Thursday, April 29, 2010

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Thursday, March 25, 2010


So ladies and Gents,

Tonight is the C1 Gala.

Where else can you see the whole family decked out and ready to party?
I'll be posting pics tomorrow - but the only way to catch Tory (yes, Tory of slamboston MC fame) singing his welcome to all of us - OR - C1 alumni serenading you all night while you under bid on the fantastic silent auction items (check out the items you can bid on here: ).

So you can either look at the pictures here tomorrow - like the girl not invited to the party - or be featured in them yourself!

See you tonight!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Opening on the Right Foot!

Good Afternoon C1 Family, Friends and the like--Sabrina here!

This past Friday, January 15th, 2010, THE GOOD NEGRO opened at the BCA Plaza theatre to a sold out audience! Having worked on the show as the assistant to director, Summer L. Williams, I was so nervous and excited to share this play that I have come to love so much. To no surprise of my own, THE GOOD NEGRO was so incredibly well received by all who came out this weekend and I have no doubt that everyone has begun to spread the word.

Being a new kid @ Company One, I was so impressed by how every single member of the company was involved right down to hammering in the last nail to make this production come off with out a hitch! It was so incredibly inspiring to be a part of a team of people who work hard, play hard and love theatre so much that they always go that extra mile to make their productions of the highest quality.

AND SO, this is why you must come see THE GOOD NEGRO. All of the hard work, love and support from the cast, creative and technical teams have come together to truly create a remarkable piece of moving, honest, hysterical and deeply reflective theatre!

Being the Marketing Associate, I would like to throw out HUGE props to Mela and Stephi's on Tremont for donating amazing appetizers for us to have at our Opening Weekend Reception.

COMING SOON: INTERVIEWS with the cast and creative of THE GOOD NEGRO!

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Interview with Christmas Belles director, Greg Maraio

With Christmas Belles hitting the Boston Playwrights' Theatre stage for its final two shows this weekend, I caught up with director, Greg Maraio to give us the low down on how he found this hysterical play, his love of Christmas and a sneak peek in to what is coming up next for Phoenix Theatre Artists and Company One!

Sabrina Sydnor, Marketing Associate: So tell me about Phoenix Theatre Artists--history, company members, mission...

Greg Maraio: Phoenix started out as WAY Theatre Artists, and it was a collaborative idea between myself, Eliza Lay, and the company's first Artistic Director Julie Ohl. We produced several successful plays together including Dancing at Lughnasa, Love-Lies-Bleeding, and The Memory of Water. When Julie decided to step down as artistic director, we were prepared to go out on a high, however, I was amazed at how many people said "Please keep doing plays, we love what you are doing." So I decided to step up (nervous as I may have been) and Phoenix was born.

SS: How did you first find Christmas Belles? Had you seen the play produced elsewhere?

GM: We were looking for a crazy, alternative holiday show without pretension and had the least heart-warming message possible. We just wanted something that was fun. Fun to look at, fun to listen to, just a silly romp with silly characters and when I saw one of the writers worked on my favorite show of all time, The Golden Girls, I was hooked.

SS: What do you love about the show? Is it reminiscent of your style and past Phoenix works or is this show going out in a whole new direction?

GM: I love the characters, and I really love the actors, they make things so fun to watch. I am getting the chance to work with some old friends and actors new to Phoenix/Company One. I think that this show is different for us, we have never gone full out farce before. We did some heavy stuff, and it was a nice break to do a wacky comedy. Phoenix's mission is to try new things. Be reborn with every show, We want to give audiences tastes of all types of theatre.

SS: That being said, as a costume designer, how much weight does costume potential have on your play selection?

GM:None at all really, I mean, if I am reading a play and think, I can think of a really funny costume for this character, that's great. But in the end, the play comes first, and I think a good costume designer can find costume potential in anything. I will add though it does help when your characters are larger than life and can get away with gold lame' pants.

SS: Any major bumps in the process? GOSSIP! just kidding of course...

GM: It was tough for a while to nail the pace of the show. I knew I wanted this thing to move, and have a big force behind it. It a lot about entrances and exits. I didn't want to give the audience a lull of any kind!

SS: Cast and Creative-- who's new, who's a regular, who rocks? haha

GM: We have lots of new faces in the show, who I'm sure you will be seeing more of around Boston (at least.) And we have some regulars in the mix that you'll recognize from their two hit Superheroine Monologues productions.

