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"Are We All Met?"

-A Midsummer Night's Dream III, i

Keep up with all things Great Lakes Theater. Our blog is a great way to learn about the very latest Great Lakes Theater news/notes and enjoy extraordinary "behind-the-scenes" access to the creative process of our artistic company.

April 09, 2014 - leave a comment

Lorain County Community College Playwriting Contest (2014)

On Tuesday, April 8 the works of six Lorain County Community College student playwrights were given staged readings and adjudicated at the Stocker Center, Studio Theatre.

The LCCC Playwriting Contest is part of GLT’s Surround series of free events presented across Northeast Ohio. Each participating playwright is a students in Dr. Daniel Cleary’s Playwriting for Stage and Screen course, and part of this year’s competition was that writers consider themes present in Shakespeare’s As You Like It as part of their writing process.

Tuesday night these ten-minute plays were read by student actors from Professor Dave Cotton’s acting for theater classes, and evaluated by Northeast Ohio playwrights Christine Howey, Margaret Lynch, Eric Schmiedl, Michael Oatman and GLT Educational Outreach Associate David Hansen.

First Place was awarded to The Cracks in Our Foundations by Krista Price, and Second Place to Spontaneous Tom by Emily Bittita and these two works will receive fully-staged, script-in-hand performances, performed by Great Lakes Theater actor-teachers and directed by David Hansen on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:30 PM at the Stocker Center, Studio Theatre. This performance is free and open to the public.

Third Place was awarded to Switch by Cameron Dobos. Special thanks to LCCC Director of Theater Jeremy K. Benjamin for his great work facilitating this exciting annual event!

March 27, 2014 - leave a comment

Final run-throughs - "The Breakthrough"

3) "The Break-Through"
 
When the last run in the room comes, you have heard lots of notes, tried your best to make adjustments and all that is left is to try it one more time. I think the ease that comes with this final run may be a function of giving up our expectations to get it all "right." You think, “Ah, what the heck," remind yourself this is still a work in progress, and you feel a little loose about what you try and how you integrate the notes that were given.

The result is a run that feels easier and clearer than the last. You suddenly see the shape and purpose of the show. And as you watch your colleagues' wonderful work, you think, “It’s all going to be ok!”

Through these 3 run-throughs (as frustrating and rough as they may be) comes a little more simplicity, breathing room, and focus. Which is exactly what each of us needs as we enter into one of the most complex weeks of the production process: tech week.

March 26, 2014 - leave a comment

Final run-throughs - "The Swamp"

2) "The Swamp"

This is, without question, one of the most frustrating times for any actor. An actor’s creative process relies a great deal on the imagination, but there are times when you cannot exist in the vacuum of the rehearsal space anymore; when your choices begin to seem arbitrary or, worse, micromanaged. You begin (again) to question everything…including why you became an actor in the first place! In the meantime, you are trying to make minute adjustments for the director and artistic director whose notes, while encouraging, can seem impossible to fulfill. Everything seems contrary; you feel argumentative; you become nervous and convinced every note is an attempt to fix a problem that might have existed from the beginning. No one laughs at your comedic lines. You feel that you are the worst performer in the show. Insecurity floods and you feel a deep sense of despair about your own talents and how they fit in with this production. 
 
While everything seems elusive...you are keenly aware that you are running out of time to try new ideas. Tech is around the corner and shortly after that come audiences - and then it will all change again!

March 25, 2014 - leave a comment

Final run-throughs - "The Lightning Strike"

We are in the process this week of running the show in the rehearsal room before we go into the theater to begin technical rehearsals, where we will finally begin to explore how all our work lives within the context of the design.
 
In three days we will run the play three times. Each run is followed by an extensive note session with the director, and then a work session where we try to fine-tune our ideas. 
 
The key is to try to learn as much as we can from these run-throughs, even if all you learn is how much time you will have off-stage in your dressing room. Everyone’s experience is different, but I think there are three events that always seem to happen in this week: The Lightning Strike, The Swamp, The Breakthrough.
 
1) “The Lightning Strike”
 
Whether in the run of the show, in the notes session or the work session, an idea will strike you: A sudden, momentous idea that brings a sense of clarity about how the character should be portrayed. But, The Lighting Strike can be deceptive. As you try to integrate it into the performance it often seems awkward and forced. You realize you may be imposing an idea on the play that is not really there. While the Lightning Strike is a kind of creative inspiration, this is a growth period for artists where we balance the realities of these seeming-“A-ha!” moments with the real creative inspiration that has come slowly with diligent work. The Lightning Strike is often a kind of false solution to a real problem: the end of rehearsals have come and the choices you have made as an actor have to be polished, not redefined.

March 22, 2014 - leave a comment

"...finishing the hat..."

Sometimes, you get a kind of gift from the production. A dance move, a light-cue, a prop, a suggestion, a costume piece that seems to tell you everything you need to know about your character. At the very least, it gives you a whole new set of ideas to put to the test.