Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Brother's Knife: Tallahassee Reading

Today we workshopped Josh Mikel's play, My Brother's Knife, which will be produced as a part of the 2009 Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. Actors Sergio Soltero, Walter Kmiec, and Guerrin Gardner gathered with Josh and myself in Tallahassee, FL to work on the show. 

Playwright Josh Mikel at the reading in Tallahassee

We spent two days reading Josh's present draft and producing notes and needs for changes and development. We are very excited about the growth of the piece and what it will become. 

Actor Walter Kmiec and Endstation Theatre Company member Jason Chimonides 

We were also excited that Endstation company member and The Bluest Water playwright Jason Chimonides was able to join us for added feedback. 

Actor Sergio Soltero 

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Hello all! Don't forget that Endstation Memberships make great stocking stuffers! Visit www.lynchburgtickets.com

Also, visit Artistic Director Geoffrey Kershner's new website at www.geoffreykershner.com!

Happy Holidays everyone!!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Endstation Memberships on Sale!!!

Endstation Summer Memberships are now available at www.lynchburgtickets.com!

As a member:

  • Receive tickets for all three of our shows!
  • Reserve your tickets before anyone else (single tickets on sale in March)!
  • Receive priority seating, specially reserved for members!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Beaux' Stratagem

Here are two reviews from a production of The Beaux' Stratagem directed by Artistic Director Geoffrey Kershner at Theatre Jacksonville.



Sunday, September 7, 2008


Everyone, please vote in the "Best of Lynchburg" by Lynchburg Living Magazine. Let's make Endstation the "Best Live Theatre!" Let's make the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival the "Best Cultural event!

Please visit: http://www.lynchburgliving.com/

Thank you all so much!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Beaux' Stratagem

Hello all!

I am in Jacksonville, Florida directing a new adaptation of George Farquhar's The Beaux' Stratagem that was started by Thornton Wilder and finished by Ken Ludwig. It is an excellent adaptation and it has been a joy to return to Theatre Jax here in San Marco. I directed a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream here last year.

I will post more images as the process continues...

Geoffrey Kershner
Endstation Blogger and Artistic Director

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What's next?


From May to July this blog has been posted to everyday. If you are visiting this blog...here is what you can expect in the coming months...

Each month there will be a post updating Endstation activity both in Virginia and activity with its artists as they work through out the country.

Starting in May 2009 this blog will be posted to daily as our summer festival is in full swing.

Stay tuned.

Geoffrey Kershner
Endstation Blogger and Artistic Director

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tired but proud

So, we have come to the end. We closed this year's production of The Bluest Water: A Hurricane Camille Story, struck the set, had a closing party, and struck the set some more. It is finished. It is hard to believe that it is over. I look back on this first summer festival with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. With out the dedicated individuals involved this was not possible. Thank you to everyone. Thank you to the Endstation family.


The Bluest Water: A Hurricane Camille Story
(Running mid to late June, 2009)

My Brother's Knife: A Madison Heights Odyssey
(Running mid July, 2009)

A Midsummer Night's Dream
(Running mid to late July, 2009)

Thank you all and stay tuned for much more to come!

Geoffrey Kershner
Endstation Blogger and Artistic Director

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Final Images - And Looking Forward

  As the first annual Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival closes Sunday, July 27, 2008, here are a few (more to be added) final images for the scrapbook.  This festival brought together a clear vision, a sense of purpose, and a creative group of people who will always be connected in a unique way.  

The cast of Romeo and Juliet

The cast of The Bluest Water

"Parting is such sweet sorrow..." but there is much to anticipate next summer with the remounting of The Bluest Water to add to A Midsummer Night's Dream.  

This is only the beginning!

Goodnight R and J

The sun sets on R and J

Tonight we closed the chapter on one of the first productions of a continuing tradition, the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. I have been so proud of all of those involved with Romeo and Juliet. It has been an incredible group of people to work with and to watch. I want to extend a special thank you to all those involved. It has also been special to work with my father in the mounting of this show.

Brian Chaitin looks on at "magic hour."

Romeo and Juliet meet

A thought struck me this evening about the power of theatre. Tonight we tried to capture the show on tape. A camera was set up, but sadly the power died on the camera mid way through the first act. Part of me was sad, but another part of me began to think about the act of theatre and its power "in the moment." I love theatre because when it happens it is immediate. There is no escaping it. That is what is so powerful about it. It only exists in the moment that an audience is watching it in the present. A video of this show would have been nice but it would never have caught how incredible it was to watch this show on a beautiful summer evening with a calm breeze, birds chirping, the sun setting, and Shakespeare's words spilling out over the gorgeous architecture of Benedict. Although fleeting, it only could have happened during those 9 days in July of 2008. No video could ever capture what the real experience was and what it was audiences felt in the moments this piece was performed. It is both heart breaking and beautiful.

