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Showing posts from November, 2008

Rockin’ Boston

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posted by Jud Williford, A.C.T. Associate Artist and core acting company member

After finishing their run in San Francisco, the company of Rock ’n’ Roll, a coproduction of A.C.T. and the Huntington Theatre Company, took to Boston, where they are performing at the Huntington through December 13. A.C.T.’s Jud Williford, who primarily plays Ferdinand, took over the role of Jan for Manoel Felciano for two nights in November to enable Mano to make a quick trip back to the Bay Area. Jud sends an update from the road.

It has been a wild and crazy first week of performances. The crew here at the Huntington Theatre has been tremendous. Warm and hospitable. I’m finally through the performances where I had to go on as Jan (Mano) and am thrilled that I can now enjoy this city!

The audience here is different from the one in SF. Sometimes I feel that they watch me and Mano as if they were watching the “debating cavemen” on The History Channel. But overall they have responded enthusiastically to the…

When You Don’t Miss Time Shifting

posted by Rusty Rueff, A.C.T. Trustee

It was not that long ago that we didn’t even know the term time shifting. Had someone told you that you could do so, you would have thought of time travel and science fiction. And then along came the TIVO Digital Video Recorder (DVR) and all of a sudden we were able to take control of what and when we watched television. There was no more reason to be home on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. if we wanted to see The West Wing. And then we figured out that watching TV when you could skip through the advertisements was even better than waiting through the commercial breaks. The DVR and time shifting has been a great advancement for managing entertainment. But not all entertainment forms need a DVR. The live theater is one such medium that can’t be captured and shifted, and really why would you want to do so? The live theater is about unique moments that are different from performance to performance. An inflection, an audience reaction, and a delivery of a …

"Tragedy Tomorrow, Economic Woes Tonight"

posted by Lesley Gibson, A.C.T. Blog Editor

An article about the bleak financial future of American theaters popped up in yesterday’s New York Times. Recently, A.C.T.’s own trustee Rusty Rueff blogged about the importance of investing in the arts, and the importance of the arts to our very existence. As the recession worsens I anticipate a new stream of dialogue will emerge on this issue, both within our organization and in the media.

A common topic of conversation these last few weeks has been the fact that, as one political and economic era comes to a close, an entirely new and unknown era is beginning. I can’t help but wonder if our industry, as we’ve known it, won’t be forever altered (for better or for worse), as well? Time will tell.

A Day in the Life of a Dramaturg

posted by Dan Rubin, Publications & Literary Associate

During the last week of October, A.C.T. hosted a closed workshop of Daniel Kramer’s yet-to-be-titled movement piece inspired by Modest Musorgsky’s famous Pictures at an Exhibition and based on the composer’s tumultuous life. Mugorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition in 1874 as a tribute to his friend Victor Hartmann, an artist who had died the year before. Daniel’s concept is to attach often-abstract movement to these songs in such a way that, together, they create a picture of Musorgsky’s life. “I don’t want the audience to get it right away,” he told me during one discussion. “I want them to get it three months later.” Next spring, Daniel will be producing this creation at the Young Vic in London after a ten-week rehearsal process. You should all go. Oh, bollocks, it’s not that far!

While here, Daniel got the opportunity to experiment and solidify ideas, and A.C.T.’s fearless third-year M.F.A. students, divided into teams…

Keeping It Fresh

posted by Manoel Felciano, Jan in Rock 'n' Roll at both A.C.T. and the Huntington Theatre Company

The second most common question I get as an actor—after, “How do you memorize all those lines?”—is usually, “How do you keep things fresh, doing the exact same thing night after night?”

[A.C.T. Associate Artist] Jack Willis likes to talk about being a “workman” when it comes to acting, and I appreciate the unsentimental, demystifying instinct in that word. It’s essential to bring what we do down from the lofty aerie of “artist” to a lunch-pail, workmanlike level. We call it “the work” because, well, that’s what it is. Just like anybody working on a construction site, for a nonprofit, or in a huge corporation, we have a job to do, within a larger structure. We have certain skills, both learned and innate. We have coworkers upon whom we depend and who depend on us. We have the same work ethic that you would find on a construction site or in a startup: timeliness, courtesy, respect, …