Monday, July 13, 2009

Honey Buns, Tassles, and Rock and Roll.....Awesome

All of the above are referenced or used in the third play of the 2009 BRSTF. My Brother's Knife: A Madison Height's Odyssey opened yesterday afternoon for the public to see. I have had the honor and privilege of being around since the creation of Josh Mikel's brainchild.

(Josh does not always look this intimidating)

Sometimes he is "Studious Josh"

or "Adorable Josh"

or "Mikel Moustache Mania Josh"

or "A little bit crazy Josh"

or "Serious Josh"

and how can we forget "Musical Josh"

but I digress.....

Here is Josh on the very first day this play was worked in C-Ville back in July of 2007:

We all sat around on floors, futons, and mattresses and read the play that Josh had been working on. It was really good for Josh to hear the show read and hear the feedback of what all our initial impressions were. I remember thinking to myself that this piece was powerful and with some more work and adjustments it had the potential to go far. Josh listened to everyone's thoughts, and we could see the ideas churning in his mind as he processed what we had to say.

For the next two years, Geoff would mention things here and there about the show, and how there was a possibility that it would be part of the 09 Festival. The story had changed greatly since that first reading, and Geoff was able to gather some folks for a second workshop in December of 08 down in Florida. I remember Geoff coming back to VA in January of 09 really pumped about the project and excited to see the changes and tweaks Josh was going to make. Josh had a pretty busy schedule this winter and spring, and worked on the show when he could. As we were headed into the festival Geoff and Josh both knew that there was more work to be done.

Thankfully Josh was able to be here for the initial rehearsals with the actors and would listen to the actors read, and continue to make changes and improve the pages as they went along. Geoff, Walter, Sergio, Kirin, (and Melissa) spent many initial rehearsals reading and working with Josh on characters and understanding the story.

For Krista (scenic designer), and Dan (lighting designer), they were excited to sink their teeth into this project and were already drafting and planning what their designs would look like based on what they knew of the story and script. It was really neat to watch the set start to go up. Each day new elements would be added and item by item the set was created.

For this particular show I had very little to do with the "production process" of the show, however I did have a copy of the latest script and kept putting off reading it. I asked Geoff one day if I should before I saw the show, he say "no, be surprised". So that is what I did.....I attended the final dress of the production and felt excited and a bit nervous as the lights went down. All I had in my mind was what the show was back in 2007, bits and pieces I had heard here and there, and the fact that several people said, "oh it has changed alot".

Well.....let me just say, I was blown away. It took me a good 10 minutes after the show was done to put myself back together. I was moved and a touched in a way that I had not expected, I knew that it was going to be a dark show. However, I was not prepared for the raw emotional journey you are taken on. Josh has woven together an amazing story, that is full of many different levels. The story portrays some very raw moments, and in some cases in a very simplistic, yet complicated manner. The cast has done an excellent job of communicating this journey and all should be very proud for what they have accomplished.

I also attended the opening show, and was very curious to see how the first audience would react. I think it was all summed up with the hush and silence as the final lights faded. Everyone was sitting, taking in, and processing what they had just witnessed. Slowly the first clap, and others joined in as the lights came up for the curtain call, then the clapping exploded a bit as everyone had been moved in a unique way, and wanted to show their appreciation.

Here are a few shots from the set, however you must come and see the show to experience the full impact!

Although this show may not be for everyone, I know that we are proud to debut it as part of the 09 season. I am so excited that individuals will be able to come and see this unique and amazing piece of work. I am even more excited for Josh to come and see the final fruit of his labor when he joins us back here in VA in just a few days.

Kudos to all who have helped make this show happen. All of the hours of tireless work is now paying off as the reservations are being made and folks are preparing to come and see this powerful production.....have you gotten your tickets yet?


Maria Hayden
Company Manager

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