The Friar and Romeo

That Tybalt...always so angry...

The beginning of Act 2

I think one of the things that most struck me about this show, apart from the incredibly talented cast, was the power of the natural elements and their enhancement of the telling of this classic tale. The show begins in full day light, the sun sets, the second act begins at dusk, and the show ends with the moon and the stars at their fullest. Watching this take place around the show was amazing and powerful. A journey took place that was a full and rich metaphor.

A father and daughter watch the end of the play

The final scene

This was a very special experience. I want to thank all those involved. An incredible amount of work and dedication went into mounting this show. Audiences had a wonderful time and I will always cherish this first outdoor experience for Endstation. Bravo to all those involved.

Cast members talk to audience members after the show

Geoffrey Kershner
Endstation Blogger and Artistic Director

Friday, July 25, 2008

...That's a Wrap!!

It's hard to believe that just a mere five months ago, we were setting up and eagerly waiting and anticipating the arrival of the first individuals that would come to audition for the 2008 Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. Who would come out? How many would come out? Did we spread the word enough? Were there enough copies of the audition scripts? These and a million other questions went through our minds as the first smiling faces came through the lobby doors at Babcock on the Sweet Briar Campus.

We were enthralled by all the amazing talent that the Directors had to choose from, and after a couple of days of auditions and the Directors pouring over the roles, we had our casts. Casting in March gave the opportunity for everyone to continue preparing and know what the schedule for the summer would look like. Rehearsals did not actually begin until late May, and everyone jumped in with both feet.

Both productions continued to roll on as all the elements started to come together, the actors were continuing with rehearsals, the production team meeting and planning different aspects of both shows. All the while getting more and more excited as opening night for both productions approached, when we would finally be able to share the finished product with the patrons.

There are so many different elements that go into making a production what it is, one of the most exciting aspects is the transformations that take place:

From this to this

From this to this

As the end approaches there are mixed emotions all around. Although we may be a tad tired, it is all worth it for what has been accomplished this summer. As one can see from previous posts the sentiments are bitter-sweet as the summer comes to a close. Some are looking forward to the next chapter of 2008 and others not so much. No matter where each individual is at, one thing is for sure, and that is that everyone brought their game face to the table, ready to work, and gave their best efforts, this has been reflected by the quality of the festival. From the box office to the set, from the costumes to the stunning actor performances, all elements no matter how big or small, contributed to an amazing experience.

When sitting back and reflecting on the summer, I would not trade this first Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival experience for anything. Did we learn things? Of course? Will there be changes in how some things are done? Probably. Would I do it all over? Absolutely!! To be able to sit back and know that you were part of an experience that touched so many people in so many unique ways, is something to be proud of.

We are looking forward to finishing strong, and are excited to see what the years ahead bring!!

So to everyone that was involved in the very first Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival, I tip my hat and raise my glass to you and shout a hearty WELL DONE!!

Maria Hayden
Endstation Blogger and Production Stage Manager

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Reflections ... upon the surface of "The Bluest Water"

As of this post, only 3 performances of The Bluest Water remain. In many ways it's hard to believe or conceive! Heading into the final weekend of the show, the cast and crew share a sense of accomplishment and appreciation. Truly, though, all good things must come to an end.

The close of any production typically brings with it a variety of mixed feelings, and The Bluest Water is no exception. For many of the cast, especially those involved with both of the festival's shows, the number and frequency of performances have required the maintenance of a great deal of energy. Says Derek Arey (Neddy), "I look forward to being able to sleep."

Many of the cast have something new they can take away from this production. Michael Stablein, Jr. (Nathan / Tyler / Young Bobby) proudly indicates he has now mastered the art of applying mud makeup "without it looking like it's mud makeup."

For others, the end of the show more broadly signifies the end of the summer and the start of a new school semester (which may or not be eagerly anticipated). Thomas Bell (Detective / Chip Owens) was so flustered by the idea of a return to his campus that his description of what awaited him was "just a whole new stuff of bad things".

Were truer words ever uttered?

