Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beautiful Star Opens Friday, Dec. 4th

(Chip Johnson and Cinny Strickland as God and an angel.)
Beautiful Star, An Appalachian Nativity comes back for the fourth and final year for our holiday celebration.
Based on the Mystery Cycle plays from the Middle Ages, Beautiful Star tells many stories that culminate with the Nativity. It's written and directed by Preston Lane, and you will find it heart-warming and hilarious.

Also, if you haven't seen it yet, visit Preston's new blog!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Santaland Diaries in the UpStage Cabaret


The Santaland Diaries
by David Sedaris adapted by Joe Mantello

directed by Jim Wren
starring Jim Moscater

November 19 – December 19, 2009

"The cast and crew of Santaland Diaries put their hearts into the extremely difficult task of adapting a beloved holiday essay into a play, and pull it off with warmth, generosity and a large dose of the Christmas spirit."- YES! Weekly

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Talk backs for Oleanna

(Above is a photo from Technically Talking when we had the designers join us onstage along with the actors who are seated on the right.)

We will be having talk backs with the actors after every show throughout the run of OLEANNA. (We do, however, reserve the right to cancel a talk back if we must, but we hope that doesn't happen.)

The talk backs we have had thus far have been nothing but insightful and engaging.

It is true that OLEANNA sparks more questions than answers. Please join us for questions after you see the play.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Questions answered--from the actors.

Ginny Lee and Lee Spencer, the actors from Oleanna, answer questions asked by Drew Barker.

Ginny Lee

DB: Because it was first performed in 1992 and mislabeled an “issue play,” why do think Oleanna is still relevant for audiences today?

GL: Well, at the forefront recently we have the Sotormayor confirmation hearings, which are completely relevant. Not only that she is a woman, but a Latina who has openly expressed her opinion that with her experiences as a Latina woman she might be able to reach better conclusions than a white man.

I think this play will always be relevant, not only within the political realm or issues of sex, but because it speaks to the everyday trials we go through as human beings as far as power and miscommunication go (within the workplace, relationships, etc). It's inescapable.

DB: What do you remember from your first play ever?

GL: My first play - I was in Annie with the Ashe County Little Theatre when I was 4 yrs. old. My mom played Miss Hannigan and I was third nameless orphan from the left. I remember loving every thing about being there, and being a little jealous that I couldn't be in all the numbers. During rehearsal I would crawl onto a table during "It's a Hard Knock Life" and act like I was scrubbing the table, I think in hopes that someone would see how dedicated (and good) I was and put me in the number. Oh man, I had put that out of my memory, until just now. :)

DB: What was your favorite book in college?

I was reading tons of plays in college and I was blown away by Titus Andronicus. The audacity of the action, the images, and the language amazed me.

DB: Who was your favorite teacher and why?

The one that had the earliest impact on me was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Francis. I think why I loved her so, was because she engaged our imagination--there was a tree house in her room, I still remember the stories I wrote for her, she taught us about Egypt and the pyramids which was so magical to me, AND she came to class dressed as a witch on Halloween and even though we suspected it was her she wouldn't let on and played the role all day, even going as far to write in squiggly letters on the blackboard.


Lee Spencer

DB: Because it was first performed in 1992 and mislabeled an “issue play,” but why do think Oleanna is still relevant for audiences today?

LS: Good writing stands the test of time. The play is well crafted and the conflict is so emotionally charged on both sides that it continues to make for an intriguing, albiet uncomfortable for some, evening of theater. People fighting desperately for what they want, what they need, is at the heart of all great pieces and that is why all the great works continue to be performed. I would put David Mamet material in that category of great playwrights.

DB: What do you remember from your first play ever?

LS: My first play ever was Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House in high school. To be honest my only vivid memory is of walking onstage, saying these lines I had memorized, and hearing the audience laugh in response. The feeling is hard to describe but for better or worse I got the acting bug and have been unable to shake it for 30 years.

DB: What was your favorite book in college?

LS: My favorite book in college that was required reading was Uta Hagen's Respect for Acting --a sort of the Bible for all acting students at that time. My favorite non-required work I read at that time was and continues to be Of Human Bondage by Sommerset Maugham.

DB: Who was your favorite teacher and why?

LS: My favorite high school teacher was Dan Seaman because of his encouragement and his infectious love of the theater. My favorite college teacher was Thelma Carter at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, because of her tremedous support and encouragement in my abilities. My favorite acting coach from the L.A. years was Bob Morrissey, himself a full-time working character actor who instilled in me the thought that ultimately I have to be my own judge of my work, and to guide my own career because no one else will for me.


To find out more about this production of Oleanna click here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oleanna in Rehearsal and Tech

Oleanna by David Mamet has now entered tech/dress rehearsals at Triad Stage.
Lighting designer John Wolf intentionally evokes the look of a boxing ring because of the combative nature of the play.

Julie Allen runs the light board.

Kaylyn Lowe runs the sound board.

Ginny Lee talks to Preston Lane as Lee Spencer looks on.

Ginny Lee as Carol casts one of many dubious glances at her fellow actor playing John.

Lee Spencer as John wrangles with a telephone call. (The sound designer, David Smith, called the telephone a veritable 3rd character.)

