Meet the Cast of Lovesick

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 29th, 2016

Chris here! I wanted to take this time to tell you a little bit about the actors in Lovesick. We have a pretty talented and funny cast in this comedic thriller and we start our engines on this play VERY soon. Two faces in this cast will be familiar to the ASF community and the other is a fresh face, new to the SWP game.

First up, we have the one and only, Alice Sherman, playing the character of Amy who is the wife of the character Billy in the play. Many patrons and regular audience members will remember the lovely Miss Alice in the production of Mary Poppins about two summers ago as the title character. Miss Sherman has also played Belle for the past couple of years in Geoffrey Sherman’s beloved adaption of A Christmas Carol. Currently, Alice plays Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Knowing Alice on a personal level, she is a gracious and caring actress who is always there to listen and truly has a heart of gold. Without giving too much away, the character of Amy is someone who you could argue cares a little TOO MUCH… So much in fact that the idea of murder is ignited in her brain and works it’s way through to her very soul.

Second, we have Jackson Thompson, playing the character of Billy, Amy’s husband. Jackson has been seen on the ASF stage in Merry Wives of Windsor where he played Fenton. He is currently in A Midsummer Night’s Dream playing Demetrius. On a personal level, Jackson’s wit is extraordinary and he is a very fast and quick thinker, which will come in hand playing the character of Billy. Again, without revealing too much, Billy has some secrets of his own that he will attempt to cover up real fast.

Last up, we have newcomer to the SWP game, Lilly Wilton, as the character of Linda. You all have met Lilly already via the previous SWP blog on Lovesick, but I’d like to tell you a little bit more about her. Lilly, like me, is a part of the amazing acting intern program here at ASF. She has been seen this year in the following productions: Comedy of Errors (Luciana), Cinderella (playing the title character herself!), Christmas Carol (Fan), and Midsummer Night’s Dream (Peaseblossom). Lilly is a super gifted and caring individual who will bring everything she has into the role of Linda.

So that is our brilliant cast! See ya on the blog space tomorrow!

-Chris

 

The Physical Aspects of Delta Secret

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 29th, 2016

Today, I wanted to talk about my thoughts on Delta Secrets possible physical language and violence. From my perspective, as a fight director/choreographer, Delta Secret would be a fun play to stage because the main character is a old boxer. I would love to explore how the sport of boxing has changed over the years. The differences between fighter styles in the 1920s.

This is a solid article on the history of boxing: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2009/05/30/boxing-a-manly-history-of-the-sweet-science-of-bruising/
Boxing strategies: http://coxscorner.tripod.com/hunnicut1.html

This script also has other small but significant scuffles in it, which would be very fun to stage.

-Parke

 

Actor John Carter on In the Midnight Hour

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 29th, 2016

Hi! This is John Carter blogging as an ensemble member in Kenneth Green’s new musical, In the Midnight Hour. This musical follows the life of Prattville native, Wilson Pickett and his career as a famous singer and songwriter of the 1960’s. It has been a treat researching Wilson Pickett in preparation for rehearsals on Friday. This guy had a huge hand in the development of soul music, beginning slowly with his controversial transition from gospel-group singer to successful secular solo artist, and skyrocketing with the debut of his single ‘In the midnight hour’. This funky R&B single gave Wilson the fame and influence to help legitimize soul music as another form of ‘popular music’ in America. Knowing all this I am beyond excited to start working on this musical!

I have never been a part of a world premiere-reading, at least at such a level as being produced and cultivated by a theater like the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Using so reputable a venue might put pressure on the actors and the creative team to deliver, but all that pressure usually gives rise to a beautiful and dynamic piece of artistic work. I am also encouraged by the actors who will be joining me in this endeavor. All of them have made careers for themselves as actors exclusively, which is a major goal of mine as I come upon the tail-end of my internship at ASF. I hope to learn a lot from the actors in this new musical. They have all walked miles in my shoes at some point in their career, and I only hope for the chance to take a step in theirs.

