Posts

Showing posts from March, 2009

Check Out A.C.T.'s War Music Multimedia Extravaganza

This week the mood around A.C.T. is rife with anticipation. After four years of development, including two intensive movement workshops, two public readings, hundreds of hours of meetings and discussions and late-night brainstorming sessions, four weeks of rehearsal, and five preview performances, our world-premiere production of War Music, Lillian Groag’s brand-new adaptation of Christopher Logue’s visceral account of Homer’s Iliad, is set to open, finally and officially, on Wednesday night.

As a preview of this eagerly awaited event—which features a cast of 13 actors seamlessly weaving in and out of 42 roles, original choreography and music, a disco ball, smoke, and bubbles—we’ve compiled a multimedia playground of all things War Music. Come visit ancient Greece, reimagined for the future.

Mastering Uncertainty

Image
posted by Carey Perloff, A.C.T. Artistic Director

The season planning process is always a wild roller coaster. The hardest thing I’ve found about doing it at this particular moment in time is to trust that ANY of the instincts I have built up over decades of theatermaking have validity in a climate in which everything is so volatile and strange. We know we can not assume that the economy will support “business as usual,” but we have no idea what will encourage an audience to come out of its cocoon and go to the theater; we are trying to examine the marvelous template we have built for producing the highest-quality theater imaginable and to see what it would look like to do everything differently. In the midst of trying to responsibly contain expenses, cut costs, and ditch everything that is nonessential, we’re fighting to keep our eyes on the bigger picture—what is it about what we do that really matters, and how do we get the word out about it?

At this moment in time, it seems to me …

Notes of a Ladyhawk

Image
posted by Arianna Papalexopoulos, A.C.T. Young Conservatory student and Volleygirls cast member

I’m flabbergasted that opening night has already past and saddened that closing night is approaching so quickly. We have become such a tight-knit family that I can’t bear the thought of parting from my cast members, director, and crew members. Isn’t it funny that while we are immersed in an amazing run we already ponder what will occur when it ends? Why can’t we just live in the moment? I know I will miss climbing on the MUNI train with my fellow cast member Jacqueline Toboni, and struggling for weeks to perfect my “air-volleyball” technique. I know that I will also miss my character, Marisol Hernandez. Where else will I be able to channel my inner Latina with such exuberance?

For me, the week of tech rehearsals was a delightful experience. The cast was fortunate to meet the amazingly talented playwright of Volleygirls, Rob Ackerman. Rob’s enthusiasm and eagerness have brought all of us into…

Less Is More

Image
posted by Nick Childress, A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2010

How much should an actor leave for the audience to imagine?

The other night I was chatting with an A.C.T. M.F.A. Program alum about the importance of imagination, specifically the audience’s imagination. I was telling him about a technical bit of stage blocking a few people in my class had learned. We discovered how, even though we were doing the same physical movements, the meaning of those movements changed completely when we combined them with the story of a simple situation. This sparked an intriguing conversation about how we, as actors, are supposed to allow the audience to fill in the gaps. We talked about the idea of doing less as actors, and allowing the audiences’ imaginations to do more. They’re not stupid. If I tell them, “This guy has to pee,” and he starts running towards a bush and abruptly stops, but smiles, they know what just happened without having it spelled out for them.

We student actors he…

Volleyworld

Image
posted by Rob Ackerman, playwright of Volleygirls

In drama and in sports, it’s called a play. You try to make a good play.

I grew up in theater, as an actor, director, craftsman, and playwright, but I can’t recall a sports play that actually shows us a game’s action. What’s up with that? Why hasn’t anyone tried this?

Well, for one thing, it’s not easy. Even as I type these words, days before opening night, I’m not one hundred percent sure it’s possible. That scares me. It all does. Put yourself in my shoes. Or socks. I tend to write in socks.

There I was, at my desk, working on my very first commission for A.C.T., a theater I’ve admired for decades. I had my lists of characters—players and parents, coaches and staff—tacked to a bookshelf in front of me. But how could I set them in motion when so many voices in my head said no, no, no? How could I trespass in Girl World when I come from Man Swamp? How could I dream up a bunch of jocks when I’m not a real athlete? Was I out of my mind? W…

Slags, Hogs, and Homer: This Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

Image
posted by Megan Cohen, A.C.T. Dramaturgy Intern

The text of War Music, the adaptation of Homer’s Iliad that is currently in rehearsal at A.C.T., is like a minefield, except that instead of deadly explosions of shrapnel that blow your legs off, you get awesome explosions of poetry that blow your mind. You don’t need to trip these pyrotechnics to love the writing in War Music, or to love the story, because author Christopher Logue is just that good, but when you find one, it’s like a little bonus. A sudden jalapeño in your Homeric burrito. You can stroll blissfully through a sentence, and then suddenly stumble upon a completely innocent-looking word like “slag,” or a simple phrase about a “mammoth hog,” only to discover when you look it up that it does not mean what you think it means, it means about a hundred different things. All of which make sense in the context, and all of which add weight, and add color, and add density, and add resonance, and add energy, and add poetry, and, well…

Warning: A.C.T. Interns Are a Force to Be Reckoned With

Image
posted by Rose Hogan, A.C.T. Marketing Intern

So, I am an intern at A.C.T.—the marketing intern to be more precise. I organize press, help with promotions and special events, research shows and the demographics to which they appeal, and make lots and lots of copies. Some days I don’t know how a single person could possibly get everything done, and other days I reorganize newspaper clippings as I wait for something else to do. It was one of those fateful days when I had an idea. While my fellow interns and I are learning more and more about our prospective fields, we find there is still a lot about A.C.T. and the theater business as a whole that we don’t know about. So, why not take some time this year to rectify that—get all we can out of this internship? And if we in the “inner circle” have all these questions, isn’t it possible that audience members and other aspiring young theater professionals might want to hear the answers, as well?

. . . MY IDEA:
Create an intern-run podcast that…