What? Molly Is FINALLY Writing Her Within Arm’s Reach Blogpost!

Now that it has been a month since Within Arm’s Reach opened at the Secret Theatre, I feel like I can finally post my wrap-up without conveying with every word my stress about the show (I swear it was written long ago and not today). I didn’t want to pass the stress on to the audience or cast…or that is my excuse for this taking that long to post.

How can you be stressed when “Huhhhh” our mascot is around?

Those of you that know me are probably wondering: “Why so stressed, Molly? You’ve been working in theatre with multiple titles for the same project for nearly ten years now.” Perhaps this is true, but this is the first time I’d attempted to have four titles for a show. Although, Jess and I had always talked about me coming on to her “baby” project of Within Arm’s Reach as co-adapter and co-producer,  by the time we had an audience I was also set and costume designer.   That being said, stress was abundant in my life for this production as there are not enough hours in the day.

The entire process start to finish was very quick. Jess and I really didn’t get our hands dirty with the adaption until January and we opened in mid-March. Did I mention I’ve never adapted a novel into a script before? What would I do without Jess? It’s a question I asked during this process qite a bit. Adapting was a process that I had a love/hate relationship with at the beginning. Currently, those of you who saw our last production The Sandman’s Coming know this, I’m in a place where my biggest theatrical interest is exploring story telling without an abundance of words (or what I’m starting to coin as Beyond Words Theatre). Within Arm’s Reach was words, a lot of beautiful words. It was daunting to say the least.  It was fascinating to learn the parts of the story that Jess was very drawn to verse what I was.

Who said producers aren’t busy during tech?

Fast-forward through casting and  I suddenly realized, “Oh, right. I’m designing. Maybe I should start that.” It’s been a bit since I’ve costume designed a piece that I wasn’t also directing (I originally went to university for  costume design), so I was thrilled to jump right back in with this. Jess and I have worked together in so many ways, however, I can’t say I wasn’t nervous for our first director/designer show. Made even worse by the fact that I was designing the set as well as costumes.  Part of what makes Jess and I a great team is how differently we work. The rest of our design team got this a lot during tech. What’s the verdict on Jess as director and me as designer?  I would happily design for any show that Jess directed!

Within Arm’s Reach brought out one of my initial reasons for getting involved in theatre. The community of artists that is formed during a show, however fleeting, is beautiful. From late night/early mornings painting  the theater with Jess, to character chats with the cast, to listening to Ien morph the sounds of children; we had a truly wonderful group for this one.

This is all to say that sometimes, stress and being in a slightly uncomfortable situation end up creating a product that, at the end of the day, you are thrilled with. Of course though, it’s not ALL about me. Within Arm’s Reach would not have been the same without the wonderful cast, crew, donors, and audience we had and I can’t say THANK YOU enough to everyone involved. But, really, can I sleep now?

Cat napping at the tech table.

Disclaimer: Any grammar/spelling mistakes were made to keep John on his toes!

Wrapping up WITHIN ARM’S REACH…

I know I’ve been a bit silent on the blog lately…the combination of temporarily shifting the blog posts to the Rockethub page and the end of the show itself (followed by the post show depression that always accompanies that) have lead to a real dearth of posts here on our main blog. But, fear not, gentle readers. I’m back and with me so are the blog posts. SO, let me do a little wrap up on Within Arm’s Reach, and then I’ll get to what’s next.

As far as the wrap up is concerned, Within Arm’s Reach was a dream. Despite, a short tech (and a tall projection area), a big stage (and a small budget), too many technical cues (and too few technicians), a large cast (and a tiny dressing room…(I kid, the dressing room was nice sized for the group and had its own bathroom)), but seriously despite a bunch of things that seemed like they would be stumbling blocks to getting the show off the ground, the performances soared. I’m going to take a moment here to pat ourselves on the back  (and then I’ll return to the modest, humble, Jess that I know you all love) –  Molly and I did a damn fine job with the adaptation – capturing the spirit, mood and characters of the book. And, across the board, the cast was superb. They took these characters and ran with them, creating a moving study of 6 months in the lives of the McLaughlin Family. The designers, again working with very little time, (and even less money), brought the world vividly to life and did so with smiles on their faces. And directing this bunch – cast and crew – was a pleasure from top to bottom. I will also say that though there were stresses (there always are during tech) and though there were a couple of all-nighters (that’s to be expected with a 3 day tech) the tech “week” for Within Arm’s Reach was quite possibly the smoothest and most enjoyable I’ve ever experienced. And, because I can’t resist, I’m just going to mention that this was an all female creative team…short on time and money and absolutely no (zero, zip, zilch) strife…could it be the all female group? I leave it to you to be the judge…

So, yeah, the show went beautifully. We’re putting together a real photo array, but, in the meantime, for those of you who didn’t get a chance to see the show, below is a selection of production stills…

Do I wish we had had larger audiences? Yes, as always, yes. Do I wish we had been able to bring in a bit more money with the show? Again, yes, as always, yes. But I also know the world we’re in. I know that original work on the stage is tough to bring an audience to. I know that low budget means there isn’t always money for the massive publicity push of a larger show and so we’ll keep doing what we’re doing (the slowest of slow builds) and know that if the work is consistently good, eventually the audience will find us, and keep coming back…that and know that our next big payday we’re hiring the marketer of all marketers to get more butts in the seats!

Alas though, now this show is ended. The props have been stowed. The set pieces are safely ensconced in Molly and my apartments. The costumes have been cleaned and stored. The bills have been paid. …and the depression has set in for real…so now what? Now, Molly and I strategize about what’s next. While we are both working on projects separate from GTTP – Molly, on a workshop production of I, Salome by Joseph Samuel Wright and me on The Jane Games, the web series by Jennifer Teska and Laura Riley, that I’m directing (on which I’m about to jump into the editing stage) – we’re also planning what’s next for GTTP. As always, GTTP is moving forward – onward and upward to the next project. And that next theatrical production will most likely be a new movement/theater piece from Molly, hopefully to be performed in June and for me, I will soon be jumping (and taking GTTP with me) completely into Farm Story, GTTP’s first foray into web series production. If all goes according to plan, we will start filming in September. In addition to that, Molly and I are looking to do another round of workshops and hopefully a reading series of new plays. Stay tuned for details!!!

And, once again, because I didn’t say this yet in this specific blog post – THANK YOU, ALL!!! Thank you for supporting GTTP! Thank you for coming out to see our work. Thanks to everyone who made it out for Within Arm’s Reach. Thanks to everyone who donated on RocketHub and directly. Thank you for being a part of the GTTP Family. Without you all, GTTP would be nothing and me? I’d just be directing traffic…and seriously? That’s one thing I have no interest in directing.

WITHIN ARM’S REACH is now within arm’s reach…

Yeah, I know, I just couldn’t help it – I mean that title just called to me…and I will totally use it again and again and again…

In all seriousness though, I wanted to give a quick status update on WAR!

UPDATE ON CAST

As often happens in showcase productions we had some changes in our cast during the first week of rehearsals. We now have a new Gracie, a Lila switcheroo, and a new Woman 1. The new cast is as follows:

CATHARINE……..Mary Anisi*
GRACIE……………….Lucinda Rogers*
LILA…………………..Kassianni Austin*
WEBER……………….Luke Wise
WOMAN 1……………Erin Evers*
WOMAN 2……………Alyssa Simon*
WOMAN 3……………Sheila Stasack*
MAN 1…………………Michael Bryan Hill*
MAN 2…………………John L. Payne*

We were bummed to lose two cast members but are so excited to have Lucinda and Erin joining us. So, we’ve now had a full cast and crew for about a week and a half and in the next two weeks we’ll be doing a whole “Meet the cast and crew” dealio on FB or on the blog (haven’t decided which yet) so you’ll get a chance to know everyone a little more before seeing them on opening night.

UPDATE ON REHEARSALS

We’ve spent the last two weeks doing script revisions and table work. As far as script revisions go, I am now cautiously optimistic in declaring the script “pretty much locked”. Yeah, I’m not going to say it is hard-core-locked-down-and-there-won’t-be-a-single-other-change (I’ve learned that lesson before), but I’m confident in saying that there shouldn’t be any more major changes. As is the case when you’re workshopping a show, there’s always the chance in rehearsals, as the show gets on its feet, that adjustments will get made and changes will happen; and I’m fully expecting that to be the case here. However, the likelihood that we’ll cut an entire scene or add a new four page monologue, diminishes with every moment that passes. As far as table work is concerned, this is one of my favorite parts of the rehearsal process. For those of you not familiar with table work, this is a time in rehearsal, where the actors and director and stage manager (and if you’re lucky the writer) sit around a table and talk…yup, it’s glamourous stuff, folks…but seriously we sit around the table and discuss the show – who are these people? what are their weaknesses? what are their strengths? what do they want? what are they afraid of? how do they relate to each other? All of this is a crucial part of what the show will be and this, at least on a Jessica Ammirati directed show, is our first chance to discover the answers to those questions. Today, however, we get on our feet for the first time and we start to block the show. Another favorite part for me…who are we kidding, they’re ALL my favorite parts. :)

UPDATE ON TICKETS

It’s official, tickets are on sale now!!! I repeat TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW!!!! You can purchast tickets here, or you can call 866-811-4111. Only 12 performances so be sure to purchase early to be guaranteed a seat.

UPDATE ON PRODUCTION

So, postcards are being printed. Props are being purchased/built. Set pieces are being purchased/built. Costumes are being gathered. Projections are being filmed and created. Sound and lights are being designed…the show is beginning to come together…and…in order to pay for all of this, well, number 1 – did you see? TICKETS ARE ON SALE!!!!! and number 2 a Rockethub campaign is about to launch. More details shortly, but I will say, we’re looking at some fun rewards and a generally fun campaign. And, since this show is all about family connections, we hope YOU will join the Within Arm’s Reach family.

