Monday, February 27, 2006

What's Next???

We are still riding on all the postive feedback and just beginning to explore what's next for our Cowboy Monk. Please do send us comments on the show so we can make it better for round 2!

We're also starting to think of life beyond the Cowboy Monk. We're a small enough company that it's all about taking advantage of opportunities - there are whispers of radio plays and a gift of a bunch of lights (so maybe our future is in non-traditional spaces?). I'm also starting to day dream of a new piece. Maybe something small and tight and thrilling. Jump into our culture's new obsession with fear. So many possibilities!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thanks, George

Welcome to any Superfluities fans who followed a link here, and thanks to Mr. Hunka for including us in the blogroll--plenty of motivation to have more (and more interesting) posts here in the future.

Please read on below for more information about our recently closed production of Hard Lovin' Ever After, and you can check out our website for the in-depth scoop on who we are and what we do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

But it's only the beginning...

Had a great meeting last night--Jyana, Rika, Kristine and I--about how to keep the momentum we've got going after the show. Hard Lovin' went over very well, and now we want to keep in touch with the people who can help us grow and figure out what's next for us artistically.

Big plans at the moment include: Iphigenia workshops (chorus in April, principals in June); possible radio work; a small, i.e. 2-3 person, portable show that we can run and run and run; a 3-part series of plays on the relationship of the living to the dead; etc. It can be tricky when you close a show not to let yourself relax too much. In this case, having such a short run has meant that we're all full of energy for the future.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Fantastic Weekend

It all went by so quickly! Just like that, the show's over and struck. After the performance Sunday night, thanks to a large and energetic group of volunteer laborers, we managed to take down the show in about 45 minutes, which was easily the quickest strike I've ever been a part of.

It was a pretty busy weekend for all of us, so posts were (obviously) not happening, but we'll be remedying that over the next several days with show histories and news. For me personally, things went well and smoothly, but with plenty of little problems to set the pulse racing. The coffin figured prominently in my list of minor terrors. It was a plywood box a few feet wide and a couple deep, and I spent most of the second act inside it, alone or with Kristine or Kevin sandwiched in there with me. On Sunday, after the underwear modeling scene (now you're sorry you missed it), I was putting my clothes back on in a hurry. I only had a couple minutes or so before the coffin door would open, which was generally just enough time--you try getting dressed any faster in a coffin--if things went well. This time, I managed to catch the zipper on my fly in my pants. With it being so dark in there, with so little room to move, I couldn't see what it was stuck on (not me, fortunately--that I would have known), so I just decided to give it a tug. Of course that didn't help. Neither did pulling the zipper back down; in fact, that made it worse. The more I tugged and pulled, the lower and more stuck it got. With time running out, I threw on my vest and tried manfully to arrange my chaps to cover my crotch. When I finally came out of the coffin, I spent the rest of the show--i.e. the whole third act--wondering if people were staring at my groins. As inconspicuously as I could, I studied the faces in the audience for looks of shock or delight, but it was a pretty mixed bunch of mugs. In the end, I tried to hunch over a bit and hope for the best. When we came off stage, the first thing I did was look down, only to find that there was a flap covering the zipper. You couldn't see anything. Of course that meant I'd looked like a hunchback for half an hour for no reason, but those, my friends, are the sacrifices we make for our art.

More to come from the show, including Betsy's production notes.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Boffo opening for Hard Lovin'

Fantastic opening night! There was a sizeable and very enthusiastic crowd, full of friends and collaborators (past and future), plus some VIPs that it was important that we impress. Fortunately, things went pretty smoothly; amazingly so, given that we had two nights of tech and this was our first go in front of any outside audience.

There were a couple of minor hiccups. In my case, I forgot to undo a crucial zipper before the final scene, which meant I had to surreptitiously inch it open with my good hand during a clinch with Kristine. She asked me after the show, "What were you doing with your guts?" A trenchant question. There was also a minor metronome malfunction. But nothing really memorably problematic.

