Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
It was a gorgeous quiet drive as the air was crisp and the leaves were continuing to reveal their autumn wardrobes leaf by colorful leaf. The sun was shining and spreading it's rays across a sleepy town as folks were beginning to get up and move about. I was headed out to the 20th annual Wine and Garlic Festival hosted by Rebec Vineyards, you can read more about this year's festival here. Richard Hanson and the folks over at Rebec have graciously allowed Endstation to set up a booth since 2006 and we were prepping to set up camp for a 5th year.
I drove up 29N to the familiar U-Turn spot and headed to the gravel road entrance into the vineyard. I pulled up with vendor pass in hand and greeted Chuck who smiled as he recognized the Endstation shirt. I was able to pull right up to our booth and started unloading the supplies and wares we were going to be selling that day. I moved my car to the vendor spot, walked back to our booth and begin busying myself with set up. Just a few minutes had passed and I heard the very familiar "Hey Maria" from the Artistic Director himself, Geoffrey Kershner followed closely behind by his lovely and beautiful fiancee Ashley Zach, Endstation's resident Marketing Director and Box Office Manager. They had driven up from Florida the evening before and it was great to see them.
It was Ash's first time at the festival and it was fun to watch her discover all the amazing things various vendors had to offer (specifically very reasonably priced shallots and goat cheese!) We quickly finished the rest of the set-up and waited for the patrons to begin arriving. We had brochures to hand out about the 2011 Season, posters reflecting the 2010 season, wine holders and tee-shirts for sale, and an awesome wine/picnic basket raffle (or "raffly" as Jeff Price called it when convincing patrons to participate).
Geoff had recruited several folks to come over and help run the booth throughout the day, so as the morning and afternoon progressed we got to enjoy the company of good friends while simultaneously promoting Endstation to the Garlic Festival attendees. At one point we got dubbed the "party tent" since our booth was a happening spot for both friends of Endstation and folks who were hearing about us for the first time.
Of course there was one lovely lady that we definitely missed. The now "Mrs." Krista Franco (Co-Founder and Resident Scenic Designer) has not missed a Garlic Festival since Endstation first set up a booth. Here she is with our friend Victor at the 2009 Garlic Festival.
However we made sure to eat plenty of Garlic popcorn in her honor! MISSED YOU KRISTA!!
It was a fun Saturday for sure! At the end of the day we packed up, covered our area with a tarp to protect it from the overnight dew and went on with our evening activities. Sunday morning was just as beautiful and crisp as the day before. I made a quick stop at the Endstation office and was on my way to the Festival for Day 2. I drove in, greeted Chuck, parked my car and headed to our booth. I set up the area with all of our stuff and settled in to wait for patrons. Sunday mornings are usually pretty quiet around the festival with things picking up sometime around noonish. My Garlic Festival Sunday AM tradition has always been to grab a smoothie from one of the amazing vendors across the way. This time I added a fresh made pretzel braid to the mix and I was all set.
Two of our new board members stopped by the booth and we chatted for a while and they let me know how excited they were about Endstation and how much they were looking forward to the Fall Board meeting that afternoon. It is always nice to hear encouraging words about the company and see folks that are enthusiastic and in full support!
The morning carried on and I met all sorts of people from all over the country who were either visiting friends/family or had come in for the festival specifically. Since I was going to have to scoot out and back over to SBC, Luke showed up right around 12:30 to take over. He was just in time too as there were some dear friends who happened to be visiting the booth at that time.
I gave him the run-down of everything he needed to know, strapped on my backpack and made a bee-line for my car. I saw JD on the way out and pointed him in the right direction as he was going to be covering the booth for the afternoon as well.
We had an excellent board meeting with the Endstation board that afternoon, and looking ahead toward 2011 and beyond is an exciting thought.
We ended the meeting just in time, and I packed up and got ready to head back to the vineyard to tear down the booth. Luke called me while I was on my way and let me know that he and JD and taken care of "strike" already and had everything packed and ready to go. What gems! I got back on site and between the three of us carried everything back out to my car. We paused a minute to pick the winner of the raffle. As you can see JD made sure not to peak so there was no cheating!
Luke headed to his car and I drove JD back to his, we said so long and went our separate ways. I headed out of the vineyard and back down 29 toward home. The sun was hanging low in the sky and I smiled thinking back over the weekend. It was a great time over all between spreading the word about Endstation, friends old and new, the great food, excellent wine, and fantastic weather.
We have big plans for the coming months as we head into another planning season. You won't want to miss a minute as the journey continues and unfolds, so make sure to keep checking back for updates!
Till next time~
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
The winners of the Hamlet raffle have been chosen!
Yorick's skull (a fabulous Halloween decoration)
2011 Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival Subscription (priceless)
Congratulations to the victors, and thank you to all those who participated.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Every year I think that saying goodbye will get easier. I actually think it gets harder. This was truly the best theatrical experience of my life.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
We are a day away from the end of the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival 2010 and I am having a really hard time believing/handling it. Spending the summer at Sweet Briar with my second family, Endstation, is something I look forward to and funny enough I feel the same way right now as I did moments before I got in the car to travel down here in May. "What's that?" you ask... scattered. Packing, finishing up projects, saying goodbye and trying to remember NOT to forget anything bookends the BRSTF for me every year without fail. However, as nerve wracking as this can be, I find it somewhat comforting and familiar; knowing that in a few days things will settle back to a neutral place and I can smile relishing in the memories.
