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Showing posts from December, 2010

Tiny Tim & Co.

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This week, A.C.T. Artistic Fellow Jonathan Carpenter tracked down Christine Plowright, the “performance monitor” (a.k.a. kid wrangler extraordinaire) for A Christmas Carol, to get the inside scoop on life backstage with the brood of young actors that grace the A.C.T. stage each December.
—The A.C.T. Intern Blog Quadrumvirate

One of the most exciting things about A.C.T.’s annual production of A Christmas Carol is that it gives us a chance to feature actors from our Young Conservatory on the mainstage. This year, the cast includes 19 young actors, ages 8 to 13, playing almost 50 roles. The kids are incredibly cute, and they provide some of the show’s most memorable moments. While they more than hold their own with the Master of Fine Arts Program and professional actors with whom they share the stage, they’re still kids, and when the full cast of 40 actors is assembled, a little chaos seems inevitable. That’s where Christine Plowright comes in. As the performance monitor for A Christmas …

“You’ve Got to Solve That”

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An Interview with A.C.T. Conservatory Director and Head of Acting Melissa Smith 

To begin one’s life as a first-year acting student in the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program is to cultivate the virtue of patience. These young actors, some of whom have already performed professionally, spend their first three months in class, returning to the basics through improvisational exercises and scene study, before they get a chance to work on a play at the end of their first semester. And it’s not until the second semester that they get to perform in front of a public audience.

This week, the class of 2013 will present their work on their first play—a condensed version of American playwright and performer Deb Margolin’s Bringing the Fishermen Home— for an intimate audience of friends and family. Performances are open only to the A.C.T. community, an effort to create something of a protective cocoon in which the students can safely explore and take creative risks while testing their newly reinve…

“I Have an Orchestra!”

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A.C.T.’s M.F.A. Program Students Discuss Every Good Boy Deserves Favour 

Tom Stoppard and André Previn’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour premiered in London as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s 1977 Silver Jubilee. Stoppard’s political play about government repression of free speech isn’t exactly jubilant, but it does have a certain majesty. EGBDF (the title is a mnemonic device for remembering the notes of the treble clef on a musical staff) calls for an onstage orchestra that is an integral participant in the performance; the original production featured Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, John Wood, and the entire London Symphony Orchestra.

The play’s protagonist, Alexander Ivanov, has published allegations that the Soviet government imprisons its political enemies in mental hospitals; for this, he is “diagnosed” with paranoid delusions and sent to a mental hospital himself. His cellmate, also named Alexander Ivanov, is genuinely ill; he thinks he has his own orchestra, in which he is the trian…