02 Feb Newsletter – January 2014


Artistic Director’s Corner

Michael StormTuesday, January 28, 2014 at 11:15pm, just a week and a half away from the opening of Escanaba in da Moonlight, things are rolling along nicely. Our Technical Director has just completed installing the set and our Set Designer and Scenic Painter, Martin Flynn is on stage now painting the Soady Deer Camp. Tomorrow night the actors return for a blocking rehearsal and to get a glimpse of the set for the first time. Having not reached the point of exhaustion that will be the norm in three or four days, it is that special time where things are happening, moving forward, months and months of preliminary work is becoming tangible and you are still cognizant of the progress.

A play the Artistic Director once only knew in the warmth of his living room as he read it for the fifth time (and fell out of the chair with laughter), or as a budget where he was trying to give a practical life to the piece of art in a pecuniary way, or the hours and hours mulling over the 40-50 actors that bounce around one’s head on a regular basis thinking “who in the world of Bay Area theatre could possibly be right for these incredibly wacky parts,” now starts to materialize. But echoing in my brain while I stand alone in the theatre late at night before heading home, is the amazing realization that this is still an example of that basic practice: a group of committed individuals putting their shoulder down and their nose to the grindstone to achieve a goal together.

Yes, they are amazing artists! That is SO true, undeniable. But the work ethic will always impress me just as much as the artistic ability. I watch Martin Flynn’s artistic set design move from his head through his pen on to the paper, where Sam Schwemberger (our Technical Director and Set builder) will use those designs to turn a pile of two- by- four, plywood and luan into a place, a setting, a world. A world that Martin will then come back to paint, turning it for a moment into a painting, and then Devon LaBelle brings the props and decorates the set, Cassandra Carpenter adds the costumes pulling the art back into a real world context that is finalized by the actors arriving and presenting the characters that they have spent five weeks breathing life into; we see all of this join the script and come together. Then of course, towards the end, the icing on the cake; Ryan Short adding sound and Michael Palumbo washing it all with light and it all takes flight, becoming a living breathing world that tells yet another wonderful story. This is what we get addicted to with our lives in the theatre. The magic behind the scenes, and watching it all develop into another magical night at the theatre. What a wonderful process.

The first two weekends are all sold out. Go online soon to purchase your tickets. You won’t want to miss this hilarious comedy and all of the hard work and artistry going into it. And, as always, thank you for helping us be able to do this amazing thing.


Happy New Year from TheatreFIRST!

We are ringing in the New Year with renewed appreciation for where we are and how far we have come in just a year. We have a new home. A new lighting grid. A new set of plays. And new plans for the future.

We also have a lot of old friends who have cared for and supported us from year to year. TheatreFIRST is full of generosity this 2014. Thank you!

Escanaba in da House

The Soady family is opening their doors to you! Starting February 7th, the Soady Family Deer Camp is hosting TheatreFIRST audiences through March 8th.

Get in quick! Though the Soady boys are doing their best, there are only so many chairs, cushions, and stumps to accommodate guests, and the first two weekends are almost full. To guarantee your seat at the reunion visit http://theatrefirst.com/tickets.

What’s all the fuss about? You don’t want to miss Reuben Soady’s attempt to throw off his “Buckless Yooper” nickname, redeem his character, and restore the Soady prestige by “bagging” his first buck. On the eve of the 1989 hunting season, the Soady men are all ready for some luck but get a couple strange surprises instead.

TheatreFIRST’s Sweet Retreat

We took a moment to give thanks to the people who have helped keep TheatreFIRST alive over the past several years. Stalwarts Jill Warner, Chiristine Dover and Jennie Brick, along with newcomers Resa Register, Jenn Wagner, Sharmon Hilfinger, Bonnie Stiles and Christopher Kelly have a lot to celebrate indeed. They have worked very hard to keep us on the right track and moving forward. Bonnie Stiles treated all of the board members to a wonderful retreat at the Berkeley City Club that included a lovely lunch and gorgeous tour of the Berkeley City Club (including the pool!). Our treasurer, Jennie Brick gave an elegant and efficient training session on how we document our financial progress, and Resa Register is continuing the push by finalizing a charter and vision for the board of directors. Moving forward refreshed and ready for 2014.

If you think you might be interested in joining our board we are currently expanding. Just give Michael Storm a call at 510.981.8150.

You Can Go Your Own Way…Right Into the Live Oak for Our Special Event

We know your secret. The New Year is bringing back some old cravings. Perhaps that special seventies hit. Perhaps a little Go Your Own Way calls.

You’re in luck! TheatreFIRST is proud to share with its audiences a special appearance by Fleetwood Mask – The Ultimate Tribute to Fleetwood Mac.

Tribute band Fleetwood Mask will present two very special performances at Live Oak Theatre on Saturday March 22 at 8 pm and Sunday March 23 at 2 pm. See and hear the iconic rock band Fleetwood Mac’s 40 plus years of musical history brought to life by these talented Bay Area performers. The early blues tunes, songs from the best selling Rumours album, and more recent hits are woven into a story of success, despair, and reunion.

As the Black Magic Woman herself, and that Gypsy band that conjures Riahnnon to pull on The Chain that unleashes a Landslide…okay we’ll stop. Just come join us for the fun!

Reserve your tickets here:

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