|Dancing pigeons from The Producers. Photo by Chris Pollari.|
The Huddle is October 15 at 7p.m. Come and reconnect with fellow members, meet this year's directors and help us kick off the season!
51 WALDEN EVENTS
September 24, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. Concord Orchestra Gala Reception with
chamber music featuring Wendy Putnam, Jan Muller-Szeraws, Siri Smedvig,
Sonya Ovrutsky-Fensome, Robin Farnsley, and the Concord Orchestra
Chamber Players. Free for subscribers, donors, patrons, and supporters.
Followed by a delightful reception with food and drink.
you have not renewed your yearly membership, now is the time.
Your renewal letter was sent in the mail and if you didn't get it, or
you have questions about membership in general, please email Corinne
at email@example.com Deadline to get into the 2017-18 membership book is Sept. 15.
She has super powers. Not the cartoon kind, or the movie kind. The real
kind. Powers of the brain and the body and the spirit. Powers that
propel her to always do more and always do better. She uses her powers
for good, and that makes The Concord Players one lucky organization.
Amanda Casale is a performer, mathematician, musician, scientist and
star athlete. It's no surprise that The Players have snagged her to be a
member of The Concord Players Board.
She calls herself a "dabbler," but her approach is focused and
directed. "I really like to keep busy and constantly working on
improving myself," she says, "whether that is via continued education,
the arts, athletics or some combination thereof." Sounds more like a pro
than a dabbler.
When she's not competing in an Obstacle Course Spartan race, or
working or performing, she likes to draw and play with sound
engineering, a hobby that was to the Players' great advantage when she
worked the board during last season's production of Follies.
about that race: obstacle is the operative word, as in military boot
camp. Competitions have names like Rugged Maniac, Savage Race, even
Death Race. With that level of tough, there's no doubt that Casale is up
to any task she takes on for The Players.
She came to theatre arts later in the game than most. As a child,
she listened with "awe" to her sister Samantha singing, while she
stayed busy playing the violin and doing athletics. A break-up right
after college prompted her to try something new so she auditioned for
the Concord Players production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. True to
form, she was undaunted by the "great rejection" of not being cast and
continued to try out for other shows. In 2009 she landed a part as Peggy
in Godspell with the Nashoba Players and since then has "never looked back."
One could imagine that the brain of a mathematician/chemical
engineer might not be adaptable to the requirements of a stage
performer. But asked about how she manages to marry her gifts for art
and science so adroitly, Casale replies with modest reserve. "...I can
confidently say that there are many very talented people [at MIT] in my
line of work," she explains. "...I do believe the affinity for rhythm,
acoustics, and structure inherent in some musicians to be astonishingly
mathematical. Music theory can be approached in very numerical ways
and I love when those two worlds collide."
She applies that brainy thinking to everything she does,
especially when working on a show. "The analyst in me is used to
tackling projects in a very methodological way, step-by-step and timely,
and I'm easily exasperated when that process diverges. I will
always give everything I can to a show, on stage and behind the
scenes," she adds.
That level of commitment and energy has served her well in varied
stage roles. She played a Laker Girl in The Players' 2014 production of
Spamalot, Jo March in Little Women for Theatre III and Louise in Gypsy for the Weston Friendly Society. In
case you didn't know, Louise transforms into Gypsy Rose Lee (based on
the real-life Burlesque stripper) at the end of the show and has a long
solo song/dance number involving several fast costume changes. Here's
how Amanda describes the choreography:
"The entire 9-minute sequence involved nearly 30 cast members
who-in addition to performing in their OWN moments of the sequence AND
moving set pieces-had to also help me change (sometimes more than
once!). One of these changes took place in about 60 seconds, and
involved me getting out of my previous costume, sprinting down three
flights of stairs, running through the basement, sprinting up three
flights of stairs behind the house, getting a new costume on (including
new shoes, gloves, dress, and jewelry), and coming through the back of
the house completely ready for action.
We practiced all through tech week, and that last crazy change
just wasn't happening. We opened on a Saturday, and our director
asked if everyone would be willing to come THREE HOURS early to work on
that sequence. I was so afraid of how everyone would respond to
coming early to work on "my" scene, but to my amazement every single
person agreed with enthusiasm. After
hours of work just before we opened, we nailed the sequence, and
everyone ran into the middle of the house together for a huge group
hug. It's not often you have that many people working that hard to
make a single moment work, and I will never forget that feeling nor the
selflessness of that cast and crew."
The moment. That's what everyone in theatre knows-that the moment
is everything-and Casale knows it better than most. Diagnosed over a
decade ago with a minor but scary health issue, the realization that
life is finite loomed large in her consciousness. The thought of an
early ending prompted her to develop the habits of hard work,
self-improvement and spending time with people she loves that drive her
now. Every one of her minutes is rich with experience.
