Thursday, December 31, 2015

It Takes A Village

New Year's Eve. Here we are. And what a big day it was for us. Final Dress!  Thanks so much to the folks who came out to our invited dress on New Year's Eve. But I want to take a minute to reflect on this project, and especially to thank those that helped us this year put this production together.

Our theatre community is incredibly supportive and co-operative. There's been some talk recently about local theatres needing to work together more, and I suppose there is always room for improvement in that area, but I'd like to recognize the many theatres and theatre-folk in the area who helped make our production happen.

First, I have to say a huge thank you to Cardinal Gibbons High School, and their drama teacher Kevin Ferguson. They provided us with rehearsal space, which is huge. HUGE huge. Without having a theatre to rehearse in it is very difficult to put on a show. Cardinal Gibbons has a great facility, and Kevin's philosophy is that it should be used as much as possible. If his program isn't using it, he provides space to others. This is the embodiment of the cooperative spirit of our community.

Second, a thank you is in order for Cary Players. They let us borrow the platforms and flats to construct our set. They also let us use their scene shop to paint and store the flats before we loaded in. Itinerant companies like mine can't afford to invest in creating flats and platforms, the basic infrastructure of set building, because when you produce one show a year, what do you do with that stuff? Being able to use this material and the space to prep it in is an enormous help.

Third, big thank you to Theatre in the Park for letting us borrow props, furniture items, and Jeff Nugent. Larger theatres in the area serve as store houses for things like furniture. Some of the stuff on the set is from my house, but there's a limit to what I can bring. TiP is the reason I'm not sleeping on an air mattress!

Fourth, theatre folk. We had huge help from the hardest working man in local theatre (along with Jeff) Todd Houseknecht, our tech guru. We also got enormous help from Elaine Petrone (who helped us re-rig the lights and generally was a huge help at load in). Elaine works all over the triangle including RLT, NRACT, and Forrest Moon Theatre. And our sound tech, Will Mikes, in addition to being a great friend is a veteran of local theatre in the sound department (you have heard him at TiP and Theatre Raleigh).

Finally, but certainly not least, huge thank you to Sonorous Road. Michelle Wells has gone above and beyond simply renting out a space to us. She and her husband Josh have been incredibly welcoming of us and have helped us every step of the way, from filming and editing our kickstarter, to helping us set up sound to just answering a hundred questions that come from producing in a new space. They love local theatre and have done everything they can to make our production a success. Having Sonorous Road is a great asset to the theatre community, and I certainly hope they succeed in the new year.

So Happy New Year everyone! And if you resolve to see more local theatre in 2016, why not start day one? We open the show New Year's Day!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our Backers!

This is up on it's own tab up at the top of the page, but I wanted to make a post too.

HUGE thank you to our Kickstarter backers who helped make this show possible! These donors gave above and beyond what was required for a ticket because they care about the show and want to bring it to you. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Without the help of these people we wouldn't be bringing this show to you.

Kristie and Kevin Clarke
Lane Liston
Chris and Diana North
Jeanne Sellers
Al Tran

Joseph and Venus Bradley
Jon Finkel
Del Flack
Gabrieal Griego
Benji and Gene Jones
David Klionsky
Diana Cameron McQueen
Elaine Petrone
Ken Walsh

Debra Kaufman
Dan O'Mahoney-Schwartz
Chris Pikula
Kim Romero
Matt "Catapult" Wang

Thursday, December 24, 2015


You did it!

Our Kickstarter has made it's goal!  Thank you!!

I really am humbled by all the support you have shown us. I hope we can live up to your expectations!

If you got a ticket on Kickstarter, we will be sending you an email soon.

If you did not, tickets are available at the Sonorous Road Box Office HERE!

Thank you again, we couldn't do it without you.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Postering, or "I Love Starbucks"

I love Starbucks. I mean, their coffee is pretty good. Some people say it's burnt or it's too expensive or whathaveyou. But really, it's a pretty decent cup of coffee. Their quality is consistent. They managed to make a cup of higher quality coffee and specialty drinks ubiquitous in America. But that's not why I love Starbucks.

I love Starbucks because every single stand alone location (and some of the ones in grocery stores and hotels) has a community board. And they're pretty spread out across most urban/suburban areas. So if you have a map of Starbucks locations, you have a pretty good guide to where you can go to put up posters for your show.

