clowning around Dartmouth

I had a delightful visit with Dr. Laura Edmondson’s Theatre History class in late February to demonstrate mask work and how the tools of commedia dell’arte can serve us as theatre makers today.  I was joined in the masks by a couple of Laura’s fearless students, Holden and Ellie. Enjoy!

 

 

MSIM: Stories from the VA

Veteran Sean Carrier. Photo by Peter Biello, NHPR

It’s been a busy month so I’m tardy reporting about our extremely moving MAKE SURE IT’S ME presentation at the VA Medical Center in Manchester on March 2nd!  Our star reader was Sean Carrier, who survived seven IED blasts and a plane crash while serving in Iraq.  Sean gave a great reading, pushing courageously past any pain or nervousness to share insights from Kate Wenner’s play about combat-related Traumatic Brain Injury.  Sean and I were joined on our little “stage” by VA staff members, many of whom were also veterans.  The event was organized by VA TBI clinician Nina Romano and social worker Erica Rowe and was introduced by the Medical Center Director Al Montoya, who awarded us all with Director’s coins for bringing this important conversation to the VA. The post-reading discussion lasted nearly 90 minutes and allowed veterans, family members, and service providers to share their observations and feelings about the complicated effects of TBI.  As we wound up the event, Nina said they’d love to make MSIM an annual event as part of the March Brain Injury Awareness month. So it’s on my calendar for 2019!  If you want to know more about this event, Sean and I were interviewed by the marvelous Peter Biello, who is the NHPR anchor for “All Things Considered.”  You can listen to that interview or read the transcript here.  Stay tuned for more MSIM news . . . plans are in the works to return to the Manchester Vet Center in September.

CLEAN ROOM gossip!

Jeanné McCartin was kind enough to give a shout out about my upcoming performances of CLEAN ROOM in her Seacoast Spotlight Gossip column, check it out here!

CLEAN ROOM goes up at WEST April 6, 7 & 8, and all proceeds will benefit HAVEN! Tickets are on sale now–seating is extremely limited, so it’s best to order online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/clean-room-tickets-42475578599 or you can call 603-321-8550 to reserve a ticket. Brighina, Stupino and I hope to see you there!

CLEAN ROOM RETURNS IN APRIL!!!

CLEAN ROOM RETURNS TO PORTSMOUTH IN APRIL 2018 TO BENEFIT HAVEN!!!

TICKETS ARE ON SALE HERE!

This year, I’ll be producing and performing CLEAN ROOM as a benefit for HAVEN.  It goes up April 6 & 7 at 8 pm and April 8 at 2 pm at the West End Studio Theatre in Portsmouth.  Seating is extremely limited, so it’s wise to book your tickets early.  You can purchase tickets online (highly recommended) or call (603) 321-8550 to reserve seats or ask questions about the show.  Some FAQ:  The show runs about 70 minutes, including a brief intermission. It is recommended for mature audiences and contains adult themes. WEST is at 959 Islington Street and is handicap accessible.

Visit my CLEAN ROOM page for more information about the play, including past reviews, a trailer, and video interview with PPMtv!

Also, please visit HAVEN to learn more about their domestic/sexual violence response and prevention services and how you can help:  havennh.org

Thanks to Genevieve Aichele of New Hampshire Theatre Project for her great management of the performance space.  And thanks to all the folks at HAVEN for helping to bring this production to the stage.  See you at WEST in APRIL!!!

another great event at the Manchester Vet Center!

Last Thursday I was pleased to return to the Manchester Vet Center in Hooksett for the third year in a row to present excerpts from Kate Wenner’s MAKE SURE IT’S ME read by veterans and Vet Center Staff.  Once again, Vet Center counselor and coordinator of this event Mearlene Filkins made me warmly welcome and lined up a great group of readers. Colleen Moriarty, director of the Vet Center, even stepped in to read as a last-minute replacement and knocked it out of the park!  We were honored to have Don, a Vietnam veteran, return for his third year in a row, as well as some new faces in the group.  After the presentation and some snacks, Manchester VA TBI clinicians Sherry Thrasher and Nina Romano were on hand, along with a social worker named Erica, to kick off the post-presentation talk back.  This script continues to yield great conversations, increase awareness of military-related TBI, and encourage military families to seek support from a variety of sources across the state.  Thanks to all the readers, to Mearlene, Colleen, Sherry and Nina for making it happen.  And thanks once again to the playwright, Kate Wenner, for giving us the words knit together from her interviews with veterans, caregivers and clinicians dealing with TBI.  Without these words, the growing conversation would not be possible.  Love to all!

another win for Keith!

