Actor Mark Fossen On Opening a Show One Day/Beginning Rehearsal for Another Show The Next Day

In many ways, EXPOSED and RADIO HOUR: LAVENDER & EXILE could not be more different: one is a shattering work on the horrors of nuclear testing, the other is a collection of ghost stories, fake ads, and silly jingles. It’s certainly a shift to go from Opening Night of a truly important political statement to beginning rehearsals of pure fun within a space of about 14 hours. In addition, I’ve gone from a world of acting with which I’m familiar to the life of a Foley Artist, confronted by a table full of bits, bobs and bobbins all supposed to create audio illusions. Radio theatre is very technical, which means the rehearsal process is very different. Teri described “Hell Week” last week, and while you ramp up to that in theatre, that’s where you start off in radio. As far apart as these experiences seem to be, it’s what ties them together that keeps my energy up through this weekend when I’ll be spending most of my waking hours either rehearsing or performing. Though wildly different, both EXPOSED and RADIO HOUR: LAVENDER & EXILE are local stories being told by local playwrights, and that couldn’t make me happier. It’s too easy to think that theatre happens elsewhere, and we simply import and consume it. It’s energizing to create new works of art and that doesn’t need to be restricted to actors in coastal locales. There’s no doubt that this crossover is going to be tiring, but the rewards of making new theatre that no one’s ever seen or heard before make up for it. I can always sleep in...

Actress Teri Cowan Talks About Tech Week of EXPOSED

Lucky me, I get to blog about the week of Hell…er, tech! This is the week where suddenly the scenes that were coming along quite nicely when you performed them on a floor with a tape outlining the set, become somewhat maddening when a mere 8-inch-rise step throws you completely off your game. Who knew how many seconds would be added to an entrance when you actually have to go AROUND a set piece, a curtain, or a (you fill in the blank). Yes, this does happen every single production you’re in and yes, in your actor brain you think you’re completely prepared for the little something thrown in the mix that can’t possibly hamper your flawless performance. Then suddenly that line you’ve never missed, EVER, completely escapes you because now, you must utter it standing on a platform rather than on a taped floor. I know. Ridiculous. Next, throw in lights (or lack of), sound, projections, costumes etc. and suddenly everything you think you had a handle on goes out the window. I’d love to say this awakening comes with absolutely no personal stress or tension, but I’d be lying. Sometimes these days can be very ugly but fortunately in the case of EXPOSED whatever minor psychodrama we’ve encountered has been nipped in the bud quickly and with good grace. Finally, as we approach opening week, we’re in a place where we can rediscover the piece with all of these layers added into the whole. Hopefully the thing is so soundly in our bones that all the technical aspects become an enhancement. On a personal level Mary’s piece...

Actor Kirt Bateman Rambles About Shifting Gears from EXPOSED to GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!

I don’t blog. I don’t write. Let’s face it, I can barely speak. But here goes: It’s been an exhausting and terrifying three weeks since the opening of EXPOSED. The Monday after we opened Mary’s play about the appalling plight of Downwinders we started rehearsals for GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! about the desperate plight of Johann Gutenberg (well, at least as envisioned by two musical theatre geeks, Bud and Doug). The similarities in the material are astounding. Both are called “theatre.” That’s about it. EXPOSED was vital. GUTENBERG is ridiculous fun. Going from rehearsals of GUTENBERG to performances of EXPOSED in the same day felt like what I imagine it would feel like to quarterback a championship football game (yeah, like I know what THAT feels like) and do a synchronized water ballet (that, I do know how to do) all at the same time. Throw in a day-job and you have the recipe for an extremely tired, fat, bald man in his 30s wondering what the hell he was thinking when he agreed to this schedule. Well, I’ll tell you what I was thinking: these were two amazing shows – for different reasons, of course – for an amazing company, with amazing casts, and I would be the biggest fool not to do everything in my power to work it out! So, I did. Between rehearsals for G and performances of E it would take me nearly one-and-a-half hours to transition. Part of my transition ritual (I’m a fairly ritualistic actor and also one of those superstitious actors that you always read about and laugh at, because… um…how ridiculous!)...