Now look. This doesn't mean that I'm hating on local coffee shops. They're great too. And most of them have community boards or let you put up a poster in the window. But some don't, and it's really not worth driving somewhere if you don't know you can put up a poster. So having a corporate chain with lots of locations where you can know you can spread your message out geographically is really an asset.

Shout out to Bruegger's Bagels and Panera Bread for the same reason.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Set Building!

Director Andy Hayworth and Technical Director Todd Houseknecht consult while Stage Manager Betsy Richards does the work. Typical. 

Today was set building day. Well, really more like set painting day.

First I should say we owe a great debt to Cary Players for letting us use their flats and their shop to prep them. Their next play is Crossing Delancey, go see it! Anyway, without their help this whole process would have been much more difficult. As it is, we pulled the pieces we needed, laid down drop cloths. painted the flats, and were done in relatively short order.

We had help from the wonderful Ami Kirk Jones who helped us get the right colors and advised us on the look for the cement walls of the apartment. The set is going to look great. It's an industrial loft in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. I wanted it to have the modern-distressed look of a converted warehouse. I wanted muted colors as well, but not boring. Ami suggested a concrete look with muted rust stains (you see it partially complete above).

I'm really looking forward to showing it to you. Hope you like it!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Learn Your Lines!

We're coming into the home stretch for Time Stands Still. We will open two weeks from Friday! Even more than that, because of the holidays etc, we don't have that many rehearsals left (only 5 more before Tech week). That's fine. We have an experienced cast, and I'm very confident things will go fine. But it DOES mean we have to do a lot of work on our own. Especially learning lines.

Now granted, learning lines is always primarily done outside of rehearsal. That's the way it is. It's the hard work of acting. But that's especially true if you have limited rehearsal time. Often, if you have a longer rehearsal period, you get time to run and re-run the show, repetition that helps lighten the lonely burden of line learning. But when you're short time, rehearsal needs to be about what we do as a group, as a cast. Learning your lines - that you do on your own (or with your very patient friends/family/pets etc).

One of the things that people most frequently comment on is "how do you learn all those lines?" Actors, as a rule, find this comment a little frustrating (maybe that's the wrong word), because learning the lines is the most quotidian part of the process. Trust me, you could learn those lines (really!). People ask me what the secret is to it. I wish there was one. The secret is just hard work. Running it again and again in different ways (writing it out, reading it aloud, using flash cards, having a friend quiz you etc...). I usually record a read through and then burn the files to CD and listen to it in the car. Every method has it's advantages and disadvantages, but trust me, if you spent as much time as I did learning lines, you'd know my lines too.

Actors often feel (myself included) that this comment is frustrating because we consider "knowing what to say and when to say it" sort of the mandatory minimum of acting. It's the D minus acting performance. The hard part is understanding why you are saying it, what you want, wanting to say it, and really being there. Feeling the lines. Living the character.

That said, we probably shouldn't be so dismissive. It really IS a lot of work. And yes, almost anyone could remember all those words with enough effort, but hey, YOU put out that effort. That's worth recognizing. So give yourself some credit!

I have to say, I've been through this entire script twice today, and I'm more excited than ever to put it on stage. I really don't get tired of this piece. I love the writing. It's funny and gripping and altogether human. Going through it again and again, ok it is an effort, but it also reminds me that we'll be doing this on stage for you. And THAT really makes me happy.

Course, we need you. I can't share it with you if you don't buy a ticket. Click on over to our Kickstarter and get one today...

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Olivia Greigo and Katie Barrett rehearse with the help of SM Betsy Richards.

We're in the thick of rehearsal. We have 7 (gulp) more rehearsals before we load in on December 27, and the show is really coming together. Working on this play has really reminded me that rehearsal is a safe place. This text works deep for all four actors. It really requires that we connect with empathy and imagination to strong emotions.  Knowing that you working with the support entire ensemble is so very critical when you are doing this sort of preparation.

Because acting is about being, but rehearsing is about making mistakes. Rehearsing is about taking that chance/risk the first time. About opening up, about exposing your feelings, your self, and not having the knowledge that you've done it before, that it's ok. And being able to do that knowing that if it doesn't work, if it needs to change, you didn't fail, you succeeded in the process. And that the people you are working with love you, and that doesn't depend on getting it right the first time.

