The Remains of a Play

8 Jun

IMG_0311Every few years, we go into the High School Performing Arts Center, and decide, “that’s it, the stage needs painting.” So somebody heads to the hardware store and orders up three gallons of the bottom of the line, black, flat, interior paint. We tie back the curtains, sweep and mop the floor, and finally paint.

So Dave and I (Lyman) arrived at the PAC early Friday morning, tracked down brooms and mops and started to work. I swept around the outside edge of the stage where the concrete apron meets the wood floor of the stage. Theres an expansion joint that goes all around two sides and the back wall. It’s there in the cracks and edges and around the backs of conduit and table legs where you find the reminders of all the things that have happened on that stage.

The Addams Family set work.

A stray silk leaf probably from The Addams Family, a half a dozen feathers from the Bird Girls in Seussical, sequins and other shiny bits from costumes from dance recitals, bits of wood and cloth and craft materials from any of the eight or nine productions since we last painted the floor.

No Clue

No Clue

Then I looked closer at the rest of the stage where one could see the wavy edge of the front of the platform that was Whoville. There were zig-zag lines from where the flats that created the back walls of No Clue and Outrageous Fortune were placed. The center of the stage is more chewed and pocked marked from the extra beating that it takes during nearly every performance. There were gouges where a wagon brake or other set piece had opened an arced gash in the stage.

Rehearsals in Whoville

Rehearsals in Whoville

When Dave and I walked away three hours later, the stage was a flat even black and the obvious scars and spatters of past shows where hidden from view. But no amount of paint and sweeping can take away the memories of the shows that preceded us in this facility.  And when Dave and Jay and I showed up on Saturday morning, we tracked dusty foot prints to the center of the stage, laid out the spike tape to outline Mushnik’s Flower Shop, and proceeded to add one more layer of history.

Ready for more.

Ready for more.

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A Stage of Sorts

27 May

IMG_0185After one week, or just three rehearsals, the inevitable question is asked, “when can we get in the High School?” When you counter with “graduation’s the eighth,” they counter with “there’s nothing else going on there.”

Not true, unfortunately. There is Fine Arts night this week, a dance recital this weekend, and a grade school talent show next week. We just have to make do with the middle school for a few weeks. But a stage is a stage and while some of the principles were working through the first few scenes, the ensemble was in the choir room working on the songs.

IMG_0194Finally with a half hour of rehearsal left, the ensemble was dismissed so the Do-Wop Girls could join Mushnik, Seymour, and Audrey on stage. Aubrey (sorry, this will be confusing) is one of our puppeteers and she stuck around and mimicked the motions of the baby Audrey II.

IMG_0238But even the Middle School stage is better than the cafeteria, the actors sitting around in undersized chairs, trying to sing in a bent of position and generally looking uncomfortable. The stage floor was taped by the directors to give a sense of the walls of the flower shop and the actors were able to stand, move, have an idea of where to go and the directors could actually direct.

IMG_0259What some don’t realize is that we are spoiled by having a nice facility like the High School’s Performing Arts Center and that we get to do most of our rehearsing on that stage. Even real theatre companies work in a rehearsal space until a few short weeks before the performance then move to the theater they will perform in just before the show opens.

Even just the move from the cafeteria to the Middle School stage brings a different feel to the production even though we’re only three rehearsals in. For now the Middle School will do until the Evansville Class of 2014 graduates in a few short weeks then all of the chaos will ensue. We can hardly wait.7 20 lights

Finally, It Begins

21 May
A humble stack of lumber.

A humble stack of lumber.

It seems to start out the same each year, a pile of lumber arrives outside the high school workshop door, a group of hopefuls shows up at the middle school, a box of scripts arrives. The production team has met to discuss budgets, and schedules, and publicity. The usual discussions ensue about complimentary tickets and when can we get into the high school.

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‘Talk ’em to death, why don’t ya?’

But finally, after a winter of talk and more talk and even more talk, the play is cast and the night that we’ve been waiting for arrives–the first read through.

After what seems like an eternity of, well, more talk–fill out the forms, help backstage, excited you’re here, on and on.

Then finally, we shut up, and the rehearsal cd starts with some music and the first song begins and the actors start to sing along, say their lines, laugh at the expected and numerous mistakes, start a song during the intro vamps, or don’t start because they think they’re intro vamps, Orin accidentally says Audrey’s lines.

