Thursday, November 28, 2013


We're thankful.

Thankful for Rachel Klem and Devra Thomas and Common Ground for creating and maintaining an affordable venue for local theatre in Durham.

Thankful for Hope Community Church and Tina Vance for providing us a place to rehearse for free, we could not do this without you.

Thankful for an incredible cast, Julie, John, Ryan and Samantha, for lending your considerable talents to this production and for giving me your trust as producer and director.

Thankful for our great stage manager Andy.  If you want to know what a stage manager does "all the hard work" is the answer.  Especially at Common Ground... no "calling queues" there. 

Thankful for Shannon Clark, Will Mikes and Todd Houseknecht for lending their talents in designing the show.

And thankful for you.  For friends and family that support all these amazing people in every aspect of their lives that enable them to spend so much time working on this show.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Kickstarter for Seascape is Live

It's gone live. LIVE! Mwahahaha!

Our kickstarter campaign for Seascape is now live.  See it in all it's glory here:

It's the best way for you to get tickets (and the cheapest unless you're a student or senior).  You can get tickets to any show.  And if you want to donate a bit extra to make sure Ryan has high quality scales on his costume, we'll thank you in the program itself.

I'm really excited about the show, but we can't do it without your support.  Please help us make this happen.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I come in peace

Last year we had the lovely Madira Hoffman designing costumes for Copenhagen.  But this show... this show has a bit more challenging requirements.  Seascape takes place by the ocean.  And there are some rather interesting characters that come out of the ocean to take part in the show.  Specifically, giant sea creatures.  And that means building costumes.

The amazingly talented and creative Shannon Clark is designing and building our lizards and we couldn't be happier.  He's taken a look at some previous productions, some actual lizards (including the Galapagos Sea Iguanas and the Komodo Dragon) and come up with his own design.  Here we see the first step in the process.  Ryan Brock has been fitted for the base of the costume.  Onto this will go scales ridges and a tail (a big tail...  he's proud of his tail).  We're lucky to have Shannon working on the show,and we'll keep posting pictures of his work as it comes together.  But to see the finished product... well you'll have to buy a ticket for that.

Monday, November 11, 2013

And We're Off!

Seascape had it's official first rehearsal tonight.  Usual first rehearsal stuff.  Calendar, talk about the set, read through the script.

It was great.  Great in that way that starting things is.  You see so much possibility, so many ideas forming. But it was also great in that way that first reads are.  It's such a reminder that a play is a verb not a noun.  It is a thing that happens not a thing that is.  When one reads a play at home, you can come to some ideas about a character, what is going on, why, but then you hear another person who has taken it in, has thought, and begins to breathe the character, and something completely different can come out.  Several times in the read through an actor showed me something I hadn't seen before.  Each time it was a discovery, like looking closer at a picture, noticing a fine detail.  I just love being surprised in that way, it's a magical thing.  The play isn't static, it's fluid. That very malleability is what makes plays so endlessly watchable.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to this show.

Friday, November 8, 2013


So, this post is about beginnings.  We will begin our rehearsal process Monday, and I'm equal parts excited and trepidatious.  I know this show is going to be great.  Our cast is great, our crew is great, our designers are great, and our director... our director has wisely surrounded himself with great people.  I'm really excited about the show.  We're just about to get started with actual rehearsals, but John and I have been working on it for months, trying to tie up the details and smooth everything into place.

But I want to talk about another beginning.  One more important to local theatre than the start of our little adventure on Monday.  You see, a new beginning is happening at our venue, Common Ground.  Last year we did a week at Common Ground and a week at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro (for various reasons, it worked out best that way).  This year, we're happy that we'll be exclusively at Common Ground.  Very happy, since we will have a set that will be a little harder to move than 3 chairs this year.  And Common Ground will be having a very special new beginning of its own.

As reported in the Indy this week, Devra Thomas is taking over Common Ground Theatre, and Seascape is going to be the FIRST show in the space under her guidance.

Now let me say up front that this caused me (and in turn I caused Rachel) a bit of consternation.  When I found out about it, my immediate reaction was "what do you mean Rachel won't be running Common Ground?  What's going on?  Oh no!"  But after several (yes several, I can be a bit of a panic, sorry Rachel) emails, and learning that Devra was taking over the company, well I couldn't be happier.

Rachel has done so much (SO much) for local theatre.  Let me say that the reason we produce at Common Ground is that it is a good space that is affordable.  Common Ground is cheap enough that you can fail.  You can put up a show, and have no one come, and it won't kill you.  That's the kind of cost structure you need for independent, experimental, or just plain community theatre.  Almost every other space we looked at (other than The ArtsCenter who were great co-hosts last year) was just too expensive.  In addition to being an excellent director and a hell of an actor when she's on stage, Rachel has kept Common Ground available, open, and .. well there as an amazing resource for the theatre community.   I've seen some bad shows there, but some absolutely incredible ones too (boy, one of my favorite shows ever was LGP's production of Pinter's "The Birthday Party" there.  Good stuff).

Anyway, Devra is a great choice.  And really, not enough is said for those that work at arts administration. Raleigh recently lost an amazing and creative company with a long tradition (REP), and ... well I don't know what the heck is going on with NC Shakes after they cancelled their production of Mackers (how ironic..).  Things like that really make you realize the critical importance of good administration.  You're a fantastic actor.  You're a director with incredible vision.  Well, good, but if you don't have an organization behind you who will know (and let me be clear, this isn't a fame thing... I mean, you want people to come to your show right?  You want to connect with them, and have a meaningful experience right?  The point of theatre is that it has an audience after all).  Without people shepherding our arts organizations, watching their budget, fund raising, and managing costs, well, all the other stuff, the fun stuff, the costumes, the lights, the audience the theatre, that stuff DOESN'T HAPPEN.  It can't happen.  Having artisitc vision, having a company, creating a community, creating art with your audience, none of that happens if you spend too much on costumes and don't pay the light bill.  Just as much as theatre needs great artists, it also needs great people who care about theatre enough to use their considerable talents to make the conditions right.  They set the oven to the right temperature, they buy the ingredients, and they find the right dish so that the chef can make the pie.

All of which is a (very) long winded way to say that Devra is just that sort of person. She cares deeply, passionately about theatre, as much as any actor or director I've ever met, and having someone with that skill set and dedication is going to be an amazing asset for Common Ground.  I'm thrilled that we're going to be the production that bridges this transition, and I hope we make both Devra and Rachel proud of the amazing space that they have created for the triangle theatre community.

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