The last time Whit Hanna posted here, he talked about the need for cooperation among the theatres in town. Of course, we’ve always had a certain level of cooperation among the theatres. After all, most of us are friends. But there’s an element of competition that has existed and will continue to exist as well. That’s only natural, and not necessarily a bad thing; competition sharpens our edge, inspires us to excellence. You know how you can tell when that competition becomes a problem? When people stop being friends because of it.
No, actually by that point it’s probably too late to do anything about it. When we stop talking to each other, or when we’re reluctant to pick up the phone, that’s when we need to reevaluate what we’re doing and how we’re thinking. We should see silence as the warning sign. It tells us something’s not healthy in the community, and we’re likely hurting ourselves.
All this imho, of course. And what do I know?
But allow me to be the bearer of good news on this front. In doing my design work with T.Pops “All the Way,” I ran into a couple of pretty cool examples of companies working together. Pops was short a cast member; they needed a Ralph Abernathy for this historical drama. Abernathy was the former head of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, the civil rights organization that Martin Luther King headed up before his assassination. That’s his picture at the top. Well, lots of actors out there. So no problem, right?
No one wants to admit it, but yes, there's a problem, and that problem is called "history." How can you overcome history? Maybelle Wallace found an African-American actor who was eager to get onstage, and he was matched with a company that was eager to have him. Connections were made that aren't normally made. And Lee Roach Jr. Joined the cast. And in producing a play that spoke eloquently about history, maybe we made a little along the way.
One more. Everyone knows that finding tech people certified to work in the PAC is an issue. T. Pops suddenly found itself without a lighting designer just a couple of weeks before opening. I agreed to do it, but told Meghan and Angela up front that I only had two nights I was free. The whole design would have to be finished by Wednesday. By the way, there are over 150 cues in this show, it moves more than a freaking musical. Sara Phoenix and Isaac Holton, who were striking "Glengarry Glen Ross" on the Sunday before, agreed to coordinate a couple of things with us that allowed me to finish the design on time. They didn't have to do that, but it made a difference to me that they did.
And with that in mind, this:
Theatre North Tulsa is holding Auditions on October 29th from 1-5pm and October 30th from 2-5pm at the Rudisill Regional Library for the play 'Court-Martial at Fort Devens.'
Roles are reserved for FOUR African-American Women, TWO Caucasian Women, TWO African-American males and TWO Caucasian males to portray adult roles.
For more information please contact Theatre North Tulsa.
Full disclosure, I will be designing and running lights for this play. Come join us.
I was hoping to get my interview with Emile Adams and Laura Skoch up before I left town for the weekend, but it is not to be, so that's coming early next week, still in time their opening. Emile's play with the really long name is going up on the 19th iirc, directed by Laura, and these are two intriguing people. Emile actually has two plays in rehearsal at the moment, something that Shakespeare hardly ever manages in this town, which is probably why he's been so bitchy to her lately. And if you don't know Laura, I can't wait to introduce you. A theatre vet, multi-skilled, only in town about a year, and is a valuable addition to our local scene.
I also will be talking a little about Heller putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to encouraging local writers. (Disclosure: I've applied for the playwright in residence position they've announced, which is due to be awarded next week I think.) Also, I want to write something about play selection among local groups, which relates to the whole reviewer issue that's the hot topic lately. And a couple of other things as well. Lots going on lately.
I’ve been fairly terrified of Christopher Durang for years now. The idea of directing one of those disturbing dramatic cocktails—one part theatre in-joke, two parts black cynicism, one part domestic abuse—it was all just too intimidating. Was I even sharp enough to know when he was being funny? Would I turn a meant-to-be-silly moment into a twisted comment on existentialist despair? And vice versa?
And that was before. Then, of course, came the debacle. Somehow an evening of Durang short plays at Heller Theatre turned into the eruption of Krakatoa. It was the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, the closest thing that the Tulsa theatre community will ever have to its own St. Valentine’s Day massacre. The angels wept.
