Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School!!!

It's that time of year again! After a wonderful two weeks off, the summer is over and it's back to school time. I spent some time at home, where my brother and my dad were working on sanding and refinishing the floor in our kitchen/living room area, and then went to Maine for a week with Mike, the electrics intern I started seeing during Playhouse, to meet his brother's family and get to know his parents and to just relax. It was a very nice time :) I had my first lobster, which was wild.

Now I'm moved into a suite with 7 other girls at SMC. Actually, we have an empty room- it's only 6 other girls for the moment. We spent the weekend moving in and decorating, and although my room is tiny, it has 2 big windows, and the common room is very comfortable :) Today was the first day of classes and between Psychology, Directing, and Spanish III, I ran around doing errands. From getting a parking permit to working on my study abroad application to photocopying scripts to going on an advertising rampage about our drama club, I think I covered pretty much everything there is to cover in one day as a theater major at St. Mikes :) The script was actually for a show I'm stage managing professionally for Champlain College this fall called The Shape of Things. (Professionally=getting paid!!!!!) So that is coming along.

I'm very excited for some of the things the drama club is planning for this semester and the rest of the year! Coming up first we have the 24-hour play festival, which is just like it sounds, 24 hours of writing and directing and acting in skits. It's madness! It's particularly great for interested people who don't necessarily have experience; it's a good chance to try things out. That's sort of our hope with the drama club: that it becomes a way for people interested in theater to try their hand at directing or designing or acting in one of the 4 shows we are hoping to do per year.

Besides the 24-hour play festival, exact date TBD, also in September we are doing something new. The Saint Michael's Drama Club created a team, thanks to the efforts of Vice President Rachel Strashnick, that will be walking in Burlington on September 24th with the Light the Night Walk, a fundraising effort to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of Patrick Devlin. Our goal is to raise $1000 before September 24th, and we're a little over halfway there right now which is really, really amazing! Many thanks to those who have donated. I have a link to our website on the left under "sites I follow" called Light the Night Walk, so if you are interested or can donate, please follow that link or click here. Every little bit counts!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Vacation time :)

The good thing about being a student or a teacher is the summer vacation. While working at Playhouse takes a hefty 10 weeks out of it, I woke up this morning, the day our Saint Michael's Playhouse contracts ended, looking forward to almost 3 weeks off. Right at this moment, I'm taking a break from packing my room to write this, as it's been a while since I've written a real personal entry.

Patsy Cline closed Saturday night with great reviews. The end-of-the-season show is always carefully chosen as a crowd-pleasing musical with everyone's favorite tunes, and summer 2010 was no exception. We struck the set Saturday night til 3am, and cleaned staff/actor townhouses out yesterday (ah, the life of an intern) and concluded our time together with a dinner at Chuck Tobin's house. Chuck and Sarah are amazing people to work for and with, and they make exceptionally wonderful dinners for exhausted interns : ) I told them, if they ever have a lot of food in the house and feel like cooking, we would come from all over the country to help them get rid of it.

Now it's packing the car and heading home for the night. Although I'm storing stuff at the apartment here until I move into school, a lot of it is coming home today, and Dad and I will get my furniture out next week. Wednesday and Thursday I'm heading to Salisbury beach to see family and relax there; a week from Friday I'll be celebrating my birthday with Mom and Dad and the family, and then headed to Maine for a week to enjoy time off in good company. (Not that the family is NOT good company, of course!). It's time for a small respite from the hectic world of theater.

Though I'm not sure that it will be much of a break, given that the Drama Club at Saint Mike's is planning already for the upcoming year. We are organizing workshops, shows, events, and all sorts of things for the 2010-2011 year. It's very strange to be President for a semester and then handing the reins off...but when hoping to study abroad, that is how it has to happen. I've learned a lot this summer about what it means to choose a career in the theater world, and though next spring will not involve much theater, I still know this is what I need to do with my life. Between stage managing, working with lights, and learning about props and furniture building, this summer has narrowed my focus and passion for working in the theater. I hope a semester off will not inhibit this choice. Already my mind is on next summer, wondering where I'll be accepted to work, hoping I'll get in somewhere...when I should be focusing on this fall! As President of the drama club, paid stage manager on The Shape of Things at Champlain College, and potential study abroad student (plus taking 17 credits of classes....) I'm going to need that drive to get through.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

End of the Season

I can't believe it's August already! This summer has flown by so fast...I guess it just goes to show what a good time I have been having here at Saint Michael's Playhouse! Tonight begins the second week of performances of Always, Patsy Cline at the Playhouse, and this week is almost entirely sold out. Get your tickets now for this heartwarming musical featuring all your favorite Patsy Cline hits, based off a true story about a Patsy Cline fan who had the chance to meet her star.
Driving the story of this friendship is Sarah Carleton, UVM professor and a familiar face at the Playhouse, in the role of Louise, who exchanged letters with Patsy for years after meeting her one eventful night. Lucy Sorensen hits home as Patsy Cline herself, a sweet country girl belting those tunes away. Accompanying Sorensen is a 6-piece country band, a glossy set designed by Tim Case, and vibrant lights from John Wylie. Performances run Tuesday to Saturday, 8pm with a 2pm matinee on Saturday.

Also in the area that I recently had the privilege of seeing was Lucky Stiff performed by the Commons Group at the Skinner Barn in Waitsfield, Vermont. Having worked there for two summers starting in 2007, it was strange to be a guest at the Skinner Barn, but I was very excited to attend and enjoy a musical I was not familiar with. The Commons Group, as always, stunned me with their professionalism and sheer talent. Lucky Stiff is the story of Harry Witherspoon, played by recent UVM graduate Matt Trollinger, who comes into a windfall inheritance with one condition: he must go on vacation to Monte Carlo and take the body of his uncle along for the ride. With this twist comes hilarity and confusion as Witherspoon is followed by Annabel Glick (played by Micaela Mendicino) to make sure he completes all the activities laid out in his uncle's will. The seductive role of Dominique Du Monaco was played by Taryn Noelle; Peter Boynton played the mysterious guide and plot twister Luigi Gaudi. With a tremendous performance by Kris Holz as Vinnie De Ruzzio and Mary Wheeler as Rita La Porter, as well as a variety of roles and scene change effectors such as Doug Bergstein, Judy Milstein, Karl Klein, Michael Halloran, and Emma Walker, the audience was captivated from start to finish.
One of my favorite things about shows at the Skinner Barn is the way the set connects the story and provides an acting space that is thoroughly danced, jumped, and trampled on without needing to be location-specific. And as always, the beautiful Vermont air at the Barn was a refreshing change of pace from 8+ weeks of hard work at the Saint Michael's Playhouse.