Finally, finally, finally, the show starts to come to life. A large group of new faces mix into those who have worked with us before. It’s refreshing and comforting.

Finally, the real fun begins.

The Read Through

The Read Through

What to Expect When You’re Auditioning

6 May

Like to sing? Like to dance? Like to entertain an audience? Come to Evansville’s J.C. McKenna Middle School on Saturday between 10 and 2 or Monday evening from 6 to 8 and audition for ECT’s Little Shop of Horrors. 

You'll audition here!

You’ll audition here!

So what should you do? First prepare 16 bars of your favorite show tune and make sure you bring the piano music along. Some excerpts from the play as well as some forms that you will need to fill out are available on the Audition page on our website, the Eager Free Public Library, or will be available at auditions. You don’t need to prepare a monologue but Melissa the Director and Co-Director Dave will have you do some dialogues from those excerpts.

Once you get to the Middle School, come in the front doors on First Street. We will have greeters waiting for you and will show you to the cafeteria where you will stop to get your picture taken. If you haven’t filled out the forms you will need to do that first, then once Melissa is ready, we will take you into the auditorium. There you will let your song rip, do some dialogues, talk to crew and then you’re on your way.

The only requirements are that you are high school age or older and be available for most rehearsals during May and June and all rehearsals and performances in July. One of the challenges of this play is that we will be renting Audrey II and we won’t be able to get her until the weekend before our final week of rehearsals.

Little Shop has a small cast but we are always looking for new faces. So if you always wanted to try acting or you’ve acted in lots of plays come audition!

We'll perform at the beautiful Evansville High School Performing Arts Center

We’ll perform at the beautiful Evansville High School Performing Arts Center

 

The Addams Family this Weekend

30 Apr

DSCN4477 - Version 2The Evansville High School Drama Department presents the first amateur production of the Addams Family this weekend. Come see it!

 

The pit is getting ready...

The pit is getting ready…

...gels go in the lights...

…gels go in the lights…

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...costumes hang at the ready...

…costumes hang at the ready…

...creatures are crafted...

…creatures are crafted…

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...the sets get painted...

…the sets get painted…

...tensions run high...

…tensions run high…

...finish the set...

…finish the set…

...props get made...

…props get made…

...backstage gets set...

…backstage gets set…

…it’s tech week at the Evansville High School.

Little Shop of Horrors Auditions

12 Apr

Little Shop croppedEvansville Community Theatre invites you to audition for Little Shop of Horrors. Auditions are scheduled for Saturday May 10th from 10 to 2 and Monday May 12th from 6 to 8.

The cast is 4 male and 4 female roles as well as an ensemble. Call backs will be Tuesday May 13th. Auditions will be held at JC McKenna Middle School, 307 South 1st Street in Evansville. Those auditioning must be high school age or older.

Please bring piano music and be prepared to sing at least 16 bars of any selection from a musical. Also be ready to read from the script. A prepared monologue will not be necessary. Script sides (excerpts) will be available at Eager Free Public Library and on the ECT website .

Don’t want to be on stage but want to get involved? We always need lots of help for productions so contact us if you would like to get involved in community theater!

 

Evansville High School has “No Clue”

8 Feb
The Cast of No Clue

The Cast of No Clue

Imagine waking up in an old house with eight other strangers with no clue as to who you are, where you’re at, and no way out! That’s the premise of No Clue, Evansville High School’s student production. This fun comedy was written by EHS Seniors Jake Schroeder, Erik Nelson, and Clark Cybart-Fuson. The annual student production is  produced, directed, and managed entirely by EHS students. That’s reason enough to go see it tonight at 7:30 pm and tomorrow at 2. It’s well done and the efforts of all those involved show in this excellent production.
Photos by Sharon Cybart.
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Scene A No Clue
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Jake, Clark, and Erik, the authors of No Clue

Jake, Clark, and Erik, the authors of No Clue

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The student cast and crew of No Clue.

The student cast and crew of No Clue.

New Website Address

18 Jan

Reset your browser as Evansville Community Theatre’s web address has changed to ecttheater.com.

Through all fault of my own since I serve as website minder as well as blogger, the old website domain lapsed and it was snatched up by some business interest we would rather not acknowledge. Web domains, or the buying and selling of them, is a business and while I should have been paying attention, it was snatched out from under us. Lesson learned.

