It’s been about a month since I’ve blathered on and on for this blog, and there is beyond plenty to talk about. I want to thank the sweet friends and fans that have let me know that they “miss the AZ Journal entries”. Soroya and I were pretty consistent in posting and were excited to share our new adventure and had time to- whereas the Company blog can be a little difficult to update sometimes. Not that we don’t want to update- we freaking do, and we’ll ALWAYS try to do it once a week- but when you’re in the middle of producing/performing in productions sometimes it gets hard. But blah blah blah, this isn’t a blog about blogs. This is a blog about the great work we get to do, so excuse my excuses and let’s carry on.
So for those that don’t really follow anything we do online- I am currently playing a big part in Soroya Rowley & Andrew Steele's musical “No Place Like Home” at the beautiful OB Playhouse. We have two weekends of performances left, and I really hope you get a chance to catch it. I love the piece, and I think Soroya has done such an exceptional job writing/staging it, and Andrew is my new hero for providing an incredible soundtrack to sing with and the expertise in training us to do so beautifully. And while the subject may be bleak- the story is uplifting, and often quite charming from our audience’s standpoint.
The other day, a friend asked me “What do you like more: writing, directing, or acting in your companies’ work?” He had gathered that since I hadn’t really been on stage in over a year that my preference must be writing/directing. But honestly, I don’t think I have a favorite. If you ask most Theatre professionals in the business, this might be the wrong way to be a Theatre artist. I should figure out what one thing I want and do THAT. Well nuts to that. I don’t agree. Especially when it comes to Community-Based Theatre. I want to do it all, damnit. I love all of it, it’s all important- I want to do it all.
And to me THAT’S what makes Circle’s work exciting. For the past 3 years I have taken on the role of mostly writing/directing for our company. But as long as I am participating I feel fulfilled. As long as I take some part in telling the important stories of the community members that were brave enough to share…I am working towards my personal mission as an artist, which is to simply provide a voice, and a conversation to a different aspect of life. I don’t need to be in charge…I just need to be involved.
When Soroya asked me to play Daisy in “No Place Like Home” I felt excitement and fear. It’s the fear part that’s telling me I’m doing the right things…if you don’t feel that fear it’s safe. Safe art is dead art.
Community-Based Theatre is not like the theatre you’re used to, and it’s very rarely safe. Our work is ever-evolving, ever-changing, and no matter how “unrealistic” a plot may seem to you when you watch our shows- its main foundation is based in truth! Our pieces aren’t asking our audiences to decide if what our characters have done/are doing is right or wrong- its simple goal is to say “THIS is happening in our world. What do you think about it?” And to allow that question to sink into you while we take a story on with entertaining qualities that help aide in the telling of it- puppetry, dance, surrealism, and now a musical- we’ll do whatever it takes to tell a story. Our shows are not laced in years of rewrites. Our pieces are not historical vessels that are part of the theatrical cannon that represent the wealthy white male voice of the past. Our pieces are immediate, relevant to NOW, and hopefully to you- our audience. Because of this, whatever role I get to play in CCdd’s work- I am a fulfilled artist.
“No Place Like Home” has a dynamo cast of incredible talent- and I’m not biased because I’m in it. Taylor Wycoff can sing anyone under a table and plays her role Mary with delicacy and love. Patrick Kelly is a beast as Gabe. I get a front row seat to his killer solo “Telemarketing”, and every night I want to stand and cheer for his performance. Michael Nieto is quickly becoming one of CCdd’s favorite people with his ability to jump into anything, and for ‘No Place…’ he plays 3 instruments, and several characters with strength and guile. Stacey Hardke is new to the CCdd world, and we hope she never leaves; she’s a star and a scene-stealer with her fabulous choices and mad accordion skills. Andrew Steele is a rock star God simple as that. He deserves our worship. And Jon Huckaby, one of the best people I know on earth, also manages to be a fantastic singer/actor, and is getting the much-deserved critical acclaim to show for it.
And then there is me. Wedged into the work and trying to catch up. I’m breathless and sweaty, and feel like a ridiculous person next to this talented crew- but that’s my dusty actor insecurities talking. I love doing this. I love this show.
Soroya Rowley has killed it in her directorial debut. I still can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be a part of it. Or lucky enough to have this magical company where I get to do what I’ve always wanted as an artist in the first place. My heart is happy. My spirit is souring. “No Place Like Home” and its beautiful messages are to thank. Please come see. We hope you love what we’re doing as much as we do.
Artistic Director, CCdd