Posted in acting, witty

Sophistication — Take Note

via Daily Prompt: Witty There is the kind of sophistication in which the Brits specialize; they present reams of witty dialogue. This is snappy chat that is truly old school. Of course, it’s not entirely limited to exchanges between Bond, James Bond, and Miss Moneypenny, or to Fawlty’s under his breath mutterings. Witty is not necessarily […]

via Sophistication — Take Note

Sharp, smart, quick dialog are the hallmarks and benchmarks of witty writing.

Posted in acting, activists, actors, allegory, artist, aspiration, athletes, ballet, balletic, comedy-drama, committment, concert, Daily Prompt, dance, dancing, drama, empowerment, expectations, farce, film, high expectations, jazz, joy, memory play, Meryl Streep, mime, modern dance, monologues, movie, multi-disciplinary performances, music, musical theater, musical theatre, musicals, musicals and dramas, mystery, narration, off Broadway, Off or Off-Off Broadway Transfer, offbeat work, one act plays, one man show, one-woman show, opera, painting, pantomime, parody, performance art, performance piece, performance works, photography, play, play with music, public performance in public spaces, radio play, revival, revue, rock and roll, satire, scary stories, sci fi, screwball comedy, Short plays, sketches, skits, tango, tap dance, theater for the common good, theater lovers, theatrical events, tragedy, tragi-comic

Shine

via Daily Prompt: Shine with thanks to Ben Huberman, The Daily Post for the inspiration

NoLateSeatingThose who crave the spotlight most often become entertainers. Their talent demands it. It is their calling to shine.

We applaud them, and in so doing bask in the glow of their accomplishment. They are center stage with the footlights on them, but we are illuminated by their performance.

Their light shines on us as they render and interpret and presnet their truths. Greater  performers shine brightest, and we shine brighter too.

Posted in acceptance, acting, artist, ballet, comedy, Daily Prompt, dancing, drama, high expectations, joy, music, musical theater, musicals and dramas, play

Ovation

via Daily Prompt: Ovation

In the theater, the sounds of a crowd pleased are often accompanied by a standing ovation for those who pleased us.

It is a way of saying thanks. Our gratitude makes us feel good, too. We yell “Bravo” and are rewarded with a sense of our magnanimity. Our approbation fills the theatre.

Applause, like laughter, are contagious.

Posted in academia, acting, drama, off Broadway, play, The Mint Theatre

(Relyin’ on) The Kindness of Women

Reading a script is a poor substitute for seeing a play in actu.  I need the actors, and their director to help guide me through the work. The written work supports my memory.

Unfortunately, on a recent occassion, when I was unable to attend Hazel Ellis’ Women Without Men, playing at City Center Stage II in a Mint Theater production through March 25th, I resorted to reading the text.

Women Without Men is not a lurid prison tale, but it may as well be. The all-female staff  in this all-girls’ boarding school are just as confined in their environment. Hemmed in in their study room, the teachers are at best unpleasant and mistrusting of one another.

Ellis brooks no nonsense about the gentler sex’s genteel interactions.

Photo: Women Without Men By Hazel Ellis Directed by Jenn Thompson presented by The Mint Theater Company; Dress rehearsal photographed: Friday, January 29, 2016; 7:30 PM at Stage II; New York City Center 131 W 55th St. (between 6th and 7th Avenues), New York, NY; Photograph: © 2015 Richard Termine. Seta by Vicki R. Davis
Photo: Women Without Men
By Hazel Ellis. Directed by Jenn Thompson, presented by The Mint Theater Company; Sets by Vicki R. Davis; Dress rehearsal photographed: Friday, January 29, 2016; 7:30 PM at Stage II; New York City Center, Photograph: © 2015 Richard Termine.

As for the staging, I have only the production photos from Richard Termine to help me envision how it is handled here. I had wondered how The Mint would fit into the new stage configuration that City Center’s Stage II provides. Its staging has always relied on a proscenium decorated with elaborate sets. What will they do with this little theater-in-the- round?

Take a look at the sets by Vicki R. Davis.

This play, with its claustrophobic theme, seems to be ideally suited as a first-in on the little Stage II for The Mint.

.Women Without Men By Hazel Ellis Directed by Jenn Thompson Cast: Mary Bacon, Joyce Cohen, Shannon Harrington, Kate Middleton, Aedin Moloney, Alexa Shae Niziak, Kellie Overbey, Dee Pelletier, Beatrice Tulchin, Emily Walton, and Amelia White Photograph: © 2015 Richard Termine.
.Women Without Men By Hazel Ellis
Directed by Jenn Thompson
Cast:
Mary Bacon, Joyce Cohen, Shannon Harrington, Kate Middleton, Aedin Moloney, Alexa Shae Niziak, Kellie Overbey, Dee Pelletier, Beatrice Tulchin, Emily Walton, and Amelia White
Photograph: © 2015 Richard Termine.