So, what am I working on? FringeNYC! A few posts ago, you may have read about Good Good Trouble On Bad Bad Island, a new play by my roomie, Josh Mikel, intended for children. The play that is, not Josh. Good, Good is 1 of 3 Fringe Jr. shows being showcased at FringeNYC and an Endstation team has been putting together our product from soup to nuts for the last few weeks.
Director Chad Larabee and myself have been discussing using a singular piece of scenery for the show that has the ability to transform/deconstruct as the story progresses. Our singular image is a large shipping crate, ordinary as the day is long, with a tag addressed to Bad Bad Island and warnings such as "FRAGILE" & "THIS SIDE UP" across the side. Research is below.
shipping crate research
More photos will be posted as we finish more set pieces this evening so stay tuned! In the meantime, HELP US GET TO FRINGE! Although planning/producing is already going on, we are still in the midst of fundraising for this awesome project. Please visit the link below to give, this is a great opportunity to promote New Works!
Friday, July 23, 2010
My first blog post! How exciting!
So….. first off. I've never really blogged. (Thanks Maria). I'm sorry this post doesn't have superawesome photos attached to them, because I really don't know how to post them. Believe me. I tried. If someone wants to edit this to make it far more interesting, you have my permission.
I have been charged with offering a board members point of view into the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival and Endstation in general. Let’s start with the latter and end with the former.
My journey with Endstation started about 3 years ago (wow…). Tell-Tale was heading to Fringe, and I got a phone call from a close friend who asked if I might be interested in joining Endstation’s Board of Directors. I came to Rebec Vineyards to visit with Endstation and left a full fledged member of the Board, (there may have been wine involved) about a year later, I found myself President of the Board (there was definitely wine involved)! All because of a single phone call.
Over the past few years I’ve seen some great members come (our current President and Treasurer: Steve Martin and Lynn Fielding, Amherst County School Superintendent Brian Ratliff, and E.C. Glass Director Jim Ackley) and we’ve seen some great members go (local go-getter Lynn Kable, vintner and class-act Richard Hanson, local personality and one of the best people in the world (and coincidentally, my t-ball coach) Mike Gallagher). We’ve got the stalwart group that has been with us from the beginning (our artistic director and capitan, Geoff Kershner and his father, Sweet Briar Professor Bill Kershner, and my personal favorite human being, Krista Franco, scenic artist extraordinaire!)
I feel like I’ve been involved with theatre my entire life. From trodding the boards with my fellow local thespians, to now being involved in the structure of a theatrical company in an advisory position theatre has always been a part of my life. But as much as I love theatre, I love this area more. I’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit over the last decade of my professional life and I have yet to find a place I love as much as Amherst County and Central Virginia. For me (and I’m sure this goes for others on the board), Endstation provides a vital cultural service to this community. That’s what hooked me early on: that burning desire to provide high quality professional theatre in rural Virginia.
Every year, I’m amazed by the talent that descends upon our sleepy little community. And the impact is great. Farmers and small businessman have approached me to ask why we aren’t doing that “Hurricane Camille play” this year. The buzz from friends at church who ask, “Have you seen Alice yet?! It’s amazing!”, or even my own bricklayer father, who may not be the common theatregoer inquiring “What’s this about a Civil War Hamlet? Do they need any help?” To see the uncommon theatregoer being excited about what we do is a pleasure to behold.
Every year we meet new talented actors and actresses. And then there is the joy of seeing actors from previous year’s productions excited to return back to our home, and learning more about them. And then there is the joy of seeing these actors perform karaoke, and then having random people call me at my place of business to make sure they’ll be returning the following week, because they made their night. Endstation, in so many ways, is leaving a lasting impact on our community. And that's a good thing.
For me, Endstation is now a huge part of my summer. Whether it’s sitting in on the occasional rehearsal, discussing fundraising for this year’s productions, designing posters and printing flyers, or in my case right now, preparing food for a donor appreciation reception, Endstation has become an integral part of my life. And in my case, as I’m sure is the case for the rest of the board, it’s not a pleasure to work for Endstation. It’s an honor. It’s an honor to be part of a team of such amazingly talented professionals who not only bring theatre to a place, but bring a place, OUR place, to theatre. It's an honor to know Endstation and it's an honor, in my own small way, to be part of Endstation.
So that's my blog, as uninteresting as it may be. But hopefully you have a better understanding of us "gray hairs" who meet quarterly (and sometimes more often) to discuss the direction of the company and what we need to do to get a job done. Speaking of jobs to be done, I've gotta run, dessert skewers for tonight’s reception aren’t going to make themselves.
