Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Night!



Thanks to everyone who came to our opening performance on Saturday! It was a big success, and based on everyone's feedback we're pretty sure Brimmer St. has its second big hit in a row. ;)

We're using the latest in 'pro-sumer' theatre technology in this show, and we're still pushing it to its limits. As stage manager I have a front row seat to every challenge this show presents and I hold my breath each time I push go for the next incredibly designed portion of the performance. The actors are amazing, their performances are so personal and sweet and fun and sad that I'm blown away as I watch them unfold. This is a truly special piece of work, Jenny and everyone else has done an amazing job. I'm proud to be a part of it.

<3

Monday, March 30, 2009

Live Blog: Tech Week


Mon 9:28 AM: We are officially loading in. Jenny and I bought groceries for the week, packed our day bags and moved into the theater last night after rehearsal. We slept on the futon in the space, and will probably do that a] couple times throughout the week, to save time we would otherwise spend sleeping soundly and washing ourselves. Vive la teatre!


Mon 10:21 AM: It was raining, and now it's not. We are ready for the real storm to hit.



Tues 9:06 PM: I don't know why I ever thought I'd have time to blog during tech week. We've been working furiously for 48 hrs and we have miles left to go. Our floor is done, the screens are hung, we're in the middle of our light hang and trying to sort out the hundreds of media files that go into this show and it is slow going. I am extremely confident that when this show is ready it will be an amazing sight to behold. The question is whether we can solve all these challenges in time to open!




Thu 11:10 AM: I didn't have a chance to blog anything yesterday. We all worked until extremely late trying to hang and focus projectors (our show started with seven, we've managed to cut it down to five) and to let the actors have a little time on set to get used to all the new things they're doing. Two straight 20 hour days in a row, and we've got two more to go! I won't say it'll take a miracle, because I don't believe in miracles.

Fri 10:36 AM: We ran the show last night and it wasn't a complete trainwreck! The end is certainly in sight. We have a preview tonight, which will be our first real run of the show with the whole cast. I am going to work to finish up the last few items - adding light cues, finalizing some video sequences, and moving everything upstairs so an audience an come and actually watch this thing. We are nearly done the hardest part, and suddenly it all seems worth it.

Sat 5:05 AM: The sun is rising in Los Angeles and I'm wondering why I put myself and everyone I love through ordeals like this one. For me, it feels like a compulsion, an escape, but it isn't always healthy. The effort and self-sacrifice to create on this scale, from scratch and with limited resources, is immense, all for a mere 16 show run in a 30 seat theatre. But now that the end is in sight, now that we have ironed out the biggest wrinkles on our canvas and filled it with brilliant color and meaning, its obvious to me why we set out each year to make a play like this one, Its because art is an act of love, love for oneself, for beauty, and for the world. I think that loving makes a difference, and that we filled this play so full of it that anyone who gives us their trust and two hours time will leave feeling good and loving <3.

Now I'm going to sleep.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

T minus ZERO!



Well this is it! A mere 12 hours before we load-in to the theatre, and the anticipation is palpable!

Right now, we're in the basement of a tiny theatre in Hollywood, getting in one last music and choreography rehearsal before we move in. It feels like we've gone so far, but come tomorrow morning, it will be clear that our greatest hurdle has yet to be reached.

Wish us luck during tech week! More updates to come as we near OPENING NIGHT this Saturday......((gulp)).

<3 Michael.





Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Our Tour of Mexican Restaurants PART 2!

This project has taught me a lot of things...including the names of every taco stand east of Vermont.  You may recall we decided early on to have each production meeting in a different Mexican restaurant in Silverlake - a task that turned out to be relatively easy.

Sadly, last night was our last stop...but what a treat it's been.  We could certainly keep going as we barely scratched the surface of what Silverlake has to offer...but we'll leave that for our next production!

 
View Larger Map

Week #6:  MALO
This place was fan-CY!  Perhaps a little too fancy for me.  I had a delicious quesadilla though.  And about 20 pounds of chips.