Ok, that’s it for now. More updates to follow…

-Jess

 

Busy couple of weeks for Tahiti…

Ok, so when you think of Tahiti, you don’t think of trudging through the snow and the cold or of hunkering down around the heat of the computer screen to type your little heart out with numb fingers. No. No you don’t. You think of beaches and tropical breezes, drinks with umbrellas, and palm trees . . . alas, in wintery New York it was definitely more of the former than the latter, including a snowy day of callbacks where we trudged through the show to see a bunch of very talented actors (who also trudged through the snow – THANK YOU AGAIN, those of you who came and read for us on Monday) read. Anywho, as I said in the title of this post, it’s been a busy couple of weeks for Tahiti…

Posted on Twitter – Written word representations of my 3 current projects – The FARM STORY-book (a gift my sister gave me of a book from the late forties full of farm stories for children), the novel of WITHIN ARM’S REACH, and the shooting script for THE JANE GAMES.

Not only did I just get back from an amazing location-scouting-meet-the-community-Farm-Story-pre-production meeting in Virginia last week, not only am I about to jump back into filming for The Jane Games, but I also just held auditions and callbacks for Within Arm’s Reach and we have cast the show. That’s right folks, we are full steam ahead with WAR (and, yes, that is how I will be abbreviating it because it takes a lot less time to type than the full title and I will be typing it a LOT in the next couple of months. Besides, it’s a family drama so in a way it is about war . . .) So, three updates follow and then I’ll get back to the business of the 3 productions I have going on.

#1) Terri and I, in discussing the logistics of Farm Story, decided that it made sense to film in and around Staunton, Virginia. The script calls for rural and small town locations and Terri, who’s brother lives in VA had seen this wonderful area that offered the promise of everything we need. So, we decided to go down there and check it out. And as I mentioned above, last week I returned from that trip – a four day Virginia visit, during which Terri and I did location scouting, met with some locals and generally got a feel for the area. Check out the last two posts on the Farm Story blog to hear all about what our Virginia trip accomplished and what’s next for Farm Story. It’s really starting to heat up, it’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to have you join us on the web-series-production journey.

#2) This weekend, I jump back into The Jane Games. We have a day of filming on Saturday and then four days of filming next week, and then another few days during February and March . . . and then of course, we go into the editing room. I’m excited to jump back in though by late next week, I might need someone to just shout out the title of the project I’m working on before I step into whatever I’m doing each day, just so I can keep it all straight and not talk about the changing structure of family through the generations when I’m shooting a web series about Jane Austen or launch into a full description of Farm Story themes when we I’m up to my ears in table work on WAR. 

. . . which brings me to . . .

#3) Within Arm’s Reach – so, as I mentioned above, we held auditions and callbacks for WAR this past week and I’m THRILLED to announce that we have a cast and a crew. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be doing “Meet theWAR Team” posts but in the meantime, I’ll just get the names out there:

Within Arm’s Reach - Cast

CATHARINE…………Mary Anisi*
GRACIE……………….Kassianni Austin*
LILA…………………..Katie Stults
WEBER……………….Luke Wise
WOMAN 1……………Jennifer Laine Williams*
WOMAN 2……………Alyssa Simon*
WOMAN 3……………Sheila Stasack*
MAN 1…………………Michael Bryan Hill*
MAN 2…………………John L. Payne*

Within Arm’s Reach - Crew

Director/Adaptor/Producer…..……………….Jessica Ammirati
Adaptor/Producer/Production Designer…….Molly Ballerstein
Stage Manager…………………..………………Kristine Schlachter*
Lighting Designer………………….……………Alexandra Mannix
Sound Designer………………….………………Ien DeNio
Projections Designer……………………………Zeljka Blaksic
*denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association

Although Molly and I have been working tirelessly on revisions for the adaptation, we really jump in to production on Thursday of this coming week, when we hold our first read-through. As usual, once we really begin there will be much more to report but, in the meantime, I wanted to do the official release of our production image (see above) and our WAR aviatrix (see below), courtesy, as usual, of the every-amazing Christine Diaz:

 

 

What a week (and a half) it has been…

Ok, I don’t have a lot of time because it’s been a long day and I still need to pack for the Virginia (Farm Story location scouting) trip, but I did want to just get out a quick blog post. I will do a longer/joint Farm Story blog post about this but I did want to take a minute and talk about the amazing week I’ve had directing a web series.

 As many of you know, a few weeks ago I was brought on to direct the web series, The Jane Games. The show is an imagining of 6 Jane Austen heroines brought to modern times, who are competing on a reality dating show hosted by Jane Austen herself. The scipt is pretty hilarious and it’s gonna be really fun for the audience, but that’s not what I wanted to post about. What I wanted to post about was what I’ve learned so far directing the show.

Now, as you know, I’ve directed a fair amount of theater in my time in NYC, and I’m pretty confident in my abilities in that arena, but I have much less experience directing film. I have made a music video and a 16 minute short film, but I’ve never done anything that could be considered long form and, though each episode of The Jane Games is only about 5 minutes, there are 22 of them, and they do follow one complete story arc, so this has been quite an education. And I don’t just mean that about learning the logistics of being on a film set (some of which have started to come back to me from my PA days in the late 90′s – ah, remember that time Tommy Lee Jones scolded me and I snapped at him? Yeah, good times) or learning the art of  knowing how to get the stuff you want on film so that you and the editor can build the show you want to build in the editing room later. And I’m not talking about the education of how you direct – how you talk to actors, how you tell the story, how you skew the characters’ and story arc to show your idea, your “vision”, turns out all of that stuff is actually the same whether it’s film or theater (and it was amazing to me, that about 15 minutes into the first day, it just felt normal. It was just directing – (directing with much less rehearsal time than I’m used to) – but directing all the same). The education I’m actually talking about  was the tiny miracle that came with this experience. You see, I’ve gone through my life, particularly my adult life, knowing I was born to be a director – theater, film, tv, whatever – but it’s really hard to go through life knowing that and yet not having had the opportunity to really test the “film, tv, whatever” part of that statement.

So, now that I have seen the footage we’ve shot so far and now that I’m starting to picture the very funny and fun narrative we’ll be telling, I can actually say (with some real knowledge of the fact) that I was right. Turns out I was born to do this. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a relief, a revelation and…an education.

Happy New Year!!! And what’s on tap here at GTTP…

Like it says above – Happy New Year, people of the interwebs!

I hope you all had an amazing holiday and are looking forward to jumping in to 2014. Yup, 2014! Still having touble believing it’s 2014 . . . Anywho, now that we at GTTP have taken a nice break (as evidenced by our lack of blog posts for the past couple of weeks), we are hitting the ground running and jumping, feet first, into the new year. And we have an announcement to start off our year with a bang:

We are over-the-moon excited to announce that we have booked a performance space for Within Arm’s Reach and that performance space is . . .

That’s right, after a year and a half of Manhattan performance spaces, GTTP will be returning to The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. We have missed the little (actually not so little) theater across the East River that we consider our 2nd home (the first home of the company of course being the living room of my Brooklyn apartment, which is, quite honestly, not nearly large enough to mount productions), and we are absolutely thrilled to be getting back there. For Within Arm’s Reach we will in The Big Secret, which is a performance space that will be familiar to anyone who saw Skin Flesh Bone. Production load-in will happen on March 17, 2014 and, assuming all goes according to plan, we will open on March 20th (yup, you read that right, a short 3 days of tech…).

Speaking of Within Arm’s Reach, script revisions are moving along (Molly and I are meeting tomorrow for round number 3) and we’re in the process of assembling our crew. . . Stay tuned for more announcements as we move from pre-production into auditions.

So, that’s what GTTP will be up to as we kick 2014 into high gear. We hope the start of your 2014 is equally exhilerating.

 

State of the company…address(?)

So, I know the State of the Union Address usually comes in the beginning of the year, but I figured, (so as not to detract from the president’s speech), I’d jump in now and give everyone the state of things on our little island.

Last week we had our (now annual) ensemble meeting/holiday get together at GTTP. Wine was imbibed, snacks were eaten, and great philosophical discussions about the nature of theater were held (actually we just talked about what the year had brought and what the new year would bring). Regardless, it’s been an exciting and active 2013 for us. Here, are a couple of accomplishments (by the numbers).

21 – number of active ensemble members currently in the company

3 – number of shows GTTP produced in 2013 (Bella’s Dream, The Sandman’s Coming, and Cat Lady Without a Cat)

18 – number of actors employed in our shows during the year

23 – number of crew members employed in our shows during the year

3 – number of workshops held (directing, improv, audition)

1 – number of managing directors GTTP found to help run the company (yay, Molly!)

So that’s what the past year has held for GTTP. Now it’s time to sit down and ask, “where are we going” (or, as a favorite, canceled-too-soon, TV show would say quo vadamus – if you know the show, mention it in the comments and you’ll get a shout out on Facebook). So, where are we going? I’m glad you asked:

Cabaret – because of holiday travel plans, we’ve decided to move our cabaret from December 20th to a January or February weekend. Stay tuned for updates about our cure for the winter blues, our storytelling cabaret - GTTP Talks…Sex.

Within Arm’s Reach – everything is moving forward with our theatrical adaptation of Within Arm’s Reach, the novel by Ann Napolitano. We’re hoping to announce performance dates and space very soon. We’re currently in the process of holding crew interviews and Molly and I are deep into script revisions. Most likely we’ll be holding auditions in late January and will start rehearsals in early February. It is so exciting to see the play starting to develop…at least on the page, and we’re thrilled to soon be all-in on the production. More (many more) updates to come.