Actor Jason Tatom Chats About Rehearsing EXPOSED

A blog, huh? Well, welcome to my first ever blog. Now I’m culturally caught up to what, ’96, ’97? Before you know it I’ll be saying things like “Dawg,” or “Awiiight,” or “Oh, snap!” Or even, God forbid, “Fo Shizzle,” while yearning to get a mobile phone that’s roughly the size of a Yugo. Well, I should probably get started, so here I go…and, BLOG! We are just finishing up what I like to call “Frustration Week.” The first week is when you kind of get your feet wet with the initial parts of the process: meeting actors and technicians you may never have worked with before, read throughs, costume fittings, and (hopefully) rough blocking the whole show. And since we all did our best to be reasonably familiar with our lines, if not actually fully off book going into rehearsals, it was essentially easy-peasy-lemon-squeazy. Then, we move into the second week, the aforementioned “Frustration Week.” This is the week where you might be feeling a little cocky (and when I say “you,” gentle reader, rest assured that I mean “me”) and be certain that you know your lines. But “knowing” your lines is some how mystically tied to being in actual, physical contact with the script itself. Somehow, the simple act of putting the script down and losing that tactile connection with it, renders one (and yes, I do mean me) a virtual amnesiac. Don’t get me wrong, you know your words, your intentions, and your blocking, just not necessarily all at the same time. putting two or more of these things together can be tempting fate. And...

Joyce Cohen On Working As An Actor In EXPOSED

I have been looking forward to the beginning of rehearsals since last Spring when I participated in the public reading. This piece is so important. It feels like one which should be heard everywhere. Rehearsals are exciting. Both Mary and Jerry are open to our questions and suggestions. Because each of them have a clear and powerful vision of the play, l know hat we are all working toward the same goal. There is stunning information to impart and the trick is to deliver it dramatically. The goal is how best to honor that. My mind is working overtime! Sleep is not coming easily. I always read at bedtime and I decided early on that I would NOT take my research to bed – I thought the subject matter would be too disturbing. But, as synchronicity would have it, the other night I began to read ESSAYS BY E.B.WHITE and I came upon a piece he had written in the 50s about testing and fallout. A couple excerpts: “Human beings have always been willing to shed their blood for what they believed in. Yesterday this was clear and simple; we would pay in blood because, after the price was exacted, there was still a chance to make good the gain. But the modern price tag is not blood. Today our leaders and the leaders of our nation are, in effect, saying, ‘We will defend our beliefs not alone with our blood – by God we’ll defend them, if we have to, with our genes.’…I admire the spirit of it, but the logic eludes me. I doubt whether any noble...

Playwright Mary Dickson on writing EXPOSED

Also published in the October issue of Catalyst Magazine I didn’t intend to write a play. I was writing a book about the human consequences of nuclear testing that blended my personal story as a downwinder with powerful documentation. In the summer of 2005, I was invited to spend a month as a writer-in-residence at the Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes, California to work on the manuscript. One day my book would be included on the bookshelf alongside those of previous residents – Terry Tempest Williams, Gray Brechin, Peter Barnes and so many other environmental writers I admired. I returned home that summer with a 275-page manuscript. Then, I met L.A. actress/activist Mimi Kennedy, who was in Salt Lake to speak at a political fundraiser. I told her about my thyroid cancer and my work on behalf of downwinders. It turned out she had family members in New Jersey with thyroid problems. That’s when I showed her part of my manuscript that documented how widespread fallout from nuclear testing was. I showed her how areas in New Jersey and across the country were hot spots, how thyroid problems including cancer like mine were common among people who had been exposed to fallout as children. Later that week she left a message, “I read your piece again and it’s just amazing. So much beauty and heart. I wanted to call you and egg you on to write a play. It would stand for all time. I’ll get my friends in L.A. to do a staged reading.” I’ve had monologues produced, but a play? She had to be kidding. Her friends...

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