1. Fears and Hopes and Other Random Rehearsal Thoughts

    By (The Winter’s Tale) director Tashina Richardson

    Several months ago, I had been considering the idea of directing my first Shakespeare piece. There aren’t many that I think fit into my “wheelhouse,” so I was considering dropping the idea altogether. (Maybe one day I’ll write about my “wheelhouse,” and about the etymology of “wheelhouse,” plus a discussion about why I use quotation marks when they’re probably unnecessary.) I considered The Winter’s Tale, my favorite Shakespeare play, and I wanted to give it a try. When I re-read it, there were a couple of ideas, but not enough for me to feel really excited about delving into the script.

    One day, while I was riding the train, I listened to ( ) by Sigur Rós. The last song on the album, Popplagið, started playing, and all of a sudden I could see the show. I began cutting text, replacing expository scenes with movement to in order to SHOW rather than TELL, and listening to the rest of the album to see what else I could find. I realized the entire album meshed well with the show. I found my way into the text via the music of Sigur Rós, and I haven’t looked back.

    So here we are, a week and a half into (The Winter’s Tale) rehearsals. (Yes, the parentheses are on purpose, as a hat tip to the Sigur Rós album used in the show.) The hardest part about the show now, after having cut about 40 pages of dialogue, is the fact that I’m also acting in it. Previously, I had been adamantly against acting and directing in shows. How could I possibly be able to stage it properly, give notes to actors with whom I was acting, and/or generally stay objective in production decisions if I was an actor? I’ve seen many people pull off the director/actor hybrid in a production, and it always flummoxed me. I’m always looking for a challenge, though, and this seemed as good a time as any to try something new. Plus, I’ve been creating devised theatre for over 10 years, so I certainly have experience acting and making creative decisions. So far, no problems, but we’ll see what happens. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being nervous about juggling the two roles, though.

    What’s happened so far? Movement exercises, character work, discussions, and A LOT of amazing moments. These other seven actors are bad ass, man. They will jump in and try absolutely anything I give to them. They were making deep connections on the SECOND DAY of rehearsals, and it’s only going to get better. The dialogue is going to be a BEAST (it is Shakespeare, after all), but with the work that’s happening in rehearsal, I have nothing but high hopes for how it continues.

    It’s not just the actors, either. The production team is focused and ready to jump into all this craziness. My stage manager and assistant director are running rehearsals like gangbusters (especially helpful since I’ll be onstage sometimes), and my designers are going to rock out with ideas for lighting, props, and even a bear suit. (!!) We’re a small company, which of course equals small budget, but these folks are incredibly creative so I’m excited to see what weird, cool ideas they have.

    If I’m being completely honest, I’m scared to death about how this show turns out. It’s a big change from the original The Winter’s Tale, and everyone might hate it. But if the process continues in this way, I know I can be proud of the work put into it. Even if you’re a Shakespeare purist, I believe the production will at least show what you can do with a strong group of passionate, dedicated, and talented artists.

    Oh, and if anyone is interested in donating 4 pairs of men’s jazz pants, let me know!

     


  2. Since our production of (The Winter’s Tale) is using the Sigur Ros album () as part of its creation, we thought we’d post this so you could check out some of their music!

    (Editor’s note: Mandy here. I literally thought Sigur Ros was just one person until today. Oops!)

     

  3. Announcing the talented cast of (The Winter’s Tale)! Our Short Works Festival ended VERY successfully last night, but we aren’t taking any breaks! Tonight this group will jump right into rehearsals:

    Perdita/Oracle: Bethany Burnside
    Paulina/Old Shepherd: Melissa Karol
    Cleomenes/Time/Autolycus: Robert Linder
    Camillo/Antigonus: Duc Nguyen
    Hermione: Tashina Richardson
    Leontes/Bear: Nicholas Ross
    Dion/Florizel: Chris Taylor
    Polixenes: Paul Vaughn
     

  4. bradmcentire:

    Lizard Boy Eats a Dorito. Just one Dorito.

    We put a lot of words on this Tumblr to hopefully get you excited about coming to see our shows.

    I think this is an instance in which a picture is worth a thousand words.

    There are NO words in this play.

    You HAVE to experience this in person! Friday and Saturday night at Greenspace Arts Collective in Denton; 8pm, BYOB!

     


  5. 9 Reasons to See Sundown’s 9 Short Works, August 11-13 and 16-17

    1. It’s the first ever TOURING festival in DFW! Okay, maybe not the first but it’s rare that you get to see a festival in two separate cities. In the future, Sundown is hoping to expand the festival to encompass the entire metroplex.

    2. There’s a lizard boy eating a Dorito. Brad McEntire of Audacity Theatre Lab wrote Lizard Boy Eats a Dorito and it is exactly what it sounds like. Or is it?

    3. Sometimes reading about Clint Eastwood’s Space Cowboys makes you want to go to Mars. Sundown has TWO shows by the good folks at Audacity, the other being Jon Goes to Mars by Jeff Hernandez. It’s a one-man show that explores every thought that leads to the most important decision of your life.

    4. How about some audience participation? There might be some. There might not. It might change every night. One day, someone could sit in your lap, and the next, you might be the only one there.

    5. It’s BYOB! Bring your favorite beer, wine, or fifth of liquor and booze it up while everyone runs around on stage trying to entertain you.

    6. But… mixing a gun with all that drinking could be dangerous. White Russian, by local playwright Matt Parent, gets a bunch of people drunk and throws in some (prop) weapons just to see what happens.