Social Media updates – some of you may have noticed we’ve started a regular Monday theater quote posting on Facebook, we’re getting better about weekly blog posts and we’re starting to run weekly Friday GTTP tweets. That’s right, my peeps, we are all over the interwebs. We’re also hoping to bring back the Tahiti Dispatches (our home grown, locally sourced, podcast), so like us on Facebook, subscribe to our blogfollow us on twitter, and keep a eye out for podcast updates.

Updated website – and, last but not least, speaking of our internet presence, in the next few weeks check back at the website for long awaited updates to the “About Us” and “Past Productions” pages. Molly and I are hunkering down next week to get the website all shiny and new for 2014!

Thanks, all! Stay warm out there.

-Jess

Things we’re thankful for at GTTP…

In honor of Thanksgiving, this year, Molly and I decided to compile a little list of the 10 things we at GTTP are most thankful for. So, here goes:

Jason Bolen (set designer) and Becky Sagen (lighting designer) during tech for DREAMERS OF THE DAY.

10) Source Material – we can’t say enough about the amazing books, short stories, songs, images, interviews, poetry, nursery rhymes, myths and other source material that is out there to make theater from. The goal of GTTP is to create innovative and exciting new work, and we couldn’t do what we do without the ideas that come out of the great source material that is already out there.

9) Audience – that’s right, folks. I’m talking about you wonderful people who come to see our work, who look at the flyer or the facebook post, or the newsletter and say, “Oh, it’s a Going to Tahiti Production? I’m there!” If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it does it make a sound? Well, we at GTTP believe, that if we do a show and NO ONE is there to see it, it’s not the show we mean it to be. So, whether it’s 1 or 100 of you, you as our audience make GTTP what we are. THANK YOU!

8) Donors – in all fairness this really goes hand in hand with number 9 above because most often there is a fair crossover between these two categories, but, we did want to specifically remark on how thankful we are to all of you who not just come out to see the show but who also donate to the productions, the company, and the dream that is GTTP. THANK YOU!

7) Crew – I mean, this is how I found Molly…really does more need to be said? Whether it is designers who create the look and feel of a show, stage managers who make the show run, or interns and running crew who do those jobs that fall through the cracks during a show and yet still must get done, GTTP could not function without the wonderful men and women who crew our shows.

Actress and ensemble member Kiwi Callahan at rehearsal for DREAMERS OF THE DAY.

6) Actors – Molly and I are both directors, but honestly, without actors, we may aswell be directing traffic. We, of course, couldn’t do it without those incredible actors who choose to grace our stages, and for a brief moment, our lives. Thanks, folks!

5) Ensemble Members – Part of why we do theater is to be a part of a community – a family – of artists who understand what we do and why we do it. For Molly and me, GTTP ensemble members are the core group of that family. We are so thankful to have them in our lives.

4) Performance Space – Whether it is a proper theatre, the great outdoors, or someone’s living room, every show needs a stage. And, with space at a premium and so many theaters closing, it is so amazing to have a space for each show to call home. Along those lines, we’d like to have a specific “Thank you shout out to Shetler Studios and The Secret Theatre”. These two spaces have been invaluable to genetic code of GTTP and we couldn’t function without them.

Cast and running crew from JANE AUSTEN’S PERSUASION.

3) Transitory Nature of Theater – As frustrating as it may sometimes be to look back at a performance and realize that there is no record of the event beyond some production stills (and the props and costumes that take up closet space in my – and my parents’s (sorry, mom and dad- I will seriously pick up those camel/stools from Dreamers of the Day any day now) homes), there is something truly wonderful about the fact that any given performance is just a moment in time and then, it’s gone. If you miss it you miss it, but if you were there, and you saw it, that moment has the potential to stay with you for the rest of your life.

2) The Excitement of “What’s Next” – As much as we love each project we work on, there’s always something new on the horizon (see number 3 above). For Molly and me, as the show gets handed off to the actors and the stage manager and they take it through the home stretch of performance, we, as directors, though sad to let go, are simultaneously excited about what next project we’ll be sinking our teeth into . . . And can’t wait to jump in.

But most of all, we are thankful that:

1) With all the entertainment options out there, with the movies and television and youtube and the interwebs and smartphones and everything, that, in the end, people still crave and love live theater. We’d be nowhere without that.

Thank you thank you thank you!

Thanksgiving pie…’nuff said!

. . . and now we’re off to have leftover pie! Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Things completed and things beginning at GTTP…

On November 3rd GTTP completed two kinda big deal things – one personal and one business – but both had an effect on who GTTP is as a company.

In the interest of full disclosure, the time shown in the picture was the elapsed time from the first gun. My wave start time was about an hour and 15 minutes after the first gun.

The personal first – Yours truly (aka, GTTP Artistic Director, Jessica Ammirati) ran the New York City Marathon. As many of you know, I was supposed to run it last year before Hurricane Sandy put a damper on those plans, and after that experience I wrote about “Art and Sports and the things they Share” and, as my facebook peeps know, I already wrote a blog post about the experience of running it this year which you can see both on my personal FB page and on the ING NYC Marathon page; BUT, in this particular post, I’d like to just mention a word about perserverance. As in: have it, believe in it, keep doing it (whatever “it” may be). You see, #1 – I don’t really like running. No, I swear. I’ve been training off and on for this marathon for 13 years (yes I said years! And, though much of it was the “off” part of off and on, for the past two years it was serious running-5-days-a-week training) and I DON’T ENJOY RUNNING. I enjoy having done the run. I enjoy that when I’m running I can eat pretty much whatever I want and I won’t really gain weight. I enjoy the way my body looks and feels because of the run. But I kinda HATE the actual run. I keep waiting for that runners’ high to kick in…uh, I’m still kinda waiting. And, #2 – I’m a slow runner – I’m from hearty Italian peasant stock so though I can keep going, I can’t really get there fast. At my fastest (which was the middle 2-13 miles of the marathon), I was running about an 11 minute and 26 second mile. So, you know, not nothing but not exactly record breaking speed. And then, after mile 13 I slowed down a bit, and from 13-21 I ran about a 12 minute mile. And then I slowed down A LOT for the last 5.2 miles. The entire thing took me 5 hours and 46 minutes (and 18 seconds) to complete. A long time. I mean, it was under the 6 hour goal I had set for myself but still longer than the 5 hour and 30 minute goal I had really hoped for. But here’s the thing – it was awesome! I mean it. The run, the marathon, the experience? The FIVE HOURS AND FORTY SIX MINUTES (and 18 seconds) OF SUSTAINED PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?!?!? It was amazing. Hands down, freaking awesome, once-in-a-lifetime kinda thing here. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is (and I know it’s been said before much more eloquently than this but here goes): It’s worth it. Persevere. Keep pushing. Go after your dreams or goals or things you forsee for yourself. Or whatever you want to call it because most of the time it’s going to pay off. It can’t not. Not after you’ve put in all that time, work, energy, thought. 13 years ago, I had this wacky idea – “maybe I’ll run the NYC marathon” but more than that I had this thought – “I want to have this experience because I think this experience will mean something to me, will shape me in a certain way, will have an effect on the person I am.” And so I decided to pursue it. And, like I said, it was seriously off and on. There are whole years in there where I didn’t lace up a sneaker…but in the end, I had the experience I did because I wanted to do it, I prepared to do it, I pushed to do it. I persevered. And I did it. I did “___________” (YOU fill in that blank for you) and it was SOOOOOO worth it. When I was 10 years old, I had a similar thought, goal, dream, what have you – “I want to be a director” (it was actually when I was 6 that I first thought it but it wasn’t until I was 10 that I began to understand the thing I wanted to be and do was the job of a director). So, here I am 30 years later. GTTP is fives years strong and I’m doing this thing – this hard, exciting, scary, challenging, wonderful, life-changing thing. So I guess my whole point is…perseverence is cool, and I truly believe that, like gravity, it always works…

…and sometimes, that personal perseverance connects with someone else’s personal perseverance and you end up with a business accomplishment…which, of course, brings me to…

Luke Wise and Jill Rittinger in a scene from THE SANDMAN’S COMING.

The business thing that happened on November 3rd:

GTTP’s Managing Director, Molly Ballerstein, completed the run of her first GTTP show, The Sandman’s Coming. Slowly this company that I envisioned in my living room 6 years ago is starting to grow into it’s future shape. You see, I never planned for GTTP to stay my baby. I always wanted a partner.

Lantie Tom as The Heroine in THE SANDMAN’S COMING.

I was always hoping to find someone who would want to direct shows and help guide the company into the future with me. Yes, I want to direct but I want to direct as part of a family of artists, not out there on my own. And, with The Sandman’s Coming, GTTP has taken that first step into a new world. A world of LOTS of people’s ideas instead of just mine. A world of exploration, of partnerships and who knows what else. It’s an exciting step for us to take and an exciting way to do it. Because, guys? Seriously? Sandman was extraordinary. A movement theater piece that explored the nature of addiction, identity and human connection. That looked at addiction not in a sensationalistic way but asked instead, what do we do-how do we deal with additction when it isn’t sensationalistic? When it isn’t glamorous or tragic? When it is just a part of everday life – ugly, complicated, terrifying and banal – ordinary everyday life? Haunting and evocative, beautiful and moving, painful and transformative, this show stays with you long after the lights go down. Take a gander at a couple of the production stills above. We have more that we’ll be posting on the website shortly. The Sandman’s Coming was a truly powerful experience. And proof that GTTP is so lucky to have snatched up Molly as soon as we found her.