It's a dangerous world out there

It’s a dangerous world out there

We have no intention of buying it back. In fact, the address was long, cumbersome, and easily misspelled so it was a chance for us to fix all three of those issues.

So check out ecttheater.com. WHO KNOWS, THERE MIGHT BE AN ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT A SUMMER PLAY THERE.

And now it’s gone

24 Jul

Usually when a play is over, the tech crew is ready to pack it all up and go home. It seems like in most musicals there is one slow song that goes on too long, a scene that is ho-hum at  best, or some other aspect that  in combination with everything else burns out the crew. But not with Seussical. We were in agreement that we could have run the show a few more weekends.

7 20 whosWe were all surprised. When we first looked at the script, it was all singing and dancing with little dialogue. We had second thoughts on the idea but when the spot light hit JoJo and the Cat in the Hat appeared it was obvious that it would be a great show.

7 20 CircusOne audience member had said she was too old to have read Dr. Seuss and didn’t know much about him. After the first act she reported that she didn’t really know what was going on but she loved the singing and dancing and it was way more than she expected from community theater.

Of course credit goes to everyone involved and the audiences who showed up and rose to their feet when it was over. Director Christa brought a vision to the show that was colorful, fun, and allowed the actors and crew to shine. The crew and actors went over the top in a show that allows for that.

7 20 stage strike 2But just like that it’s over. The truffula trees and Whoville are gone, the shop cleaned, the stage mopped and the cast party is over.

So, as the actors always want to know, what’s next?7 20 lights

And at the end of the show, the crowd stood…

13 Jul

…and that is why we all do it.

About eight weeks ago, the prospective actors showed up and auditioned for a part. Adults and kids came into the auditorium and sang a few bars and said  a few lines, then were taken to the other room to try their dancing skills. And with a musical of this size, everyone is offered a part. The actors spent the next weeks learning the songs, learning the choreography, learning their blocking, and of course, learning their lines. Those weeks are over.

The cast, crew, and pit band.

The cast, crew, and pit band.

Backstage the costume crew was busy creating, then sewing, glueing, and tacking. Fake feathers in neon colors littered the green room where they worked (and the stage every time the Bird Girls leave it). The glitter and buttons,  ribbons and material, foo-fluff and thread that adorn the costumes has now been placed where the crew can get easy access to it should anything need repair.

7 12 JoJo and catThe makeup person has had ideas in her head for weeks, trying them on her roommates, but not being able to see how it all looks until the dress rehearsal two days before opening. She has delegated duties to make sure everyone is ready at the appointed curtain time. Fake noses and tufts of fur have to dry on some actors before the makeup is applied. Each actor is magically transformed into their character.

The Truffala trees, and Whoville, and the backdrop and all of the other set pieces are finished but Scott and Dan and Bob are somewhere around in case something needs repair. The props master was hoping that the paint would dry on the final props before the curtain opened, after weeks of creating fanciful and wild works of art.

7 12 horton and jungleA few weeks ago, the pit band could be heard in the band room across the hall learning the score. A real pit band adds a dimension to the performance that no recording could ever do. And when they tune and warm up before the show, kids and adults walk to the front to take a peek.

The final two lights that the High School owns were plugged in on Friday afternoon to help smooth out a few dead spots and they were integrated into the final lighting plot. And after a few tense days, additional microphones were finally found to round out the soundscape. So Chris, our new sound guy, found himself busily repatching the amp tower and reconfiguring the microphone set up just hours before the curtain opened. (Special thanks to all of those who donated to make the extra microphones possible!)7 12 Mayzie

And at 7:02 on Friday night, the stage manager said, “are we ready?” The light guy said, “house lights are down, let’s go.” JoJo came out of the wing, said his opening lines,  the curtain opened and the high wire act that is live theater on opening night began. The band hit their first notes, the actors in their brightly colored and fanciful costumes appeared, the set pieces taken from the pages of a Seuss book came to life.

Two hours later, the actors had sung and danced their hearts out, the stage managers had wrestled with chaos and won, the band sounded terrific, a few late light cues and the constant concern about battery life in microphone packs were past.

The audience rose during the curtain call and showed all of us why we spent the last eight weeks making this happen!7 12 thinking thinks

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