2012 APU Fringe Shows

Lilies from Iron
Thursday, November 29 @ 7:30pm
Saturday, December 8 @ 9 pm

Co-Written & Co-Produced by Ann Marie Wilding and Alison Campbell
Directed by Hannah Bickley
Over the course of three days we watch Adam, Lexi, and Pat try to cope with the tragic event that happened to their close friend while still having to deal with the responsibilities of college life. This story reflects on the power of friendship and the struggle to understand our self-worth.

Thursday, November 29 @ 9 pm
Saturday, December 8 @ 7:30 pm

Written & Co-Produced by Jordan Adelman
Directed & Co-Produced by Amy Bandy
This play will cover Jordan’s life from age 12 to present-day. This will include the most poignant moments in his life, specifically concerning his journey of self-discovery in having to deal with the realization of his same-sex feelings and his imminent and eventual confirmed homosexuality.

Memoirs of a Leash Child
Thursday, November 29 @ 10:30 pm
Friday, December 7 @ 9 pm

Written & Produced by Lauren Shook
Co-Directed by Lauren Shook and Heidi Warstler
This production is a compilation of sketches/variety show. Many of the sketches are based on improvised scenes. There is no common theme and no general method to the madness. Basically, SNL in the Blackbox, no Kristen Wiig… but it’s free, so deal with it.

Peering into the Doghouse
Friday, November 30 @ 5 pm
Friday, December 7 @ 7:30pm

Written & Co-Produced by Breanna Champagne
Directed & Co-Produced by Anna Hodgson
Do you ever imagine what your funeral might be like? Who would attend and what they would say? Jonathan Anderson doesn’t have to imagine. While attending his won funeral Jonathan learns all the ways he changed his friends lives, what he meant to them, and the dark events that led up to his death.

Saturday, Dec. 1st, 2012
24 Hour Play Festival Performances

While Fringing…

Since this was only my second Fringe experience, I definitely learned quite a few things things this year. These are some things I wish I would have known before I started.

1. Make a plan. Read descriptions of different shows and read reviews, but most importantly TRY SOMETHING NEW. Fringe is about artists becoming vulnerable with their creative genius to see where it can lead. Without an audience and feedback, the shows have no where to go.  Making a schedule allows  you to plan ahead and find those one-time deals.

2. Find someone to go with. Unfortunately, walking outside, at night, in a big city, alone is not the best idea- things happen out of our control and it’s best to be safe. In all honesty, theatre is just better when you have someone to discuss with afterwards.

3. Leave enough time. Even though you have already made a schedule do not schedule shows within half and hour to and hour within each other. Many shows start late, go over, and may be longer than calculated. Since you want to see everything you just have to be wise about giving yourself enough time to get from venue to venue.

4. Stay after. Fringe is a collaborative effort of artists to connect and meet each other. Many times there are talkbacks and opportunities to talk with the creative geniuses behind the show you just watched. They want to hear from you, no matter what you thought of the show! And you never know who you might come in contact with to help you fulfill your creative dreams.

5. Write a review. Since most of these shows are premiers and are looking for helpful critiques. Artists basically fly blind until someone says something. SO SAY SOMETHING. Anything that you think might be helpful or encouraging. This will help them to proceed with putting their passions on the stage.

6. Make connections. There are many opportunities to meet people throughout the Fringe. This might even mean talking to the people that are sitting next to you and hanging out around the central station or the theatre bar.

Plan now with the Fringe Calendar. Happy Fringing!

Anna Hodgson is the 2012 Communication Intern. When not communicating, she is either managing the stage, dreaming up fabulous direction, organizing dusty props or making messes in her kitchen baking delicious goodies.

A Crimson Death: The Lights are Off and Before the Red Trees Come

One of the greatest things about Fringe Festivals is their ability to bring together artists in order to become known or recognized by others in the field. I was fortunate enough to attend The Working Theater’s The Lights Are Off and Harrison Bergeron Productions & Geniuspills Entertainment’s Before the Red Trees Come. These shows were established by peers with similar interests aspiring for the same goal, to entertain and challenge. Both, broadcasting the color red as a symbol of death, dazzled my creative side and sparked my desire to submit a fringe show next year.