So that’s what we’ve just completed. Now, as Jed Barlet would say, “what’s next?” (Y’all knew I was a West Wing fan, right?) Because, in the end, you have to keep moving forward…ALWAYS. And moving forward we are with a couple of rather exciting events.

First Up:

Cat Lady Without A Cat

That’s right. Once again GTTP is co-producing Carrie Keskinen’s hilarious one woman show - “A hilarious and heartfelt story of one woman’s journey from a painful divorce to her new life in New York. Finding a dead mouse in her apartment is the catalyst for letting go of her past and fears of becoming a crazy cat lady, and discovering her true self.” And this time around GTTP peeps aren’t just on the producing side. This time around, I’m Assistant Directing the show and Molly is Stage Managing. Because the show’s first performance was sold out United Solo Festival, decided to extend and add a second show. Join us on Saturday, November 23rd at 4pm for the additional show. The performance is at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street by 9th Avenue. Details and tickets available here.

 

December Benefit – GTTP talks SEX!

We’re currently planning our December Benefit – GTTP talks Sex! Ha, ha! Now you’re paying attention? Details to follow but for now, save the date – Before you head out of the city for your holiday festivities, we hope you’ll join us on December 20th at Shetler Studios for an evening of storytelling with the Tahitians.

Within Arm’s Reach in March

Molly and I are currently finishing the  stage adaptation of Ann Napolitano’s beautiful novel, Within Arm’s Reach. From Library Journal (Starred Review) – “Narrated in six different voices, this stunning first novel explores the multigenerational dynamics of one Irish American family and exposes misunderstandings and broken relationships… Although this exquisite, skillfully written gem addresses serious issues – e.g., guilt vs. loyalty, the past vs. the present – the narrative remains hopeful and includes ample doses of humor and wit.” In the next few months you’ll be seeing a lot from us about Within Arm’s Reach. We’re settling on a performance space and a crew in the next couple of weeks and will look at holding auditions in January. The plan right now (of course dependent on things like “what space is available?”  and “how much money can we raise?”) is for a two week performance run in March. Expect trademark GTTP elements – original storytelling and innovative use of lights, sound, set, projections, costume and movement. More details to come soon. And then more and more and more…

Farm Story filming

GTTP is thrilled to make this announcement: We’re about to move into the world of film and TV production! As a director I love love love theater but from the beginning I’ve also always wanted to direct in the film and tv world as well. So, why haven’t I, you ask. Actually I have a bit – I made a music video for Camilla Ammirati’s awesome song – The Ballad of Chicken McGann (which you can see on our GTTP Youtube Page) and I made a short film of Skin Flesh Bone – but I’ve never made a full length film or television pilot for a couple of reasons. #1) As you know, although theater ain’t exactly cheap, it’s definitely cheaper than film and tv production. In the past, thanks to all of you, we’ve been able to raise the budgets for plays but the starting budget for a television pilot episode is exponentially higher than your average low-budget theater production. So, we haven’t jumped in before. #2) I knew that raising the money for and actually filming a television pilot would take a LOT of my time – as in – all of it. And I didn’t want to abandon theater production while I went off to spend all of my time on a television show. #3) I’m not a writer. Though I’m a decent interpretive artist, I’m not exactly good with the creative writing thing. And so, I’ve never had a script that made sense as the first episode of a television show. BUT NOW – all three of those things have changed. (Actually #3 and #2 changed and that made me willing to jump in and change #1). So #3 changed with the entracnce of  Terri Viani, a dear screenwriting friend of mine. She has written an amazing script for the pilot episode of a television series called Farm Story. As you know from previous blog posts we now have Molly on board so there went #2. She will spearhead the theater stuff while I flit off to film Farm Story (see the next paragraph for more details on that). And so, we’re ready to jump into #1 – the money. Going to Tahiti Productions will coproduce the television show with Terri’s company, The Writer, Ink Productions and I will direct Farm Story. All that being said, GTTP’s official involvement in Farm Story won’t really heat up until Within Arm’s Reach is nearing completion but, if you’d like to follow the progress of independent television production (a formerly unheard of field that, with the advent of the internet  and inexpensive (but high quality) film/video technology, is now becoming more common), check out our Farm Story blog here. As of right now, (and, of course, dependent on fundraising) we are planning to film in New York and Virginia in late June/early July of 2014. Although we are THRILLED to be taking this step, as I said, this doesn’t mean that GTTP will stop doing theater. While I’m off rehearsing and filming the first episode of Farm Story, Molly will be here running GTTP and working on her own show…

Commissioned show

…which brings me to another GTTP first – it’s an exciting 5th Anniversary year for GTTP! For the first time GTTP is commissioning a show. (We’ve hit the big time now, kids!) Molly is currently in discussions with a playwright friend to write a collaborative movement/theater piece that will feature original music and will hopefully run around the same time that I’m off filming Farm Story - so, late June/early July.

Workshops, classes and readings oh my!

And, last but not least – we were so excited about our last round of workshops and classes that we’re going to do it again. Stay tuned in January for class and workshop announcements. We’re also planning to launch our reading series starting in the new year.

We hope to see you at one of the many upcoming events as GTTP heads into the second half of our 5th anniversary season.

From the Rehearsal Room – THE SANDMAN’S COMING Director, Molly Ballerstein

Today we have a guest blog post from Molly Ballerstein, director and writer of The Sandman’s Coming. Here’s what she had to say about the process of creating this haunting and beautiful show. Have you bought your tickets yet?

(left to right) Molly demonstrates a scene for actors Lantie Tom and Luke Wise during rehearsal.

I’m going to be honest with you all, I’ve been trying to write this for weeks. It always starts the same: “I can’t believe it’s been over a year,” as this thought has stayed with me constantly throughout this second incarnation of The Sandman’s Coming. Now that we are half way through the run I’m practically speechless. A year ago I had a form of this story I wanted to share, a choreographer, and acceptance into the Frigid Festival guaranteeing us five shows. The Frigid Festival production yielded one THEASY reviewer to comment:

“The Sandman’s Coming is a highly ambitious and ultimately effective exploration that engages dance, media, sound, and familiar nursery rhymes in its storytelling. Theatrical, unexpected, and vivid, Sandman is important both in its topic and in its ingenuity.”

At the end of the festival I knew the story telling was not complete; I had heard a lot of great feedback from my New York writing premiere and was excited to embark on the refining process…in the future. A small break from The Sandman’s Coming led to me getting involved with Going to Tahiti Productions, which led to Jessica agreeing to co-produce The Sandman’s Coming for the fall and bring me on board GTTP.

It has been quite the process to start this show from scratch. I have always enjoyed working in a more collaborative/round table structure then the typical theatre hierarchy but this show has been my opportunity to test that. To explore the options collaborating brings about while being a hybrid or slashy (director/writer/producer) myself has put my stress levels to the

The same scene in performance, with the addition of actress Jill Rittinger.

limits. This had its successes and failures especially as the time crunch came upon us. It has also proven to me that in order to tell a story effectively everyone’s heart needs to be in it. To have the pleasure of working with artist’s that are invested in the story has been a journey and the longer I work on the show the more personal stories I hear about how addiction has affected the lives of my collaborators.  I have worked with many amazing artists along the way and everyone involved in this process will always have a special place in my mind.

Along with exploring the boundaries of labels within the process, I have worked to redefine my process of directing. With the original idea of this story I wanted to explore the disconnect between what you hear and what you see. Communication has always been a key topic in my work and although I had previously pulled away from my dance roots something about this story made me want to revisit them. To use dance and stylized pedestrian movements as the primary means of communicating with the audience is by no means a unique way of storytelling; however, exploring this with text that only breaks the third wall and is never used to communicate between characters on stage has been quite the adventure. I hope that you will join me in this process as the ears, eyes, and heart for the story to be told to.

The Sandman’s Coming runs until November 3rd at Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios, 244 West 54th Street, 12th Floor. For tickets and further details go to:www.goingtotahitiproductions.com.

Molly Ballerstein is a New York City director, writer, designer and stage manager as well as being the co-Executive Producer/co-Managing Director of GTTP. You can follow Molly on Twitter @FedoraMolly.

Birthdays and Theater…for me…

I had a crazy realization the other day…in all my theater work, I have never been doing a show on my actual birthday. Rehearsals, possibly; theater classes certainly, but an actual performance? nope. That is ca-razy to me. Ok, let me back up a little…

The birthday dessert at Le Bernadin on my 40th birthday courtesy of Steve and Maricar

Birthdays are a big deal to me. They always have been. When I was growing up I was usually awakened by mom, dad and the sisters outside my bedroom door singing happy birthday to me. I would emerge from my room and my folks would have put a few “morning presents” on the table with streamers and a rogue balloon or two so that I would have something to unwrap first thing. The presents were never anything major just little tchokes or something practical, like socks or tights or something – it didn’t matter what the gift was as much as it mattered that there was a little something for me to unwrap. Morning presents were always important – so important, in fact, that the year I was at the National Theater Institute my mother plotted with my roommate, Kat, and a few of my friends at NTI, Lynn and Cathy, to meet outside the dorm the evening of October 24th, so they could pick up the box of morning presents to smuggle into the room and under Kat’s bed so that after I went to sleep they could set up the morning presents. It’s always been a thing in my family. My folks did it with my sisters too. For each other, on their birthdays, my mom and dad leave little notes hidden around the house for the birthday girl or boy. To this day, if I’m visiting the house in Connecticut and I pull open the freezer anytime in late March or early April, I might find a post-it that says, “happy birthday! love, me” with a smiley face on it – a birthday note from my dad to mom. Or, if it’s late October/early November I’ll find a “happy birthday to you! love, me” post-it from mom to dad, in the bathroom medicine cabinet…point is, I was brought up with a healthy respect for celebrating the day you entered the world.