Week #7: Barragan's
I never understood why this Mexican place has the name of an Irish place.  Regardless, we had a great time at Barragan's.  The waitress was so friendly to us, even though we can be sort of a demanding group.  And if I remember correctly, the burritos came with eggs on top!  Crazy! 

Week #8: El Chavo
I think this ranks as one of my favorites - though Joseph had to go to bat with the manager to get them to split our check for us!  Again, we're a demanding group.

Week #9: The Best Fish Taco in Ensenada
I eat here all the time, so this was like coming home for me.  I can't say enough good things about TBFTiE.  It was the perfect place for our last meeting...quiet, informal, it was more like tacos with friends than a production meeting.  

And that's it!  Our tour of Silverlake Mexican restaurants has come to a close...Unless we decide to order in during tech week....do they have Mexican places in Koreatown???  Anyway: we hope you've enjoyed following along as much as we've enjoyed actually doing it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

DANCE BREAK!

A dear friend once told me "why do a play when you can do a musical?!" ... and I totally agree!  Music can convey human emotion far better than words alone.  What might be a breif moment in a scene can be elaborated into an entire two minute dance break.  And hell, musical numbers are fun!

If you've watched our video trailer then you're probably familiar with the incredibly addictive tunes of Freddy & Francine ... BST's new favorite band (IMHO).  (If you haven't watched our video trailer then go watch it already!!  http://www.restartyourheart.com) 

Well, we're honored to have had Freddy & Francine themselves come into a rehearsal to teach everyone their  song "HOLD ME" which will make an appearance in <3.>

xoxoMichael. 




Monday, March 9, 2009

multimedia-tasking

<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

I must say, even as an outside observer, the scene we worked last night was awfully difficult.  The organization of thought required to perform that scene would be really daunting to me.  

That is why I like pushing play on the sound cues.

<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Drew on Set

video
Drew in the film shoot at studio/stage.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I want to get married!

These are words I have never uttered!  But now it’s all I can think about.  I do!  I want it!  I don’t care if it’s an out of date institution built around blah blah blah—I don’t care! 

I remember myself a year ago saying that what needed to happen to the institution of marriage was a total overhaul.  I preached that marriage as a whole needed to be unrecognized by the federal government.  Everything would be reduced to a domestic partnership, and if you wanted to get married in a church then fine, but that would hold nothing when it came to government recognition. 

Pfbt!

The development of this show, combined with the whole prop8 debacle, paired with my meeting someone who I think I could actually stand being with for the rest of my life has really done a number on me. 

I’m not sure what to do about it.    

Maybe I’ll just get drunk and propose….

<3

Thursday, February 26, 2009

KIDZ

oh, to be an unsuspecting child, drawing colorful pictures while time ticks quickly by. children slow down time. actors, too, can slow down time. to act is to get a second chance at childhood. a chance to play, a chance to grow again, painting living pictures as time (for a moment) stands still. we live that same moment over and over again. in truth, we realize we cannot perfect a moment through repetition. this gives me hope. comfort. security. trust in myself and my myriad emotions. my imperfections. my ability to play (one i pledge to never lose).

i am sam. and i am in love. with love. and with Mel.

-ian

ACT I

After a touch of confusion over our rehearsal location, last night was the first full run of act 1!! We ran through twice, and shaved a whole seven minutes off the second try - good work everyone!  

Here are some pics....

                                                      .


Monday, February 23, 2009

Our Tour of Mexican Restaurants

One of my personal favorite "why not" decisions we've made during this process was to hold each weekly production meeting at a different Mexican restaurant in Silver Lake.

Here's a quick sample of what we've seen so far....Enjoy!!


View Larger Map

Week #1: Acapulco (aka the TGIFriday's of Mexican food). This place was a little loud and rediculous. They asked if they could take our picture for their newsletter or something, and sadly we said no, otherwise I'd have that to share.

Week #2: Mexico City ... how can you go wrong with a place like this?! I had a gordita! I thought those were only at Taco Bell! (ps: it was amazing)

Week #3: El Conquistador. This is one of my favorite places in Silver Lake. We were able to take up the entire front room, and even stirred up some publicity as people leaving would stop and look at Logan's beautiful set model seated next to us.