-John

 

Meet the Playwright of Starstruck

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 29th, 2016

Kayla here! It’s always important to ask, when working on a new play, “Why now?” and “Why here?” SWP has selected four exceptional plays written by four different extraordinary playwrights who are perpetually aware of how their writing affects the “here” and “now”. In order to begin answering these questions myself, I thought it pertinent to learn a bit about Lucile Lichtblau, playwright of Starstruck, – before meeting her in person – and I’m happy to share with you all some of what I’ve learned.

Lucile Lichtblau is a graduate of Yale Drama, where she won the MCA Playwriting Fellowship award. Her plays have been produced at numerous theaters across the country, including The Hudson Opera House, Centenary Stage Company, the Manhattan Theatre Source, and Vital Theater Company. The English Bride, her play about the 1986 bombing of an El Al plane, won the Susan Glaspell Prize and the Israel Baran Award, and was nominated for the ATCA/Steinberg Award and the Susan Smith Blackburn Award. Her plays, The Hemings Diary and Sorrento, were produced at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival as part of Southern Writers’ Projects past.

-Kayla

 

The Young Southern Writers Project Corner with Michael Quattrone

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 28th, 2016

It is the last week in April and the energy at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival has shifted, signaling the official beginning of the Repertory portion of the season. It is exciting, frenetic…and busy.

On top of that is the beginning of the annual, Southern Writer’s Project. Four playwrights are given an opportunity to workshop their new works with an entire team to assist them. With the season ending on May 8th, you might be thinking: “Wow! That’s a lot for a theatre to do in two weeks.” And, you know, you’re right…..

BUT, guess what? On top of all of THAT, is also the YOUNG Southern Writer’s Project, (referred to by Lilly below as YSWP) a unique opportunity for emerging playwrights from around the state. The playwrights who won last year’s competition have been invited back this season to make improvements on their work with the help of the Intern Acting Company; Director, Nancy Rominger; and ASF’s playwright-in-residence, James Bowen.

The playwrights and plays are: Daniel Patrick Lamplugh with Traumedy, which follows the life and struggles of a stand-up comedian; Peyton Alexandra Bean with Crossing the Road, where we learn what it takes to get to the other side; and finally, David L. Williams III with Asylum, a play that follows a woman whose routine life is disrupted when she meets a seemingly mad patient. All three plays wrestle with mature themes, possess well-crafted dialogue, and show a promise of more great work to come.

Each will be presented in a staged reading during the SWP weekend in ASF’s Black Swan Pub. Engaging young minds, especially talented and driven ones, is not only of importance to everyone here at ASF, but to the entire theatrical community as well. Being one of the acting interns this year, I am rather excited to participate in these readings and show these new artists some well-deserved support. I encourage all of you to do the same!

-Michael

 

Lilly Wilton on Her Role in Lovesick

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 28th, 2016

Hello friends of ASF!

This is Lilly here and I’ll be playing Linda in the reading of Lovesick at the SWP. It seems like you have already met Chris, our reader/PA as well as Peter Hicks, our playwright.

Dear readers, I’m pretty flippin’ excited to read for this role. First of all, Nancy Rominger will be leading the team and I loved working with her in Cinderella, Melissa Nathan from White Lightning will be our stage manager (you may see “SM” on future blog posts), and Alice Sherman and Jackson Thompson (our Helena and Demetrius from Midsummer) will be playing Amy and Billy, respectively. This team is not only crazy talented, but also incredibly warm and welcoming and I can’t wait to see what kind of space we create in the rehearsal room next week.

I’ll try my best to not give away any spoilers in these posts, because that’s part of what makes thrillers so fun, but I will say that I get to show many different sides of a very smart (yet manipulative) young woman in some extreme moments of her life. It’s going to be a blast.

We have already received our second revision of the play and I read it last night. I’ll post more on revisions later this week.

Anyway, I’m off to rehearsal for YSWP. Thanks for reading and I’ll update you soon!

-Lilly

 

Andrew Dahreddine on Starstruck and What It Means to Him

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 28th, 2016

Hey y’all! Andrew Dahreddine here- I’m the reader and production assistant for Starstruck and I can’t wait to get started working on this play next week as part of SWP. This new play by Luvile Lichtblau is set in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, and follows a Jewish family in America that is struggling to get by and coping with illness and loss. Their daughter, Eva, dreams of a life in Hollywood as an actress, and is continually enticed by her cousin, Teddy, who is a would-be Hollywood director and producer.

