On Thursdays, Mark Piper (of Schroon Lake Bed & Breakfast -- If you're coming up for the Summer Festival, this is a must-stay place. Gorgeous!) hosts an Open Mic Night at Witherbee's Carriage House and Restaurant. It is so much fun! This is the second week that I have gone. This week it was packed, and it was exciting to have several ADK Shakes fans in attendance.
Lesley and Ross performed something special. Please enjoy!
Yesterday, I picked up Ross and Lesley from the bus in Albany. We traveled north through Glens Falls, stopping at a few places to drop off brochures and discuss future touring possibilities. At the Visitors' Center in Hague, NY, the "kids" had a play break on the horses. Not sure who won here.
After the playground, we continued north through Ticonderoga in search of our Sunday, July 17 touring venue: the beautiful Crown Point Historic Site. We will be performing in the midst of the ruins of barracks constructed in the 18th Century. This fort was taken over by British from the French in the 1750's. During the American Revolution was occupied briefly by the colonists before reverting again to British control. What's left are the ruins of the officers' and the soldier's barracks, as well as the earthen walls (though these have sunk about 12 feet since they were first constructed). This location is crying out for a Shakespearean performance! What do you want to see performed here? Julius Caesar, King Lear, Henry V, Macbeth?
We can't wait to perform Complete Works here on July 17 at 2:00 p.m. Join us for a FREE performance!
In anticipation of our opening, of course, it's time to begin rehearsing. This morning we read through Complete Works for the first time, then worked through the more complicated physical bits before lunch. A well-balanced melange of tacos, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, yogurt, and CHEESE. This afternoon: stumble-through. Here's a sneak peek at Romeo and Juliet:
Join us on Sunday for our opening performances of the 2011 Festival Season. We will perform at Shepard Park in Lake George, NY at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Don't miss it! This show is going to be hilarious!
Oh wow ... I have known Michael Pauley for three years now, I guess! I met him ever so briefly at Texas Shakespeare Festival in the summer of 2008, but I didn't really get to know him until he came to do Shakespeare IN THE RAW with us that November. The cast of 2 Henry VI spent the Thanksgiving holiday driving down from New York City, Harrisburg, Baltimore, and Delaware. We arrived at Casa Siler for a glorious Thanksgiving dinner, a read-through of the play, and a chilly weekend of rehearsing and performing this little known play. And Mike absolutely stole the MVP award for that show. I had no idea what to expect, but he brought his A-Game. Not only was he absolutely 110% memorized, but he could fly through them at incredible speeds during the Italian. Needless to say, we were pretty impressed.
His feature role in that production was Humphrey, Duke of Gloster, but it was his smallest role as Edward (2 lines, I believe) that jettisoned him into our next two productions of 3 Henry VI and Richard III following the full arc of this character through all three plays. Mike always comes to play hard at Shakespeare IN THE RAW, so it was an easy decision for me to invite Mike to play Macbeth last summer. Check this out:
But now check this out:
I had a devil of a time choosing a photo, so you should really take a look at all the glorious pictures from Macbeth. It's impossible for me to choose an absolute favorite play by Shakespeare, but Macbeth without a doubt always makes my Top Five.
If you loved Michael Pauley last summer, adopt him this year! You can also write in to adopt Lysander or Bassanio. And a portion of donations made in Mike's name will go directly to him.
Michael is proud to be a member of ADK Shakes. Based in New York City, Michael has worked regionally with companies including The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Texas Shakespeare Festival, the Theatre at Monmouth, and Arizona Theatre Company. On television, Michael has worked on Saturday Night Live, All My Children, One Life to Live, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. Michael also serves as the Executive Artistic Director of The Hyperion Theatre Project, which produces many projects including The Red Tie Mafia, the resident improvisation group at The Living Theatre. He also specializes in Commedia Dell Arte, producing a yearly show in Manhattan to raise funds for cancer research, now entering its sixth year. Michael is a member of The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, is a Tier II company member with The Southwest Shakespeare Conservatory, and holds his BFA in Acting from The University of Arizona in Tucson.
Andi Dema is one of those people that I just love to say his whole name when I refer to him. To me, he is always "Andi Dema." I remember first meeting Andi Dema a few years back at Texas Shakespeare Festival. I saw him in The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Julius Caesar, and most memorably 1776. The very phrasing and tone of the way he said, "Delaware seconds!" will forever live in my memory. It was hilarious, partially because he was so committed to it.
We are so fortunate to have Andi Dema with us this season, and I am most especially looking forward to his Shylock. So many productions attempt to make Shylock the hero of this play. I understand this, I really do. Shylock is an incredibly complex character. Shakespeare was top-notch at creating incredibly complex characters. But many productions lose sight of the fact that Shylock is actually the villain in this play. I'm not saying he needs to be a mustache-twirling, cardboard cut-out villain. No way! But the beauty of Shakespeare's villains and why we love them so much is because they much more complex and interesting than a cookie-cutter cartoon. Of course, we must find the humanity in Shylock's character. He's got it in spades. But we shouldn't cover up the fact that Shylock is indeed the villain.