Kidding aside, The Bluest Water indeed has been an amazing experience for all involved. The most common sentiment shared in reflection about the show is that it will be greatly missed. For some, it is as with the close of any production; Casey Carden (Emory) states that all of his closest friends are in the theatre. "It gives me a reason and opportunity to hang out with many of the people I care for the most."

For others, the effect of the show itself will leave a lasting impression upon their remembrances. In the early stages, it's unsure if anyone could have imagined the production would prove so poignant, so powerful, and so popular. Not only did every scheduled performance sell out (and quickly!), but two extra performances (added this final week specifically to support the demand) also filled fast. The response from the public has been phenomenal. Says Wanda Bond (Nelson Ensemble), "It's obvious people have a lot of healing left to do." We've all been honored to serve as a part of that healing process.

Many of those real people, those real souls whose lives were touched by the Camille tragedy have shared their time and their stories with us. For Natalie Caruncho (Young Lizzie), "it's been a very intimate show. Learning the history, knowing this really happened, seeing the faces of some of the people who lived through it, and being aware we're sharing something so personal with them in that space ... that's what theatre is about."

Those words are very true.

The Bluest Water has demonstrated a variety of things. Many who've lived in this area for years don't know of Camille. Local-interest pieces can be engaging and dramatic. Tragedy touches us all. Some wounds take decades to heal. And we've served a purpose. We've entertained, we've enlightened, we've encouraged.

As with so many theatrical endeavors, this is of course not the end. At this point, it is all but certain that the production will be re-mounted as part (or an extension) of next year's festival, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of the storm. Still, this particular stage of the show's life is drawing to a close.

We extend a huge thank-you to all who have attended, as well as those who wanted to attend but were unsuccessful. We appreciate all the insight given by those who provided their stories, willing to relive the tragedy for the benefit of all. And to our fellow cast and crew, we all extend a hearty "Well done!"

Jared M Anderson
Endstation Blogger

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Romeo and Juliet" Closes on Broadway July 26

The Tony-Nominated play Romeo and Juliet, a heart-wrenching story of a forbidden love and its consequences, plays its final performance at Broadway's Benedict Building on July 26. 

The neoclassic production, part of a renowned summer theatre festival hosted by the internationally-loved theatre company, Endstation, began rehearsals in early May and opened officially on Jun. 10. It enjoyed a three-week run at the prestigious theatre, and upon its final show, will have played a total of 9.5 performances.

Though its run was short, Romeo and Juliet made quite a splash within the theatre community. In addition to earning a Tony Award for Best Show Ever Done (Ever), Romeo and Juliet also won the Drama Desk Award for Best Use of an Unconventional Space and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Most Stunningly Attractive Cast/Costumes. It also found itself on the top ten lists of The New York Times and New York Magazine (Top Ten Best After-Midnight Restaurants and Top Ten Cleaning Products, respectively).

"I have never enjoyed anything in my life as much as I've enjoyed this," said theatre company founder/artistic director/producer/director/fight choreographer, Geoffrey Kershner. "It is the sum of my life's work, and nothing will ever surpass the magnificence of this experience and this production." Just to ensure that statement, Geoffrey Kershner plans on retiring immediately after the final performance and spending the rest of his days in a dark room with no human interaction (Kershner is 30). 

"I just really wanted to choose something action-packed but emotional, super sexy but still tear-wrenching," director Bill Kershner explained. "And you can't really go anywhere else for that but straight to the Bard. He's a magnificent writer, and it was really a blessing, having him at our rehearsals. He's a flexible playwright, didn't complain about any choices I made." William Shakespeare could not be reached for a comment, but an inside source provided a text message straight from William himself, reading, "go c r&j @ benedict, i nevr saw tru beauty til dis nite!!!1!11"

The cast clearly already feels the pain that the upcoming ending bodes for them. At several times during a performance, actors can be seen crying, wailing, screaming, tearing at their hair, and falling upon the ground. But it's all part of the game, they say. "I knew going into it that I'd rather shove a stake in my heart than have it end," Natalie Caruncho, the show's Juliet, confessed. "But you have to do what you love while you love it, and take whatever agony comes after. And no, I'm not referring to the consummation scene." 

Kirin McCrory
Playbill.com Contributor

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And the rain came...kinda

Clouds rolling in...

So tonight the inevitable took place. We had to end Romeo and Juliet early for rain...kind of. This evening they were calling for a 60% chance of rain. From the moment we arrived we kept our eyes on the sky and on the radar. (Which I could monitor on my brand new BlackBerry...Yay!). Things were not looking good, but we hung tight and started the show on time. There was a little drizzle at the start, but the actors stayed in it and we continued all the way through the first Act.