    7. Tyler’s mom is coming, and she’ll be sure to give you a piece of her mind. Ben Schroth brings back Tyler’s Mom after a couple of successful runs in the area to remind you of your manners. (Another reason why you might not want to get too drunk.)

    8. Want to see a seahorse, a griffin and a unicorn? Isn’t it Fabulous by David Beckham puts them in ONE animal! Someone takes that animal to a restaurant, which makes one of the customers increasingly upset.

    9. You’ll see more than just theatre. Sundown incorporates different art forms into its productions and We’ve Done it Again is no exception. Movement, visual art, thought-provoking avant garde works… the festival has something for everyone. Spend a night with this unique company and see what they’re all about.


    We’ve Done it Again: A Mixtape, Sundown’s 3rd Annual(ish) Short Works Festival performs at 8pm August 11-13 at the Margo Jones Theatre, 1121 First Ave Dallas TX 75210 and August 16-17 at Green Space Arts Collective, 529 Malone Denton TX 76201. Call 940-220-9302 or email boxoffice@sundowntheatre.org to reserve seats or pay in advance.

     

  6. every time I think “connection” I hear that damn “connected” song stupid stereo mc’s taking me back to when I was 11 or 12 I don’t fucking remember anyway

    focus
    connection
    it makes me think of the color lilac for some reason
    my eyes hurt
    eye connection
    looking at each other
    it’s amazing how little people actually look at each other, some people try to avoid eye contact at all costs
    I think it’s weird when performers can’t make eye connection but at the same time i can be really off-putting to deal with someone who is big on UNBROKEN eye connection there is a point in eye connection where ti goes from genuine interest and discovery to a creepy “look at my eyes look at them look at you THEY’RE LOOKING AT YOU I’M LOOKING YOU” thing
    like I think people who overemphasize eye contact have some kind of weird attention seeking thing
    but then you go the other direction and those people who just refuse to make eye contact like they think you’ll eat their soul or steal it or something (if we even have souls but we’re not talking religion to shut up Tashina)
    I feel like I’m the type of person who feeds off another person’s eye connection i stay engaged with the people who need it, I have a problem looking at people who don’t like it, and I flit about with people who flit about
    so what IS my preferred form of eye contact?
    (automatic writing exercise done by Tashina Richardson, cast member/collaborator of “Connected” and Sundown’s Artistic Director)
     

  7. A personal-type blog post from Artistic Associate mandytakesatumbl:

    On Friday night of last week, we had a quick and dirty run-through of all of the pieces slated for our Short Works Festival (kicking off ONE WEEK FROM TODAY, folks).  The pieces were in various states of preparedness, but the cool thing was that everyone was still…well, really good.  Actors and directors who could have left early stuck around to see the other pieces and laugh and provide feedback (via actual words or just laughter/nods/murmurs from the audience) and maybe even get a little teary at times.

    One of the things I love the most about this company is that we truly are a collaborative group. Each director was trusted to create their own rehearsal process and then bring it in just in time for us to piece the whole festival together. I love that.

    I feel honored to be directing A Game, which is written by Sundown founding member Cody Lucas, with a cast of two people I greatly respect and like very much.

    The pictures above are just some that I snapped with my iPhone during rehearsal. I don’t have any of mine, of course, because I was watching and taking notes during the run-through…so I guess that just means you’ll have to come to one of our 5 performances to see it! Hope to see you there!

     

  8. Publicity photos for WE’VE DONE IT AGAIN: A MIXTAPE

    A Game by Cody Lucas

    Connected: created and performed by Kaitlin Grassman, Robert Linder, Lauren Moore, Tashina Richardson, and Paul Vaughn

    Isn’t it Fabulous by David Beckman

    Jon Goes to Mars by Jeff Hernandez

    Lizard Boy Eats a Dorito by Brad McEntire

    Role Reversal by Kelsey Johnson

    Trying to Tell You by Tashina Richardson

    Tyler’s Mom by Ben Schroth

    White Russian by Matt Parent

    All the details/important info can be found on our Facebook event.

     

  9. Actors in “Connected,” a movement piece in Sundown Collaborative Theatre’s Short Works Festival, rehearse a movement-based limitation based on the poem “The seventh sense” by Mikayla Faye (found here).

    For this limitation, the actors were told to create a movement loop based on this poem, but try to maintain the loop while keeping their focus on their mobile phones — the idea that we keep ourselves from connecting with one another when we’re focused completely on technology.

    the seventh sense

    I can :
    hear you
    see you
    smell you
    taste you
    feel you.

    oh, but you think that’s all?
    for I can sense you as well.
    people claim they have a sixth sense;
    what a shame for I have seven.
    It’s not paranormal, nor is it normal.
    It’s borderline crazy, which makes it amazing.

    Not only can I
    hear you
    see you
    smell you
    taste you
    feel you
    but I know your every move, I control you.

    I know you better than you know yourself.
    For I am you.
    I am your mind, body, and soul.
    I live deep inside your bones.
    I am you and You are me.

    Come join me my love, as we share a secret we like to call
    our seventh sense.

     
     

  10. This lizard loves ice cream.

    You know what else lizards love? Doritos. 

    How do I know this? Well, bradmcentire told me.  But you can also come to our Short Works Festival to see for yourself. Aug. 11th through 13th at Margo Jones in Dallas and Aug. 16th and 17th at Greenspace Arts Collective in Denton.

    Oh we also have (The Winter’s Tale) auditions tomorrow night! Also at Greenspace. 

    But seriously, this lizard…