Week #4: (we took this week off due to the video shoot)

Week #5: Tomorrow, we're meeting at Casita del Campo - which I've never been to before, but I have some very high expectations!

Follow along as we visit 5 more fabulous Silver Lake restaurants! Suggestions welcome!!

<3, Michael.

Nasty Remains Nasty

a new cut was presented to us tonight.
four scenes overlapping. one ontop of the other....
lines were cut, and new words were added.
nasty remains nasty. good good.

we all cracked up.

tyler stole focus from himself.

is the actor's job to justify, or just to jump in and make it work?
ian never knew that when a woman has a baby her vagina doesn't just stretch, it tears.
now that is nasty!

there is still so much to be discovered.


-jillian

Friday, February 20, 2009

Video Shoot!

We finished the first of many video shoots this week! It was a very smooth couple of days thanks to the incredible talent and efforts of our production team, designers and our fantastic cast. Thank you to all.

We know that we are not the first theatre company to try to integrate video into a production, and we also know it comes with peril. 'Peril, you say?' Yes I do. All too often the use of video in theatre is poorly integrated and alientates the audience from the real experience of art in the present tense. Theatre is unique because at it's heart it is uncontrolled, unedited, and exposed. Cinema is not the same, and it is not a substitute or a natural partner to stage action.

Our goal with the use of video has been to smoothly integrate it with the live action in such a way that it becomes indispensible. We hope to use it further enlighten the psychological and narrative life of our characters, not to replace theatre, but to add dimension and scope to a living work. Jenny likes to refer to each recorded piece as a 'vista' or a view into an otherwise unseen element of our play. Since our plot is tied to life in a world of media and technology, and how romance and personal development are channeled and restricted by a network of others, we hope to integrate video as a living, breathing, theatrical device that seemlessly helps us tell this story.

This shoot was a big step along the way! The footage looks amazing and I can't wait to cue the first video for opening night and see how all this pans out. No pun intended.

-dave






Monday, February 16, 2009

Being at the Grand Canyon

I always believed that deciphering the intention of a playwright using dialogue alone is like a human only experiencing life through one of her senses. Imagine trying to describe the experience of being at the Grand Canyon to a group of people, having only seen a picture and never been to the Grand Canyon. You'd be trying first to figure out what it was like to be at the Grand Canyon, then trying to describe the experience to others. This experience has been different. We have been able to fully experience the Grand Canyon, and bring that experience into the rehearsal process. We know the intentions behind the lines because we wrote them. This also means that the lines aren't written in stone. It is freeing not feeling handcuffed to a line that isn't working, or if it isn't what we're trying to say. It's comforting to know that the product of this process is the story we want to tell, and the time we would normally spend trying to figure out what the playwright is saying, we spend perfecting the words and actions in the story.


- joseph







Do a little dancing...

Since we were unable to rehearse the Chicken Dance tonight......

video

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Are We Human or Are We Dancer?

i've noticed a peculiar tension in my body. It all starts in my groin, but don't be confused. the urge is not sexual. at least not at first. but this urge radiates out from my groin into all the parts of my body, in euphoric waves. but I am not on drugs. the four on the floor bass drum pulses through my outer environment and into my body, fueling this pulsating urge to move. it starts in my groin and ripples outward in a funky rhythm. i see the colorful patterns the music makes, I feel the earth shake with the bass. my heartrate quickens, as something is happening. i'm not sure how, but I am indeed transforming, and now i wonder what new form of being is this that I have achieved...

-tyler

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

? = $

today was great. i forgot how much i like doing this. ive been doing solely comedy for the past few years that getting my head back wrapped around this is enjoyable.its all about the text. use it. figure it out. and asking questions. i remember mark from emerson saying 'your integrity as an artist depends soley upon your ability to ask questions'. thats always helped me. also, 'acting isnt about emotion, its about behavior'. yup, that right there is pretty much my entire approach. use it and you owe me $.

-drew

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You're probably right, i'm a heinous bitch . .