I have no way from a reading of the play of evaluating the performances or the way the cast and their director, Jenn Thompson, interpreted the story of course, but Women Without Men is compelling.

The cast, by the way, includes the likes of Mary Bacon (The Tribute Artist; Happy Birthday), Kellie Overbey  (Lemon SkyDada Woof Papa Hot), and Emily Walton (The Shaggs) to name just a few.

As is the habit at The Mint, they are resuscitating a play that has not been performed since its originally staging at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in 1938. Women Without Men is a long-overdue revival. This production of the drama is not only its first in 77 years, but also its American premiere.

For more information, and tickets, please visit The Mint website.

Posted in acting, actors, first love, kissing, Neil Patel, Rebecca Taichman, Sarah Ruhl, theater folk

"Stage Kiss"

https://youtube.googleapis.com/v/8ai6TLoySoU&source=uds    Extended through April 6th
Actors lead different lives from the rest of us. Their nine-to-five is generally more like 7:30 to midnight.
For them, a kiss is work, and for actors just part of their day at the office.

“Stage Kiss,” at Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater through March 23rd, is immensely clever. The play that wraps around the play within the play in Sarah Ruhl’s brilliant new comedy mirrors the events in the play being staged in the first act.

The cast of the play within the play with Jessica Hecht center take a bow.
Photo © Joan Marcus

She (Jessica Hecht), an actress in her 40s, auditioning for the role of Ada Wilcox, is surprised that the actor He (Dominic Fumusa), playing opposite her is her first love, just as Johnny Lowell is Ada’s in the melodrama they are rehearsing.

She (Jessica Hecht) and He (Dominic Fumusa) share a “Stage Kiss.”
Photo © Joan Marcus

“Stage Kiss” is about and of the theater. The perils of acting, like its joys, are in getting to embody anyone but yourself and getting to try out being someone else. “Stage Kiss” can be bestowed even on the unlikeliest of partners, as when She rehearses with Kevin (Michael Cyril Creighton), the understudy whose approach to the project is far more tentative and less empassioned than the one He plants.

     
She (Jessica Hecht) and
Kevin (Michael Cyril Creighton)
audtion a “Stage Kiss.”
Photo © Joan Marcus

 “Stage Kiss” is in part about creating character, and understanding love. Real life jeopardises theatrical life and messes with stage craft. Like Ada, She has an understanding Husband (Daniel Jenkins), and a life that takes on an over-the-top turn.

  • Will She and He rekindle their love?
  • Would she rather live in squalor with her first love than go back to her well-to-do husband?
  • What can her husband do to tip the balance in his favor?
  • Is that first love all we’ve cracked him/her to be?

Jessica Hecht lends a sophistication and an innocence to her character in “Stage Kiss.” Hecht has a distinctive voice that seems to both quesiton and admonish at the same time. In “Stage Kiss,” she gets to mimic, impersonate and do accents. At every nudge from The Director (Patrick Kerr), she nails it immediately and creates another persona.

There are so many facets to this superbly intelligent play.

There are in-jokes for theater folk: the ineffectual laissez-faire Director; the actress who hasn’t found work for years; the relentless optimism of reviving a less than mediocre play; the dangers of stage romance.

For the marrieds, there are questions about fidelity and temptation, and the risks in workplace romance.

Rebecca Taichman directs this excellent cast,  which also includes Emma Galvin as Angela, Millie and the Maid; Clea Alsip as Millicent and Laurie; and Todd Almond as The Accompanist. Todd Almond has also provided originally music for the production that fits the spirit of the enterprise very neatly.

Clea Alsip and Todd Almond in a scene from Sarah Ruhl’s
“Stage Kiss.” 
Photo © Joan Marcus

The sets which build from an empty rehearsal space to an elaborate 1930s drawing room and a truly delapidated and overcrowded East Village  mess of an apartment are the work of the talented Neil Patel. Costume designer Susan Hilferty is responsible for dressing the cast over various periods.

“Stage Kiss” is top-to-toe marvellous. Go and enjoy a wonderfully engaging theatrical experience.

For more information on “Stage Kiss,” please visit Playwrights Horizons. For more review, visit VevlynsPen.com.

Jessica Hecht and Daniel Jenkins in a scene from the play within
“Stage Kiss.” Photo © Joan Marcus
Michael Cyril Creighton, Daniel
Jenkins and Emma Galvin in a scene
from “Stage Kiss.” Photo © Joan Marcus

Jessica Hecht as She and Patrick Kerr
as the Director in a scene from
“Stage Kiss.” Photo © Joan Marcus