See you tonight at Hamlet
Board of Directors, Endstation Theatre
Thursday, July 22, 2010
My days here have been pretty interesting.
I spent my afternoons in the theatre painting the set of "Alice in Wonderland" with Krista and Tania (I don't have any pictures of this but I assure you it happened) and hanging out in the greenroom with these fly people.
Now that Hamlet is up and running I get to hangout with neat people non-stop. Since Hamlet is at the Old Dairy Barn we have to carpool in our costumes to get there. Obviously, I made sure that I was in the carpool of the elite or what we like to call it "The Girlpool". "The Girl Pool" consists of Tania B., Shannon, Melora, and me!
Lots of cool rock star things happen in our backstage/greenroom area such as hanging out by farm equipment
and looking at maria
and chilling in the pottery barn
After Hamlet I go back to Carson and hangout with these lovely people! We like to have little pow wows every now and then.
My time here has been really special and I feel I have learned a lot this summer. In fact I am going to share some of the life lessons I have learned from company members this summer.
Susan “You just got to take care of yourself”
Michael “Fly your freak flag proudly, because you got a big one”
Geoff “I’m not always judging you”
Shannon “You have to center the bonnet, not the comb”
Melora “You only have to shave your legs enough so they look like they’re shaved”
Ryan “Get in the GAME”
Krista “Never start a sentence with an apology”
Thank you to all of Endstation for letting me be a part of this!
Paint Intern and Actor
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I am watching the clouds roll by, some look full and threaten of rain, still others fade in and peel back to reveal a blue sky and a beautiful dusk. We are safe for now.... the walkie talkie on my hip crackles to life as "Places everyone" is called by the faithful stage manager. "Heading backstage" I say and so begins another show. I have the honor of being on the backstage run crew for Hamlet each night, and I love it.
I head to the stage left area and sit on the hay bale and watch Josh and George prep for the curtain speech at the top of the show. "Elsinore Farm....not Farms, remember that" one says to the other. "Do you have the CD case?" "Yeah, yeah I got it" (usually Josh asks George that question just as Geoff comes running backstage with a CD in hand, George always gives a reassuring smile to Geoff and holds up the case he already had).
"Stage Left standby" the walkie crackles "Standing" I say. The boys really kick the pacing into high gear at this point as they begin to focus and get excited for another performance. There is usually a "bro hug" and a "let's do this!!" before "Stage Left GO!" is called. The guys head out and I proceed to walk Claudius and Gertrude (aka. John and Melora) out to the Far stage left corner, where they wait for a few minutes before taking the walk down the path to the actual playing area. I hang around for a minute or so and then head back over to Stage Left where I "standby" and "go" for a few more cues. At that point it is time to grab George's guitar and head back to the Far Stage Left area. I check out what the box office folks are up to and usually borrow a chair from them while I am waiting for the actors to come around the corner.
At some point we hear a loud "MARK ME" and look up in time to see the ghost appear from the upper woods, I can only imagine the reaction of the audience at this point, since the lighting and effect look really cool.
Before we know it Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are up and headed down the path to meet Hamlet himself and I settle in for a while longer at the Far Stage Left area as there are a few more cues that I need to wait for and make sure the actors know when to proceed.
After some more entrances I pick up George's now empty guitar case and head back over to the Stage Left area. At this point there is some time in-between the cues and I have been able to catch some shots here and there of the actors continuing to prep and get ready for their next entrance.
Derek and I even had time to squeeze in a quick photo shoot one day while he was waiting for his next entrance.....
After Derek (Horatio) is cued to enter stage left I head to a secret location to wrangle the gun used in the show. As soon as it is ready to go I head back stage right and wait for the hand off. After the scene is finished and I get the proper gun in hand, I head back to the previously mentioned secret location and secure the weapon. At this point we are at intermission and I hang out with some of the actors and crew while we wait things out in the Pottery Barn. As soon as places are called I am off again and walking three of the actors around to the shed area where they will await their cue. The show pretty much rolls along for the rest of the evening and we breeze on through to the end. I sit backstage listening to the final scene and all that takes place on stage, and think about the tragedy that is Hamlet.
We have the final lighting switch cues and then the audience usually erupts into applause for all the actors and the band. I go to a particular crack in the wood and peek out onto the stage to see the final curtain call. I love watching the audience's faces as each character comes out to take their bows. The entire cast should be very proud of the work they do in this production as it pays off simply by how much the patrons have loved it.
At this point, I walk around gathering props that I am in charge of and re-set them where they need to be so we can be ready for the next performance. As I am out and about, I hear bits and pieces of the audience talking to the actors or talking amongst themselves and swell up with pride when I hear the overall incredible positive feedback from folks. Don't take just my word for it, seek out some people that have come to see the production (some folks two and three times even), and I am sure they will relay what an incredible piece of work this show is. So if you have not already or even if you want to again, make sure to book your tickets here and grab a blanket, chair, some friends, and a picnic and come out and enjoy this unique and special telling of Shakespeare's Hamlet, believe me, you won't be disappointed.......I will be looking out for ya through my peephole backstage, so hope to see you soon!
Till next time ~