I'm sick. Very sick. I can barley use my voice and because of the cloud that is forming inside of my head, my thoughts jump rather quickly from the present to the past, to what i am going to eat for lunch. I think that is sort of accurate. i think mel is in a bit of haze, jumping from her present to her past, back to wether she should have just one more dirty martini. She's getting older. everyone can see it. he loves her. she loves him. fuck that bitch who butted into my relationship earlier. why can't i jsut be sweet? why wasn't i just born sweet? one of those people that everyone talks about when you leave in a good way? like him. like dante. everyone loves dante. always has. magnetic. perfect personality. effortless. i hate him. i have to try so hard, and then trying only hurts me. but man did HE love me. that made me feel good. a man that everyone loved so much loved me. thought the world of me. but i couldn't take it. good at everything, always flyign high. im not like that. i have dark places. and i get lost in their caves. and i got mad at him for not having them. elise. shes gorgoeous. she looks ten years yonger than me. shes happy. constantly happy. fearless. careless. god it's cold in here. my feet hurt. i want another drink. i want a cigarette. who is this guy in the glasses losing it right in front of me? are there drugs at this party? i want some. god my feet hurt. suck it up. the shoes'll stop hurting after just one more martini. where is sam. sweat sam. my lovely sam. he'll leave me too, sooner or later, and onyl then will i realize what i lost. man, i'm pretty drunk. i want a cigarrette.

Man. my feet realy hurt.

-Mel/amy

It's Not Like This is Out of Nowhere

Last night was my favorite rehearsal so far. As stage manager, I've attended them all and kept mostly quiet as is my job description, but as the primary writer on the script and a member of the ensemble I feel like a part of the journey just as much as Jenny and the cast. For me, Tuesday night was the first time I really saw the actors breaking into the hard psychological issues of their characters and asking the tough questions they'll need answered in order to play their roles.

It's no coincidence these questions came up at this rehearsal. We had some pretty intense scenes on the docket - James' collapse, Danny's explosion, and Emily's conversation with God are all pivotal moments near the end of the play. But for the first time I heard actors asking questions about the truths that bely their actions. Not just the easy ones, either, where the actor fishes for the easy out, but important details about previous events and relationships that color the action on stage.

For a process like this, where the actors are so involved in the playwrighting, it's easy for the artist to think they already know everything about his/her character. But no matter how a play is written or conceived, and no matter how much of an expert the actor is on the given script, the process of asking questions, exploring action, making mistakes, becoming frustrated, asking more questions, making more mistakes, and learning every action and intention by heart by heart by heart is why the theatre is more alive than any art form next to music. That process cannot be bypassed, it cannot be disregarded in any way. Any actor or director who think they can just skip on by the hard stuff is bound to be met with failure. Any actor or director who takes the time to do it right will always find success in some form or another.


Process process process process process process process.


I'm glad to see it coming along. I'm trying to keep my mouth shut, I swear. I don't know what the fuck I'm gunna do. Perhaps I'll do a little dancing!

-dave

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Still Making It Up

I figured once we had our script in order, the rehearsal process for this play would morph into the typical rehearsal routines. That has not been the case so far. We are still playing with the script, not specifically the lines so much as the blocking and characters. It feels more like rehearsal for a film -- we are defining what these characters would and not do. As a group and individually, we are constantly making discoveries about how the action of this story unfolds, scene by scene. It is a very exciting and refreshing process. I feel very engaged in this rehearsal process, and that I have more creative responsibilities in this production than just 'actor,' even now. It is an empowering position that I share with the ensemble.

Good times.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rehearsal PIctures and More!








Here's some pics from our process!

