April 30th, 2013
My feature Corporate Musical Gems in the Hagley Library Collections is now online. For a little background on the Hagley Library and my research there, see this earlier post.
April 22nd, 2013
One of the truisms about theater (and life in general) is that the best people are always in the most demand. It makes a lot of sense – who wouldn’t want to collaborate with the best, especially if they’re easy/fun/exciting/et cetera to work with? One of these busy people is Sarah Gazdowicz, an actress, stage manager, and director whose latest creative endeavor is with Flat Earth Theatre. Sarah directs Enigma Variations, a play by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt whose official synopsis alone intrigues one’s curiosity:
THE STORY: Nobel Prize-winning author Abel Znorko lives as a recluse on a remote island in the Norwegian Seas. For fifteen years, his one friend and soulmate has been Helen, from whom he has been physically separated for the majority of their affair. Journalist Erik Larsen arrives to interview Znorko about his latest book, which is, in fact, a transcript of correspondence between the author and Helen. As Larsen seeks to unmask the identity of Helen, Znorko becomes infuriated. Evasions and lies twist into increasingly complex puzzles. Is Larsen really a journalist? Is it possible that both Znorko and Larsen love the same woman? Is Helen still alive? Slowly the barriers between the two men begin to fall as the profound mysteries of intimacy rise in their place.
If the setup isn’t enough, Sarah has triple-cast the play, so each of the two characters is played simultaneously by three actors each. The Boston Globe has a writeup.
Enigma Variations plays at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA through Saturday, April 27, 2013.
March 29th, 2013
Erin Brehm and I co-starred in a production of Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich‘s play Cleavage at the Universal Theatre Festival this past January. Cecelia Raker, herself a playwright, was the director; the production was a surprise cross-country meeting of two actors (Erin and myself) from the same town in Oregon who had never previously crossed paths. The production took place in the context of the Universal Theatre Festival’s final season in Provincetown, MA. (The producer and founder, Myra Slotnick, has retired from producing the festival to focus on playwriting.) It seems that everyone likes to see more Cleavage, because there is a new production coming to Boston this summer.
The chronology of Cleavage provides a useful illustration of how a play can pick up steam and gain circulation once it’s first picked up. This is from a combination of many factors: media exposure, professional recognition, fine-tuning and polish from feedback, increased confidence in the work and more circulation of the script, etc. The first production is usually the hardest, but if you get a second in the region you can build up momentum, as seems to have been the case with this (ahem) bodaciously-titled play:
- First Appearance: Public Reading at Boston Bohemia (Boston, MA – November 2012)
- Second Appearance: Single Performance at Culture Park’s 11th Annual Short Plays Marathon (New Bedford, MA – November 2012)
- Third Appearance: Three Performances at the 6th Annual Universal Theatre Festival (Provincetown, MA – January 2013)
- Fourth Appearance: ? Performances at the 15th Annual Boston Theater Marathon (Boston, MA – May 2013)
Sound good so far? Here’s the twist: the deadlines for the last cycle of UTF and BTM submissions was the same – Nov. 15 of this last year. The recognition that we’re seeing of Barbara’s work this year is partly the result of her not resting on her laurels and proactively sending things out for the next stage. It’s a good lesson for us all.