04 Aug Newsletter – July 2013

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Artistic Director’s Corner

Michael StormWell, it’s working. The numbers are starting to grow at Live Oak Theatre. Just Theatre has put up two truly wonderful shows and the people are showing up. All of the renovations and clean-up are paying off as people start to learn that there is indeed an indoor theatre in the Live Oak Park – and it is fabulous! As I have mentioned we are hearing from people in the neighborhood that they are unaware there is an indoor theatre in Live Oak Park. Now that we have theatre running in the space every weekend and we have already had 7 different organizations rent from us, word is spreading. Once we complete the tri-fecta: Just Theatre, TheatreFIRST and Symmetry productions lined up, we should be rolling with all of our audiences cross pollinating, as it were.

I also want to remind you that we now have assigned seating in the theatre and certain nights are filling up. Opening night of Orlando for instance is at about 45% capacity and opening is still two weeks away. Amazing! Now, if you haven’t been in the theatre yet there are no bad seats, but if you are someone who has their heart set on a center seat for instance you have to order now. As in NOW! Go to our website and place your order. You will be able to pick your seats and reserve them. Also, please don’t forget about the special offers running now. If you see A Maze or Underneath The Lintel  currently running at Live Oak Theatre and you bring your program for that show to Orlando you will receive a free beverage from our concessions stand. All of our wonderful supporters should see these two shows. If you are a T1 diehard from the old days, you will really enjoy both of them. And of course TheatreFIRST Artistic Associate Clive Worsley (Nathan The Wise, Stones in His Pockets) is wonderful in A Maze. The other special I want to mention is that on the second weekend of the run – you already know about pizza nights – but students are free! So, spread the word. Any of you that are teachers, especially at the high school or college level keep that in mind with Orlando.

Help us get the word out about all of the wonderful things going on. Get people to check out the website and if you can get them signed up for the newsletter. Better yet, get them to buy tickets or even subscribe. Remember 3 shows for $70. Patrons under 30 years of age can get a 3 show subscription for $45. And above all else, get yourself into the theatre now. Great theatre is happening!

Thanks!
~Michael


Announcing Pizza Weekend

Yes it’s true! The second weekend of each run will now feature pizza nights. Free gourmet pizza will be offered in the lobby during intermission on Friday and Saturday nights of the second weekend of each run. For Orlando, the saucy, scrumptious nights will be Friday, August 23rd and Saturday, August 24th!


Subscriptions on Sale on Our Website

Well, Bay Area summer is here, looking and feeling a lot like a New England fall. Warm yourself with the prospect of becoming a Subscriber. If you prefer pen and paper, you can download the season mailer, fill it out, and send it our way. If cyberspace feels more homey, use the link www.theatrefirst.com/tickets, click the “subscribe” button and claim your favorite seat. Our new home comes with reserved seating!

What’s the “heat” we’re offering to cheer you up during this cloudy weather? Three fantastic shows, all VERY different and all bringing you the best theatre artists the Bay Area has to offer. Read more here at www.theatrefirst.com!


Just Theatre is Currently Running at Live Oak Theatre

One last chance to see A Maze! With strong writing, strong direction and an amazing cast, this is an exceptional show that audiences are raving about.

A teenage girl recreating her identity after eight years captive in a suburban basement. A pair of rock stars re-inventing themselves after a hit song. A self-taught artist gaining a cult following for his 15,000-page comic book. How do these three stories converge? Where does it all lead?

It leads to…

Just Theatre presenting Rob Handel’s A Maze, starring Lasse Christiansen, Janis Delucia, Carl Holvick Thomas, Frannie Morrison, Sarah Moser, Harold Pierce, Lauren Spencer and Clive Worsley.

To sweeten the deal, if you mention “FirstThingsFirst” you can receive a free beverage from the bar. And if you hang on to your program from A Mazeit can be used to acquire one complimentary ticket to our opening weekend of  Orlando (8/16, 8/17, 8/18)… but you probably already have your tickets for the Professional Bay Area Premiere of this Sarah Ruhl play directed by Domenique Lozano (Cal Shakes, American Conservatory Theatre and TheatreFIRST Artistic Associate). Of course you do, because you are hip and cool like that.


An Interview with Actress Stephanie DeMott

Stephanie1aStephanie is a Bay Area actress who graduated from the American Conservatory Theatre’s MFA Program and is currently playing the title character in TheatreFIRST’s upcoming Orlando.

 

What do you enjoy most about playing the character of Orlando so far?

