Understudies

All this weekend, Nina O’Keefe will be playing Fern in Candles to the Sun. She’s understudying for Julie Daley, and she’s been working with us since the first rehearsal back in early February. I’ve watched her work with the cast in rehearsals, and I’m excited to see how her presence changes the show this weekend.

I got to watch my own understudy back in the 2006 season – my sister’s wedding fell in the middle of the run of Boy Gets Girl, and I got to watch James Joseph, who did a fantastic job, rehearse my role with the actors I had spent the last two months working with.

It’s a strange feeling as an actor to watch someone else play a role that you feel closely connected to (I watched a dress rehearsal and kept thinking “he’s wearing my clothes!”), but it’s also invigorating for everyone – I got to see an actor bring a different energy and make different choices (some of which, of course, I unashamedly stole when I went back on the following week), James got an opportunity to play a great character, and the rest of the cast got to feel a sense of newness that sometimes fades over a six-week run.

Watch the acceptance speeches from the Jeff Awards

In case you weren’t at the Park West for the 34th annual Jeff Awards a few weeks ago, our friends at stagechannel have put together a compilation of all the acceptance speeches throughout the evening.

First up is Alfred Kemp, who barely had a chance to settle in before getting called up on stage to accept a Supporting Actor Citation for playing Guy in Blues for an Alabama Sky.

Scroll through the list on the right to watch all the speeches – Charlette Speigner, Michelle Courvais and Steven Fedoruk all take the podium for their roles in Blues for an Alabama Sky and Boy Gets Girl, and Artistic Director Anish Jethmalani echoes Pearl Cleage herself in accepting the Citation for Outstanding Production.

34th annual Jeff Awards

Congratulations to everyone who was honored with nominations and Citations from the Joseph Jefferson Committee this past Monday night, and especially to those we were fortunate enough to have the chance to work with – Eclipse finished the evening with five Citation Awards: 

Outstanding Production: Blues for an Alabama Sky

Outstanding Direction: Steven Fedoruk, Blues for an Alabama Sky

Oustanding Performance by an Actress: Michelle Courvais, Boy Gets Girl

Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor: Alfred Kemp, Blues for an Alabama Sky

Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress: Charlette Speigner, Blues for an Alabama Sky

Also nominated and deserving much recognition were Steve Scott (Outstanding Direction for Boy Gets Girl) and TayLar (Outstanding Performance by an Actress for Blues for an Alabama Sky).

Congrats to all, and thanks to friends, family and fans for supporting us.

A backstage tour of Spinning into Butter

Spinning into Butter

Gerardo Cardenas, who played Patrick Chibas in our production of Spinning into Butter this past summer, shared with me a collection of pictures he took during the final week of rehearsals.

His pictures are beautiful – they’re intimate moments with the cast and crew as they make their final preperations. Take a look through the photo gallery, or watch the collection as a slide show by clicking the link at the top of the gallery.

Shoe

Much thanks to Gerardo for letting us share these.

Our run of Boy Gets Girl ended just before the holidays, wrapping up a great season working with Rebecca Gilman’s exhilarating scripts.

As we prepare for Blues for an Alabama Sky, the first in our 2007 season featuring Pearl Cleage, I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts about her plays and novels, my research in designing lights for the show, our dramaturgical research and the post-show discussions throughout the run.

Stick around.

Post-show discussions – November 25-December 3

Sorry for the delay – we’ve had a busy couple of weeks, with some great discussions, a reading of Blue Surge, a trip to see Suzan-Lori Parks’s 365 Days / 365 Plays (which we’ll be working on next September), and a performance without lights. I’ll try to catch up quickly here, and write about all the excitement in the next couple of days.

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Post-show discussion – Sunday, November 19

We had our best turnout yet for a post-show discussion Sunday afternoon – it was a sold-out show, and it seemed that almost everyone stuck around to talk.

One audience member asked Michelle Courvais (playing Theresa Bedell, a woman whose life is permanently and violently affected by her experiences as a victim of stalking) if she had had similar experiences, or knew someone who had, to draw from in creating her portrayal of Theresa. Michelle talked about her surprise in working on this show to find out how common an experience it really is. At our first rehearsal, with the full cast and crew gathered to read the play together for the first time, director Steve Scott asked how many people had been stalked. About half the hands in the room went up.

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Post-show discussion – Saturday, November 18

We spent a good part of Saturday night’s post-show discussion talking about Rebecca Gilman – who she is, what her plays are like, and why we decided to spend a year telling her stories.

A few people were interested in our process of choosing each season’s playwright – we start with recommendations from company members, audiences and friends, and we have a four-person Artistic Committee that’s charged with the task of reading through the works of over a dozen playwrights and narrowing the field to four finalists. Once we’ve got our final four, we read a play or two from each playwright out loud read all the plays on our own, discuss, argue and vote.

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