Being in university right now, this play was very relevant and pretty accurate according the characters that you might find in a college kid’s dorm. The audience wrestled with these two roommates, one of whom dealt drugs in order to pay off school loans, and the other a reformed Christian. The intensity and honesty of each actor was spot on. Each character found themselves in the room either for love, energy, drugs, redemption or peer recognition. These students, struggling to find their identity, find that their lives revolve completely around each other, thriving off of the dealers satisfaction with each of them. The message of this play was surreal and bold. Apart from rules, religious regulations, and peer pressure, in the end doing what is right will pay off in the end. I really enjoyed how the space was used. This intimate space made us feel like we were in the dorm-room with these students, complete with loud music and banging from the upstairs neighbors. Great dedication and a creative design team put this show together in a familiar and yet mysterious place. Unfortunately due to the content, this play could never be produced at APU, but it’s message is relevant in any sphere and the realism of each character challenges the audience to think about what they would have done or did in similar situations. Overall this piece was a great start for The Working Theater and I cannot wait to see more.

Before the Red Trees Come had a completely different feel-more quiet and peaceful. This silent show (accompanied by piano music) followed a young man from his first existence through his journey into becoming a man and the reality of death. I really appreciated the attention the detail in this show. Each actor look care in demonstrating the natural progression of life. The plot was not extreme in depth, but its simplicity helped focus the show and the patterns replicated the patterns of life. I loved each of the male actors’ interpretation of the three generations. As the main character grew up, the other two men progressed and filled in the gaps of the child and elder. Each had their own spin on the age in which they played which was enjoyable to watch. I particularly loved the female member who played a flower seller, who brought in parts of her commedia ‘dell arte experiences into the character. This type of physical comedy is something that I have come to love and have hoped to see more in the United States.  I was excited to see a piece that introduced it’s audience to something unique. This sweet story challenged the audience to see the impact of the smallest movement of each character. We were able to embrace the story without the use of spoken word.

These two plays, although quite different from each other, grappled with life and death in very relatable ways to the audiences. I applaud each of the artists for getting a show up and being vulnerable enough to put it on stage for critics and peers to review it. They used what they knew and found others with similar passions- that is what inspires me. These artists have established their talents thus far and I am sure they can only grow from here.

Anna Hodgson is the 2012 Communication Intern. When not communicating, she is either managing the stage, dreaming up fabulous direction, organizing dusty props or making messes in her kitchen baking delicious goodies.

“See, I’m Smiling”

On Friday, June 22nd, I saw Jason Robert Brown’s poignant masterpiece, The Last Five Years at the Complex Theatre, as apart of the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival. This production starred Aly French and Nate Aylworth as Cathy Hyatt and Jamie Wellerstein, the show’s struggling couple. This has to be one of my favorite pieces of musical theatre and I came into this show knowing every word to every song and memorized every comedic beat and dramatic moment off the CD. I thought I knew every thing there was to know about this story, but I was taken off guard by the originality of this production. The use of the space and the actors in between each other’s songs was a treat to watch. Nate Aylworth’s voice shined in JRB’s beautiful score, his infectious smile showed Jamie’s love of life but it was Aly French who really stole the show for me. Her focus in this character was beautiful and I couldn’t stop watching her to see what new hilarious thing she was going to do next. Her songs “Summer in Ohio” and “I Can Do Better Than That” were side splitting due to her precise comedic timing and her arsenal of faces. Her transformation from the “end” of the show as a shell of a woman in love “Still Hurting” to the “beginning” as a woman who’s heart is completely open and hopeful for a better life “Goodbye Until Tomorrow” was heartbreaking. Although the technical aspect was lacking and the full sound of the score was decreased to just a solo piano, this heart-aching and emotion-punching show still did it’s job!

Taylor Wesselman is the 2012 Production Intern. He enjoys writing musicals in the shower, long walks at Disneyland and his favorite vegetable is pizza. When not interning, he spends his time trying to find his shadow.

Comical Experiments: 30 Minute Musicals and Pacific Conference

This week I have had the wonderful opportunity of attending the Hollywood Fringe Festival! In connection with that, I will be posting my findings throughout the weekend, focusing on the unique aspects of each show that are inspiring to me.