The homemade pistachio birthday cake my friend and former roommate, Sarah made for my 40th – my 40th birthday was very special…

And, of course, I think it’s clear from reading htis blog, theater is a big deal to me too. Theater is holy to me. When I’m worksing on a show, even when it’s 2am and I’ve been working an 18 hour day, I’m at my happiest. I’m the most “me” I can be. Things make sense when I’m working on a show. SO, it was crazy for me to realize the other day, as my birthday approached and I realized I wouldn’t really be able to do any special birthday celebration on the actual day because I would be running box office for a show. Which means, I’ll be at a theater…my church…on my birthday…working on a show…does it get any better? The confluence of events that made that happen are amazing to me and the mere fact that, in all the theater I have done – and, honestly, it’s like 28 years of theater (almost 20 of them professional theater) the mere fact that I’ve never had a performance on my birthday? It’s astounding to me! And, now, I’m THRILLED to hit this milestone and discover (as if there was any doubt) that I’m truly in the right place. You know how they say you know your dream job when it’s something you’d do for free? Well I think the phrase should actually be “You know your dream job when it’s something you’d happily do on your birthday”. Looks like I found my thing…

And just another thing in the category of Crazy Coincidences That Add Up To TRUTH! How perfect is it that not only does my birthday fall during this production (I’m of course talking about The Sandman’s Coming tickets available now!) but Molly too will celebrate her birthday during the run of this show. I mean, it doesn’t get any better than this. Celebrations shall abound!

Anywho, if you find yourself free this evening around 8pm, come on by Shetler Studios, 244 West 54th Street and join us for our second performance of The Sandman’s Coming. Tickets available here and at the box office.

HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE from Tongue in Cheek Productions

Recently I had the opportunity to see Tongue in Cheek Theater’s production of Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive, directed by Jake Lipman, at The Bridge Theater at Shetler Studios. Yes, the same Shetler Studios where we’ll be opening The Sandman’s Coming on Thursday. In fact, How I Learned to Drive will be running right next door to us for several of our performances. Now you might think that would be a bad thing – why would we want competition? Right? But really it’s just such a wonderful coincidence of timing. You see, I LOVE Tongue in Cheek Theater. After Going to Tahiti Productions, they are, hands down, my favorite indy off-off-Broadway theater company in the city. I’ve now seen 3 shows of theirs - Our Town, The Mistakes Madeline Made, and now, How I Learned to Drive – and I am continually impressed with the high caliber of work that they do. And, the idea of having them next door to us while we are doing our run? Well, that’s just all kinds of good mojo and we theater people are very big with the mojo.

Jake Lipman as Li’l Bit and Lynn Berg as Uncle Peck
photograph by Maeghan Donohue c.2013

But I digress – this is a review so – How I Learned to Drive. I walked into the show knowing nothing about it…no, that’s not true, I knew the play had won a Pulitzer…I knew Jake was directing it…and, uh, I knew it had something to do with driving? (I mean, that’s in the title). But, seriously, I knew very little about it. I know, I know, you’re thinking – “but Jess, you’re a theater person! Of course you know How I Learned to Drive.” Nope. I knew nothing about it and, because of my whole spoiler thing, once I realized I was going to see it, I didn’t want to know anything about it. I just wanted to see it fresh. So I went into it cold – I had no expectations (beyond my normal expectation of a TIC production: that it was going to be an evening of good theater) – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Ok, for the spoiler averse, skip this paragraph: How I Learned to Drive chronicles the formative years of precocious teen, Li’l Bit (Jake Lipman), who yearns to get out of her small town and away from her dysfunctional family. The play tells the story of a troubling relationship Li’l Bit has with an older man; and, using driving as a metaphor, it explores issues of pedophilia, incest, control and manipulation. To be honest, the subject matter makes it a bit tough to watch and yet, in the hands of Ms. Lipman and her cast it was a thought-provoking, surprising, funny and, at times, devestating, show.

The cast was superb across the board but I need to single out both Lynn Berg as Uncle Peck and Ms. Lipman herself as Li’l Bit. First a word about Lynn Berg. This is a tough role, folks – a really tough role. It would be so easy for this character to come off as really skeevy and that’s it. I mean, the character is a full grown adult, in an incredibly inappropriate, (not to mention) illegal relationship with a young girl. But there was such subtlety to Mr. Berg’s performance. It’s not that you were sympathetic to him exactly (you know, read the previous sentence), it was more that, through Mr. Berg’s performance, you see Uncle Peck as a victim as much as a predator. And, you see genuine kindness and affection from Uncle Peck. You see why Li’l Bit is conflicted in her feelings for him. AND, you see something not easily characterized as sensationalistic or flashy. It’s instead just the easy grubbiness of real life situations that are complex and painful and confusing.

Mr. Berg has a capable counterpart in Jake Lipman as Li’l Bit. Her performance as well is subtle and powerful, funny and heart-wrenching. In her hands Li’l Bit is such a real person – a study in contradictions – strong and weak, old and young, knowledgable and naive – and you believe the conflict she feels in her relationship to this older, wiser, (inappropriately) affectionate man who clearly sees her in a way the rest of her family doesn’t. It isn’t cut and dry, it isn’t titillating and sensationalistic; it’s real and ugly and painful and confusing and funny and haunting and so so sad. And, as a director myself, I am truly amazed at Ms. Lipman’s ability to guide a production at the same time she completely merges herself into it.

The Women of HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE
photograph by Maeghan Donohue c.2013

The supporting cast – Michael Edmund, Holland Hamilton, Shelley Little and Joan D. Saunders are equally fine. Playing multiple roles who orbit Uncle Peck and Li’l Bit, each actor has the challenge of playing “Greek Chorus” members as well as specific characters and they all step up to the task with skill and grace.

The play is beautifully directed – actually it’s the best kind of direction – not noticeable. The pace is perfect and the show flows beautifully. It was so smooth that when I first sat down and realized there was no intermission, I was concerned. How would I sit through 90 minutes of, you know, talking? (I know, I know. That’s, like, what theater is. And I love theater, so why would I be concerned by it? And yet, I’ve seen so much…so so much…bad off-off Broadway theater (Hell, I’ve seen some bad on Broadway theater) that the fear of being trapped with no intermission, is a legitamate fear – it can be interminable). But, of course, in the always deft and capable hands of Jake Lipman, I had nothing to worry about.

The simple evocative set – an oversized picnic table and two benches – seamlessly becomes the front seat of a car, a dock at a fishing hole, a hotel bedroom – at the same time it gives you a sense of nostalgia for a seemingly simpler and easier time.

In the end, How I Learned to Drive is about a woman learning the rules of life the way some of us learn the rules of the road – from friends or loved ones, slowly,  frighteningly, sometimes painfully, but always, in the end, on our own.

How I Learned to Drive runs through November 2nd. Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm. All performances are at The Bridge Theare @ Shetler Studios (literally right next door to Theatre 54 where we’ll be performance The Sandman’s Coming - just saying). For tickets and further details visit the Tongue In Cheek website and don’t miss this terrific and haunting production.

 

From the Rehearsal Room – THE SANDMAN’S COMING actress, Lantie Tom

Today we have a guest blog post from Lantie Tom, the actress playing the part of The Heroine in The Sandman’s Coming. Here’s what she had to say about the process of creating this intriguing and haunting character. Have you bought your tickets yet?

It’s a marvel when diverse artists identify a truth, and with love, honor the beauty with their labor. Soon after agreeing to collaborate on The Sandman’s Coming the first time, I became impressed with director, Molly Ballerstein’s refreshing take on addiction. It has been a gratifying process as she and choreographer Dana Boll have encouraged and assimilated the actors’ ideas into the greater narrative. The result allows us actors (Jill Rittinger and Luke Wise and myself) to show more range than the traditional play, and our improvisations have led us to find movements that are authentic to us and specific to our characters.

I felt that The Heroine required a compelling, dramatic, origin story (as any supernatural character does). I hoped to dissuade audiences from dismissing my character’s title as a convenient pun, so I dug through my research for information that would inspire heroic attributes. My notions, in conjunction with Molly’s version of The Heroine’s background have resulted in a character that I think illustrates some overlooked aspects of addiction.

I had the advantage of playing The Heroine in the play’s first incarnation, and the wealth of additional information available this time around left me wading through possibilities for reconstructing this character. Strategically incorporating choices from the first staging felt like reorganizing the garage – deciding which tools are needed, if and why they’re really indispensable, then where to put them, and lastly, where to put those shiny new tools! The result has been an invigorating discovery of how I understand and translate ancient, larger-than-life correlations between purity and corruption, the natural and the supernatural, saviours and lunatics, the sacred and the profane and love and abuse.

I suspect my relatively literal apporach to the symbolism in my lines in unusual. I am of the opinion that symbolism is affected through precision, so dissecting The Heroine’s lines felt like an exercise in cryptography. To her credit, our director has remained patient and curious while witnessing my process, and intervening when I lose my bearings.

The interplay between the text, and the universal languages of music and movement seem to have spurred this play’s dynamic evolution over a very short rehearsal period, and I’m as eager as anyone to see all the beautiful work that Jill Rittinger and Luke Wise – both of them skilled, truthful, generous actors – have put into this project. Returning audiences and new audiences alike will find The Sandman’s return to be an intriguing experience.

The Sandman’s Coming opens Thursday, October 24th and runs until November 3rd at Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios, 244 West 54th Street, 12th Floor. For tickets and further details go to: www.goingtotahitiproductions.com.

