Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Busy Month Ahead at Theatre Charlotte

Looking ahead into the month of April, it seems that the Theatre Charlotte calendar is basically littered with special events. As a staff member, it’s a little scary to see something different going on pretty much every Friday and Saturday for an entire month, but it’s also exciting and definitely gives us a lot to look forward to (including, but not limited to, the month of May which will mostly be taken up by our final production of the season, Smoke on the Mountain).

Here’s a rundown of what’s going on in April:
This weekend – April 9-10 – 24 Hour Theatre Project
Next weekend – Friday, April 16th – just do it “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word”
Saturday, April 17th – Junior Cabaret
The following weekend – Friday, April 23rd – Helen Kearney Konen’s Actor’s Studio Showcase
Saturday, April 24th – Volunteer Work Day for Smoke on the Mountain (10am – 1pm)
Saturday, April 24th – Charlotte Film Society “Nothing but the Truth” (7:30pm)

So, we’re got a pretty busy month ahead. In order to keep everyone filled in on every event we have this month, I’ll try to post a blog to tell you more about each of these events. For now, here’s more information about this weekend’s event, the 24 Hour Theatre Project, and a personal story about my participation in this crazy day at the theatre!
The 24 Hour Theatre Project is a really fun, unpredictable, and slightly off-the-wall event. Once a standard event for BareBones Theatre Group, this project now finds a new home at Theatre Charlotte with the help and expertise of Jim Yost, one of BareBones founders. Here’s how the event works: At 8:00pm on Friday night, April 9, 6 playwrights - Vito Abate, Matt Cosper, Bryce Cyrier, Kirk Dickens, Emma Gutt, Peter Smeal – will get a theme or some sort of starting point that they will then use to each write a 10 minute play in less than 12 hours. Then, Saturday morning, 6 directors - Jillian Claire, Robert Haulbrook, Parker Horn, Ben McCarthy, Julie Strassel, and Greta Zandstra – will receive copies of those plays, audition actors, rehearse the plays, and then present them at 8:00pm on Saturday, April 10.

A few years ago, my husband and I took on the task of writing one of the plays for the 24 Hour Theatre Project. This made for one of the longest nights of my life! Our “theme” was to choose one of two pre-selected Shakespearean sonnets (neither of which we really understood). We spent the first few hours just trying to come up with an idea of what the play could be about. When we finally settled on something - a play written in reverse, starting at the end and then ending at the beginning – we spent the rest of the night frantically writing, writing too much, adding too many characters, and then trying to cut back to stay within the time and character limits. Finally, we just had to cross our fingers, press print, and turn in our play. I spent the next 12 hours stressed out that our jumbled mess of a play wouldn’t make any sense and would turn out terribly. I desperately wanted to go talk to the director and explain the script to him, but playwrights were not allowed in the rehearsal space. So we waited. Finally, it was showtime. Our play actually turned out MUCH better than we expected, making the whole nerve-wracking experience totally worth it! Hopefully this year’s writers, directors, actors, and audience members will have just as much fun as we did a few years ago!

Want to be a part of the 24 Hour Theatre Project? Come to auditions at 9:00am this Saturday, April 10th.
Want to come to the 24 Hour Theatre Project? Tickets are $10 and are available at the door starting at 7:00pm on Saturday.

More info: http://www.theatrecharlotte.org/24hour.htm

Meet Ellis - our new Marketing intern

Hello everyone, I would like to start by saying Theatre Charlotte is the “bomb.com.” Next, I would like to introduce myself. My names Ellis Lloyd and I am a senior at Johnson & Wales, with an Associates degree in Business Administration studying to get my Bachelors degree in Marketing. I am currently interning in the marketing department of Theatre Charlotte and having a lot of fun working with such a wonderful staff. I also feel privileged to promote such high quality and downright good plays. I work behind the scenes with Mrs. Jackie Timmons to spread the word of these phenomenal experiences that they provide the community. I really do not have any previous Theatre experience but I do enjoy the experience as well as the atmosphere. So come on down, purchase a ticket bring the family and join us here at Theatre Charlotte and become part of the family.

Friday, March 26, 2010


When searching for a nice rain jacket or hiking shoes, you might look for something that is water proof. The same goes for fabrics and building materials, only there the term you are looking for is fire-proof. Well, in theatre we have what is called actor proofing.

Actor proofing refers to the act of making the set, costumes or props safe and durable for actors to handle and use time and time again throughout the run of a show. Sounds boring, but is certainly a challenge that those in technical theatre deal with time and time again. When it works, it is a thing of beauty and believe me, no one notices. When it doesn't work, it often leaves audiences gasping and chatting about it well after they should have reinvested their time into what is happening on stage. Actor proofing is time consuming and expensive and definitely has an impact on how things are made or used.

