Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Final Show

In case you haven't seen it yet, the One-Acts final performance is today. It's not too late for anyone who wants to see it! It starts at 2 PM today.

The process of having a play be staged that you wrote has been a wonderful and enriching one. Helping out first hand with my director (the wonderful Addie McDermond) and the entire cast of Hint is a fulfilling dream (albeit one I didn't know I had at the beginning of this term). And to see an audience pay good, hard-earned money to see something that I created, and furthermore laugh at the parts they're supposed to laugh at, gives me a sense of pride. I know everyone is proud of the work we do here and again, if you haven't been here yet, we would love to see you today.

I wanted to thank everyone involved (Cast, directors, other writers, crew, Liz) and each wonderful audience we have had each night. Thank you all so much, and here's to a great final show!

Colin Fant

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tech Weekend: Meet the cast of Maverick!

Countdown to opening night: 2 days.

This weekend was filled with a whirlwind of tech and dress rehearsals which given the short frame of time also included full makeup. Now, tech rehearsals are bad enough with any show, but with four shows, four directors, and an 18 person cast (at least four of which appear in multiple shows) things are apt to get a little daunting. Did I mention there are over a hundred light cues? Fun day.

Actually, tech went surprisingly smoothly as can be summed up by Colin’s earlier post. Got through everything alright, no one died or contracted a life threatening ailment, and we even got the all the set changes blocked out. I’d call that a win.

In terms of Maverick, we finally got to see what all of the crazy schizophrenic lights looked like, and I must say, the Minister of Purple things would be pleased. Lighting for this show is very important as it is the indicator for the real and the imaginary as the opposing characters and the audience is sucked into John’s delusions.

John’s the main character by the way—did I ever mention that? Nope. I certainly did not. Well, since this will probably be the last post by me until the show opens, how about a little character introduction?

John Milton: A young man who gets engaged to the girl of his dreams, and is thereby finally forced to confront his schizophrenia which takes its shape in Maverick. (Played by Tommy Pitts)

Maverick: John’s imaginary and eccentric best friend who is very much opposed to being gotten rid of. (Played by John Kish)

Christina: John’s bubbly fiancé, who has convinced John to commit himself into a medium-term psychiatric ward so that he can be cured of his schizophrenia. (Played by Alexa Johnson)

Doctor: An unsympathetic psychiatrist with the tendency to drone. (Played by Alex Jones)

Nurse: An energetic mother hen with a knack for making up strange sayings. (Played by Megan Grassl)


1: Jerri—Formally suicidal, but now a ball of energy thanks to some heavy medication. (Played by Richelle Jean-Bart [middle])

2: Andy—A little off in all the ways possible, but always smiling and happy. (Played by Alex Ries [right])

3: Leslie—Plagued with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and just hasn’t quite found the right medication yet. (Played by Tucker Minnick [left])

And today was first dress—hence the cool costumes there all wearing. Do you see a theme?

Wednesday is opening night, don’t miss out! And if you do, promptly buy a ticket for any of the other show dates to rectify the situation.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Howdy folks, I haven't posted yet, and since we're about to open on Wednesday, I thought I might want to say hi.

As we're gearing up for the first run through of the entire one act show, all of us, director and writer, are getting excited to see our hard work and effort come to fruition. As the writer of Hint, I'm so excited to see a story that I've been working on since November come to life. It's an odd feeling to see people interpret my text. Its not something I've ever had before, and to have people share the concept that I had, borne from my dome, is uniquely exhilarating.

Hint has been a joy to work with. Even with the repetition of rehearsals, I still find myself laughing at the actors with their deliveries. I've also discovered that I do have a favorite character in the show. Señor Silver, for the most part, has single word lines. But Alejando Henriques delivers his line with more emotion than I thought possible, that for the most part, I laugh every time. Don't worry, he'll get his chance to speak a bit more during the play, but his largest role is with one word.

I'm also thrilled to be working with my director, Addie McDermond. I've been in classes with her before, but I've never had any one-on-one time with her, and it's been a blast. She understands my intention with the text, and adds more dynamic imagery than I ever could. She's embraced it as her project and she has been wonderful to bounce around ideas with.

Also, this is a fun post because it's literally during the tech rehearsal. It's like live blogging! Hot dog! And I've been asked to include people in this post, so Alex Johnston, director of the play Behind Bars, had this to say: "Quote me! Quote me!" I hope this makes you want to see the show even more.

There's madness as we're setting up everything, running cues and setting props. Cats and dogs, living together, mass hysteria! Someone dropped a box, but everything was alright. No injuries, yet. But there's a lot of love in this room. Crazy love.