It's funny, I used to feel nervous about the first few rehearsals. I wanted to show my fellow actors I was someone who could be relied upon. I wanted to show off the work I did on my own. I wanted them to think "wow, this guy is good." No, no, NO. Rehearsal is about being bad (not unprepared though). Make mistakes. And above all, don't censor yourself or worry about what other people think about you. Because, if it's a good set, here is what they think about you: they love you, they trust you, and you're great.

I wanted to put a brief shout-out here to Cardinal Gibbons High School and Kevin Ferguson. The shot above was taken in the studio theatre at Cardinal Gibbons, and the single biggest help to our production is having this wonderful space to rehearse in.

I also want to point out those empty seats. See them? That's where you go. So please, go over to our kickstarter page, pledge some money, and get a ticket today!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Our kickstarter has launched for the Triangle Premiere of Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies.  Actually, it launched before Thanksgiving. We have 20 days to go (so 1/3 of the way there) and we've raised over four hundred dollars (so more than 1/3 of the way there)!

The kickstarter is a great way for you to get tickets in advance. It's the cheapest way to get regular price tickets (since you don't have to pay online processing fees), and the tickets are good for any performance, which is pretty great.

But it's more than getting a good deal, you're helping to produce the show. You can give a little extra money to be a Stringer, an Editor, or a Producer. Did you ever go to an independent film? Did you notice how many company logos are in the pre-show credits? And how many executive producers they list? "Executive Producer" - that's a list of "people who gave money." And that can be you! I mean, sure, your name will be in our program (and on our website) not on a movie screen. But hey, we're asking for $10, not $10,000.

So go to the kickstarter for Time Stands Still and get involved.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Our Fourth Annual Production!

South Stream Productions is proud to announce it's fourth annual production: Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies.

Time Stands Still is the story of a photo journalist who returns from Iraq after injuries she suffered in a roadside bomb attack. Her long time partner (also a journalist) helps her with her recovery, but has wounds of his own. The characters struggle with the process of healing physically and mentally. Some scars remain, and they come to understand how the landscape of their relationship has changed. The script is bitingly funny, poignant, and above all, human.

We will be producing this show at a new venue this year. We are proud to be the first outside producer to present a show at Sonorous Road, a new black box theatre and teaching venue in the heart of Raleigh. Check them out here!

Tickets are now available via our Kickstarter campaign. Every year we rely on you, our audience to help make this show a reality. Please check out our kickstarter campaign and contribute!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Long Off Season

We're looking at scripts for next year. We're getting close to making some decisions (we hope). In the mean time, you should check out one of our favorite theatre blogs - Bitter Gertrude. Just because she's awesome.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Thank You for Taking Care of Us.

Ok, so this is a little later than it usually is. Due to my work schedule and the fact that I was literally on a plane to NYC three days after we closed, I didn't get to it right away.

But the point of this post is to say thank you.  Thank you to everyone who put so much into this show.

Before I get to the specific thank yous, I want to say thank you to our kickstarter supporters, and particularly for those people (and there were many this year) who gave a bit extra. We had more people than usual, many more, give money, either in excess of their ticket price, or just despite knowing that they would not use their tickets at all, just to support the show. Thank you.  The money that we raised that way basically went directly to our artists.  Buying a ticket is great too! We covered our costs with ticket revenue, which is a pretty big accomplishment. The lights, the space, all the little costs of putting a show on, our ticket revenue covered that. But I wanted everyone to know that the extra kickstarter money we raised went directly to our artists. YOU made the difference in our being able to at least recognize their contributions in a financial way. Of course, we can't pay them what they're worth. We couldn't possibly. But artists deserve support. They deserve recognition for their work, even if it's less (much less) than minimum wage. And your donations went to support them. Fully half of the money we were able to distribute to our artists came from your generous donations. Thank you.

We've got plenty more people to thank though!

Big thanks, first of all, to Kevin Ferguson and Cardinal Gibbons High School. We were able to rehearse in their space again this year, and that is probably the single largest contribution to our bottom line. If we had to pay even $10/hr for rehearsal space, we would have lost money. Using that space was huge, really huge, to our bottom line.

Thanks also to other friends in the theatre community. Burning Coal and Cary Players both loaned us lumber and platforms. They literally supported the chairs you sat on. Big thanks also to Manbites Dog. They not only loaned us a number of platforms, but in addition they let us raid their attic for junk. All that junk you saw on stage? 80% of it came from Manbites. It's so great to be part of a theatre community that cooperates on this level. That supports and encourages other productions rather than seeing them as rivals.