Lantie Tom is a physical, character actor, mask and puppet designer, and educator. For more information:maskspuppetry.wix.com/deadlanguage

Happy Birthday to Molly and Jess…

Workshops and Seminars and Classes, oh my!

When Molly came on board as GTTP’s Co-Managing Director/Co-Executive Producer, we sat down and started planning the 2013-14 season. We knew that right out of the gate we wanted to do something new, something different, and something that would change the Tahiti Status Quo and one of the first things we talked about were the workshops/classes/seminars I’ve wanted to jump into since I first started this whole theater thing. After all, I’m the daughter of two teachers, there’s no way teaching isn’t in my blood. BUT, the thought of it was a bit daunting – how do you plan a workshop? where would we do it? what if no one showed up? So, we did the only thing we could think of – ignore that “Doubting Thomas Voice” and just jump in. BTW, the answer to those three questions are as follows:

1) You just do it – decide what you want to say and teach, and then plan a curriculum that says and teaches it.

2) We’ll do it at Shetler Studios – after all, we have this lovely performance space that we are currently using for performances only in the evenings (except for our weekend matinees)…perhaps we should capitalize on that fact and use the space during the day as well.

3) We’ll figure they just haven’t found us yet and do the workshops again in a few weeks…undaunted is truly the ONLY way to do independent theater in NYC.

And then we realized that the week we wanted to do the workshops – the full week between the opening and closing of The Sandman’s Coming (oh, have you bought your tickets yet?) is the week between my and Molly’s birthdays* – that’s right, folks, we now have two, count ‘em TWO Scorpios running this thing. So, as a little birthday celebration, we have planned 3 very exciting workshops:

Workshop

On Tuesday, October 29th, from 2-5pm we’ll be hosting an Improv Workshop for Actors and Non-Actors Alike. What makes this workshop really special to GTTP is that it’s being run by Improv Guru, Brett Wean. Now, many of you may not know Brett specifically but if you saw Full Disclosure by Ruth McKee, when we did that back in 2011, you saw some of his work. As a director, I find improvisation to be an invaluable tool in helping actors find their performances and when we did Full Disclosure, I brought Brett in specifically to work with Kiwi Callahan and help her find the world of Sunny Smith. Without him Full Disclosure would have been a VERY different show. And, one of the things I realized when I watched Brett and Kiwi work is that Improv is great for performance, yes, but it is also great for everyday life…and, if you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll believe Tina Fey. Anywho, the point is, Improv workshop is happening. Join us. For tickets go to: eventbrite or our Shows and Events Page.

Seminar

On Wednesday, October 30th, from 10:30am-5:30pm Molly and I will be running an all day seminar that is very close to my heart. Targeted to Early Career Directors – Directing in NY is truly the seminar I wish I could have taken way back when…when I first moved to NY and started directing here. The goal of the seminar is to give a kind of overview of everything you’ll need to know to direct a show in NY – from the producing side – finding a space, following a budget, using the Actors’ Equity Showcase code; to communicating with your design team and crew –  directing may be a solitary job but you really can’t do it alone; to straight-up directing techniques – how do you analyze a scene, is improv helpful (spoiler alert – uh, yeah. see the paragraph above this one), how exactly do you direct? It should be a fun time and, at $175 for the day, for an all day seminar with lunch included, you know it’s a great deal. For tickets go to eventbrite or our Shows and Events Page.

Class

And then, on Thursday, October 31st, from 1-4pm (early enough for people to have time to go home and get into their Halloween costumes), we’re holding an Audition Class – Auditioning for Women. Seeing as GTTP is all about giving more opportunities for women in theater, it seemed appropriate to tailor a class around the women who obtain those “more opportunities”. And, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like women cast all that differently from men, but I do think there are some tips that actors would be interested in when approaching an audition.  In fact, I’ll give one away now for free – don’t call me girl. I know, it seems straightforward, and kinda obvious but I’ve lost count of the number of actors (all younger than me) who’ve said in an audition, “you girls might want to check it out” thereby insuring that, you know, I will never check it out. So, yeah, that’s a freebie, but there are some other great tips we’ll be covering in the Audition workshop. For tickets go to: eventbrite or our Shows and Events Page.

Oh My!

We hope to see you there and, of course, all proceeds from the workshops go to our continued production of quality Independent NY Theater. So, join us for a workshop, learn a little something, support GTTP and who knows where else it might lead…

*by the by, there will, most likely, be cake.

From the Rehearsal Room – TSC’s Composer – Dede Booth

This week we have a guest post from Dede Booth, the composer and sound designer of The Sandman’s Coming, which opens October 24th. Tickets available now!

When Molly Ballerstein first approached me to compose the music and sound design for The Sandman’s Coming, I was intrigued as well as feeling those good kind of nerves that make you feel like when you don’t know what you’re doing but know that in the end, you will own and be proud of whatever product has been achieved. I had only ever written vocal/lyrical music before; progressive rock and pop metal to be more specific, so approaching an instrumental score of music was slightly new territory for me. The timing could not have been more than perfect to accept this challenge though. I had been dealing with a vocal injury and was exploring new ways to make music while my voice was recovering. Taking that instrumental journey by composing for the theater seemed just what I needed.

I approached the writing and recording process differently than I would’ve with my band’s music. Normally I write the song’s “blueprint” on my acoustic guitar and once the idea’s are all flushed out, I track a demo and begin writing around that initial idea. This time, I produced and arranged the music simultaneously to the writing. Some times this meant approaching the music in a somewhat improvised way, laying everything down in one take and producing and layering with multiple instruments at the same time. Other times it was experimenting with an idea that I had stored away in the back of my mind for months (or years even!), and playing around with how I could manifest those ideas and make them fit within the context of the Sandman story. Another difference is that I tend to record all the tracks that a particular instrument is being used for and go through each instrument at a time; so basically recording each song at the same time (all the guitars, then all the drums, etc.). For this, I did one song at a time. So I’d track a guitar part, mix it down, then track another instrument, and so on until the piece was finished. I enjoyed this process very much. In fact, I think I learned more about production and got what I wanted to achieve sonically by doing things this way.

Instrumental music is an interesting challenge for me. My lyrical music is existential in nature, and many of my songs in the past have touched on the theme of addiction. Additionally, I happen to hear my compositions through the imagination of movement. It may sound odd, but music is very visual to me. So I felt completely comfortable and connected to putting myself into the elements of Sandman. The challenge then came from being able to convey the emotional elements I try to do through my lyrics, and achieve the same emotional outcome through instrumental music. I wanted to put myself into each character’s role and really give each sound or melody or rhythm that characters’ personality. I wanted the music to symbolize each character so that when viewers heard a certain guitar sound or piece of sound design they could recognize that sound as being The User or The Heroine or The Watcher. When I listen back to these pieces, I think I was able to do just that.

It’s been interesting working on this music and visualizing the direction of the play while working solely in Boston and not being present at rehearsals. In a way, it forced me to dig deep into this play and put myself into every role and every movement this piece conveys. The Sandman’s Coming has been an incredible opportunity for me to grow artistically, challenge myself musically, and open my music up to other mediums of listening and experience. I’m honored to be a part of it and am looking forward to where this experience will take me.

Dede Booth is a Boston musician/producer, music therapist in training, & mental health advocate. To learn more about Dede and her work, check out her website here or follow her on Twitter here.

Five years is wood, right?

That’s right folks! As you may have seen in our newsletter, GTTP is FIVE YEARS OLD this month!!!!!

And, in celebration of this milestone, we’ll be having a whole bunch of events throughout the season, including shows (of course) – speaking of which, have you bought your tickets for The Sandman’s Coming? (I may have mentioned – they’re on sale now) – workshops (we’re planning two workshops – improv and audition skills – for October and several throughout the rest of the season – stay tuned for details), cabarets – we’re ironing out the details of a storytelling cabaret that will be happening during the run of The Sandman’s Coming (tickets on sale now) that we hope you will join us for – seminars (we’re currently putting together a seminar for early career directors – details to follow) and parties - at the very least we’re planning an anniversary celebration that should coincide nicely with the winter holidays – so we hope you will stay tuned…but, that is actually not what this post is about. This post is brought to you by the number 5 because this post is about our 5 year anniversary or our 5th birthday or however you want to look at it, this post about us having made it, in an over-satureated, theater town, to our 5th season!!! A milestone we would not have seen if it weren’t for all of you out there!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for your continued support. And, since this post is about a specific number, I thought I’d give it to you by the numbers – 10 to be exact – so here you go…

1 – as in – ONE DREAM that refused (and continues to refuse) to die. For me the dream of directing was so powerful that it started us all on this journey. It’s been a weird and wonderful trip so far – a dream trip, one might say, and I hope we’re just at the beginning…

2 – as in – the number of novels GTTP has adapted into stage productions (Dreamers of the Day, and Jane Austen’s Persuasion) – see our Past Productions page and previous blog posts for details on these amazing and exhilerating shows.

3 – as in – the third novel GTTP will adapt for the stage after we premiere our adaptation of Ann Napolitano’s Within Arm’s Reach, in late winter/early spring of 2014. I know, I know you’ve been hearing about this for over a year but it is now OFFICIALLY on the calendar, people! It is on the calendar and the script is halfway completed. We’re currently deciding on a performance venue and we are aiming for a late February/early March production run. Stay tuned for details.

4 – as in – the number of times GTTP has performed at The Secret Theatre. One of our all time favorite performance spaces, The Secret Theatre is consistently bringing new and innovative productions to their little corner of Long Island City – not so secret anymore. We hope to be back at our unofficial home in the spring, but in the meantime, if you’re looking for quality indy professional theater in Queens, check them out and take in a show.

