Friday, June 10, 2011

Notes From Justine- Spring 2011 Writer/Director Forum, Week 4

Notes from Justine
The Queens of Comedy - Forum Rehearsal 6/6/11

Finally three shows that go together…sort of. Well, they don’t have all that much in common actually but they are all definitely comedy! They run the gamut of comic styles from full on realism to flat out absurdity!

Written by Gabrielle Fox, directed by Eva Gabrielle Schelbaum
Featuring Shea Davies & Gus Zucco

Of all the gin joints in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into a wedding dress

This is a realistic comedy all about a silly situation. It may be shorter than your average sitcom (clocks in at about 12 minutes) but it certainly runs much deeper than one. The delightfully wacky setup involves a woman stuck in her sister’s wedding gown and the only person who can help her is a stranger. He’s an actor about to star in a production of Casablanca and that great film is a touch point helping to add the deeper notes to this charming ditty about possibilities that have passed us by while new ones open up.

Written by Bella Poynton, directed by Ariel Francoeur
Featuring Petra Denison, Jesse Kane-Hartnett, Dave Herigstad, Sarah Klein, Dan Lovley, Claire Nasuti, David O'Hara & Tom Simonetti

Please turn off all electric devices, make sure that your tray tables are in the upright and locked positions, and hold onto to your sanity...

This play is just absurd. In a good way! In fact one of my only notes was to go ahead and make it even more absurd! It’s about what the best absurd plays are all about: a sane person lost in an insane world. It begins on an airplane and may secretly be about the insanity we all feel when we are heading thousands of miles above ground in a tin can. The story actually follows a man’s descent into hell as he discovers first that his best friend is dead and is then accused of his murder. But plot isn’t really the point here. So what is? Sanity vs. Insanity? Style & Comedy? The way we all feel when faced with the shocking illogical nature of humanity? I’m reeling from "Weinergate" as I write! Life is absurd and I for one need a laugh!

Written by Naima Moffet-Warden and Allison Ungar, directed by Naima Moffet-Warden
Featuring Richard McDonald, Margaret Odette, Ryan-Ashleigh Reid & Biniam Z. Tekola

When Adrian's business and love test her destiny, all she'll be screaming is... JUST GIVE ME A SIGN!

Not absurdist but not fully realistic either, Sign Me is about a young lady’s search for love or success or preferably both. It’s also about another kind of absurdity. The absurdity of trying to find a mate and doing it through the internet. But in this day and age, how else?? Being developed specifically for this Forum, the play is being written (and re-written) with the cast improvising to help develop it as we speak. The tight cast of four plays multiple characters of many astrological signs. They are experimenting with extreme and exciting physical choices/characteristics and the ride is funny, fun and sexy. If I wasn’t married I’d consider “sending out a sign” for love too.

Huge thanks go to the Assistant Directors/Stage Managers: Rebecca Cunningham & Estefania Fadul for making the evening go smoothly and listening patiently through my many absurd and/or realistic ramblings!

Week Four of the Spring 2011 Writer/Director Forum opens on June 23. I can’t wait! This evening of three has something for everyone and after all who doesn’t like comedy?

Justine Lambert
Founding Artistic Director

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Notes From Justine- Spring 2011 Writer/Director Forum, Week 3

Notes from Justine
Forum Rehearsal 5/31
/11 -More Relationships and So Much More

I ended last week talking about how Assistant Director/Stage Manager Karyn DeYoung saw both of the Week Two plays as relationship plays…behold this week starts off with every artist in the room referring to the first two of these wonderfully diverse offerings as “relationship plays!”

Written by Jane Miller, directed by Abigail Strange
Featuring Tyler Gattoni & Bethany McNamara

How long are you willing to wait?

This show is about a young couple on a subway platform. First there’s banter. They seem happy, cute, if quirky. Then Rosy wants to play a game to pass the time, Max is reluctant. Why, we wonder? Does he dislike games, silliness? Is he easily embarrassed? There doesn’t seem to be anyone else waiting for the train at this time of night. Why not indulge her? When he finally gives in to her wheedling it turns out the game is a little scary. It also turns out her motives weren’t so simple. She knows her boyfriend’s issues and has chosen this moment to bring them up. This seemingly happy relationship may be in peril just as the train finally begins to pull into the station…

Written by Mary Flanagan, directed by Gretchen Ferris
Featuring Rob Getz, Elyssa Mersdorf & Emilio Paul Tirado

When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it. ~ Yogi Berra

Back In the Box starts with a couple and a complication. This play takes us farther into the workings of a dysfunctional relationship. Helen is clearly unhappy. We don’t always know why as we watch her journey towards escape. What is she escaping from? Is it spousal abuse or cruelty of some kind? Not precisely. The issues here are subtle. There is indeed something wrong- too much of a good thing, perhaps. Love turned to need, dependence turned to obsession. I find myself hoping Helen’s journey will be a smooth one after the blackout.

Written and directed by Laura Hirschberg
Featuring Emily Daly, Arielle Hader, Timothy Mele & Kevin Russo.

Prometheus brings the spark of inspiration to man. Is it worth it? Come play with fire.

I am inspired and delighted to discover that our talented director Laura Hirschberg is also an impressive talent as a playwright! Fire Thief is full of complex ideas that unfold with wit and clarity.

What a difference. And yet I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the importance of relationships here too. Of course in Fire Thief they are relationships between gods. The fire Prometheus steals is the fire of inspiration. He steals it to bestow it upon his own favorite creation: mankind. Of course in doing so he incurs the wrath of the Gods but more importantly be betrays two people (well, gods) he loves. His journey of self discovery includes allowing an unusual relationship to grow; the one between himself and his creation. If he can love us mere mortals for more than just our finer traits (such as theatre I’d venture) perhaps he can survive what’s coming to him.

Big thanks to Assistant Directors/Stage Managers Jessy Grossman and Sarah Outhwaite. They were a delight to work with. Full of insight and ideas, they were an integral part of our discussion throughout the evening.

Week Three of the Spring 2011 Writer/Director Forum opens on June 16. I’m excited to see this thought provoking, wit filled grouping of three with all the finishing touches!

Justine Lambert
Founding Artistic Director