And doing it for an audience for the first time was great, as it always is. Inevitably an audience discovers things that you didn't know were there. We got a lot of unexpected laughs, but none, at least that I heard, where we didn't want them. That's the bad kind of surprise, when your deeply touching moment gets guffaws. But people seemed to really enjoy it, which is fantastic and gratifying.

Sorry you missed the first show? Don't even worry about it. There are 5 more. But they're filling up fast--Friday's show already has a waiting list--so call now to reserve your spots. Information here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

And tonight, we open!

After two nights of hard work in the theater--re-spacing & re-blocking where necessary, incorporating a major set-piece (come see), negotiating leg-whacking floor fans, fully integrating the musical elements--and countless hours of effort by the design team, we're ready to open the show! Hard to believe, really, how fast it all happens when you get down to it.

And speaking of fast, tickets are flying out the door, especially for Friday night's show, which is almost completely reserved. If you haven't done so yet, get your tickets now while they're still around. Tonight's our pay-what-you-can preview, so if you want to be among the first to see us, or if $10 would put too much of a hurtin on your wallet, get yourself down to Access Theater, 380 Broadway, by 7 pm this evening. Full details at the ACTIVE EYE website.

Break a leg, one and all!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Storm can't stop Hard Lovin

This dispatch from Director Jyana Gregory (the Shaun referred to is Shaun Fillion, our space/lighting designer):

The storm posed many problems (Home Depot's call to Shaun that it would deliver the lumber Mon. night) but people were very resourceful (Shaun went on Craig's list and rented a pick up truck) and miraculously everything got done. Dressing room up and ready. Piano and fans placed. Seating installed. Looks like a performance space now. So the trekking through the snow to launder the costumes was all worth it. I am very pleased.

Friday, February 10, 2006

We hit the (virtual) airwaves

Since we've been doing all our rehearsing and will be doing our performing in their neck of the woods, Tribeca Radio is going to play a spot about our show! I'm going there today to record something, so I'll post more info afterwards. In the meantime, check out the station.

UPDATE: We're up and running! No exact times available, but keep one ear glued to your media player and before too long you'll hear the dulcet tones of my voice, shilling for the show.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Notes from the playwright #2

More from Lucas Hnath:

So if we were to experiment with language
let’s do so minimally

Broken english? Been there done that.
It’s a possibility but let’s leave it.

What words do you really need?
Come here ... that’s a useful one although you could just as easily pull them.
I like that. No respect for how you’re supposed to act with people. You want it? Just pull it over to you. No language. We don’t need this phrase...
Unless the person wasn’t responding. To show non-responsiveness “come here come here”
is interesting.

‘Okay’ and ‘okay then’ and ‘okay?’ and ‘yeah okay’ and ‘okay yeah no okay.’ Okay tells you how the mental computer is operating.
A character is registering a thought with okay. They’re giving it a file label.
Sometimes they’re saying okay to make someone else believe they’ve filed that thought when they have absolutely no intention of saving the thought for more than 30 seconds.

Kume/Cowboy says “Okay then.” That’s his thing. “Okay then.” That’s a cowboy thing to say. It also implies action. Okay (the thought has been registered) then (then I will take action on it).

Tells us that the mental computer is working.
A pause plus half tells us the same. A look down to the ground with a pause tells us the same.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Rehearsal Space

Tonight we're rehearsing in one of the Theater Row spaces; it's one of four that we've used so far. Our spaces have been good. Kristine's done a great job finding and booking all of them (and dealing with all the logistical stuff that requires). We've used a Tribeca space much more than any other, which has been helpful. It makes things easier to have a consistent place to work. Everyone knows where to go, you learn the quirks of a space and how to use/deal with them (in the case of inexpensive spaces, this often means knowing whether they're too hot or too cold; what lighting you'll be working with; how dirty they are, etc.), you can often get better prices because of how often you'll use them.

Still it's hard not to look forward to a day when we'll have our own consistent space, whether it comes via a residency somewhere (the near-term possibility) or a lease/purchase of a place (the longer-term, massive-infusions-of-cash possibility).