To stand on my soap-box for a moment: I am firm in my belief that the fact that Shylock is Jewish and the fact that Shylock is a villain have nothing substantial to do with each other. Shylock is not a villain, because he is Jewish. He is a villain, because he is a villain. And he happens to be Jewish. There I said it! Now this is turning into a post not at all about introducing Andi Dema to you, so I apologize and I will now step off my soap-box.
Andi and I will just have to post about character discussions in just a few weeks, won't we? We are very excited about this production! I know Andi is going to bring a great deal of depth to this role, at the same time as he fearlessly embraces what is terrifying in this man. The unabashed and hard will to cut a pound of flesh from another man's chest. Think about that for awhile. Really.
And after you think about that, picture this handsome man holding the knife:
ANDI DEMA (MID: Egeus, Peter Quince; VEN: Shylock, Stephano; KIDS: Chorus 1, Egeus, Bottom)
Andi Dema is an Albanian actor who has previously worked with Texas Shakespeare Festival, Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, Bright Star Touring, National Theatre for Children, and Oklahoma Children's Theatre. Favorite roles include Clitandre in The Learned Ladies, Joey Percival in Misalliance and Jack Tanner in Man and Superman. Mr. Dema is a BFA graduate of Oklahoma City University.
Support Andi's work with us this summer by adopting him. You can also adopt the wonderfully complex Shylock! A portion of donations made in Andi's name will go directly to him. An actor needs ice cream.
I love masks! I just knew from the beginning that I wanted Mustardseed (the fairy I'm playing in A Midsummer Night's Dream) to have a mask. And I had this vision of wanting points at the bottom. So I drew all over my face with an eyeliner pencil to mark the points at the bottom, and Patrick went to work covering my face with plaster strips.
He did a great job with the points! He also really liked the look of the points around the eyehole. It swoops up and points above my eyebrow, which ended up giving it a pretty fierce look once it dried.
I didn't get pictures of the next steps, but I worked on adding some expression to the mask once it had dried. I cut a circular cotton swab in half to accentuate the cheeks, and I used some pipe-cleaners for brows. They too got a layer of plaster and dried before traveling up north wrapped in a big swath of bubble-wrap.
We made it safely! In Lake Placid, I got a box of mixed acrylics. I knew I wanted a neutral base of brown to go with all the feathers I had bought at Michael's. For some reason, I was really inspired by the feather picks.
After the neutral base, I accentuated the "expression" with a little green. I love green. Can you tell that I am not an artist? I'm not too worried because most of it will be covered in ....
Now to drill the holes and add the elastic to keep it on my head during the performances! I think Good Master Mustardseed is looking pretty fierce.
This last week has been so busy! Lee Ann arrived on Tuesday morning. I took advantage of the trip down to pick her up in Albany by also stopping in Glens Falls for essentials at Staples, JoAnn's, and comparatively cheap gas (i.e., $3.93 in Schroon Lake vs. $3.65 in Glens Falls). We distributed some brochures while we were there and had the most serendipitous meeting at the gas station: a lady who recommended that we check out the Old Courthouse in Hudson Falls, which has been recently renovated. Hopefully we can add a few more venues around the Park for Complete Works!
We have been reveling in our new internet connection since yesterday afternoon. Prior to installation, I was forced to turn my attention to other non-computery related items. Since it is so gorgeous here at the cabin, I decided to make the front porch my office. Plus, it's the only place I can get reliable cell phone reception. I can also keep a close eye on the underlings from here:
I encourage them to take long lunch breaks, especially when they are munching on small pests:
He was noshing on a big horsefly.
While these fine friends were keeping me company, I was hard at work with PAINTING! Specifically, the golden casket for The Merchant of Venice and my fairy mask for A Midsummer Night's Dream. Here is my totally blank slate:
I did a test patch of iridescent gold acrylic paint. I covered that with a coat of wood varnish. Cherry. I like cherry. So far so good.
I call it: Untitled, Gold Acrylic on Wood
After drying, I ended up adding another coat of the acrylic over top of the varnish. It's quite pretty when the sun hits it. The gold really lights up, but otherwise it is fairly subtle. Which I like. The casket is made of gold, because we say so, right? So it doesn't matter that it's not actually made of gold. And the last thing I want is an offensive, distracting prop that's a little box painted bright yellow or gaudy shiny gold all over and covered in sequins.
You can see the progress of making my fairy mask in my next post. And if you want to see how the gold casket turned out, well, I guess you'll have to come and see the show!
I received one of the coolest video auditions from this gentleman, a native of New Zealand. He filmed his monologues in Central Park, and had people in the park cheering by the end. I was fascinated!