Krista and Maria during the show. The clouds above were looking ominous. (Photo...courtesy of the new BlackBerry...yeah!!!)

We got to intermission and monitored things. It was looking bad. The wind was picking up and we could see some lightning in the distance. It still wasn't raining though and the time had come to start the second Act. I decided to go ahead with it, but gave the audience some instruction in case we had to call it.

Start of second act...

So, we began the second Act and at the same time began to pack up as much as we could with out disturbing the show. I watched the sky but just got too uncomfortable with the lighting flashes in the sky. I had just listened to this week's podcast of "This American Life" where there was a story of a fatal lightening strike. I went ahead and made the call. Brian rang the bell and I stopped the show. We ushered the audience, along with the cast, into the Tyson Auditorium in Benedict.

We pow wowed and decided to call the show. I made an announcement that we would allow any audience member to return to the entire show again or they could return at intermission for any of the future shows. Michael joked that this was the first production of Romeo and Juliet in which Romeo and Juliet did not die. Happy ending!

The audience was wonderful and understanding and we hope they join us again in the next few days. This was our first taste of the elements and how they effect outdoor theatre. After all this though...it just sprinkled a little. There was lots of sound and light...but no real storm before 10:20pm...the time the show would have ended.

This was a tough call, but the audiences' safety had to come first. I hope we have clear skies on Thursday and Saturday!!

Geoffrey Kershner
Endstation Blogger and Artistic Director

Monday, July 21, 2008

Spotlight on JD Stallings!

JD Stallings serves as the Technical Director and Assistant Director for both shows of the festival. But like a lot of our technical staff, JD's foray into theatre started at a young age and on the stage--not behind it.

Brian, Maria, and JD converse during an R&J rehearsal.

JD first started doing theatre with his church, performing in musicals as early as age five. Through high school, he kept busy as an actor. "We didn't have "technical theatre" at my high school," JD said, "just a phillips head screwdriver and three 2x4s." Between graduating and heading to Wake Forest, he offered to help backstage at the Parkway Playhouse, a summerstock theatre in his hometown, hoping that his volunteer work would land him a few roles during the summer. He got the small parts he was hoping for, but he was also introduced to all of the backstage happenings, and when he headed to Wake Forest, he landed a work study in the university's scene shop. From sophomore to senior year, JD was the Master Carpenter or the Assistant Technical Director for every show; he also designed a few sets and acted once or twice in small-name productions like "Into the Woods" or "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Working at the Parkway Playhouse in between school years, he became the Technical Director for the theatre after only one year, and to date has "acted in, designed, and/or TD over 30 shows there." Now, JD Stallings teaches at EC Glass High School in Lynchburg, and serves as Glass Theatre's Technical Director. 

JD with Glass' cast of "The Complete History of America (Abridged)," which he directed. If you look, you can find not one, but three Endstation members!

JD claims a love for both onstage and offstage theatrics, for their respective reasons. On acting: "I've always loved being onstage because it allows me to do/say things that would never come out in real life, and the challenge of becoming characters very different from myself  has always been thrilling." And tech work: "I enjoy all things backstage because the creative construction process has always fascinated me. Seeing the tech aspects of a show work like a well-oiled machine with the audience never knowing what made it happen is somehow very gratifying."

JD, Dan and Brian celebrate Brian's 22nd birthday.

As for his time spent with Endstation this summer, I'll let JD spin it in his own words. "I've thoroughly enjoyed my experience this summer. I have to say that my favorite part has been getting to know and work with other people from the area (and beyond) who are so dedicated to theatre that they will spend every spare moment they have (and some that aren't even spare) creating the best shows possible. It's really invigorating to be surrounded by such an awesome community of people doing what they love because they love it. Working in new spaces and with a new mentality when it comes to the theatrical experience has also been very eye-opening and has given me some perspective that I didn't have before."

JD has been an immense help to the festival this summer. I've seen him in the throes of theatre, when he'd been up all night and perhaps wasn't necessarily energetic about the sixth show of a season, and perhaps was longing for summer and a less theatre-involved three months, but he seems enthusiastic and happy to be on the Endstation grounds this summer, even if it means an extra two months of theatre.

Kirin McCrory
Endstation Blogger

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Images from Producing a Theatre Festival or Two Weeks Gone By

Geoffrey Kershner
Endstation Blogger and Artistic Director