Saturday, May 31, 2008
Saturday, May 31
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Creating an Environment
The design process continues for The Bluest Water. We met a few days ago to discuss the environment that is taking shape for this new work. After reading this story and collecting research over the last year regarding Hurricane Camille, to me, the lasting impressions left on the landscape of Nelson County are reminders of the hurricanes devastation. However tragic these memories are, the people, the land, and the stories live on and are retold, bruised but hopeful.
How do we represent this? How do we create an environment that speaks volumes about the gash that was torn in Nelson County's heart in 1969? The designers have collaborated to transport the viewer to the eye of the storm, to the calm that brings destruction; to the memory that has sculpted a terrain upon which we live today.
The set will consist of large amounts of debris arranged in such a way that it appears as though something has pushed through the space and has left an imprint, a memory. Natural colors will aid as a backdrop, or neutral palette to emphasize atmospheric lighting and contrast with costumes. Natural materials will be implemented, wood, stone and dirt. Rusted metals and odd relics will dot our landscape and peak the curiosities of the characters inhabiting the space.
Adjustments and New Experiences ... (or, "Do What?")
For Romeo and Juliet, analyzing every line and finding the appropriate meaning for our production results in new discoveries and sometimes changes of an individual's own preconceived notions about a scene, character, or bit of dialogue. A plethora of editions of the text, in addition to a number of other resources, can be found on-hand (thanks to the director) to aid in this discovery process.
A sampling of the many tools kept within reach.
"Here, you take that one, I'll take this. Let's see what everyone has to say about that point."
For The Bluest Water, these adjustments include not only the same character discoveries and variations in interpretation but literal adjustments to the script itself. As an original, premiering work, it is updated almost nightly (even if those updates are minor), with "new pages" provided to the actors and production team after every day's edit. Throughout a given rehearsal, the author will often re-work lines on the fly (allowing them to be immediately tested out).
Playwright Jason Chimonides keeps a soft-copy of the script at his fingertips for editing.
This revision process is but one example of the new experiences provided to many of those involved. Watching a play take shape throughout the run is something to which many of us are unaccustomed. It has been an enjoyable, interactive process, with the cast actively involved in dialogue changes (particularly fun when it adds additional local flavor ... such as a recent inclusion of the interestingly-southern response, "Do what?!"). As Ken Parks (who plays the character of Jared in The Bluest Water) stated with a smile, "I'm used to having a set script in front of me and simply having to make it work. Now, I keep thinking, 'You mean I get to have a say in what actually winds up on the page for good?' "
Another cast member of The Bluest Water, Casey Carden (who plays the character of Emory), says this is "the realest thing [he's] ever done." As a Central Virginia native, Casey turned 18 a matter of days after the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Camille, and members of his family were involved in the rescue and cleanup efforts. "So it's definitely close to home for me."
There seems to be something new for almost everyone. For many of the members of Romeo and Juliet, this will be their first experience with outdoor theatre. Other festival participants are taking their first stab at Shakespeare, performing at Sweet Briar College for the first time, or are new to Virginia itself. For a handful of actors involved with the festival, myself included, this provides the first opportunity to be in two productions running concurrently in repertory.
Ken Parks leaves rehearsal as The Bluest Water's Jared to join rehearsal upstairs as Romeo and Juliet's Friar Lawrence.
Shifting gears nightly (or, for some, often between different rehearsals in the same evening) will take some getting used to, but those who've accepted this challenge (to essentially form two or more separate and distinct personas) welcome it whole-heartedly. Derek Arey (Neddy in The Bluest Water / Balthasar in Romeo and Juliet) says he thinks the difference in staging for the two shows will help a lot. "I look forward to being able to leave Balthasar outside while coming into a completely different space for Neddy."
Jared M Anderson
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Double The Fun
One of the exciting aspects of the Bluest Water production is that the script is continuing to undergo tweaks and revisions. We have been fortunate enough to have Jason Chimonides here in town with us this week. Jason and Geoff have been breaking down and dissecting the Bluest Water script in order to continue making changes and updates as they see fit. The cast members have been excited to share in the process as well by making suggestions, participating in the discussion, and reading aloud to see if each revision works.
Here you can see that Jason was particularly happy with a change he had made moments before.
Romeo and Juliet continued full steam ahead upstairs in the seminar room, as they have been breaking down Shakespeare all week.
Our fearless Romeo and Juliet director, Bill Kershner deep in concentration.We are looking forward to the coming weeks when the shows will begin to "get on their feet" as they head into the staging and blocking component of the process. It is really pretty amazing to see the different pieces of the puzzle come together as the process rolls on. While the rehearsals with the cast are in process, there is additional preparation happening with other aspects of the festival. Everything from lighting to ticket sales, there is a lot that goes into making a production a reality, and we are excited to see it all unfold.
Endstation Blogger and Production Manager
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
A Return to Old Stompin' Grounds
Jason, Natalie, Michael and I went to Amherst County High School today to do a Shakespeare workshop for a group of English classes. It was a very rewarding and high energy experience.
We had 200 students for an hour and forty-five minutes. Not a small feet, but Jason, Michael and Natalie were an INCREDIBLE team.
The presentation included work with text from Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet (Michael's "redneck" Romeo and Natalie's "goth chick" Juliet, very popular), a stage combat demonstration (the crotch kick, very popular), and a Shakespearean insult workshop (Elizabethan "your momma" jokes, always a hit).
We will be doing a similar set of workshops at E.C. Glass High School on Friday and one at Heritage High School on Monday. Working with high school students in this kind of setting is both challenging but incredibly rewarding. Their energy was fantastic. Thanks to the Lancers of ACHS!!
Endstation Blogger and Artistic Director
Monday, May 26, 2008
Day 2 - High Noon on the Mercutio Clock
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Here are images of the first read through of the The Bluest Water: A Hurricane Camille Story
Playwright Jason Chimonides hard at work...
State Trooper Ed Tinsley and his wife, listening to reading...
Ed, myself and Jason
Sally Southall (Costumes and Liz) measuring Casey Carden (Emory)
This was an exciting first day. We have two wonderful casts and the journey has begun! We also discovered that there is only one restaurant open in Amherst on Sundays...Thank you #1 Wok!
Monday, May 19, 2008
The Blogging Team
Our contributors are:
This group are members of the casts and production teams and should supply a very broad view of this exciting summer!
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Dan's Lighting Images
The following are some of Dan's images.
These first images are ideas that Dan has for the storm in1969. There is a sepia look, like an old photograph. A memory, worn and faded but still very present.
I love the image above. I love it on a metaphoric level and I love the look.
This next image is a look that we will play with for some of the recovery scenes from 1969. Dan is interested in heat, lack of shade and shadow, and a blistering sun. The play takes place in August in Virginia and the day after the storm it was incredibly clear. This feel is very helpful to us on all kinds of story telling levels. It is exposed, overwhelming, and under duress.
Next is a series of images for the 2008. There is something softer, cooler, and progressive about these images.
These following images are for a scene with a retired State Trooper (Emory) and one of our central characters, Jared.
These next images are also for 2008. We want a sense of the woods, a cooler look, less extreme...again progressive but the shadow gives us depth and texture.
This last image is "The Priest" in Nelson. This is a very important element to the play. Dan will be working with this image for the very end of the piece. Dan took this picture just the other day when he came for a visit.