If you're interested in our work, why not mosey on over here and support us? We're currently taking bids on the naming rights for our performing arts complex.

AE Videos up on our site

Just got word from Rika that the videos of three previous ACTIVE EYE productions are up on our website: Dojoji, Senjo, and Woyzeck. Check them out.

Also, be sure to take a look at the Hard Lovin' Ever After page, with new graphic design by Tim Eggert.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Notes from the playwright

Courtesy of Lucas Hnath, playwright for Hard Lovin' Ever After, here is an excerpt from some of his notes while writing the play:

Why do Jenny and Sam love each other?
Love is too big a word. I don’t like it. Let’s try not to use that word in this play.
The word “love” has lost any meaning. Love suicide.... well I can deal with that because it doesn’t possess the same meaning as love all by its solo.
I actually find the word “like” more compelling. I don’t know if others feel this way.
What do you “like” about me? Oume asks Kume? Or Kume asks Oume.*

I don’t think we need to prove that Oume and Kume’s love is pure. I’m not convinced that it is pure. Who really has pure love? They’re so young. The point is that they’re inexperienced. They don’t know what they’re doing. That’s the tragedy. That’s what is frustrating to everyone around them. Oume and Kume are myopic and there really is no cure for their myopia except to get to that final place where the death moment (maybe?) creates some perspective.

I’m not convinced that the death moment gives everyone a new perspective. Some people yes. Others no.

*Kume and Oume are the lovers' names in Chikamatsu's Love Suicides at the Women's Temple. In Hard Lovin', they are called Sam Nash and Jenny Plummer.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Efficient Incapacitation

More from JP Higgins:

Today was all about fighting and dying. We took an in-depth look at some of the more complicated physical sequences (i.e. fights). The trick with fights is that there are so many different ways they could go. Thankfully, the team rose to the occasion. The key issues here are convention and style- how realistic/abstract the fight is, what are the objectives of each fighter, etc. In the end, we found constructing the fight in a more naturalistic manner was the best starting point. With this framework, we can move forward with addressing the style of the piece, which will be informed by the music and scene work surrounding the fight. Thankfully, my good buddy Rachel Scott came in and provided invaluable stage combat consulting.

Despite battling a cold, I enjoyed punching, pummeling and generally kicking the @#$% out of Andrew- he has the best grunts and yelps in the business!

Tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday will be about incorporating the music, which can be both exciting and tedious in a process. However, I have every reason to believe that it will prove more of the former rather than the latter.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Soon, soon

How many times can you fall down in one rehearsal? I've been spending most of the last few days hitting the floor. Lucky me, to have found another character that can't stand up straight. Those of you who know me may remember what happened the last time I needed to collapse on stage.* I'm attempting to be more vigilant this time around.

Fortunately the rest of the team is a stand-up bunch (sorry). Everyone's doing great work. There's always that weird moment when a bunch of scenes begins to become a show, and I can feel it coming on now. It generally happens, unsurprisingly, when you start running larger and larger portions of a play, adding the elements together. With us, it has lots to do with the music. Since all the different parts of the piece fit together so intricately, it isn't until the music connects to the movement and the script that it all makes sense. Then the parts of the story that the music tells arrive. Before then, things tend to feel incomplete. Even though we've been working together for more than 5 years now, I always forget how much it changes things (and, internally, began to freak out about what doesn't feel right) until we bring it in again.

As for now, it won't be until next week that it all really starts to come together, but we've heard enough of what Rika and Pete and Bobby are doing musically that I can sense what it'll be like, and it's exciting.

*For the uninformed--when we were doing Senjo, I had one bad fall when I was tired during photo call. I awoke to find that I'd swelled enormously, but only on one side. From the right, I was as flat-butted as ever, but my left cheek had grown to the size of a volleyball. I was suddenly, seriously half-assed. It was 7 days--and several shades of blue and green--before my ass was normal again.

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