MOVEMENT by Jillian

"all movement is a sign of thirst.
most speaking really says, 'i am hungry to know you.'
every desire of the body is holy." ---hafiz

one motion leads to another.
georgie and joe find their thirst on the dance floor.
leading them to the roof...
then to uninhibited playful plotting,
"we should have sex...where?"

emily's movement is driven by cell phone reception.."call me baby, call me baby..." desperate to hear her love's voice.

james is in full body and heart overload...caused by a kind of dehydration. he must find elise--only she can fulfill him, quench him. he must find her, it's a matter of survival.

danny must for once, get up and out of his head, his judgement, his ego and save two lives: emily and the baby.
The baby's movement takes control. ready or not, the baby is coming.
there is no time for logic.
MOVE motherfucker!!!!!
----------
we played with locations. finding that all of this can take place just about anywhere, and it will...small or large spaces.
nearly all at the same time,
choreographed chaos!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Joseph All At Once

When I first rehearse a scene I say the words in as many different ways as I can, and, if allowed, I move in as many different directions as I can. You never know when an errant step or an awkward turn of phrase will wind up in the show, or better yet, unearth a part of the character heretofore unknown. Besides, there is usually plenty of time to get it right. The first rehearsal is also my time to cast my net as far as I can with the other actors. I want to get in their faces and let them know I'm here and available to them as a resource. These two techniques work well together, and lead to a fun rehearsal.
Tonight we worked on the first scene of the play after James's monologue. Although it usually seems like there is never enough time in any rehearsal, tonight seemed especially short. We only had about 30 minutes to run the eight page scene, which resulted in running it once, receiving notes, and running it once more. It felt like just a taste. I think it comes from a certain anxiousness to discover everything all at once. I wanted to run the scene over and over again until I had said the words every way, then begin to hone in on what felt best. But patience Joseph. Patience.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

emilia discovering georgie

i love to dance!!!! it's the best!!!! dancing with tyler is fun and gave more purpose to our action in the scene. i think it'll be weird....and totally cool. and i wanna feel good about going over the top and being weird since we are the most ethereal characters in the show. ....really nothing could be too too much!
wanna practice computer moves. wanna be totally clear. i like discovering how georgie can sympathize TOTALLY but not empathize. i'm excited to discover more moments like that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

So Incredible to Be Acting Again! (Ian Madeira)

so incredible to be acting again! we've spent so long planning this, that i almost forgot what it was like to be feeling words instead of writing or planning them. all the emotions i've felt throughout the last year channeled through a character i have yet to discover. much of sam is me and i am sam, but the discovery is the best part. just as we live each day as humans, i live each rehearsal as this human character, part imaginary being, and with each passing day more and more real, more tangible, more grounded in this imaginary world we call now. so crazy to fall in love with myself all over again.

Video--Conducting the Chorus Exercise

One of the exercises we did to get into James's monologue was for Drew to conduct an improvised choral rendition of the text. Here's the very end of the monologue/song/exercise. video

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First Rehearsal, from Drew

hello internet
so here is my first blog ever.
today was the "1st" day of rehearsal, and we started with a very logical start: the start.
the play starts with my opening (and only) monologue. scary scary shit.
after getting it as much off book as it was going to be, we played around with it; did it from different angles, made the other ensemble do it as an orchestra conducted by me, stuff that helps get it in deep. im not ready yet, i havent done the table work yet. as an actor i need to talk ALOT about things, figure things out, experiemtn, fail, try again and again and again....however the term "discover" sounds so theatre faggy that i want to go out of my way to not use that term. we did no discovering.

im excited. great first day. god its good to be back.

Monday, January 26, 2009

We knew we were special...

Hello all,

Michael here.

I've taken it upon myself to write our very first rehearsal blog post, a tradition we'd like to keep up over the next two months as we prepare to stage <3...So here I am. It's 2:00 in the morning (a mere 3 hours after our first rehearsal) and I find myself listening to music (F&F, obviously) and thinking back on what we learned tonight....

As we read through the script I was taken by a sense of accomplishment. I smirked a few times, remembering moments from the last few months as we developed this script (i.e., perpetually reoccurring ringtones). And I looked forward to finding new ways expand on the material, and to incorporate new ideas, designs and technologies to help us tell this story.

This sense of accomplishment was accompanied, however, by an eye-opening realization of exactly what's ahead of us! We have just over two months to mount an incredibly ambitious project that will require a lot from all of us.

That being said, I have never had more faith in a group of individuals, and have never been prouder to be a member of the BSTC. Let's make some theatre.

<3
Michael