Monthly Archives: July 2010

Tech show #4, Becky Bruhn’s “Volunteer Night”


The next show has moved in. The actors, looking very posh, find their places backstage. Director Shanga Parker gets things going immediately. Again, there are internal music cues that the cast has not yet heard, and staging the band has not yet seen. The overlapping of the two is never seamless, but luckily, everyone involved is a professional and it goes well. Rob Burgess is wearing an absolutely AMAZING tie!! And his dumb show at the beginning of the piece […]

Tech show #3, Wesely K. Andrew’s “And Nothing Too”


Three stools. Three mic stands. Brian Faker is going minimalist. This play is obviously set to a rhythm. Faker guides the cast and band in tandem. There are lights not working and microphones needed. Veteran actor Brandon Whitehead takes the reigns and walks the cast through the opening. There seems to be a lot more people in the audience and are told to hush multiple times. People are antsy. Faker and Belyea discuss what lights are needed, what needs to […]

Rehearsal Drop In: #6 On Matters Of Estate


Melizabeth Eller, David Anthony Lewis and Deb Pralle are in the middle of tackling the emotional issues found within Jerry Kraft’s piece. The 14/48 gods know how to cast as Lewis and Pralle seem perfectly suited to Kraft’s 2nd intimate, intricate and decidedly adult piece in as many days. This one explores the semi-sensual remains of a marriage about to dissolve…

Rehearsal Drop In: #3 And Nothing Too


The simple truth is that Brian Faker does not need submarines and mermaids. The group is approaching the material musically, wherein the cast (Brandon Whitehead, Sylvester Kamara, Jon Lutyens) functions like a jazz combo in action. Faker sits back listens, interjects, has them start over again, picking up rhythms, slowing down patterns. The piece has a gumbo jambalaya kind of feel to it as I walk out the door.

Tech show #2, Brendan Healy’s “A Cock and A Carnation”


Veteran actor Mike Dooly sports a camouflage visor, a t-shirt saying “Money Shot” and flip flops. Type casting, obviously. Scripts still in hand, he and Mazen Award winner Mark Fullerton walk their blocking onstage. Gretchen Douma, in a quite fetching bathrobe watches the action from a couch brought onstage during the transition. Speaking of transitions, quite a lot of time seems to be being spent on the transition into this scene. It’s the first one, of course, and hopefully the […]

Performance Space, Before Tech


Apparently TOJ Tech Meggan Davis was sent backstage in order to find a green extension cord; she returns with blue and yellow one. “Together they make green!” Shawn Belyea and Patti West are refining the light hang for tonight’s show, it is here that Patti reveals her love for light design and , of all things, gobos. TOJ has your gobo needs covered. We play a couple of rounds of Find The Gobo while she looks for a water-themed one. […]

Tech show #1, Ramon Esquivel’s “Boom”


The actors pace the house, chanting their lines under their breath. Gary Menendez has constructed what can only be called, as he puts it, a “talking heads mask”. It looks like a medieval stockade built for four people. Mik Kuhlman starts directing hard and fast–getting the band going and the actors practicing with the strange new prop (that they’ve never seen until this moment, and are adapting to nicely). Shawn Belyea works on the lights above Mik as she goes […]


The cast of Volunteer Night from L to R: Kaleb Hagan-Kerr, Imogen Love, James Weidman, Rob Burgess, and Director Shanga Parker. And Nothing Too in mid-rehearsal (clockwise from bottm): Playwright Wes Andrews, Director Brian Faker, Brandon Whitehead, Jon Lutjens, Sylvester Kamara.

moment of genius


I’m hanging out in the theater before tech starts. The band is coming up with the best way to play Def Leopard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’. All I’ll say is what they came up with is pretty awesome. As Eray Anderson exclaimed, “F-Yeah, my people!”

Moment with Gary Menendez


Menendez: “Fifteen and a half, close enough. Fifteen and a half, close enough.” He’s measuring out spaces for a contraption that will isolate the heads of five actors, “kind of like–you know, I was reminded of [Erin Stewart’s] Mr. Jibbers, from OTB, that Tyrone [Brown] did. That piece, and the thing is that the physical demands of doing that made Mark [Fullerton] a little crazy. Then it turns out to be the hit of the night.” Gary says that it […]