"None of us will ever be the kindest, the smartest, the most
talented, the most athletic, the most whatever-adjective-you-choose,
person in the world. But that doesn't mean we can't try to be,"
she says. See? Super powers.
The consultants for EMACT's DASH awards have a keen eye for excellence, so
it makes sense that this year they awarded a special Consultant's
Choice award to Allen Bantly and Kerry Morse for their dancing Nazi
pigeons in The Producers. If you missed it, too bad, because
those birds stole the show. Allen re-worked plastic decoys so that their
wings could move on hinges. Then he designed a chicken coop with a
perch for the birds to be manipulated by Kerry, the invisible puppeteer
behind the coop. The birds danced in rhythm to the tune "In Old
Bavaria." Of course Adolf (he had such a big ego) had to grab all
the attention with a winged "Seig Heil!" at the end of the song, proudly
displaying the Nazi flag that was hidden under his plastic feathers.
Congratulations to Allen and Kerry for their Excellence Award in
Mechanical Design, Execution and Performance. Allen also shared a DASH
award with colleagues Charlotte Kelley and Linda McConchie for excellence in properties design for The Producers.
And Tom Powers took the prize for excellence in sound engineering. It's
a well-deserved award for synchronizing vocals, orchestra and sound
effects in a performance venue known for its acoustical challenges. Tom
mic'd and sound-checked 24 performers for every show and then worked
the board so that every word of dialogue, every note sung and every
orchestral movement was delivered to the audience in perfect
Rehearsals for the Players' production of Michael Frayn's Noises Off have
begun. Pratfalls, lost props, dropped lines, late entrances and an
excess of sardines are a few of the elements that swirl into a vortex of
comedic pandemonium in this side-splitting farce. And there are doors
of course. A farce is not a farce without slamming doors.
Frayn wrote the show in 1982 after watching another of his plays
from backstage. He found the chaos of cast and crew behind the scenes
funnier than what was happening in front of the audience. He transformed
that into a script, and now we can all enjoy what New York Timesstage
critic Frank Rich called "the funniest play written in my lifetime."
The story presents a show within a show. There are two characters for
each actor and no shortage of opportunities for hilarious confusion.
After collapsing a few times into heaps of merriment, Director
Brian Kelly and his cast made it through the first read-through of the
script and have already coalesced into a congenial ensemble. Now the
work begins as Kelly and the players walk step by step through the
intricacies of blocking, timing, door slamming and double-takes.
Cast members Jennifer Bubriski, Hannah Clifford, Barbara
Douglass, Chris Erath, Adam Leavitt, Jon Linden, Katie Moore, Terry Tamm
and Josh Wright are all actors who know how work the joke, find the
laugh, deliver the line. They have the advantage of rehearsing from day
one on a fully completed set, thanks to designer and builder Allen
Bantly. It's an engineering masterpiece, and a character in its own
right as part of the narrative. The cast has already bonded with its
stairways, doors and rustic country charm and adopted it as one of their
Noises Off, directed by Brian Kelly, opens November 3 and runs for 3 weekends. For tickets go to concordplayers.org
CONCORD SHOWBUS TO LONDON!
We are planning another London theatre tour, with
a day trip to Stratford, for March 4 through 11, 2018. Biennially,
since 1989, we have been organizing tours with London Arts
Discovery. They have consistently provided great seats to the best
productions on offer at the time we are there. The extras they
provide-discussions with actors, directors, production managers,
political columnists and critics; tours of out of the way museums and
special exhibitions; meals in special places; quality recommendations of
what to do in your spare time-have always been top notch. We hope
you will join us for what promises to be another wonderful theatre
experience. The tour includes seven nights at the Cavendish Hotel
in the heart of St. James's, Full English breakfast daily plus two
dinners; six performances; an initial briefing; a political discussion
with a columnist from the Daily Telegraph;
two post-performance discussions with a leading member of the cast; and
a critical round-up with Michael Billington, drama critic of The Guardian;
Coaching is provided to and from Heathrow airport for one specified
flight, to and from Stratford, and to and from all events not within
easy walking distance, and to and from all sightseeing excursions. We
hope you will join us! For further information, please contact Susan
Brian Kelly is directing Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods,
with many Concord Players in the cast. The show runs September 8-17 on
the Concord Youth Theatre stage at 358 Baker Avenue, Concord, MA 01742.
Tickets available at Flyleaftheatre.com
Katherine Rose (Horlitz) Brown will be appearing in three short plays as part of Standing on Ceremony at the Cranford Dramatic Club Community Theatre, Cranford , N.J., Sept. 7, 8, and 9, 2017. She will also be appearing in The Wild Party at the same theater later in the Fall.