5 – as in – we’re five years old, y’all!!!! Haven’t you been reading this post?

6 – as in – the number of theater women (who haven’t worked directly with GTTP and aren’t Tahitians per se but that) I have connected with thanks to/because of my work with GTTP. Connections I would not have made if GTTP didn’t exist – women I can’t imagine not having in my life. They include – Jane Dubin, producer - ANN, Peter and the Starcatcher and unFRAMED; Patricia Klausner, producer – Pippin; Caroline Rothstein, writer, performer and producer, http://bodyempowerment.tumblr.com/Bailie Slevin, a former theater professional who is now on a mission to bring fiscal health and education to the entertainment community – a mission she pursues through her company Entertaining FinanceMelanie Jones, writer, performer, dancer and producer – Endureand; last but not least Jake Lipman, actor, director, producer and founder of Tongue in Cheek Theater who will be doing a performance of How I Learned to Drive at the other Shetler Studios Theater during our run of The Sandman’s Coming. These women have been incredible – helpful, motivating, supportive, and generally wonderful people I’ve been honored to share the female theater community with. I hope that they are only the beginning of this circle of incredible theater women that GTTP has entered into.

7 – as in – the number of different aviatrices (the aviatrix is what we call our logo), our incomparable graphic designer, Christine Diaz, has designed to individually accompany each production (we don’t have one for Dreamers of the Day or the first In the Ebb  as we sadly hadn’t yet discovered the awesomeness that is Christine at the time we were doing those shows). When she came on board, she branded GTTP and continues to design all of our beautiful production art. To see all of the aviatrices, check out our About Us page.

8 – as in – the number of productions presented by GTTP since we opened our doors (curtains) - In the Ebb, by Camilla Ammirati, Dreamers of the Day, adapted from the novel by Mary Doria Russell, Skin Flesh Bone, by Camilla Ammirati, Full Disclosure, by Ruth McKee, Cat Lady without a Cat, by Carrie Keskinen, Jane Austen’s Persuasion, adapted for the stage by Laura Bultman, In the Ebb (Redux), by Camilla Ammirati and Bella’s Dream by Dana Boll. More details on each (except for Bella’s Dream because I haven’t had a chance to upload the pictures but will hopefully do it soon) can be found on our Past Productions page.

9 – as in – the number of productions we will have under our belts when The Sandman’s Coming opens on October 24th. Did I mention? Tickets are on sale now.

Which brings me to: 

10 – as in – years – our next big milestone – that, with your help, we’ll reach in another five.

Thanks for getting us here! We hope you’ll continue to join us on this extraordinary, exciting, incredible journey!

See you at the thater!!!!

Welcome, Molly Ballerstein!!!!!!

SO! It has been an inSANE summer. I cannot believe that it is mid-September and that we are already moving into the cooler months of the year…I know, I know, this is what EVERYONE says as the fall begins, but really? Where did the last 6 months go?!?! For people who read this blog religiously (Hi, Mom!) you know that Bella’s Dream took up a fair portion of GTTP’s time from February to July but, I guess that doesn’t really explain where we’ve been for July and August and the first half of September. And, you’re right, you deserve to know. The one thing I will say is that, though I haven’t been particularly on top of blogging and website updates and keeping you all up to speed, that does NOT mean that I have been idly twiddling my thumbs and eating bon bons.

What I have been doing instead is strategizing and re-organizing the very existence of Going to Tahiti Productions – I know, you minds are totally blown, right? You were all – “hmph, Jessica’s just been sitting on the couch all summer eating bon bons” but now you know the truth – and the truth is, GTTP has some news, Peeps! We got us some genuine bona fide news! And that news has a name – Molly Ballerstein.

A little history – when I started GTTP, I always intended for it to be an ensemble and I always wanted a partner to help me run the company. I mean, although I’m capable of doing it on my own, it’s really more fun to have a like-minded buddy to bounce ideas off of and help run the show and…the shows… So, for years, I’ve been asearching high and low for that like-minded buddy but it wasn’t until I found multi-hyphenate Molly, that I began to really see how a partnership would work. So I asked if she’d like to take an extened trip to Tahiti, and lo and behold, she said yes!

So now, finally, I’m officially announcing that Molly Ballerstein – Director, Writer, Stage Manager, Lighting Designer, Costume Designer, and all around fantastic human being has agreed to join GTTP as Co-Managing Director and Co-Executive Producer with yours truly. As you know from previous blog posts, Molly first landed on our island when she agreed to stage manage Bella’s Dream. Although I initially had some hesitation in bringing a fellow director on as stage manager (“what if she decided she wanted to direct instead of stage manage and started challenging everything I was doing?”, “what if she saw things differently than I did and tried for some sort of power play?”, or even “what if she’s not all around awesome?”), those fears were quickly dispatched about 30 seconds after I met her and realised that she might be that “like-minded buddy” of which I spoke earlier. After a particularly challenging tech week, (which found Molly and me pulling an all-nighter in the theater), my realization that she IS all around awesome was permanently cemented. It also turns out that Molly has a very similar directing style to me and we just generally hit it off really well…so well, in fact, that I couldn’t NOT ask her if she wanted to help me run GTTP. I get a partner, she gets a company, and our audience gets shows from two directors instead of just one. How awesome is that? Talk about a win-win-win.

And so, as you may have seen from our home page, we’re jumping into our 2013-14 season with The Sandman’s Coming. A show conceived and directed by Molly. The Sandman’s Coming marks a bit of a change for GTTP – a dance/theater piece that explores issues of identity and addiction – you’re about to see a whole new voice and vision from GTTP because it’s a whole new director. Don’t get me wrong, this is still GTTP so you’re still going to get innovative female-driven work, but make no mistake, GTTP’s got some fresh new blood. And I don’t know if you’ve heard but fresh new blood ain’t just good for vampires – it’s good for audiences too. There will be lots more on the production itself in the days and weeks to come, including a few blog posts directly from Molly as we move into rehearsals; but, in the meantime, mark your calendars - The Sandman’s Coming opens October 24th and runs through November 3rd at Shetler Studios in Manhattan. Tickets will go on sale next week.

So, please join me in welcoming Molly into the GTTP world!!!

Check back next week for a blog post from Molly herself…

Bella’s Dream is done for now…what comes next?

Ah, my dear gentle readers,

Everything I know about fundraising and marketing and general business practices says, “never start with an apology” but alas, I owe you all an apology. Throughout this whole production, I was really good about posting weekly on updates about the show and then just as the show opened, the time when you most want updates on the inner workings of a theater production, when all the juicy stuff comes out, I left you all in the lurch and the desired update was nowhere to be found…and continued to be lost in the ether – indefinitely. I heartily apologize for having abandoned you all…(and because my comments thing doesn’t work and I have no idea if anyone other than my mom reads this blog, I, when I say “you all”, of course mean, mom). All I can say as justification is – it’s been a crazy summer…

So, as I’m sure you know from Facebook – what’s that you say? You haven’t liked Going to Tahiti Productions yet? Well, let’s just remedy that right now. Click here to like us on FB and get all the up to the minute details…but I digress.

The run of Bella’s Dream was extraordinary. We started slow but built, over the two weeks, to a few great reviews and a final SOLD OUT performance. That’s right, a SOLD OUT performance! It was a fantatstic end to an intense show. So, what’s next you ask? Ah, a very good question. As far as what’s next for Bella’s Dream – the answer is, I honestly don’t know. I know that Dana and I both have no plans to abandon Bella and feel that there is much more life left in this little (or, should I say, not so little – it is a 14 member cast) show and we are exploring more options…that being said, I don’t think either of us anticipate any of those options happening before 2014 – but, who knows? The life of the theater is unpredictable to say the least so we shall just have to see. As far as GTTP’s production of Bella’s Dream is concerned, keep an eye out on the website for production photos which will hopefully be on our past productions page in the next few weeks.

Four weeks down…and ONLY ONE to go!!!!!

…and so it begins…

When I was little and still thinking I would ultimately have to have real babies (as opposed to the theater babies that my shows always are) I remember asking my mom what pregnancy was like and she answered “long”. I said, “but it’s only 9 months, right?” (Seriously, my 7 year old brain couldn’t really process 9 months, I mean to me – I thought years were long, months were short). And my mom said, “nope, first of all, technically pregnancy is 10 months, not 9, AND it feels like 9 months and a year! That last month goes on forever!” Of course then she said, “and yet, there’s still never enough time.” Again something my 7 year old brain couldn’t process (too long but also not enough time) so off I went to make my Barbie dolls re-enact scenes from Sesame Street. Ok, ok, I know, you’re all thinking why is she telling us this story? I thought this was a theater blog. I’m getting there, hang with me.  Whenever I go into a tech week I always always think of my mom saying “9 months and a year…and…never enough time.” As an adult, of course, I totally understand how something can be both things-too long and too short-and every time I do a show, as the first performance approaches, I feel that pressure – too long/too short – building in my entire system. Now, at last, I get to the point. Tech week is about to begin – my own final month/year of pregnancy with this particular show-baby.

