Saturday, March 8, 2008

Irresistible Gravity

Theater has an irresistible gravity these days. My world revolves around theater more than ever before in my life. I see 2 or 3 plays a week. I recently auditioned for 3, was cast in 2. And I'm organizing, with Gloria Powers, the Big Easy Theater Awards. And I write a weekly theater blog for Gambit Weekly.

Big Easy Theatre Awards
I work for the foundation that produces the Big Easy Entertainment Awards, one for theater and one for popular music. Last month we also produced an award program for Classical music, ballet, and opera. This year, I have more of a hand in the theater awards gala. I'm on the nominating committee, I tallied all the nominations, ordered the awards, suggested performers from nominated shows to the producer, Margo DuBos, and arranged their order in the line-up. Next week I do seating.

Still waiting to hear, but moving forward as though we're accepted to DramaRama with our 15-minute excerpt from the radio play. My cast returns, except for 1. The part of the young woman, the "Nancy Drew" of the mystery, is now played by the voice of Mandy Turner. Yay! Love Mandy, and she's in demand. Mary Pauley returns to do her amazing voice work, playing 2 different characters in conversation with each other. I'll do the sound effects myself this time, as Cammie West is committed to 2 other DramaRama productions already. Plus it gives me something to do besides wring my hands. My original keyboardist is not available, so I'm courting my ex-boyfriend, Striking Southern Gentleman, to play.

Audubon in New Orleans
I'm currently re-reading select passages from the Audubon diaries. Amongst my collection of Audubon references, I have an anthology of his writings, including diary entries, letters to his much-loved wife, and selections from the Ornithological Encyclopdia, the companion to the book of paintings. At DramaRama, I also hope to perform Audubon in New Orleans as a storyteller, without a word-for-word script. Instead, I draw from a body of knowledge and extemporarize in the moment. I know the arc of the larger story I'm telling, and the 3 main incidents that construct the arc. Audubon will speak, in his own words, about his experiences in New Orleans in 1820, a major turning point in his artistic development.

Mona Rogers in Person
Director Agnes de Garron is a force of nature. I expect non-stop inspired wackiness the entire trip with Agnes on this project. Mona Rogers in Person is a one-woman show performed by 6 actors. 21 short monologues are distributed amongst an extremely diverse cast. Agnes cast some actors I really like to work with, Michael Martin (see Out Comes Butch and Uncle Vanya below), Mary Pauley (see ORIGIN above), and Brad Brooks.

I know Agnes from the New Orleans Radical Faeries and also from the San Francisco order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Agnes is a founder of the order.

Out Comes Butch
Director Michael Martin has dangled this carrot as long as we've known one another. The time has come, and we're meeting today to talk schedule and logistics. Out Comes Butch is a one-man show in which I transform over 40 minutes into 5 different characters, all telling a continuous story. We'll have cut-away costumes and wigs on stage. I'd also love a change-able set piece, like panels that unfold to reveal another locale. The play was written in San Francisco in the 70s, and makes period references to "human potential" proponents like EST and Erich Fromm.

Uncle Vanya
This is another ambitious project by Michael Martin and his production company, Four Humours. The entire company is involved in this project, to ensure it sees an Opening Night, I suspect. A lot of people, including me, were disappointed that Michael cancelled his Night of the Iguana production. I'm on board for Uncle Vanya because it's Chekhov, I've got a good role (Doctor Astrov), and I hope to have future opportunities to direct for this company.

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