I’m thrilled to be working on this play for a number of reasons. The cast is very strong, and I’ve worked with many of the actors throughout this season at ASF: Jonathan Kaplan, Bjorn Thorstad, and Paul Hebron. I’m also looking forward to meeting everyone else on the team, and disecting a play rich in culture and history. Being raised Jewish, the play hits close to home, and I find many of the characters reflected in my family.

More to come…

-Andrew Dahreddine

 

Parke Fech on Delta Secret and How SWP Works

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 28th, 2016

Delta Secret is a gripping drama where, an African American family, living in the Mississippi Delta, during the 1920s must find a way to heal itself after a terrible secret is revealed. Each member must find a path in which the past doesn’t destroy the present and hinder any hope for a future. This play questions what we consider family.

I reread Delta Secret by Prince Duren yesterday and I have to say this is a solid play! I was on the edge of my seat reading it. I got all choked up at the ending. I’m curious to discover what changes will be made when we start rehearsals next week. For those new to how SWP works, rehearsals will consist of reading the play and putting acting intentions and character motivations into the work. However, each day the actors and production side of the play will discuss what works, what doesn’t work, what is unclear, what is really great, and also suggest edits or cuts.

-Parke Fech

 

Kayla Eisenberg on Preparing for Starstruck

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 27th, 2016

I am so fortunate to be working on a brand new SWP play, Starstruck by Lucile Lichtblau, which begins rehearsing next week. I’ve just received an updated draft of the script, and I can already tell – without having met Lucile or the rest of the creative team – that this piece will be very near and dear to my heart. I play Eva, a young, optimistic girl, who finds the silver lining in serving as the primary caretaker in her family, all while dreaming of becoming a Hollywood starlet. The play is set in 1938 New Jersey

As an actor, creating a character for the first time makes for a very exhilarating experience. Since rehearsals have yet to start, I’ve tried to begin digging into clues from the text, in order to start finding my way into the character, Eva. Fortunately, Ms. Lichtblau has so deliciously provided specific music in her play – music that tells a deeply moving and reflective story. Music is one of my favorite media to use when beginning work on a new character, and I’d like to share some of it with you. Below, I have provided links to: A Brivele der Mamen, a Yiddish song Eva and her grandmother sing at the start of the play, and After the Ball is Over, Eva’s favorite song, which she sings, hoping will take her one step closer to Hollywood.

Thanks for reading! Keep following these blog posts for more details on the SWP rehearsal process!

– Kayla Eisenberg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXK3kkMUxx0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtwYVvtOIuM

 

Noelia Antweiler on In the Midnight Hour and Wilson Pickett

Written by Christopher Lemieux on April 27th, 2016

This is Noelia Antweiler, writing in from the PA/Reader side of In The Midnight Hour, a new play for SWP. We start rehearsals on Friday for this show, since it’s a musical, and I can’t wait to begin. The team is fantastic- it’s headed up by the amazing James Bowen, who directed Ain’t Misbehavin’ earlier this season, and is a regular actor here. He did such a great job with Ain’t Mis that I’m excited to see what he does with this show. Also heading up the project is Joel Jones, who is music directing. Joel is an individual who is impossible not to like- I got the pleasure of working with him on A Christmas Carol earlier this season, and the man is a genius. With those two at the helm of this brand new show, I can’t help but think that it will be a huge success.

I haven’t seen a copy of the script yet, so I can’t comment on that, but I just want to talk a little bit about the music of Wilson Pickett considering Pickett is the basis of the musical. I was first introduced to his music in high school when I was a part of the Missoula Children’s Theatre performing arts camp, far away in Missoula, Montana. As part of our annual summer performance, we did a whole Wilson Pickett medley, and I got the great pleasure of being a backup singer for the song ‘In The Midnight Hour.’ I didn’t know at the time what an amazing artist he was, but the music moved me in a real way. Since then, I have become a huge fan, and have listened to all of his songs. I’m so excited to start working on this show, with such amazing music and people. Signing off now- until next time!

-Noelia Antweiler