SS: Did you feel that working on this piece has sufficiently gotten you in the Christmas mood or are you on literal Christmas overload?

GM: To quote Raynerd from the show, "I just love Christmas." But the answer is I have yet to do my shopping.

SS: What's next for Phoenix Theatre Artists? Tell me a little bit about 'Apple'. When does stuff kick off for that?

GM: Apple is one of the most amazing plays I have ever read. I think Vern Thiessen has created a contemporary masterpiece. The story follows Andy, a man who is in a very tough place in his life and is faced with some difficult decisions regarding his estranged wife and his young lover. I am so excited to bring this to Boston for its New England Premiere. We start rehearsals in February and I am overjoyed to say that Eliza Lay, co founder of Phoenix, is recently back to Boston and she will acting in the show. Its an intensely beautiful piece, filled with humor and heart. I hope everyone gets a chance to see it.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is there such a thing as too much schmoozing?

Hey Gang!

Monday night was Company One's inaugural Member Schmoozer down at Brownstone, bringing together anyone and everyone related to all things C1. If you happened to miss it, I hate to tell you, but you truly missed out. It was a fantastic time full of faces old and new. And I was there rubbing elbows with everyone. Best of all, from my vantage point, it appeared as though everyone there had a wonderful time. Drinks were flowing as fluidly as conversation, hugs and handshakes were exchanged at a rapid rate, and the cubes of cheese and tiny burgers were stacked high for everyone's enjoyment.

During the course of the festivities, I had the great fortune to meet so many new faces, along with reconnecting with some old ones. I met a couple who have seen every C1 show since 2003. I met artists and designers from other theatres around town. I yucked it up with actors and designers who worked on THE OVERWHELMING and whom I hadn't seen since closing night. What was so great about it, though, was that so many of the people who make a true impact on the company, not just the staff, actors, and directors, but also the donors, board members, fellow artists, and best yet, actual audience members and true fans of the work C1 is doing, were all there in one place. And how great it was to have them all together. It was a collection of so many of the people who together allow the company to exist in the first place and to continue to grow and prosper. It's not just actors, directors, and the staff that keep the theatre going; it's EVERYONE, and the event was a great and a very vital reminder of that.

A director once told me, "Theatre is the act of shared imagination." A great sentiment, though one he was certainly quoting from another director, who was probably quoting someone else, and so on and so forth. Regardless, the point remains. At the time, this director was referring to the imagination being shared between a production, or the art being portrayed on a stage, and the audience, but I think the idea still applies to last night as well. Although no art was necessarily created last night, the Schmoozer showed how theatre is bigger than just a handful of people acting out a scene on a stage. It takes more than just actors, a director, and a script to put on a show. The collective imagination of Company One was on display, and it's safe to say everyone enjoyed the view.

So, is there such a thing as too much schmoozing? God, I hope not.

Over and Out,

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Monday, December 7, 2009

That time of year...

This weekend, I caught the opening night performance of Phoenix Theatre Artists and Company One's second stage production CHRISTMAS BELLES, and boy, was it a great time. I did not work on this show, nor did I have the chance to read it, so going into the show on Friday night, I had no idea what to expect. I walked in the packed house, and the first thing I see is a banner running across the upstage wall reading, "Jesus loves almost everyone." When I saw that, I immediately laughed, and the show hadn't even started. (Don't worry. This is the only spoiler that can be found in this post. From this point forward, out of respect to those who have yet to see the show, I will give nothing away.) From the moment the lights went down, it was one hilarious moment after the next, and it was a rioutous good time, with a great, lively cast that leaves everything on the stage. What more can you ask for? I mean, really?

One thing I always ask myself when watching a play, especially one with which I am very unfamiliar, is: "How much of what I'm seeing being played out before me was written into that script, that is, intended by the playwright(s), and how much of it are choices the director, actors and designers made during the rehearsal process?" When watching CHRISTMAS BELLES, I found that I was asking myself this alot, and even now I'm still not so sure at certain moments which was which. You see, some directors view a script as a rigid text that must be adhered to, as a piece of literature or almost like a sacred scripture. Other direstors take a script and follow it more like a loose blue print towards discoveries possibly not intended by the playwright or originator of the work. And, of course, there's everything in between.

