Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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 show, I loved this cast, I loved this crew, and I loved our audiences. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to everyone who supported this production in any of the many, many ways folks did.

I literally can't thank everyone enough, but I'm going to try down below, but there are a few things I want to say before I do. 

Why we did the show:

There are two main reasons that South Stream decided to do this show. The first is our collaboration with The Ridge. Trey Davis as the head of Ridge Road Baptist Church has really looked to energize the space and his community by partnering with and promoting arts organizations. That's a big part of The Ridge, an effort to expand the use their campus to include performing art. As anyone knows SPACE is the big challenge of performing artists. Rehearsal space, performance space, space, space space at an affordable price. The Ridge's accommodation in providing us rehearsal and performance space in a budget we could afford was a big part in making the show possible at all.

The second reason is our director Hayley Philippart. I had an idea for a 7 person Twelfth Night for years. Almost a decade probably. I plotted out the doubles and how it could be done. I knew I wanted that silly manic energy that doubling would bring, and the idea of not hiding things - playing into the limitations rather than trying to hide them. But I also wanted to be in it, and I'm not crazy enough to think I could direct it too, so the idea sat on the shelf. Until I met Hayley. Hayley directed the production of Emma for STS, and she was great. She was whip smart, a joy to work with, and definitely, definitely someone who embraced the silly. I knew she would be someone that just "got it" for this project, and when the space became available, I went right to Hayley. I don't want to give people the impression that this was all my idea. The general outline, the doubling, yes, but Hayley took it and ran with it as only she could. The show in it's final form was as much or more her vision, and I'm super happy about that. I just mean to say that I would not have done the show at all if I didn't know her. She's just SO good and smart and if you can you should work with her.

Why I'm proud of the show:

Look, a million reasons, honestly. But there's two things I really wanted to mention because they stand out for me. First - I'm really proud because we did a Shakespeare comedy that was actually funny. Look, I LOVE Shakespeare. I will go to see most productions of it in the area. And I get the jokes. I've read the footnotes. I know what people are saying (or supposed to be saying) for the most part. And it's been my experience that productions of Shakespeare comedies are rarely funny. Entertaining, amusing, clever, yes. But rarely laugh-out-loud ridiculously funny. It was mine and Hayley's (and the production's) goal right from the outset - make it funny. And damn if I don't think we succeeded. It wasn't "SHAKESPEARE" up on a pedestal - it was slapstick and irreverent and goofy and fun! And I'm really proud of that. 

The other thing I'm really proud of - honestly the thing I'm most proud of I think - was the pay-what-you-want ticketing. A lot of theatres have talked about accessibility. And that's nice, but I really feel we put our money where our mouth was by making all our tickets pay what you want. Theatre is getting increasingly expensive. Broadway tickets have passed $200 and climbing, and even local theatre is rarely less than $25. Sure you can go on a special price night (some theatres have single pay-what-you-want performances even) or you can usher, but the fact that we were able to open our doors and just say: "Come." That's really special, and I am incredibly proud of that. We had several groups of students (highschool? college? I don't know, I saw them from the stage) come - paying maybe $5 each, maybe nothing, and they were GREAT! They had a blast, and they loved the show. And they made the show better for everyone with their energy and laughter. We also had some unhoused people attend. Awesome! I honestly believe that theatre should be for everyone. I don't want to do theatre just for those that can afford a $50 ticket, or even a $20 ticket. It was an experiment for sure. One that I was trepidatious about at first, but I am so SO glad we did it. 

Ok - on to the thank you's - and I'm going to forget someone or more than one someone so I'm definitely sorry but also I reserve the right to edit this later and add people:

Our cast - Barrett, Miranda, Akili, Olivia, Julie and Natalie - wow. I am continually humbled by the quality of artists who are willing to take a chance on working with me. I know and they know that I will do everything I can to honor their work and produce a good quality show, but it's still a huge amount of time and effort for an uncertain financial result. It's a lot of trust. Thank you for your trust and artistry and love. 

Emma Droste - our dresser and swing - holy cow you saved the show. Emma came on board during Tech week, watched all the runs, and was content to sew buttons and fix costume issues until the last weekend, when she was called on to fill in for Barrett as Olivia/Sea Captain/First Officer - and did it with aplomb. Literally saved our last weekend of shows. 

Jennifer and John for front of house. Wow, thank you. We had hot cocoa! We had snacks! You had the pleasant difficulty of handling a lot of large crowds! 

Our creative team - our costumer Sally, our props master Devra, our graphic designer Jennifer (again!), our lighting designer and Stage Manager Alyssa, and our ASM Emma Ives - you all worked so hard and produced such amazing work. 

And of course, all this was lead, shaped, and brought to fruition by our director and fearless leader Hayley. I can't say how fun it is to work with you. Thank you for everything you brought to this work. I hope you are as incredibly proud of the show as I am.

Finally - thank you to every person who helped with load in, and load out, and ushering and just the folks who came and laughed and had a good time with us. I'm so, so grateful to each of you. 

Now for some rest. 

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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...