Actor Joe Crnich on shitty jobs and BOOKSMART

Joe Crnich makes his Plan-B debut in BOOKSMART. First off, Hippie Ed has no idea what a blog is . . . this is my first attempt. I kept trying to get Anne, Cindy in BOOKSMART, to write it but I could not close the deal. Hippie Ed, by way of playwright Rob Tennant’s muse, is a direct descendent from such stoner philosophers as Jim Ignatowski from Taxi, Bill and Ted, Cheech and Chong and of course Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski. And therein lies the problem. Keeping Ed real and not falling into stereotypes and cliches. You’ll have to be the judge. Edward is a fascinating individual. A lover of books, weed and a good campfire. He is educated . . . has a Master’s degree, we don’t know in what but that’s okay. Edward is pretty easy going. He digs Christmas, takes what life has given him and roles. But, like all of us, he is looking for a cause. And he finds it in Casey’s strike. He is in his mid 50s and is a entry level manager selling books. He is not going any higher on the corporate ladder. When I first read Ed’s character description I was concerned: supposedly Ed was at Woodstock. I was 5 when Woodstock went down. Also, whenever I envision a hippie I think of hair, long hair. And as Jerry pointed out in rehearsal the other day my hair is sparse and grey. But here we are. This play hits a nerve. Yes, it’s funny. But the last moment of the play is the most tragic. Nothing is going to change. And shame...

Actor Sarah Danielle Young on living like her character in BOOKSMART

Actor Sarah Danielle Young has previously appeared in Plan-B’s SUFFRAGE and the Script-In-Hand Series readings of 8 and MARRY CHRISTMAS. Sometimes I have a hard time articulating my thoughts about subjects that I am passionate about. I have an especially hard time if said subjects are directly related to me and the people around me. I tend to get bogged down in wishing I had an answer or plan to fix things, and then end up not expressing myself at all. That’s why when I was asked to workshop BOOKSMART about a year ago, I was very excited to finally be able to talk about issues that are truly important and relevant to me. The life of my character, Alex, bears a striking resemblance to my own. I, too, graduated from college having taken out the maximum amount of student loans possible. I was told at the time that student loans were a “noble” debt worth having, but now have no way to pay those loans and no foreseeable way to do so in the future. Like Alex, I also live alone in an apartment I can’t afford, after getting stuck there after a devastating break up. Unfortunately moving somewhere less expensive actually costs a lot of money, so I’ve trudged along paying rent that was, until recently, almost 60 percent of my income. I’ve also worked my fair share of retail, and for the last year worked at a hotel, which is privately owned by an exponentially wealthy family who took little interest in the wellbeing of their employees. Despite technically paying well above minimum wage, the job never...

Actor Tyson Baker on living like his character in BOOKSMART

Tyson Baker has previously appeared in Plan-B’s ROSE EXPOSED: DREAMERS, the Script-In-Hand Series readings of MARRY CHRISTMAS and CARAVAN (at the Parliament of the World’s Religions) and the Free Elementary School Tours of DIFFERENT=AMAZING and RUFF!.  While we were in the early readings of BOOKSMART, the term “wasted potential” was mentioned in regard to the character of Casey, whom I play in the show, specifically referencing the general attitude of the millennial generation. Wasted Potential, the idea being that millennials are Waiting Around while they could be Doing. Alex, another character in the play, responds by asking, “Did the Patriots of the American Revolution share a link on Facebook? Did they hashtag #LibertyOrDeath?“ The smell of deli food and canola oil permeate from my triple-worn jeans and work uniforms fills my fifteen-by-fifteen bedroom  I rent in a duplex with my buddies from college. It leaves a dull, musky, boyish scent about the place. My room is a clutter catastrophe of messy stacks of plays, dirty laundry, fantasy novels, Dungeons & Dragons, tip money clumps, old college textbooks, month-old socks, dressers akimbo, unhung posters and portraits, and most importantly, a pillowed queen-sized mattress for the purpose of burrowing my being. My head is a big balloon full of mostly hot air and a brain swishing around in there somewhere with thoughts and dreams and fears, all swimming. The time for a bowl of marijuana could not come quick enough: the release of inhibitions and self-esteem, of linear thought and consideration toward others. It’s a cozy, hazy nest where video games and apathy are king. Even when I’m not stoned out of my mind, these things are hard...

