Friday, March 4, 2011

Rudes Off Center to Arena Stage to Yale!!!

Oh - we're playing catch up - so it's not gonna be very in-depth, but for the record, here we go:

November / December - CL1000P

We spent the month of November working on our newest production. It doesn't have a title yet, but was called CL1000P - we can't say why. For the month of November we thought about game theory, puzzles, ARGs and pervasive games, and then we put together about 60 minutes of performance that we shared with audience in early December - 12/10/10. That 60 minutes of performance could, if you were interested/noticed, have lead to a few more tasks to be executed at your leisure over the weekend, which would then lead you to a party at The Off Center on Sunday night. What we learned: our puzzles are too easy, it's hard to care about a main character that can't do things for him/herself, when given tasks, most people will execute them right away, and want an instant reward, everyone digs white pleather. We're not sure what we will keep from that workshop, and what we will toss, but we are grateful to the audience members that participated whole-heartedly, and that shared their feedback with us as that is how we move forward.


INBSH rehearsal @ Arena Stage Photo by Lowell Bartholomee
The month of January was dedicated entirely to I've Never Been So Happy. Back in 2007, were lucky enough to have been selected for the NEA's New Play Development Program grant, hosted by Arena Stage, and that resulted in a booking to be a part of Arena' Stage's New Play Festival showcasing the first-round recipients of that grant. We rehearsed the first three weeks of January and then Arena was generous enough to bring 18 of us up there, and to hire 4 DC violinists to boot, put us in a hotel, give us production staff and rehearsal time, and host a two-night concert-staging of the show. It was the first time this cast had ever worked on a few of the scenes, and the very first time we have ever seen the show from beginning to end. We were able to share a little of the video from Miwa Matreyek and a little of the dance from Dayna Hanson, and every single song and bit of text that exists.

We could not be more grateful to David Dower and Vijay Matthews for insisting that we present what would further the development of the project rather than freak out and try to put on a "show" for the "people" who were all industry the first night and DC audience (including some ambassadors, apparently) the second night. We learned so very much and totally fixed Act I. It's perfect now. Well, it's definitely put us in great shape to premiere in April. We've Never Been So Grateful.

Arena Stage @ night Photo by Lowell Bartholomee
At the New Play Festival, we were in the company of really interesting artists from all over the country (and we all developed a profound crush on Polly Carl - Director of Artistic Development, Steppenwolf Theatre and Editor of HowlRound, the Journal of the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage, who moderated the artist panel):
Lana sat on a panel with the amazing artists listed above to talk about our project, and to view clips from the beautiful forthcoming documentary by Rob Levi and Rebecca Halbower - so so nice to see them again! And Kirk participated as a panelist and participant in Arena's concurrent New Play Institute convening titled "From Scarcity to Abundance" which brought in 200 producers, presenters, and art-makers from all over the country to participate in round-table discussions on everything under the sun. You can watch all of them here:

INBSH @ Arena Stage photo by Stephen Pruitt
You can also follow all of David and Vijay's work inspiring ideas and conversation with artists around the country, on the New Play Blog and check out what's happening all over the country on The New Play Map


February - METHOD GUN

Kinda... We got home January 30th, got a couple days off, and then went into a five-day dance workshop for INBSH... then a week off, and then we hosted two days of NEFA's National Theater Pilot meetings, while prepping Method Gun for its impending tour.

Method Gun at Dance Theater Workshop photo by Yi Chun-Wu
Dayna Hanson thrilled the dance team by spending a few days with us refining the choreo that we had learned so far, and then creating new movement for Dog's Life and Search Party - couldn't be more fun to perform! As soon as Dayna went back to Seattle, we cleaned up the room, pulled out the big table and welcomed the New England Foundation for the Arts and the advisors and artists that are participating in the first round National Theater Pilot program. We were, as always, glad to see our old friends and thrilled to meet all the new ones. We are looking forward to getting all those folks in the room again and continuing what turned out to be some interesting and pretty honest conversation. We were rehearsing Method Gun at night while they were here, so we couldn't really wow them with our hosting savvy...  but we did host a night for the New Works community to meet all these lovely presenters at Shangrila. Rubber Repertory were the only folks that could fit it into their schedule, but fun was had nonetheless. The NEFA staff also used their time in Austin to arrange a meeting to convey to Austin ensembles the information they need to apply to Round 2.

Yale Rep
Then off to Yale University's No Boundaries Festival!! We fly in on Monday slightly freaked 'cause we open Wednesday night. We go from airport, drop off bags at apartments, get weeks' worth of groceries, and then head straight to the theater to find Sunder Ganglani in his pretty blue hardhat on stage loading in our show. Turns out the world is that stupid small. Sunder was our spotlight operator on Lipstick Traces in 2001 at the Ohio Theater in NYC. And of course Jake and Andrew from Orchard Project and Anne Erbe who we know from those same Lipstick Traces days... so in brief, we had a lot of friends there and they couldn't have made us feel more welcome. Frankly, there's not one single thing they could have done better - from the contract to the marketing to the travel to the housing to the load-in to the house management to the talkback moderating to the master class organizing... we were blown away by our crew - super skilled, funny, on top of it - seriously well done, and done with grace and a smile. Can't stress enough what a smile will buy you with this group of people. For reelz.

And then we somehow managed to come close to filling that big beautiful old mess of a 400 seat theater on our last night - we had super healthy and enthusiastic audience the whole run, and had a blast restaging the play to work in that space, which used to be a big beautiful church.

Massive thanks to Suzanne Appel for being a producorial and organizational genius, to Jennifer Kiger and James Bundy for the hosting us and feting us, and to everyone on the crew for killin' it.

Thanks also to David Chambers and Liz Diamond for bringing great students to play with at our class, and for offering their help. Hopefully we can take you up on it before the semester is out.
Amazing Crew at Yale - yay!!!
Gratitude to the evolutionary biologists for the coming to the show and then proving you don't have to be a theatre artist to appreciate it, and for the behind the scenes tour some of us were privy to, and we hope we can find a way to work with you all!

Overall, Yale - we hope we'll see you again soon. That was well done and loads of fun.

We do all very much still blame you for Bush, just fyi.

Off to DTW.

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