But, back to this show, what's interesting is that as I watched the show, I could not tell what was a directorial choice and what was originally written into the script. What this means, to me anyway, is that if they were indeed directorial choices, they did not stand out as being out of place, dramaturgically. That is, they were all bold, yet wholly justified, choices, that added to the new layers to the text, and brought out new ideas that still fit in with the original concept. (Again, I'm not going to give anything away.) And with theatre, when it all fits together, and you can't tell which came first, which came last, but it all seems to fit together naturally, you can't ask for anything more. Moreover, sometimes it's not about what was originally intended by a playwright or what a director decided to do, it's just about what you see before you. The best thing to do then: enjoy!

If you'd like to know more about exactly what I'm talking about, do yourself a favor, get in the holiday sprit and see CHRISTMAS BELLES!

Over and Out,

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Closing Night! (and some concluding thoughts...)

Hey, hey, hey!

Well, as it is well known by now, THE OVERWHELMING, sadly, has closed. The show wrapped up last Saturday with a truly brilliant performance given before a very enthusiastic and appreciative crowd. Not surprisingly, it's always sad for me to see a show wrap up. Everyone, from the actors to the crew to the design team, put so much into the show, and, in some ways, you don't want to see it ever end. There's so much preparation, so much that goes into the staging of a production, only to have the actual run just fly by. So much time is taken in getting the show ready and on its feet, and then, it's over so fast. But, this is the nature of theatre. In fact, this is what's so amazing and vital about theatre. You have to catch it before it's gone. Theatre is a must-see event that waits for no one.

What's amazing though, is how together we all created a coherent world on a formerly empty stage. We took a gutted playing space, a blank canvas if you will, and sculpted on it a fully realized, unified world by bringing together costumes, lighting, set, sound, and actors. What's amazing is how less than 12 hours after the show ended, the stage is back to its "natural" state, eager for the next company to come in and create any entirely new world. It took almost two months to create the world of the OVERWHELMING, yet it took mere hours to remove it. But, again, that's theatre for you!

Another thing I want to talk about is something that I brought up in a previous entry: the way in which the show changes over the course of a run. During the three weeks, I saw about 7 performances, and each one, however subtle, was very different from the next. Sometimes, the actors were doing things you did not necessarily want to see. Sometimes scenes moved too fast or too slow, or the actors skipped a small section of text, things that happen in all productions all the time. The kinds of things that only I or someone who's worked on the show, been at every rehearsal, and is intimately familiar with the text and flow of the show would observe, but that would easily pass by unnoticed by audience members. But, other things that changed were simply great to see. I saw so many of the actors become increasingly more comfortable in their characters' shoes and in the space. They realized new things about the text and came to a different, while still justified, delivery of a line. Sometimes, even a whole scene shifted dramatically, taking on an entirely new meaning, while still fitting in with the play as whole. What many people don't realize is that prior to the official run of a show, actors and stage management often don't have that many opportunities to run the whole show from beginning to end. I don't think many people realize this, but we ran the whole show in its nearly final state with all the actors less than 5 times prior to opening. With the myriad of things that needed to be figured out - all the scenes and scene shifts, the costume changes, the huge list of technical cues - it was hard to get in a lot of actual runs, not nearly as many as I'm sure everyone wished we could have afforded. Although the actors certainly covered it well, because they're all such skilled performers, they were still feeling out what the whole show was supposed to be from beginning to end and at the pace at which it needed to be maintained, even by opening night. The actors were still figuring things out during the run, and it was so great to see them continue to explore and try new things, while still sticking to the overall layout of the show as decided in rehearsals.

After the curtain call of the final performance and after the audience had departed from the lobby, the entire cast, crew, and C1 staff came together in the theatre and raised a glass to commemorate everyone's efforts. It was the first time in a while I saw everyone in the room together at the same time, and it was quite moving. You could feel the real emotion that was present among all of us collectively. Everyone knew they had just wrapped up something really important, and pride was resounding off the walls as hugs and kind words were exhanged. It was a joy to take on this play, and everyone certainly knew it without ever having to say it.

The book may be closed on this show, but the best thing you can do is move on to the next. Company One is following up this great show with an equally challenging yet inspiring show, THE GOOD NEGRO. I can't wait to see what happens with that. And honestly, who possibly could?

Over and Out,

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