Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So. Art. The visual kind.

Drawing, I suppose, was my first artistic expression. I guess it's probably everyone's. My mother tells me that I stopped all visual art expression when I was in eighth grade, after my art teacher at school told me I was "doing it wrong." It took me until college to pick it up again, but by then I'd been seized by the Theatre Monster, and anything non-performance-related was relegated to the back burner. I did occasionally find time to make jewelry and sew and decoupage, but all in fits and starts.
This fall, during Carrie, I found myself surrounded by people who art pretty much all day, every day. I have other friends who are visual artists, but I don't go to their house after a show and sing or paint until all hours of the morning. So I became inspired again. I started carrying around a sketch book. I drew almost every day. I posted some photos on Facebook.
And a crazy thing happened. Someone commissioned art from me. And paid me. Then someone else did too, only they wanted something bigger.
Memo line of my first art sale
So, here are a few photos of the things I've been working on recently. Let me know if you want to own one. Or more than one, even. Because all the cool kids are doing it.
Heidi Heidi Heidi OH!  -  Sold
Taped Before a Live Audience  -  Sold
Spring is Sure to Follow  -  Sold
Press Conference 
Immediate Lemonade

Hidden in This Picture

This is my arm, and it is not for sale.

Friday, March 21, 2014

"Variations on a Theme"

In January, Heidi Van asked me if I'd be interested in presenting a reading of a short play (60 minutes) at her space, The Fishtank Performance Studio, for her series called Spring Shorts. I jumped at the chance.
Then I pondered, with my partner Bryan, what to do. There was less than two months before the performance date, so we were considering doing something that was already finished, or at least started. Writing a new play was out. No time.
But then Bryan suggested putting together a play that was several short scene that were variations on a theme, so there would be minimal writing. I changed that up a bit, and within three days, I was writing a new play.
Because, of course, I knew there was no time to write a new play. But there I was, typing away.
Seized by a wave of inspiration, I cranked out 28 pages in three days. Then, my brain breaks screeched to a stop. It took me awhile to get going again, but within a couple of weeks, I had the first draft of (duh) Variations on a Theme.
The play consists of two actors portraying different characters in fifteen short scenes that all begin and end with the same few lines, and carry a common theme (well, of course). It was read by the incomparable Teri Adams and Parry Luellen to a crowd of thousands (the Fishtank seats about 50).
There was a talkback afterward, where the audience asked me various questions such as why I was moved to write it, how much we rehearsed, and if I had a favorite scene. There was also a heated discussion between audience members about whether it was "too long" or "perfect the way it is," that sort of thrilled me. It's nice when a work you've created gets people riled up.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Project Pride

Back row, from left: Amanda Tilden, Josh Metje, Izze Loos, Martin Tomlinson.
Front row, from left: Leanna Varney, Christian Williamson, Claire Davis, Leah Brownlee.
Recently, I had the extraordinary good fortune to participate in the development of a performance piece with the brand-new LGBTIA-and-straight-allied teen theatre troupe, Project Pride. The Coterie Theatre's Education Director, Amanda Kibler, started it, and I elbowed my way in. (Just kidding. I only begged.)
As I believe I've mentioned in previous posts, devising theatre is the direction that my passion is taking, and working with LGBTIA youth is high up on my list of priorities. For months, we worked together (with co-director Zac Parker) to develop a show that was, at once, hilarious, touching, angering, and inspiring.
On March 8, we had our only performance (this year), with a pre-show by The Pride Players from Omaha. The audience was large, and receptive. They laughed, they hooted and hollered, they cried. I burst into proud tears at curtain call.
These teens (including my amazifying niece) are gorgeous examples of love, beauty, passion, collaboration, communication, and acceptance. The future looks bright.