A big thanks to Dolly's Vintage. All those bad ass costumes? Dolly's. The only costume we didn't get from Dolly's was John's costume. And really, you don't want to wear that anyway...  Without their support, we would have had to spend loads on costumes to get the same look. Check out there website here and plan a shopping trip.

Thank you to all the people who helped out and volunteered their time to help with load in and strike, including my parents and my sister and (soon) brother-in-law from Atlanta. Dale, Dana, Jessica, Lisa, Richard and everyone on the program. Every set of hands helped.

Thank you to Jeff for his help with carpentry and his technical help with the space. We would not have been able to do it without you.

Thanks to Todd, our carpenter and master planner. Todd has been a key part of our team for each production. He brings skills to our company that John and I, quite frankly, completely lack. I mean, I know which end of a hammer to use but that's about it. He planned our seating arrangement and he and Lisa put in long days to put that together and took it apart.

Thanks to Shu Cao Mo, our Assistant Director. It's amazing what lengths she went to be a part of the production. Thanks for asking the questions that needed to be asked.

Thanks to Zachary Corsa for our sound design. All that atmospheric stuff, the underscoring the rise and fall between scenes, all Zach's work. Jay wanted to be sure you were part of the team for this show and I see why. Check out more of Zach's music at the website for his band "Lost Trail."

Thanks to JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell, our Stage Manager extraordinaire. Stage manager is really the hardest job in theatre. You have to be at ALL the rehearsals and ALL the performances, but you don't get the applause. It takes not just hard work, but concentration, organization, and patience, LOTS of patience to deal with actors. We were so lucky to get to work with JaMeeka. Thank you.

Thanks to Ryan Brock. Again. Last year he was "Leslie" in Seascape. This year he was Mick. I often talk about Ryan behind his back with other actors. And everyone says the same thing: he's fantastic. Because he is. I'd venture to say there is no one in the triangle that most actors would rather have as a scene partner than Ryan. Not only is he creative and intuitive on stage, but he is a rock. Prepared, confident, comfortable and present. We were very lucky to get to work with him again. Thank you.

Thanks, big thanks, HUGE thanks to the Jaybird. It is not an exaggeration to say we would not have done this show without him. It's the truth. Many months ago (I think in May?) I was talking to Jaybird about something else, and he happened to ask what we were doing next. I told him we were considering The Caretaker, but I needed a director who knew what the hell the show was about because I had no clue. When Jaybird said he might direct it, I jumped at the chance. It was an easy decision. Honestly John and I were flattered that Jay would even consider directing us. Without his eye, his judgement, and his vision we would not have even attempted a script this ambitious. And the set? The look? the idea of staging it in the back stage area of Common Ground?  All his idea. Even the lighting. Totally Jaybird. Thank you for your guidance, your creativity, and your faith in us.

Finally, thanks to my partner and co-conspirator John. What can I say? We did it again. The work that John put in ... I mean his part, was a MAMMOTH part. I don't think he knew what he was getting into when he agreed to this. He carried that play. And the character of Davies is so very unlike John. It really was a remarkable transformation, and a remarkable performance. I should also point out that John balances the box office. He makes the spreadsheets and does the book keeping. When I got home I slept. When John got home, he had to balance the box office. I'm so lucky to work with John on each of our shows. He compliments my skill set and he's a remarkable performer.

Well, that's it. We are dark for another year (maybe... ). We are off to other projects. Ryan is in The Pride with Mortall Coile. John is understudying for Playmaker's performance of An Enemy of the People. Jaybird is directing Paris 76 for Manbites Dog. JaMeeka just finished as SM for Hands Up at Common Ground. And me? I'm busy visiting campuses right now. If things go well, I may be out of the area next fall. But then again, if things go well, I might still be here. Because things went pretty well this past year. I think The Caretaker was our most artistically successful production to date. I am so pleased and so proud of what we were able to share with our audience this year. If I'm still here next year, it will be a great challenge to try to top that.

Thank you for helping us create and share The Caretaker with you. See you soon.

Twelfth Night's Come and Gone

  Whew! What an adventure!  Wow, well our production of Twelfth Night was a huge success. It far exceeded my expectations. I loved this sho...