TRAGEDY gains nifty sponsor!

I’m delighted to say that I’m in rehearsal for both Will Eno’s Tragedy: a tragedy and my own solo show, Clean Room, right now–and Tragedy lucked into a nifty sponsorship from The Atticus Group, LLC! This opportunity grew out of my new acquaintance with Robert and Michele Macadaeg, two brilliant theatre artists who are also devotees of Will Eno’s work. Robert will be gracing the stage at WEST as part of the Tragedy cast and Michele will be designing costumes–all made possible by the support of The Atticus Group, where Robert is Director of Creative Services. Thanks to both Macadaegs and to Atticus founding partner Larry Yost for sponsoring what’s sure to be the funniest, loveliest “tragedy” of the season!

For more information on both Tragedy and Clean Room, visit www.actonenh.org. And call (603) 300-2986 for reservations (which are highly recommended, as WEST fills fast!).

 

MSIM preview event OCTOBER 7!

MSIM/nh Preview Event on Sunday afternoon, October 7!

Help us kick off a great project that will help raise awareness of our military service members and veterans affected by Traumatic Brain Injury. This is only the beginning of an outreach event series that will culminate in a full production at WEST in 2013!

On October 7, come meet Make Sure It’s Me playwright Kate Wenner and hear a brief reading from the script at 3:30, immediately following the 2 pm. performance of Leslie Pasternack’s Clean Room! Call 300-2986 for details and reservations.

I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU AT WEST!

 

THE DRAWER BOY wows at WEST!

Bretton Reis as Miles

Last week, ACT ONE’s Festival 2012 opened with Stephanie Nugent’s beautifully realized production of Michael Healy’s The Drawer Boy. This production happens to include the theme of combat-related brain injury, a theme that has taken on great importance to Stephanie and myself in recent months. And so, ACT ONE gave a special benefit performance to the Krempels Center to kick off the run–board members, staff, and Center members living with brain injury were invited, along with folks from Krempel’s partner in good works, SeaCare. SeaCare provides funding for health care, as well as case management, to uninsured people living on the NH Seacoast.

There was fantastic, optimistic energy in the room as our invited guests gave the actors a supportive reception. Afterwards, some of the Krempels members who cope with brain injury on a day-to-day basis spoke with the actors about how well the production reflected their own experiences. Krempels staff member Jenny Freeman was so enthusiastic that she posted this review on the Krempels FB page:

Bretton Reis, Norm Smith, and Roland Goodbody

“A terrific night last night at the West End Theater in Portsmouth! Act One invited both Krempels Center and SeaCare Health Services to a free viewing of their dress rehearsal of  The Drawer Boy. This was a wonderful gesture of appreciation for the work we do, AND they were craving a live audience before opening night to see if the play was working. Boy, it’s working!

The Drawer Boy takes place in 1972, thirty years after lifelong best friends Angus and Morgan returned to rural Ontario after serving in World War II. Angus had been hurt in a blast overseas and came home with severe memory loss and a steel plate in his head. Angus and Morgan lived companionably together on their farm until a young actor moved into their farmhouse to research farm life for a play he was cast in. What begins as a simple, quiet story moves toward an explosive and very moving climax as Angus learns the
real story of his injury, his sweetheart, and his best friend Morgan.

This is a fine piece of ensemble acting. Norm Smith, Roland Goodbody, and Bretton Reis are all well cast in their roles. Sitting in the audience, there was no question that they became their characters. Stephanie Voss Nugent did a fabulous job of taking Michael Healey’s script from paper and breathing it into life. If you can, don’t miss this production. It is truly wonderful theater.”

Anne Weidman, a Krempels board member, was on hand to take photos that night, so thanks to her for her great images of the production. There are three more performances of The Drawer Boy coming up on August 24 & 25! Visit www.actonenh.org or call 603-300-2986 for reservations!

Bretton Reis and Roland Goodbody

 

ACT ONE FESTIVAL 2012 BEGINS!

It turns out that life is not entirely about traumatic brain injury in the military! Life is also about MAKING THEATRE! (Imagine Leslie doing the happy dance now.)

I’m thrilled to announce the start of ACT ONE’s Festival 2012, my first Fest as Associate DIrector of ACT ONE. It’s all happening at the West End Studio Theatre at 959 Islington Street in Portsmouth, and events will include ten shows and four concerts between August 9 and October 28.

The lion’s share of credit and praise go to my Executive Director, Stephanie Nugent, as well as her Board and all the artists and volunteers whom Stephanie has gathered into the ACT ONE fold over the last thirteen years. I’m deeply honored to be helping her to co-produce the Festival, and also to participate as a performer and director.

The Festival starts with The Drawer Boy, a Canadian drama by Michael Healy. Directed by Stephanie Nugent, this play unearths a mystery dating back to WWII, when best friends Angus and Morgan headed off to England and their lives were changed forever. Interestingly, Stephanie chose this play to direct before we discovered our TBI project–but it also features a character who suffered brain injury during combat. This theme seems to have grabbed us by the lapels!

The second show up is Sylvia, a comedy about the love between man and man’s best friend by A.R. Gurney. Directed by Michael Tobin, Sylvia features the lovely Leslie Trentalange, who is pulling double duty in this year’s Fest. . .

Every show in the Festival is unique, and you can read all about them, as well as ticket and venue information, at www.actonenh.org. But I’ll take another few lines to tell you about my events in the lineup:

Clean Room is my solo masked show, and you can read about it in detail here. It’s set in the waiting room of a mental hospital, and I guarantee that you haven’t met people quite like my characters Brighina and Stupino before. It runs September 21 & 23 and October 5 & 7. On the 7th, the final performance will be followed by an MSIM/nh preview event with special guest Kate Wenner! (Clean Room addresses mature subject matter and is not intended for children.)

Tragedy: a tragedy was written by Will Eno and depicts the last day on Earth, as described by your local newscasters. It’s got gorgeous, funny, slightly off-kilter language, and I’ve cast five tremendous actors in it: Peter Josephson, Leslie Trentalange (of Sylvia fame), Robert Macadaeg, Chris Leon, and Joe Berardi. With costume design by Michele Macadaeg and sound design by Michael Kimball, I feel like I’m “driving the Porsche” with this production! (Costume design is graciously underwritten by The Atticus Group, LLC.) Tragedy: a tragedy runs October 19-27. Check out www.actonenh.org for all the details, or email me for more information.

I so look forward to seeing you at the West End Studio Theatre during Festival 2012! I have to dive back into my favorite part of theatre directing: managing the rehearsal schedules. Seems that’s a dirty job that’s never quite finished. . .