Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some Local Thoughts.....

One of the unique and really great aspects of Endstation is that each summer we have a blend of talent from across the country and from the local area. We appreciate the support of the local community for so many different reasons and could not do what we do without the support. From the very beginning local community individuals have been involved with Endstation productions.

(Tell Tale and the Mind of Poe Cast/Crew 2007)

I'm a "local person" and it is a great perspective being the staff member on site year round and welcoming everyone back when they come at various times during the off season for planning and fund-raising events and of course back for the summer.

This year we have several local actors that are part of our productions of Assassins (Kathy Clay, Karl Lindevaldsen, Jared Anderson, Jeffrey Price, Shelbie Filson, Josh DeVries, Liz Butler, Scott Rankins, Albert Carter, Dustin Williams, Aaron Farr, and Joe Gilbar) and Twelfth Night (Rachel Blomquist, Melora Kordos, and Alex Miller). Some have participated in past festivals and others are joining us for the first time. The majority of them have day jobs and other responsibilities that they juggle and maintain while participating in the festival, and I was curious about their perspective on Endstation, so I asked them. Here is some of what they had to say:

(Melora Kordos and Rachel Blomquist rehearsing for Twelfth Night)

Have you had a positive experience with Endstation this summer?

Working with Endstation Theatre has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I have been overwhelmed with the professionalism of the production team. This production team enabled me to rise to new challenges and succeed in performing to a height I never thought possible (Scott Rankins)

To say this was a positive experience would be the understatement of the ages. Before I ever knew I had a "need" as an actor, answers and solutions were always met. That's what I'd call expert trouble-shooting....(no pun intended~~) (Kathy Clay)

I always have such a great experience with Endstation, that's why this is my third summer with the company, and hopefully there will be many more! (Melora Kordos) 

I've most certainly had a positive experience this summer. Having attended the festival since 2008, I've always wanted to work with the company. When I heard that "Assassins" was going to be part of the season, I knew I had to audition. (Liz Butler) 

(Kathy Clay and Liz Butler during a scene from Assassins)
Photo credit: Bryce Page

What is one of your favorite parts/memories of your production or endstation as a whole?

It's hard to pick out one particular memory. I'd have to say that the rehearsal process at the very point all of the cast is off book is the best part of the process. It's fun when the cast begins to experiement with language and the text. We bring the characters to life and just enjoy playing. (Rachel Blomquist) 

I think my favorite memories so far this year have been getting together with some of the cast outside of rehearsals and just playing some music. We'd teach other new songs and swap instraments back and forth. So much fun. Getting to listen to an jam with the guys like George and Spencer really is a privilege. (Alex Miller) 

I have always loved the rehearsal process; there is always room for discovery and growth, and (hopefully) always inspiration from the cast and crew of the show. What was remarkable about Endstation was the feeling of community among everyone outside of the rehearsal/performance process as well. Karaoke nights, barn parties, campouts, dinners, cookouts, jaunts into the big bad metropolis of Lynchburg, it all added to a memorable summer experience, even for us "older townies" (Kathy Clay)

(Alex Miller (left) rehearsing a scene from Twelfth Night with George Carruth and Sergio Soltero)

If this is your first time, what has your overall impression of endstation and the festival been? If you are returning how has this year been different than others?

I have enjoyed watching productions the last 2 seasons, and I am thrilled to be part of the company this year. I recognized from the start the excellence that this company has. It was great working with Chad and the wonderful direction he brought to Assassins. (Karl Lindevaldsen) 

Assassins was my debut with Endstation, only because I never had time the last few summers, but I hope to be involved for future performances. The level of professionalism brought to Central Virginia is amazing to me. I have been involved in Lynchburg area community theatre for 12 years and I have incredible respect for the level of production and acting Endstation brings to us. (Scott Rankins) 

Endstation has progressed so much through it's productions. I'm pleased to say that I have seen or been in many of the productions each year since Endstation started the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. Each year they keep getting better and better. The cast of Twelfth Night feels much more like a community than other larger productions in the past. By condensing the cast, a sense of family is created, I love that! (Rachel Blomquist) 

 (Dustin Williams in Assassins) 

Have you enjoyed getting to work with other artists/interns from across the country?

Immensely! We only grow and enrich ourselves with diversity. Learning from others is absolutely key to anyone's growth. We cannot expand our horizons thinking, living and (in this case performing) in a box. The production team was from all over the country and a few of the actors in Assassins. Observing and listening to all these folks around me has enriched my acting and brought my singing to a level I never thought I would even have been able to achieve. (Scott Rankins) 

Yes I have, I'm amazed by how much talent I'm surrounded by at each and every rehearsal. It inspires and challenges me to become a better actor, to really master the art. (Rachel Blomquist) 

I don't thank God enough for putting me with Endstation. Most of my friends this summer are hundreds of miles away from their families working for next to nothing doing summer stock or an internship of some kind before heading back to school in the fall. Meanwhile I get to stay in my hometown, keep a good-paying job, plus work with a group of professional actors, directors, designers from all over the world. Seriously they are amazing. It's like joining the Dharma Initiative, but without all the time travel (Alex Miller)  

(Twelfth Night rehearsal)

Has it been difficult to maintain your regular schedule and your rehearsal schedule?

I'm not gonna lie, some weeks are more difficult than others, but it is always worth it (Melora Kordos)

No, Endstation has been so flexible with my personal schedule that I have not been stressed going about my day to day activities and plans. (Rachel Blomquist)

Of course! It is always a balancing act for me. I own a business, have a wife and feel I neglect all of them somewhat when I am involved in theatre. But I have a wife who is very understanding and who also loves the arts. I am busy at work, but I would rather be busy than sitting around and watching everyone else have fun! (Scott Rankins) 

(Assassins cast rehearsing with director Chad Larabee) 

Do you think you will audition for future productions? If not on stage would come as a patron/audience member to future productions?

Yes, I would love to be part of Endstation again. I will be an audience member if I am not able to be a member of a cast. I am excited that Endstation will continue to grow and I hope it will become a theatre festival that many people will want to come to. (Karl Lindevaldsen) 

Definitely, I'm sold! (Scott Rankins)  

Absolutly, as long as I'm in Lynchburg I will continue to audition or be an audience member of the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. It's such an enriching experience and it sparks a great amount of excitement into my summer. (Rachel Blomquist) 

YES! and YES!!! It seems Endstation is gathering more momentum every summer, which is so wonderful to witness. (Kathy Clay)  

So there you have it, they seem to love us just as much as we love them! Like I said we could not do what we do without the local community, and we appreciate everyone probably much more than they will every realize. Thank you to all the local actors/volunteers/audience members who continue to support us in different ways.

If you have not already seen Assassins, make sure to get your tickets (you can do that here), or better yet since I am sure you are planning to see Twelfth Night why not get a two show package deal (more info here) so you are sure not to miss out!! We will see you soon!

Till next time~
Company Manager

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