My writing mentee, Keith Sanders, has racked up another win!  He has been working for some time on a full-length play called PUSHING UP DAISY, which I love and have been rooting for through several drafts.  As part of his process, he took a break from dialogue and wrote a short story encapsulating the characters and the action he hoped to put on stage.  The resulting short story was so excellent that he submitted it for The Insider Prize at AMERICAN SHORT FICTION.  The judge was the amazing Lydia Davis, and she chose his story to share first place.  Keith’s “Pushing Up Daisy” is published in its entirety here: Insider Prize Winners.

I want to emphasize that, although I have been corresponding with Keith for years about his writing and this project in particular, his decision to use fiction as a way back into his playwriting of the piece was entirely his.  Although I read one draft of the story, I gave no significant input–this is his work and his alone.  I am deeply proud of him and pleased, as well, that he is back to work on the script so we can continue to shepherd Daisy and Glenn to the stage.  It’s marvelous to have these interesting, peculiar, yet endearing characters live in more than one medium.

Enjoy the read!

masked again, at last!

Leslie Pasternack demonstrates mask technique with her character Stupino.

In August I was honored to give a workshop to theatre KAPOW, a superb company of NH theatre artists who bring both classic and new plays to life, and also generate original material through communal devising.  Each summer they have a retreat in which they bring in specialists to explore particular performance techniques, and this year I was asked to lead a workshop in mask.  Company founders Matt and Carey Cahoon, along with company member and Board President Peter Josephson and others donned hats, scarves and half-masks of my own construction to improvise solo and duo turns in the beautiful converted barn that serves as their retreat studio. We had a marvelous two hours together creating new characters and exploring the technical challenges and surprising freedoms that come when you work in mask.

tKAPOW has worked in mask in the past and plans to incorporate masks in several ways throughout this year’s season.  Check out their 2017-18 lineup here.  And scroll down for pictures of the tKAPOW players (plus Peter’s dog, Henry) in mask:

Peter Josephson and Matt Cahoon

Rachael Longo and Henry the Dog

Carey Cahoon

Matt Cahoon

Cranky Peter!

Amy Agostino

 

 

 

summer of theatre

David Houlden as Joseph Moody and Liz Locke as Patience Boston

It’s officially autumn, but my summer was pretty busy with theatre! Last spring I was asked to direct Mike Kimball’s new play, PATIENCE BOSTON, a historical drama set in York, Maine and based on the lives (and deaths) of real people.  PB tells the story of a Native American servant woman who claimed to have killed a child and demanded to be hung for the crime.  But after she was sentenced, it was discovered that she was pregnant, so the Sheriff and his wife, as well as Pastors Samuel and Joseph Moody, were charged with caring for her until the baby was born–and then executing her.

We rehearsed throughout the summer, working around folks’ vacations and other shows, and opened on September 15th at the Players’ Ring in Portsmouth. The show is going extremely well and will close on October 1.  I’m immensely proud of the playwright, the cast (Liz Locke, David Houlden, Charles Bradley, Pam Battin-Sacks, Greg Chabot, Whitney Smith, Paul Benford-Bruce and Steve Sacks) and our dear stage manager, Deb Barry and board operator, Kate Quisumbing.  We also had impeccable stage design by D. Cary Wendell, lighting by John Stewart, costumes by Barbara Newton, and sound design by the impeccable Mike Kimball himself!  Scroll down for more great images from PATIENCE BOSTON.

Charles Bradley as Jeremiah Moulton and Paul Benford-Bruce as Boston 

Liz Locke as Patience Boston

partial eclipse

There is much news to share in the coming weeks, as I’ve been directing the premiere of PATIENCE BOSTON at Player’s Ring, which opens September 15, and I’ve recently taught a mask workshop for theatre KAPOW.  But for now, I want to share a little piece of joy we took time for this afternoon.  Hope you enjoyed your view, wherever you are!