That the set and the players feel like a human sized playground on which I’m sliding, swinging, hanging and tumbling on and around!  And there is something delightful about falling in love every day.  The story allows me to explore a variety of loves, love in its many forms and flavors.  When Orlando finally connects with Marmaduke it’s somehow inevitable, all the events in her life have crystallized in this moment and now she can move forward with herself and with him as her partner, her equal.

What is the greatest challenge for you playing Orlando at this early point in the process?

What’s striking for me TODAY is Orlando’s use of “now”.  She can and does contradict herself because now is somewhere new that she’s never been.  And it is this sense of discovery “it now seemed to Orlando” or “Orlando now became conscious” you can never catch up with now, it’s moving to the next and the next and the next.  Fast, too.  The play feels much like that.  It reminds me a little of Alice, down the rabbit hole, who says “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”  The ensemble is tasked with the incredible feat of manifesting all of these environments and situations, and is constantly metamorphosing from one time and place to another.  That’s it, I wouldn’t call it so much of a challenge, I prefer to think of it as our task.

What inside information can you give us about the costumes, set, cast or director?

There is a huge tree on stage that grows throughout the play!  Are you kidding me?  And it’s climbable!  I mean what’s to say? All the designers are incredible. People transform from men to women and sometimes back again, things drop from the sky, queens appear out of thin air.  I will say I feel very blessed to be working with Domenique again.  This project absolutely calls for someone with her sense of curiosity, play, and grace.

Where did you receive your training?

Undergrad was spent at San Francisco State, where I received two BA’s for Theatre and Creative Writing, and then, later, I got my MFA from the American Conservatory Theatre.

Was there a specific point in time when you knew you wanted to be an actor?

I think I was always acting, how to be the right thing in the right moment for each parent.  One friend would bring something out of me that was different from another.  Who is “big sister” Stephanie, or the girl who has a slew of nannies, or later, girlfriend and lover?  Always finding who I was based on encounters I had with others.  More specifically, my stepdad threw me on the stage when I was about twelve, I think.  He was musical director and artistic associate of the Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond and was like, “Can something be done with this child!?”  So I sang and danced and was hooked, hence the rest of my life.  Also, I have a very distinct memory of a fifth grade variety show in which I danced to Cabaret, and I was the one selected to walk down the row of chairs towards the audience – that was pretty seminal.

Who are some of your favorite actors and what about their work or person has inspired you?

I don’t frequently attach my strings to other performers.  Of course you have your Streeps, Pacinos, Depps (in his early work), but I think what inspires me is specific projects.  I see something and I want to recreate a moment from it that I can’t get out of my brain.  I watch So You Think You Can Dance and I find that specific choreographers scream at me MAKE! PLAY! GO!  Also, storytellers, Waits, DiFranco, they sweep me up in their worlds and emotions and transport me.  I hope I can bring an element of that to the stage, because that’s why you go to the theatre, no?  To be transported.

What is the funniest or strangest thing that has happened to you on stage?

This was college, you know when boundaries are still being tested and grace is elusive, I was performing Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with my best friend playing George, and at various points in the play I threaten him, we are all familiar, ja?  So one night during performance, I found occasion to threaten him with the ice in my tumbler, I meant only to toss the two ice cubes in his general direction, but suddenly the glass is flying through the air and SHATTERS center stage.   What to do?  So, So, So, we then improvise what would be the equivalent of half a page of Albee text about “Martha and her games” while George produced a broom from backstage and I made myself another drink.  I thought the director was going to kill us, lucky my dad happened to be in the audience that night and was there discussing the intricacies of the show & congratulating me when the director approached – somehow I was not killed, but congratulated on such a recovery …That night I learned, perhaps I should not get quite so lost in a play that I can let a glass let fly from my hands in the general direction of my fellow actor and friend, and that while moments should be felt, they should not be FELT quite so hard.

What is the funniest or strangest thing that has happened to you in the Orlando rehearsal hall so far?

There is a lot of laughter.  I wouldn’t say the funniest thing, but something that consistently tickles me is the play between Orlando and the Archduke. Michael Barr is superb as the cross dressing male who is desperately in love with Orlando.  And while the male Orlando cannot handle his lust for the Archduchess and therefore flees the country, the female Orlando is stuck dealing with his barrage of pronouncements of love.  While she tolerates his passion, it is by no means reciprocated, and this play between us is just delicious!  The tension in the moments of silence, because they have nothing in common and nothing to talk about, are awesomely giggle-full.

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