A shot from the control booth.

"What do you want of me?"

There are many things in this play that raise tensions...


Lee Spencer plays John.

Ginny Lee plays Carol.

Preston Lane directs.


JOHN: ...that's my job don't you know...
CAROL: What is?
JOHN: To provoke you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, An Epilogue

The Paper Lantern Theatre Company of Winston-Salem organized a reading (one of over 150 readings done by theater companies all over the country) of
The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.
The reading was done at the Twin City Stage this past Monday, October 12, 2009.
YES! Weekly also ran a review for the event which you can read here.

The 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming captured the nation's attention. A month after Matthew's death, the members of Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie to record how this event affected the town. From their interviews, they wrote the play The Laramie Project, which has become one of the most performed plays in America in the last decade. The company later made the play into a film for HBO. The epilogue, Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, follows up on the tragic events of 1998 and includes the first interview with Matthew's mother, as well as the first interview with his killer. It also examines the lasting effects of such a crime on this small town in America. Tectonic Theatre has invited over 150 theaters, in all 50 states and across the globe, to participate in this one-night-only event simultaneously on October 12, the anniversary of Matthew's death.
(All photos by Kevin Davie.)
Amy da Luz, director that night and founding member of Paper Lantern Theatre Company, introduces the play.

Drew Rush center, Business Manager of Triad Stage, and Jeff West right (a sometimes actor of ours) read from the Laramie script.

(All photos by Kevin Davie.)

Our own Preston Lane also read that night as well.

At the end of the reading Molly McGinn played a wonderfully evocative song dedicated to Matthew Shepherd entitled "Scarecrow." Though the song was orginally written by Melissa Etheridge, Molly gave it her natural grit & passion and made it sound even better.

The whole night was affirmation of how telling American stories about can affect communites and the nation. Myths were debunked and voices were heard both with heartening and disheartening clarity concerning how hate crimes tear people apart and bring them together.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oleanna Preview

Check out our preview for OLEANNA that contains footage from when we performed it at An Appalachian Summer Festival this past July.

To link to our Triad Stage YouTube channel click here.

OLEANNA runs October 18th through November 8th. For more info click here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Board of Trustees meets @ the Shop

The Board of Trustees of Triad Stage met at our shop located off Swing Rd. in west Greensboro. Typically, the board meets at the theater downtown, but we wanted them to see where production team works & creates. They were able to meet most of the staff (who weren't loading in the Oleanna set) and tour the facilities. Many are sitting on chairs from the furniture stock we have out there, as well. The room you see them in now is the paint room where very large pieces of scenery can be painted and stored.

Christy Wright (production manager), Steven Box (director of sales & marketing), and Kathy Manning (vice-chair board member) look on as matters are discussed.

We had an invited artists panel to come talk to the board about being an artist at Triad Stage. Donna Bradby gestures as Krista Hoeppner and Beth Ritson look on.

Board members Hayes Clement, Ron Johnson, & Willie Taylor listen to the artists panel as Rich looks on.

Sherry Barr (director of audience services), Beth Ritson (actor), Donna Bradby (director & choreographer) and David Smith (sound designer).

The shop's main floor where sets are built in large pieces and then taken apart for transport and then loaded into the theater and put together onstage.

Managing Director Rich Whittington shares a little about the history of the shop as Christy Wright gets the board ready for a tour.

Board members listen as Christy Wright (production manager) describes how the departments work and how she has overseen tons of materials recycled or thrown away to in order to reorganize the shop.

Kelsey Hunt (resident costume designer & costume shop supervisor) explains how the costume stock is organized (by gender and decade).

Preston Lane (artistic director) and Kathy Manning (board vice-chair) make plans for future meetings. (Set pieces from our production of Streetcar Named Desire are seen in the background.)

One finds all kinds of interesting curios out in the shop. (I could not find out why we had this hanging around.)

Here is a colorful snapshot out at the shop of bolts of fabric used by props and costumes from everything from chairs to dresses .

Monday, September 21, 2009

PostScript for Picnic & Splendor in the Grass

We had our PostScript for Picnic last Thursday. This is where we invite the audience to ask questions of the actors' choices and experiences with the play. We always hear very funny and insightful comments from the cast. For example, the audience becomes enthralled so much with the exchange between Rosemary & Howard that people begin vocalizing suggestions to the actors such as, "Why don't you slap him?!"

We also regularly host the post-performance talkback in our Upstage Cabaret, where you can order soda, beer, or wine while you enjoy the talkback.

If you are interested in a season pass for the PostScript series click here.

(photos by Charles Howard)


We will also be showing Splendor in the Grass in our Upstage Cabaret on our 3rd floor. William Inge won an Oscar for this 1961 screenplay.

Price: $7.00
Date: Monday, September 21, 2009
Time: 7:30pm - 10:00pm
Location: Triad Stage's UpStage Cabaret
232 South Elm Street
Greensboro, NC

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And we're now on YouTube...

(Blogger has a limited format, to see it bigger go click here.)

AND we got a nice (and rare) review from Shane Hudson, theatre maven of NC.

His "Theatre North Carolina" blog is linked on the right.