It's fun to see all the actors from each play gathered together in the same room. Its the first time they've all been able to mingle together. The actors are working very hard moving all the set pieces and learning how to set-up and strike the sets. (Applause)

So the play is coming together. It's the first time we've been able to run the whole bit, act by act, and it's fun to see something so fragmented get put into it's appropriate place, like a live-action puzzle.

Come see the full product on opening night. It's going to be a huge blast.

One love.
Colin Fant

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bunk Bed Mishaps

Mysteriously, my last blog post disappeared. So I’m back again, to try and recall what was said last time, and give everyone a quick update.

COUNTDOWN: 6 days!

I can’t believe how fast this process has flown by. Only six days until the public sees Behind Bars, a play that has been a complete emotional journey. I never thought when I started playwrighting class fall term that Behind Bars would be produced. Writing the play in itself was a very personal process and has forced me to delve deep into a lot of issues I’ve had to deal with in my own life. But they were issues I felt needed to be shared. And that is why I wanted to be involved in the Spring One Act Festival: to spread a message. Although I’m still very nervous as to how the public will respond, I am proud of what I have created.

The director of Behind Bars, Alex Johnston, has been a huge part in that creative process. Without him, this production would not be possible. His vision has brought my words to life, and I’m extremely grateful. I also have my actors to thank. They have spent so much time and effort into memorizing lines and putting Behind Bars on its feet.

The rehearsal process has been interesting, to say the least. I have never been involved in the One Act Festival before, so I didn’t know what to expect from the rehearsal process. The most difficult part has been finding spaces to actually rehearse. While I would love to claim the main stage for rehearsal every night, there are three other extremely talented directors and playwrights fighting for the same space. So Alex and the actors have been getting creative. We have spent rehearsal time in the Lab Theatre, the Green Room, the Lab Lobby, and even in the alleyway outside. No matter what space we were in Alex was constantly pushing the actors toward remaining focused and developing characterization.

My favorite part of this process, however, has been what I like to call the “bunk bed mishap”. Alex and I were ecstatic when we learned that the theatre already had bunk beds in storage that were made for a previous production. When we finally got them up from the basement to use for rehearsals, we had quite the laugh. These beds were not made for very large football players, like one of our leads Mike Beaton, who had also claimed the top bunk for himself. John Kish, our other lead, had to lay on a bench next to the bunk beds for a few weeks out of fear that he might collapse under Mike. It was definitely the better choice.

As of yesterday, we have new bunk beds! John and Mike, who we now refer to as the “Prison Bros”, had a great time playing with their new props. They even went and put on costumes for a quick photo-op.

Alex also gave his actors a quick crash course in how to smoke herbal cigarettes, another necessary prop in the play. Not only do the herbal cigarettes create a cool action on stage, it is also used in showing a progression and change in John Kish’s character, Jay. And no, Alex doesn't always look this bad-ass... :)

I’m so incredibly proud of all my actors and I can’t wait to see them in a full run-through tonight. Speaking of which, I’ve got to get going to Withycombe! Don’t forget to purchase your tickets for the Festival! They are now available online at

Until next time,
Jordyn Patton

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My first post

Well since our intrepid leader leapt into the fray I suppose the first mate should follow (I couldn’t think of any fitting KKK metaphors so I simply went with that one) and make his own post on the process of one act piece number 3, Southern Firelight. (BTW my punctuation sucks but I’m at peace with that)

So, anyway, yeah I have actually learned a ton through every rehearsal about the theatrical process, so I may as well start with the first one, which was a simple read through. This was actually the last rehearsal where I still had the position of writer for my show as oppose to stage manager and I say this because of the fact that I realized there was way more work to do on the script. Especially scene five. Okay, really just scene five. Ignoring several irritating typos and one rather annoying instance of hearing James refer to Abram as ‘James’ the only things that were still bugging the crap out of me about my script were pretty much all found in that scene. There were several moments when my two actors were reading that I realized I had shoved in superfluous phrasing andsuch that simply didn’t help the scene (although I’m sure when I wrote it I felt differently [or maybe not who knows {Actually I think I disliked them when I wrote them anyway….regardless}]) I refer to these moments in my head as ‘Electro-Cranial Tonsom’ moments or ECTs. Thus, being the cowardly and indecisive prick that I am I began a rewrite to scene five that lasted for a bit longer than I had hoped…several weeks longer. Luckily Rowan had not yet reached working on the scene and I was able to hand off the new version of the script before any real work was done with it (I think a week after the Follies got out.) It was actually really funny because Rowan gave the actors more leniency with memorization on that scene when I had one of them confess not an hour before that he hadn’t bothered looking at it since the original read through…Small favors etc.