When we held a small round of callbacks for the summer season, Alexander Ristov was on our must-see list. I needed to meet this fascinating person. Because in addition to the monologues, he also included a demo of a "special skill" -- which is something we encourage. What's your special skill? People did foreign languages for us. They ate fire. (Yes. Seriously. And it was amazing.) And Alexander attached a video of his stage combat demo, a scene which I cannot properly introduce because I am completely incapable of doing justice to its awesomeness. Please enjoy, courtesy of Alexander Ristov:
Alexander Ristov has been living and training as an actor in New York for the last three and a half years. He is originally from New Zealand, and he was inspired to come to New YOrk to train as an actor by watching New York actors' brilliant performances on the big screen. He is a recent graduate from the Stella Adler Day Conservatory program and is very excited to be part of the Adirondack Shakespeare Company's Summer Festival. Alexander's recent credits include "Purge" at La Mama Theatre. He is currently a company member of the American Mime Theatre Company and is also a Stage Combat assistant to Steve White at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.
If you are as a big a fan of Alex's video as we are, please support his work with us this summer: Adopt him! A portion of all Adopt-a-Character or Adopt-an-Actor donations in Alex's name goes directly to him!
I am finally here! And by here I mean both here in the Adirondacks and here on the interwebs. Time Warner has not yet made their way to hook up internet for our cabin, but I'm making do until Thursday when they do finally show up. So I appreciate your patience while I have been rather "quiet" on the blog for awhile.
I'll be continuing this week with our last several "Meet the Company" profiles. Until then, however, I will leave with a list of the exciting things that have happened in the past week.
2011 Summer Brochure
1. Drove over 560 miles on a single tank of gas. (Thank you, '99 Camry.)
2. Met with the wonderful Village Clerk in Lake Placid. We will hopefully have the opportunity to perform in Mids Park over Ironman Weekend.
3. Disposed of two mice carcasses from their unfortunate resting place of the kitchen garbage can.
4. Tripped the correct breakers for the hot water, and turned the correct valve to get the cold water running in the shower. This was a happy day.
5. Received 2000 brochures for the 2011 Summer Season! They are beautiful, and they have so far been delivered to the North Warren Chamber of Commerce, Indian Lake Theater, and Tannery Pond Community Center.
6. Met with our Schroon Lake Community Committee about our Fundraiser/Benefit. It's coming up on July 7, and I am currently accepting suggestions for a new title. We were going with a Queen's Tea, but another organization does a fundraiser Tea every year. It is a big deal, and they go all out. So we're rebranding -- thoughts?
7. Eaten one spooner pint of Stewart's Mousse Trail ice cream.
8. Two runs, one walk, and one bike ride on East Shore Drive.
9. Seen chipmunks, red squirrels, blue jays, butterflies, and dragonflies. No hummingbirds yet or deer. Maybe this week?
June is rolling by incredibly fast! It's not just me, is it? My To Do List keeps getting longer and longer ... except that I have lists all over the place, and on each one I should probably write "Consolidate To Do Lists." So, my apologies that I have not kept up with the company introductions while I have been submerged in article completion and out of town activities.
There are still several company members I cannot wait to introduce you to, and I will get those started up again next week once I am ......drumroll....... upstate! I will be heading up in the next couple of days to get things ready for the season. I still need to figure out a reliable internet connection. I need to be workably memorized on Act III of Merchant by Sunday. I have to pack bed sheets, rice, cans of beans, a few bottles of wine (those are for me!), paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, and dish soap into the car (thoughtfully donated by the Bradway family). Once I'm back in NYC, Patrick and I will be compiling our movement playlists (I cannot wait to tell you about these rehearsals in July!) for Midsummer and Merchant, transferring the website files to my laptop so I can work on the website while upstate (oh right, that internet connection again), and acquiring our very cool presentation board created by our amazing intern Jessica which is detailing our activism re: Scaroon Manor Amphitheater (this deserves its very own post).
To prepare myself for the freak out that will occur when packing the car later this week, here's what needs to come to the idyllic cabin in Adirondack Park:
Things to Fit in Furby (that's my car)
- one big box of ADK T-Shirts (PS - You can still order! They look amazing!)
- two weapons bags (re-appropriated golf bags from Good Will!)
- one floor tom
- box of singing bowls
- Scaroon Manor Amphitheater presentation board
- two dogs
- one "Fort Knox" dog-food container
- 4 skulls
- 2 swords, a dozen dowels
- backpack stuffed with scripts, notes, permits, laptop
- suitcase filled with normal clothes, running clothes, bathing suits, and costume pieces!
- extra bed sheets
- 10 pound bag of rice, half dozen cans of beans, one bag of ground flaxseed, and a box of red quinoa
- Complete Works props
- detergent (dish and laundry), tissues, toilet paper, hand soap and paper towels
- a hoodie!
- a bottle of zinfandel, a bottle of white zinfandel, and a bottle of cabernet sauvignon
- oh! and me!