If you don’t already know the story, ask Gramps to tell it to you sometime. Just don’t ask on a stormy night, with the wind whistling like a banshee while the rain hammers at the door. Not on a night when the shadows take on monstrous forms, and the creaking of the walls seems to whisper, “Duraaanng.”
Ah well. Life goes on <shrug>. I’m not going to hold him personally responsible. In fact, that’s what helped me get over my fear of Durang. When the worst has already happened, what’s left to be scared of? So, when Theatre Pops offered me the chance to direct Why Torture Is Wrong and the People Who Love Them, I got out my list. Theatre in-jokes: check. Cynicism: check. Domestic abuse: check. Add homemade torture, a preacher who makes porn movies, and a maître d’ in a tuxedo, shake well, and put a freaking cherry on top. I’m in.
But here’s the kicker: in some ways (no spoilers here!) Torture is one of the sweetest plays I’ve ever been involved with. (And isn’t that a weird sentence.) Yes, we see people at their worst—always hysterical—but at its heart, there’s a naiveté, an optimism about who we are and what we might become. Sort of reminds me of the song, “Descendant of Amphibians”: Wade through the muck long enough and maybe one day you evolve wings.
If you’ve known me for long, you might have noticed that I’m vastly amused at how incredibly idiotic we can be. (When I taught at ORU, one of the kids said I laughed “like Satan”). But you may also have noticed that I’m as mushy as a 12 year old girl. I tear up at episodes of Antiques Roadshow. Oddly, unexpectedly, I find that, with this play at least, I’ve found a theatrical soul mate. We’re buddies now. Durang and me, cynical sentimentalists.
Anyway, you ought to come see the show. Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them. By my new friend, Chris. It’s funny, disturbing, creepy, and sentimental. At the Liddy Doenges, April 21, 22, 23 at 8 pm, and Sunday April 24 at 2 pm. Only one weekend!
Did you just hear something? Was that the wind? It sort of sounded like . . . Duraaanng.
The workshops will be an excellent way to prepare for Heller Theatre's 6th annual Heller Shorts Festival. The Festival will once again select the top plays entered and produce them in July 2016 at the Nightingale Theatre. The class will cover basics of short form drama and offer the opportunity to hear your work spoken aloud as it progresses. Previous experience is not necessary for either the class or for entering the Festival--beginners are encouraged to get involved. Further information on the Festival will be provided in this space as it becomes available, or go to http://hellertheatreco.org/ to check on the latest goings on for Heller Theatre.
Theatre Pops April show, Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them, by Christopher Durang, will be auditioning on February 6 at the Fly Loft. This will be my first chance to direct since I left Clark Theatre, and it's an understatement to say I'm looking forward to it. The full announcement is as follows:
Theatre Pops will hold auditions for Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them by Christopher Durang. Auditions will be held at Fly Loft, 117 N. Boston, from 2-5PM on Saturday, February 6, 2016.
Christopher Durang takes on the most sensitive issue of the day and turns it into raucous and provocative comedy. Is Felicity’s new husband a terrorist? She only wishes she could remember marrying him. What is her father hiding in his “Butterfly Room?” And has going to the theatre so much finally driven her mother insane?
“Don’t feel guilty about laughing so hard at Christopher Durang’s hilarious and disturbing new comedy about all-American violence. [It] has a healthier heart and conscience than many a more pious play.” New York Times
One Female, ages 20’s—30’s
Two Females, ages 40’s – 60’s
Three Males, ages mid-20’s – 60’s
One either, any age
The show will be directed by Frank Gallagher.
Performances are April 21, 22, 23 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 24 at 2 p.m. in the Liddy Doenges Theatre at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
Arts Alliance Tulsa
Green Room OK
Tulsa Little Theatre
Tulsa Weekly Roundup
Am. Theatre Co.
BA Community Playhouse
Clark Youth Theatre
G Rated Theatre
Midwestern Theater Co.
Muskogee Little Theatre
Owasso Comm. Theatre
Sand Springs Comm. Th.
Sapulpa Comm. Theatre
Tulsa Latino Theatre
Tulsa Project Theatre
Tulsa Rep. Musicals
Tulsa Spotlight Theatre