This isn’t to say that there haven’t been any major fuck ups. The off book date came and went and both actors were still having trouble with their lines on various places, the scenes for example, but they sorta made up for it by being on top of their blocking and showing that they really did care about not looking like a complete and utter jackass on stage. The necessity for a book actually changed scene by scene, both were reasonably good their lines for the first two scenes and the fourth one. Due to the fact that there hasn’t really been an overwhelming need to focus on the scenes with just one person scene 0 (I’m not sure what to call it), 3 and 6* have at various points fallen by the wayside. But it’s cool, they’re short and only one is more than a few lines. It was at the various moments where we had just one actor (and we have had days where one or the other is missing so it can’t be blamed on a single person) that I realized that what I thought was a major simplification to my piece as oppose to, say, Hint, was that I had very few characters and would therefore be able to pinpoint focus easier. Just two characters. Which I felt was the minimum acceptable amount after the last time I tried a one-man script. As it turns out, I am a dipshit with poor foresight and did not realize that there was a massive trade off. Despite the fact that it is easier to work four schedules as oppose to eight or ten if someone happens to miss or be late to a rehearsal for whatever reason we’re fucked because it is very hard to work a two-person scene with one person. Admittedly it’s easier to work around this with James but still it is a complication that didn’t occur to me as I was writing my script. That’s me though, always thinking ahead. But overall I’m extremely happy with the way rehearsals have gone so far and barring a catastrophic Macbeth-type fiasco (the play not the quad production) I have every confidence that this will turn out well on stage. I will probably write more on previous moments that I missed later. Or I may just dwell on newer rehearsals. Both are possible but regardless, catch ya later!

* Fun fact/Easter egg: I wrote six scenes as a private little joke to myself about six-ish-ness cause I’m like that. We all know what bad luck six is. But in my own sneaky underhanded way I added a prologue, which technically brings the scene count to seven. So I made something really negative that turns out to be something positive when one thinks about it. I also had twenty three pages but I got sick of that and after the rewrite wound up with twenty four. Which I’m cool with. Smiles! :)

Oh hai

SO here is the first blog entry for 'Southern Firelight,' which has remained shrouded in mystery, much like the play itself...My fault for being so late on the posts, here's some highlights from journaling through the rehearsal process: The first blocking rehearsal today was exciting. I didn’t really have a game plan for blocking the first scene, per say, only ideas of how I wanted the scene to feel. Honestly, this is somewhat how I prefer. I would like to set a tone for the scene and make executive decisions, but also give the actors opportunities to make discoveries on their own...
...We had a really powerful moment in rehearsal, which I thought was great for the cast. I ended up using technique I picked up watching my mom’s old friend, who directs high school and college theater, when we attended one of his rehearsals...: I had him(Jonathan) say the line to me as it’s said, but this time I put my hands on his shoulders and planted my feet. I challenged him to get past me as he was saying him line. He hesitantly leaned against me while saying his lines...I had him try again and really commit to the push, and the attempt to get by me. This time he actually tried to get past me and I pushed back, holding him in place. What came out was a raw, genuine, angry delivery of the line like we hadn’t heard come out of Jonathan before. After that I think we were all stunned for a second, and I think Aaron was the first one to remark “holy s***.” That got the whole group very excited about things. I think it gave everyone encouragement, and showed them just what direction we were headed...
...In a cool moment of directorial discovery, I solved a staging problem with a simple theatrical solution that really added to the effect of the show. In the play, one of the characters, Abram, is murdered. The second half of the play, the other character, James, converses with what is either Abram's ghost, or a paranoid hallucination of Jame's mind. The problem was how to get the actors body off stage, and what to replace it with. I won't give away the trick, but needless to say, it makes the play far more spookier, and really brings the audience right into the supernatural element of the show...
Haha well cool I haven’t written a journal entry in over two weeks but that’s just how I role (unintentional pun typo!). Some things have stayed the same and some are radically different. The show is blocked, the scripts are at least out of the actors hands, if not in their brains entirely, and it can be performed on stage. We are on the fine tuning process, and there is not much time for fine tuning left. We have six more hours of rehearsal time before tech weekend which I’m hoping to god will be productive and useful. I met with Jonathan solo today. My other actor is out of town until tomorrow. We worked on memorization and delivery, feeling the emotions instead of replicating them. I am astounded every rehearsal we have by the progress of Jonathan as an actor, considering this is his first involvement in the theatre. Chris Ormerod demonstrates a great role-model of a hard worker in rehearsal and I think this has rubbed off on Jonathan. While he grabs my attention because of the leaps and bounds he makes each rehearsal, I believe Chris is an unsung hero who influences Jonathan towards diligence; him being the first fellow-actor Jonathan has come in contact with.

That's all he wrote for now folks! I will try to be more diligent with the posts from now on. See you all when the 1-acts go up!