
Forum Rehearsal 11/15/10

The three plays chosen for this week of shorts are a truly fascinating bunch. While only The Plane Ride is overtly non-realistic none of these plays is merely what it appears on the surface.

What a quirky, challenging piece Melinda Prom has chosen! Written by our own Artistic Associate Karin Diann Williams, The Cleaning Service featuring Suzanna Chmielarz, Maria Concha, Rick J. Koch & Kelsey Ruvolo is a play about communication and sometimes about the lack thereof. Two maids who don’t speak each others’ language do more communicating with gestures and charade-like behavior while working than the occupants of the house they are cleaning can manage at their leisure. Acting however does communicate to us everything we need to know about both pairs (the two maids and the couple in the house they must clean). I hope the subtleties in this thirteen minute play continue to emerge in the next couple of weeks of rehearsal. After my conversation with Melinda I feel sure that they will indeed and be added to with a few subtleties of her own.

The Plane Ride by Diana Stahl, directed by Alex Mallory, featuring Shannon Altner, Andi Bohs & Mark Vashro is about a family about to crash. What will they do? Well really, what can they do? Panic, and talk, and… How will they resolve unspoken frustrations, questions and needs? Yet we ask as an audience, is there really a plane or is it just their dysfunctional lives that are about to crash into the Pacific Ocean? Alex and her team have a lot of choices to make and questions to answer for themselves as they continue to delve deep into the myriad meanings behind the complex dialogue of this play. We as an audience just get to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Mayan Mask by Lynn Snyder, directed by Jen Browne, featuring Victor Albaum, Eliza Huberth, Ashley Rutherford & Michael Wetherbee seems on its surface a realistic piece about a couple and their friends at a crossroads in life. Will Mitch change jobs and throw all their life plans into flux? Will turning thirty really mean giving up Joan’s dreams? But the spotlight also shines on the friendship between the two couples. This “best” friendship is questionable. How can you lie for selfish needs to your closest friends and what about that affair back in college? But what I would like to know is, is there anything real or valuable in this world? Do the big questions matter and are these questions about being fulfilled at work and feeling comfortable where you live or are they about the meaning of friendship and love? Am I even asking the right questions about this play? My interest is totally piqued! Perhaps the Playwright, Actors, Directors and Assistant Directors will let me know on opening night.

Much thanks to Assistant Directors/Stage Managers Alisha Silver and Abigail Strange for all their work! Extra thanks to Abby for holding it together while things are in flux and listening patiently all night.

Week One of the Winter 2010 Writer/Director Forum opens on December 2. Can’t wait!

Justine Lambert
Founding Artistic Director

Looking Glass Theatre