30 Minute Musicals was such a delight! First came the hilarious parody of the classic Jurassic Park movies in which my favorite character, the T-Rex, sang about his misfortune as a carnivore. This spectacular show reminded me of the days when my cousins and I would put on shows for our grandparents in our lving room. It came complete with homemade dinosaur costumes, dramatic intervention, classic tossed in jokes and mayhem. My first thoughts after experiencing this dino-tastic musical was: “why has this not been written before”. The script and lyrics honed in on everything missing in the film from spontaneous missing limbs, to the terrible solutions offered to escape the dino-land and songs! Although this production was lacking in high technical elements it truly captured the youthful energy of the audience and pulled us into the fun on stage. I appreciated that every ensemble member was working towards the main goal of the story. I can only imagine the collaboration meetings that went on to make this great show possible.

Next came Showgirls and in all honesty I was not quite as enthralled with this piece in the same way, but I also did not realize that it was a parody of the 1995 film. This is the story of a country girl climbing her way into the Vegas limelight, so naturally I saw Coyote Ugly and Burlesque images in my head. After going home and researching this movie, I concluded that this show was indeed hilarious in its own fashion! Lindsay Ray, playing Nomi, captured the essence of this character’s many quirks while highlighting her own singing and dancing talents. I enjoyed the attention to detail that this show entailed including the awkward “sexy” dance moves of the 90’s and the wacky style. Again, the cast depended on each other and cohesively put on a great show.

The actors and musicians were having a blast during both of these shows, which reflected in the audience’s laughter and response. This ensemble worked well using their strengths to highlight each other and I was greatly entertained, so it is a win-win show.

Pacific Conference featured around a snobby aussie bloke signing a deal with a new american movie. It was funny to recognize the changes these american business men made when dealing with the Australian actor in order to make him feel more comfortable, like de-professionalizing their clothing and using terms such as “bloke”. These types of adjustments may seem highly stereotypical, but in many cases very true. Having lived there myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the use of the quirky down-under terms. Although the aussie accent is always a win in my opinion, the show relied on general stereotypes of international businessmen, from the sex crazed Indian to the bigoted American and the baffled Middle Eastern. I would have enjoyed a bit more realism from the characters or at least solid plot. It was a funny sketch about working in a mixed ethnicity environment, but overall lacked in the ingenuity I was looking for in a fringe show. Often times when a project is first starting out, many of these things become apparent when put in front of an audience. This particular show strives off of it’s Saturday Night Live sketch feel. In saying that, I respect the playwright and director Christofer Frey for putting up this show and seeing where it can take off!

Anna Hodgson is the 2012 Communication Intern. When not communicating, she is either managing the stage, dreaming up fabulous direction, organizing dusty props or making messes in her kitchen baking delicious goodies.

Art Entrepreneurship and it’s Importance

In an industry where you are your career and your name and reputation could win or cost you a job, there has been an uprising of entrepreneurial activity in the art and theatre world. A surge of web series, YouTube caricatures and original works have hit the scene and these are just among the few creations that have stemmed from the desire to create fresh and compelling art.

Entrepreneurship. What exactly does that mean? According to BusinessDictionary.com, it means “The capacity and willingness to undertake conception, organization, and management of a productive venture with all attendant risks, while seeking profit as a reward.” But what does this mean for you? Why is this important? According to the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship, “Small businesses play a major role in the vitality of our economic landscape…they account for half of the United States private gross domestic product, employ more than half of all workers in the U.S alone, and have provided 60 to 80 percent of the new jobs in the economy. There is simply no reason that the arts cannot be a vibrant part of the development of rebuilding the future of America.” Your art is important and there is a desperate need for it, especially Christian art, from people of faith whose mission is to speak truth through their art.

In the field of theater and the arts, sometimes the only way to get work is to make the work yourself. We are basically selling ourselves and the process of creating your own work is an experience that is priceless. It is important to be a creator of art. Art that is your own and original because you have the ability to share your unique perspective and how you see and experience the world. I had the privilege of seeing Lina Alfinito’s one woman show, Confessions of the World’s Worst Missionary, at the Hollywood Fringe Festival (HFF). To be able to listen to her story and get a glimpse of her experiences was so incredibly raw and passionate that it moved me to tears. If Ms. Alfinito didn’t take the time and the risk of  creating this show, audience members at HFF wouldn’t have had the same experience I did. I wouldn’t have known, in the same amount of detail that this show provided, about the issues that are still prevalent in South Africa. There will always be a need for storytelling and it is important that we as students start telling our stories. Good stories. We have the power to move, inspire, or give some amount of clarity to just one person.

