1. Muffy Muncher

    Sundown is very happy to support and congratulate our friend (and designer for many of our shows) nivrionerom.  As his drag persona Muffy Muncher, he has been cast in Tumblr’s Drag Race, Cycle 5 (tdrcycle05).  Follow them and the tags #tdr and #Muffy Muncher to keep up!

    Good luck, Muffy; we love ya!! 

    (Source: tdrcycle05)

     
     

  2. bradmcentire:

    I turned 39 years old this week. Good God, just writing that out it seems so “old.” It also sounds so very adult. My crazy 20s and finding-my-footing 30s are in the rearview (though, really, I still have a glimmer of that crazed energy and am still figuring shit out).

    It was a low key birthday this year. They seem to get more and more low key as I get older. Adulthood is kind of low key… and subversive.

    As I get close to my “golden decade” (I have always harbored the thought that between the ages of 40 and 50, at least for men, that is the good-as-it-gets decade), I look back over the year and realize that hey, I’m still doing stuff…

    Last year for my 38th birthday, I performed a consecutive 380 minute (that’s six hours and 20 minutes total) solo improvisation. It had some brilliant moments and some lame moments, but the fact that I did it, I accomplished it, goes a long way in my book of self-appreciation.

    Since last September, no less that seven of my own plays - large and small - have been presented to the world (2 of them World Premieres).

    I produced two solo festivals, one small and local which I stumbled into almost accidently, the other big and spashy and purposeful. I worked with area organizations like Kitchen Dog Theater, Junior Players, Denton Community Theatre, S.T.A.G.E., Sundown Collaborative Theatre, Nouveau 47, Water Tower Theatre and the Alternative Comedy Theatre.

    I worked with some kick-ass colleagues, many of which inspire me and crack my shit up over and over again (I recommend to everyone I know, take road trips with Travis Stuebing and Tashina Richardson or drink beers and talk shop with Grant Knutson or Danny O’Connor. Your life will be better for it).

    I traveled to Houston, Oklahoma, New Orleans, and Austin and will be off to NYC in the next few weeks. I hope to travel scads more this coming year, and further afield… it is the single thing I miss the most. 

    I read about 30 books and am contemplating writing (another) one of my own.

    I taught dozens of students in my Intro to Theatre and Intro to Film classes at Tarrant College.

    I enjoyed my second full year of marriage to the wonderful Ruth and welcomed the addition of a new niece. I officiated my sister’s wedding last fall.

    I moved on from my manual labor job unloading trucks weekly at the Contaner Store to get another weekly manual labor job as a part-time ranch hand at a spread in Southlake.

    It seems so vacuous to list stuff off like this, but a lot of the time I get bogged down in the day to day. I look around at the continually shifting piles of disorder in my office or the unending pile of laundry that needs to be washed and/or folded and put away and just wanna bury my head in the sand. It is good to know I’m still moving and that the movement is in a progressive direction.

    Happy (belated) birthday, Brad!  We hope we get to work with you more in the future!

     


  3. This post is by Artistic Associate Lauren Moore.


    If you’ve ever wanted a behind-the-scenes look at how the Sundown show posters are made, here’s my process:

    Trust me, it took a long time to perfect that beard — but so worth it! Here’s our brand new full-size poster for (The Winter’s Tale).

     

     

  4. This past weekend, Artistic Director Tashina, Marketing Director Nick (not pictured, sadly!) and Artistic Associates Lauren and Mandy set up a table at Mulberry Street Craft Fair in Denton to talk about our company and our upcoming season.  We had trivia, our e-mail sign up list, and examples of our awesome Sundown swag, and we made some great connections!

    This was a great opportunity to talk about our upcoming production of (The Winter’s Tale) and to do something fun with other local vendors and businesses in our awesome community!

     

  5. This post was written by Artistic Associate Chloe McDowell, who is also currently stage managing our upcoming production of (The Winter’s Tale). 

    I found Sundown Collaborative Theatre in 2009 when Tashina Richardson was directing Symphony No. 0. I knew nothing about the company, or the show, or any of the people involved. I was newish to Denton and it had been a long time since I’d seen any theatre. A friend of mine invited me last minute and I thought it sounded like a good way to spend an evening.

    I sat in the dark, silent and spellbound, and witnessed a heartbreakingly beautiful show full of movement. It was a tale of loss and mourning done in the most artful manner; this was theatre unlike anything I had ever witnessed.  I was dumbfounded, flummoxed. This show was brave and strange and visceral and moving. I cried. A lot. (Certainly more than is appropriate in public) Afterwards I had the opportunity to talk to the cast and the director. I told them in between sniffles how much the show had surprised and touched me. I couldn’t get it out of my head. I had stumbled upon something truly special.

    Since then I have joined the company as an artistic associate and designed for two Sundown productions. Right now I’m stage managing for (The Winter’s Tale) which is a Shakespeare play that Tashina has adapted and put to () by Sigur Ros. So far it has proven to be an awesome beast of a show.