So how about some examples so this makes a little more sense. An actor slams a door shut and the next thing you know, a statue falls off the shelf in the next room. Or perhaps when that door is slammed, the walls on the set begin to sway back and forth for what seems like and eternity. In both instances, I promise you that members of the audience will suddenly turn their attention to the walls moving and the statue, now in a hundred pieces on the floor, instead of focusing on what the actors are now doing or saying. Inevitably, the talk at intermission isn't about how good the show is, it is about whether or not that statue was supposed to break. A few folks will be a nervous wreck thinking about the walls "coming down" and whether something will give the next time the door is shut.

Actor proofing can go a long way, but with limited resources, money, time and by nature of theatre being a temporary art form, it isn't always perfect or fool proof. We aren't setting walls in concrete, so there is always a chance of them moving when a door is slammed. By the way, it is possible to make a door look like it is being slammed without actually slamming it, it is called acting. Just because something like this happens, doesn't mean that someone didn't do his/her homework. If you can think of a way for something to go wrong, there is a good chance that someone, at some point in the run of a show can make you look the fool. It doesn't matter how many times that door has been slammed, in the heat of the moment under stage lights with the audience in the palm of his hand, that actor will take it upon himself to step it up a notch. As frustrating as it can be for the designer, TD, or technician who has spent countless hours trying to make something work consistently time and time again, at the end of the day...it's live theatre. Deep down I think people look forward to those moments when something goes wrong just to see how people will handle it. Not to mention it makes for a great story!

I hope this provides you with a little more insight into the backstage world of theatre. More glimpses to come down the road.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Introducing: Jessica the Intern

Hey, folks! I hope everyone is coming to see A Streetcar Named Desire. My name is Jessica Burroughs, and I'm an intern here at Theatre Charlotte. I'm also a Theatre minor at Queens University of Charlotte where I've worked both onstage and backstage. Mostly I've done props, costumes, and stage management, but I'm currently directing my senior project. My first time on stage was in kindergarten as the Narrator in “The Little Gingerbread Boy” (because I was the best reader in the class!). At Theatre Charlotte, I've been helping with some set construction, running lights at special events, and coordinating props for A Streetcar Named Desire. If I've played my cards right, I'll be graduating in May and on my way out into the real world. Since I love Charlotte, though, I'll be staying right here and taking whatever life tosses at me!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Charles LaBorde on A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire opens tonight at Theatre Charlotte!! To get everyone ready for the opening, here is the Director's Note from Charles LaBorde, the Director of this production, as well as some photos from the dress rehearsals! Hope to see you at the show!


Tennessee Williams was a gifted and tormented man who exorcised his demons through his writing. Never did he better explore the anguish that is life in a troubled soul than in this, his masterpiece. The lifelong quest for love and the striving to assuage the feelings of desire that accompany it have never been more hauntingly and painfully explored than in his portrait of the collapse of the great heroine of the American stage, Blanche Dubois. To help her on her fateful journey, he created three other characters — Stanley, Stella, and Mitch — who stand atop the pantheon of great roles in theatre. That he gave us all four characters in a single drama is an accomplishment that has awed and humbled all of us working to bring this play to you this evening. During the rehearsal period I told the cast that we should thank the genius that was Tennessee Williams for creating this work and thus, allowing us to share its beautiful perfection with you this evening. We are also grateful to Ron Law and Theatre Charlotte for having the courage to produce such a challenging and rewarding script. And we thank everyone of you for taking this difficult journey with us.

— Charles LaBorde

A Streetcar Named Desire

March 18-21; 24-28, 2010


tickets: 704-372-1000 or http://www.carolinatix.org/default.asp?tix=59&objId=1301

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Introducing: Lisa the Intern

Hello everyone my name is Lisa Shirley, I'm a drama major at Queens University of Charlotte and I am doing an internship with Theater of Charlotte. I have been into theater for about 7 years and love every minute of it! At Theater of Charlotte I help build sets for upcoming shows, I help with publicity for events, and any other little odds and ends that are asked of me. I have been in many shows including, "A Midsummer Nights Dream", "The Music Man", and most recently Alan Ball's " Five Women Wearing the Same Dress." I have also done children s theater with my favorite being the "Meet the Nicktoons" show I hosted at Carowinds for two summers. My favorite time on stage would have to be the summer of 2008 when Bryan Adams picked me out of the crowd to sing a song with him on stage, it was awesome! As for now I am working on graduating from Queens in December and plan on moving to Wilmington to try and break into the film industry.