Actor Anne Louise Brings on living and performing BOOKSMART

Anne brings soturns to Plan-B following ROSE EXPOSED: DREAMERS this past August and the Script-In-Hand Series reading of CARAVAN at the Parliament of the World’s Religions last month. According to Cindy (a fictional, almost-full-time-but-not-quite bookstore clerk and Hunger Games lover), the best part of working in a bookstore is playing with the books. According to me (a real-life, almost-full-time-but-not-quite bookstore assistant manager and Virginia Woolf lover), the best part about working in a bookstore is . . . playing with the books. There is something charmingly romantic about the idea of working in a bookstore. Even now, when I envision it, I conjure up an image of myself wearing glasses and Mary-Janes and some sort of tweed jacket, airily drifting in and around tightly crammed bookshelves that go all the way from floor to ceiling lined with my favorite authors’ works. Isabel Allende is there, and e.e. cummings, Fitzgerald, Sarah Kay, Jeffrey Eugenides, Eudora Welty. In this fantasy, I am in possession of an impossibly ineffective but absolutely dreamy feather duster that I use to gently caress the books before settling into a cozy, leather armchair with a cup of tea and a cartridge pen that I use to write yet another stellar recommend. In reality, I unpack a lot of boxes. It is utterly bizarre to work in a real bookstore from 9am to 4pm and then trek over to rehearsal where many of my lines could easily be interchanged with sentences from my actual life. I am just waiting for the day when I answer the phone at work, “Thank you for calling Booksmart, this is Cindy!  ....

Playwright Rob Tennant on creating BOOKSMART for the 2015/16 Season

BOOKSMART receives its world premiere December 3-13, 2015 in partnership with The David Ross Fetzer Foundation for Emerging Artists, featuring Tyson Baker, Anne Brings, Joe Crinch, April Fossen and Sarah Young, directed by Jerry Rapier. It took me a lot longer than most people to get a “real” job. Starting in high school, and continuing throughout my 20s into my early 30s, I worked in the service industry. A little retail, but mostly food service. I was a busboy, a waiter, and a restaurant manager. The work was lucrative enough and it fit into my lifestyle of squandering my youth on late nights and a lot of hanging out. It was fun. It was also awful. Customer service is a constant assault on human dignity. I complained about it. A lot. I complained about the hours. I complained about the pay. I complained about what I perceived as a lack of influence on operations of the business itself. I complained about all kinds of things, but I never actually did anything about any of them. At least nothing productive. I didn’t have the resources. I didn’t have any support. I didn’t even know where to start, and all of that frustration was further demoralizing. So now, I’ve been given the chance to finally do something about it: I’m having actors complain for me, on stage, to a paying audience. Progress! Seriously though, these are serious issues. The concept of work in the U.S. is changing, but the need for people to receive just compensation for meaningful work has not changed. The minimum wage has less buying power than ever,...

Our 25th Anniversary Season

This blog post might read like a press release because, well, it’s a press release.  But don’t hold that against us! PLAN-B THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES FIVE EXCITING WORLD PREMIERES FOR ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY, 2015/2016 SEASON Award-winning theatre celebrates a quarter century of success with a rich lineup of world premieres celebrating music, diversity and human relationships. (Salt Lake City, UT) – Continuing our unique legacy of producing new plays by Utah playwrights, Plan-B Theatre Company announces its 25th season with a slate of world premieres. The season offers a peek into the mind of a madman and the music that created it, a haunting radio play, a humorous look at the dreariness of holiday retail, a journey through relationships past and future, and Plan-B’s first-ever new musical that features a housewife who dreams of something more. “Plan-B is committed to telling stories from a local point of view. Our 25th season takes that a step further, exploring how comfortable we feel inside our own narratives,“ says Jerry Rapier, Plan-B’s producing director. The season begins October 18, 2015, and runs through April 10, 2016. Season tickets, only $70 (a 20% savings) are available now at Plan-B’s website. THE KREUTZER SONATA by Eric Samuelsen October 18–November 9, 2015 (Also November 4, 2015, at New York’s United Solo Theatre Festival) The season opens with a harrowing exploration of the mind of a murderer, of a man driven mad by Beethoven’s music. “Music, like marriage, is but a violence and a falsehood,” says the madman (Robert Scott Smith) and both torment him to the point of no return. This cautionary tale is interwoven with a...

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