Although the desire may be, at first, to have an outlet for one’s creativity, the long term dream is to turn your hobby into your career. And why can’t you? There are thousands of people doing just that, some even coming from right where you are. APU. Check back later to read alumni interviews and success stories.

Check out more info at: http://blog.entrepreneurthearts.com/

Taylor Wesselman is the 2012 Production Intern. He enjoys writing musicals in the shower, long walks at Disneyland and his favorite vegetable is pizza. When not interning, he spends his time trying to find his shadow.

An Unexpected Surprise: My Sydney Fringe Experience

After glancing through the Sydney Fringe Festival catalogue, my friend decided that Courtesan Remixed, After La Dame Aux Camelias was going to be my introduction into this wonderful world. I did not know quite what to expect until we pulled up to the door of the building. See, I thought we were headed to a night of classy theatre, like the Sydney Theatre Company to see a professional show. Alas, this being a fringe show, my thoughts of what the evening would look like were shattered quite quickly.

This show was not in some fancy thousand seater, three tiered, red curtain auditorium, but on the fifth floor of a very well used industry building decorated with artistic graffiti complete with a tiny dungeon-like elevator. After following some people through a few hallways and outdoor walkways, we finally arrived at the small studio in which the show would take place. A sheer curtain, as to designate the performance space from the waiting lounge area, divided this one room flat. By this point, I may have been freaking out a little bit, but had faith that everything would soon make sense.

The curtain was lifted after everyone has arrived and the show was to begin. Bridgid Dolan began with a description of her show, her inspiration La Dame Aux Camelias a French play about Marguerite Duplessis Gautier, and a glass of wine! From that moment on, what was not to love? Brigid took this opportunity to highlight her variety of talents including fire performance, belly dancing, acrobatics, glass walking and love for visual effects. This one-woman one act portrayed the life of the French courtesan while demonstrating and showcasing the actor’s many talents.

After leaving the studio pleasantly surprised, and more relaxed having, I survived my first fringe. These types of shows allow artists to let out their passions and share their love of theatre with other passionate and talented people. Fringe creates community and sparks new works safely netted in a creative environment. It allows for producers, writers, designers, actors and the like to collaborate all within two to six weeks and create inspiration. Without passion, creative genius, community and drive these shows would no be possible. This one show helped me see the beauty in art for arts sake- and I love that!

Anna Hodgson is the 2012 Communication Intern. When not communicating, she is either managing the stage, dreaming up movement and images for direction, organizing dusty props or making messes in her kitchen baking delicious goodies.

Top 10 Fringey Facts, Part Two

  1. Use all resources to advertise! Word of mouth is your friend! You want an audience! You want there to be an overflow for tickets but that won’t happen if you don’t get your show out there and on everyone’s lips. Take advantage of everything (production interns/Facebook/YouTube/twitter/posters/family/friends etc)
  2. Organization and Discipline. Don’t let deadlines pile up. Have discipline to get done what needs to get done. Keep records, file everything so that you can track your process and can go back and find anything at any time.
  3. Don’t waste any one’s time. Always have a tight schedule to follow for maximum efficiency. Have a set schedule for your rehearsals, your production meetings, and script/show deadlines. Never have down time, always put your team and cast first.
  4. Your work is never done till the show is over! Just because the script is done, the show is blocked, and your show is flowing well, never stop working on it. There are always improvements.
  5. Take a breath every once and awhile. Never stress, this is a fun experience! Being a producer is hard work but remember that your only human. We all need to rest and breathe. If you don’t set aside time to relax and take a break, your show will suffer.

More Tips for putting on a Fringe show from the audience perspective.

Taylor Wesselman is the 2012 Production Intern. He enjoys writing musicals in the shower, long walks at Disneyland and his favorite vegetable is pizza. When not interning, he spends his time trying to find his shadow.