     I am surrounded by the most wonderful, talented, driven individuals I could ever hope to know. They inspire me constantly and have absolutely pushed me to be the artist I am today. I’ve found what I was looking for in this mishmash of weird, beautiful, crass, brilliant group of artists; I found a home.

     
     

  6. bradmcentire:

    I can’t remember where I got this image, but I love a bunch of things about the idea. I like that it is in a simple room. I like the stark lighting. I like the candles. Better yet, have the candles form a “circle of fire” around the raised stage and then perform solo improv inside. 

    (I also like that everyone is sitting on cushions on the ground around the performer. Kinda ritualistic…)

     

  7. parisfalls93:

    So I went to a Shakespeare conference this past week an it was the best thing ever.

    First off, this conference happens in Staunton, VA and it’s held at the only recreation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre the Blackfriars Playhouse.

    Academics present their papers on Shakespeare and his contemporaries with a ten minute time limit that is strictly enforced. By a bear. He takes your paper and you are done.

    I want this job.

    I think that once we build our Bear costume for (The Winter’s Tale), we should start doing this when people talk for too long at our Sundown meetings! 

     


  8. (The Winter’s Tale) Rehearsal Story

    haikumblr:

    We were discussing the stage direction “Exit, pursued by bear,” and talking about the Greek and Russian dramaturgy behind it.

    One Actor: “It’s a Greek Russian bear!”
    Me: “Don’t Google that.”
    [laughter; a different actor looks puzzled]
    Me: “You don’t get that joke, do you?
    Other Actor: “Nope.”
    Assistant Director: “You don’t know what bears are in gay culture??”
    Other Actor: “Nope.”
    Stage Manager: “I’ll show you during the next break.”

    So during the break, my stage manager showed an actor the Google image search results of “gay bears.” It was life changing.

     

  9.  The Art of Silly

    written by (The WInter’s Tale) assistant director Collin Miller

     

    In life, we are all striving to be ourselves. Whether “being yourself” means covering up pain with material possessions or cutting to the core of emotional suffering depends on the person. However, regardless of how this task is approached, everyone seems to have a hard time seeing it through. I can’t blame humanity for struggling so vigorously with this seemingly unreachable transcendence. In a world where parents, guidance counselors, best friends, one night stands, billboards, and Facebook are all vying for the claim to your identity, how can we help but have no fucking clue as to who we are? In ancient times, cave people would draw on walls and dance around fire in order to understand themselves. You would rarely see this approach in even the most open minded psychology class, and forget about biology. But I have to wonder, did the cave people have the right idea? Today, when the truth of who we are gets lost in our stacks of documents and paper thin walls, can we find it by just being silly?

    As Assistant Director of Sundown Theatre’s 2014 production of William Shakespeare’s (The Winter’s Tale), I’ve been able to witness this bizarre brand of self-discovery at work. In tonight’s rehearsal, several cast members were asked to do dance exercises that might resemble a hula dancer with a dislocated hip when first attempted. Even though Tashina Richarson, the show’s director, had very specific reasons for making them practice these movements, it might have raised a confused eyebrow from even the most shameless theatre enthusiast. As I continued to watch, not only did the actors become more comfortable with their bodies, but I began to see different parts of each performer’s persona shine through. Most of the male actors began the dance from a very stiff and unwavering countenance. Even though I could see the effort in their eyes, each boy’s hip seemed glued in place. This made me think about muscle memory and how it is influenced by our external stimulus. Culturally, it is very normal to see a female swing her hips about in a dance like manner. In most situations, this would raise only the most casual of eyebrows. If a male were to behave this way, they would be thought of as silly. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, it isn’t a science, but based on what I saw in the room, men are not usually accustomed to moving that way around other people. Conversely, the women seemed to (at first) carry less confidence in their faces while moving their hips looser than the guys. These particular women were self-conscious, but their bodies still accepted each dancing role more smoothly. Another significant contrast is that the women were freer and goofier with their movements by the end of the exercise. Each female seemed less aware of how they looked after dancing for a while and developed a sense of ease about coexisting with their scenic partners.

    While I wouldn’t go to court with a prepared file on it or anything, I think this small exercise said a lot about the generally accepted cultural norms for men and women. It may be important to point out that this exercise was not meant to make people look silly, it was intended to help them with the show’s complicated dance choreography, but being alright with looking out of place became an inevitable part of the deal for everyone involved. In this sense, I’m very happy that processes like Sundown Theatre exist. How often do we get to behave like total psychos in a comfortable environment where everyone is learning and free from societal expectation of gender roles? The guys knew that they didn’t have to act disinterested in looking flamboyant and the girls knew that they didn’t have to worry about being judged. Seeing these subtle ways in which our masks got to relax was refreshing and invigorating. Statistically, we’re pretty good at being professional, driven, and successful people. Sometimes though, we need to be better at being silly. Silly, I have found, is an art.

     

     

  10. A little behind-the-scenes magic from our merchandise photo shoot this past weekend with Sundown members Tashina Richardson, Lauren Moore and Mandy Rausch.

    They’re cute. aren’t they?  Maybe there should be a “People of Sundown” calendar…