So, for everyone keeping track, here’s a quick recap of this past week. The week began with the last of the scene work. It’s always amazing to me how the closer you get to the end of the rehearsal process, the more you find in the work. All of the actors start to come off book and as scripts leave hands and actors are free to really connect and communicate on stage, the discoveries start to flow. The moments come together and the show really starts to take shape. We spent the first half of this week finishing scene work. On Thursday I also got the chance to work individually with the actors who have monologues during the show-a chance to really delve and play with those moments. On Friday we did a line-through with the actors (basically everyone sits in a rehearsal room, and runs the show for lines. The stage manager, in our case, the luminous Molly Ballerstein, is on book and at the ready when an actor calls “line” to feed them their text and we cruise through the show). In my experience a line-through right before tech can be extremely helpful for getting everyone ready for the runs that are about to begin…and then, and then, and gentlemen and then…(sorry, a little PIPPIN moment there. I promise, that review is coming soon. ANYWHO I digress (big surprise, I know)). And then! This past weekend we jumped in to run-throughs. Finally we got a chance to see if our running time is anywhere close to the run time we quoted on all of our promotional materials (turns out it is) and we got to see a glimmer of what the show will be.

It’s also during this last week before tech when the slow hand off of the play begins. Although, as a director, I am of course needed through opening night, this subtle shift in control and responsibility starts in that last week before tech where, with each passing rehearsal the show becomes less and less mine and more and more the actors’ and Stage Manager’s production. As producer and director I’m always still up to my ears in the production until the end – it is not a rare occurence that I’m at every single performance, but officially, I start handing my baby over to others to let it find its legs. It’s always an exciting time in the life of a show (and also a teensy bit sad).

So, now, we head into tech week and I get back to that pregnancy story-too long and yet too short. So, for those of you not particularly familiar with theater…how to describe tech week? Organized chaos? The definition of chaos theory? Chaotic? (Are you sensing a theme?) I can’t speak to what it is like on Broadway, or even Off-Broadway (though I suspect, that though there’s more money in those worlds, it’s not that different from the off-off-Broadway environment) in low-budget, independent theater it’s like this: You remember finals week from school? The lack of sleep, the intense studying, the feeling like at any moment some little thing will go wrong and you’ll ruin your entire future in one fell swoop? Remember the fear but also the exhilaration that a screw up, as bad as it would be, would launch your life in a totally new and unexpected direction? Remember the stress building up so much that sometimes you needed a primal scream or two to get you through the day? That’s amateur hour compared to tech week. Pfft. Child’s play. And the director/producer keeps all the plates spinning; makes sure all the decisions get made – God I love this job.

My tech week will (most likely) look like this:

It will begin with load-in. VERY early in the morning, I’ll make my way to the space and open up the theater and get my first good look since we booked it. I’ll realize exactly how big a playing area it is and start to envision what the final

The hat in the foreground as the owner of the hat (Molly) hangs lights in the background (on the ladder – I guess less backgound than mid-ground).

product will actually look like. If possible, I’ll sit for a minute, on the stage, by myself, before anyone else arrives, and just soak in the empty-theater-ness of the place – that feeling of potential magic that an empty theater practically oozes. Then, I’ll meet up with the tech director and start unloading the set from the truck. Soon after that, or during that, some helpers will arrive, as will the order from the lighting rental house. We’ll hang lights, and put set together and throughout the day we’ll prep the dressing room, and clean the space. The costume designer will drop off costumes and the projections designer will start testing images in the space. We’ll have some sound tests of the speakers and slowly but surely, an empty open space will turn into the world of Bella’s Dream. And then we’ll do it all again (well not the unloading the set part, just the turning the empty space into Bella’s Dream part) the next day. Tuesday, Molly and I will test out every set piece and walk the pathways of the show for safety – as a director, I’ve always said, I won’t ask any actor to do something I wouldn’t feel 100% safe doing myself and as a stage manager, Molly would say the same so only after we test everything and know it’s safe will we hand set pieces off to actors. We’ll also glow tape the crap out of everything so that the backstage looks like the game grid from TRON. Then, Tuesday night, the actors will arrive and we’ll have our first walk through of the show in the actual space. Wednesday will be a long tech day, doing recordings and filmings for elements that are featured within the show, costume fittings, and general tech stuff before we start to really look at the lights and hear the sounds and see the projections, projected larger than life on the screen. Thursday is our cue to cue. For those not familiar with a cue to cue, it is exactly that, it is the whole show but just going from technical cue to technical cue. It is an absolute necessity but usually a hard and tiring day for all. Friday will be run throughs, Saturday will be run throughs and dress rehearsal and then Sunday – we’re off to the races with our preview!

…and in the end, though everything will somehow get done, none of it will happen exactly the way I’ve planned or expected – it’s the nature of the beast – and I’ll have to shift plans on the fly…but, either way, Sunday night, we will have a show…speaking of which, have you bought tickets yet? Preview tickets are only $12! All other tickets $18. Be sure to pick up your tickets ASAP – only 15 performances.

So, yeah, that’s tech week. I’ll do another blog post as soon as I can to let you all know how it went but the best way to know for certain is to come see the show. See you at the theater!

 

Three weeks down and (Holy Good Lord) two to go…

That’s right folks – we are only two weeks from opening (two weeks and 4 hours to be exact). Actually, technically, our first performance is our preview on June 16th (special discounted tickets available here) so really we have less than two weeks until we open but the official opening night is June 18th.

I can’t believe that we’re already done with three weeks of rehearsal. This has been an incredibly exciting week. We did our first run though on Saturday which allowed designers to really see what we’re doing with the show. I’m so please I managed not to cause any heart attacks, particularly from Sam, the Lighting Designer, as he realized exactly how much of the very large playing area I’m using and therefore he will need to light. He took it like a champ, truly. :) And Amanda, Costume, and Andre, Projections also were able to see, respectively, how the costumes would need to move on the actors and dancers, and how and when the actors and dancers would be moving in front of the projection screen. But for me, the most exciting thing was to see the whole show, from start to finish, as I haven’t seen it (or at least haven’t heard it) since our very first read through a whole 3 weeks ago…And it’s extraordinary to see it come together, (if in fits and starts considering it was our first run through) and more importantly see how it will come together over the next two weeks as props, costumes, sets, and other tech elements begin to get added in.

For anyone not interested in my musings about the directing process – feel free to skip this and the next paragraphs. For everyone else, enjoy: Recently I was accepted to an SDC Symposium on Play Directing, which will be happening a week from Monday and as part of the symposium, I was asked to send in a bio and think about my directing style and that exercise gave me the opportunity to try to observe, “what exactly it is that I do when I direct.” It was a really interesting exercise for me. It turns out I do in fact have a method, it’s just so ingrained in how I do this whole theater thing that I never realized it was a method. I already talked about my process during the first week of rehearsals which is usually a lot of discussion and some improv centered around who the characters are and what their relationships are to the other folks in the play. And then we move into blocking and that’s really just me figuring out where exactly I want everyone to go on stage. Sometimes that’s instinctual and sometimes it’s not but it always eventually comes. The really nice thing about blocking is that usually, when it doesn’t look right, it also doesn’t feel right for the actors and before I say anything about it they sort of self adjust – or stop what they’re doing, look me in the eye and say “dude, this is crazysauce – not gonna work,” and we fix it together. So the blocking and character stuff is usually pretty straightforward. Kind of the utility work of the process. But scene work? Ah, scene work is where the magic happens. Scene work is the art…at least to me.

When it comes to scene work, turns out I have a method here too but this method is a little different (or maybe it’s not. Sidney Lumet has a famous line that I absolutely love and agree with: “directing is like sex. Everybody does it, but you’re not quite sure you’re doing it right, and you’re always curious about how other people are doing it.” It’s totally true, so maybe my method isn’t different at all but whether it is or not, this is how I do it.) Basically, I have the actors do the scene and I observe it. I ask them how they’re feeling with it. If it feels right to them. And then, if it doesn’t feel like it’s working for me, I change something. Usually working outward from the periphery characters in to the main character in the scene. Basically, I just keep changing things. Kind of like throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks. Shifts, adjustments, suggestions, notes, until the scene starts to take shape. Usually I see something. One of the many times through the scene I see that spark and know in my gut – “ooh, that! Do that!” and then I usually jump up and down a little and actually say – “ooh, that! Do that!” Somewhere during that process the final scene really takes shape. It’s amazing to watch it happen. And, although it always follows a particular format, it’s different every time because each actor and each role and each experience is always different from whatever came before. The other thing is that, with all this work, even when it’s Right-with-a-capital-R, things will change, things will continue to grow. Because, theater is organic. Theater is alive. Theater changes with each performance and each experience. It’s one of those things I love soooooo much about theater. And it’s a joy to be a part of.

But, I digress (I seem to do that alot but then again, I guess that’s kind of how blogs work, right?) ANYWHO…so THIS WEEK, we will continue with scene work and we’ll have a chance to do nitpicky fixes of moments that aren’t quite working but by the weekend we’ll be into full run-throughs and our chance to fix major moments will be over. It’s fast. Every show I marvel at how fast it goes. But I digress aGAIN. Monday, S**T gets real! – we load in to the Flamboyan at CSV and the sets and costumes and lights and sound and projections and everything technical starts to come together. Tech officially begins and though I’m hoping I’ll find a way to do the “4 weeks down…1 to go” blog post – I’m saying it now, don’t hold your breath waiting for it. It will most likely not come until the night before we open. :)

Also, there’s still two weeks left on our Rockethub campaign. Thank you to everyone who has donated so far and for everyone else out there be sure to check out the sight and join the Bella’s Dream family. Get cool rewards, watch the awesome teaser video (put together by yours truly – I know, I’m so modest), read updates on the project from me and Dana Boll – (multi-hyphenate extraordinaire) playwright, choreographer, actor and co-producer and support the show even before we open.

Speaking of opening night – TICKETS ARE ON SALE NOW!!!!! Be sure to snap up your tickets as soon as you can. They’re selling like…well not quite like hotcakes…but what’s the next fastest seller? And, if the $18 ticket price is a bit too steep, keep in mind there are discounted $12 preview tickets available for June 16th at 5pm.

See you at the theater!