Together with other community entities, Actors’ Mission will sponsor an important community event. On June 5th (7 PM at the Broadway Theater), AM actors will join others from the community in a dramatic enactment of a mock trial of Joe McCarthy and two other Senators involved in the events surrounding the suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt in 1954.
Last month in Cheyenne, an important community commemoration took place 59 years after Hunt’s suicide. Roger McDaniel, author of Dying for Joe McCarthy’s Sins: The Suicide of Wyoming Senator Lester Hunt organized a dramatic “mock trial” of the senators who may have been responsible for hounding Hunt to death. Sweetwater B.O.C.E.S., the Sweetwater County Library Foundation, and Actors’ Mission will mount a similar production here in Rock Springs.
Congratulations to the following AM actors cast in the Hunt Mock Trail event:
- Donovan Rawlings will play famed 1950′s journalist DREW PEARSON.
- Mark Chollak, new to AM, will play his hero and fellow Wyoming historian T. A. LARSON.
- John Hastert, Wyoming State Senator and newly seasoned AM actor, will play famed UW Athletic director RED JACOBY.
- Brad Russell, AM’s politically savy Treasurer and AM veteran, will play a key political functionary during the McCarthy Era ROY OLSON.
- Victoria Hicks, Natalia Carney, and Ann Maria Mattila have volunteered to be JURORS.
- Danielle Thompson and Katie Chollak will assist with the after event discussion led by Chris Kennedy and assist in other ways.
- Dave Gutierrez will coordinate/direct AM’s part in the performance.
- The group will meet every Tuesday until performance (June 5, Broadway Theater) at 7 PM at the AM Theater located in the Elks. The meetings are open to all parties interested in assisting with the mock trail.
So apparently it’s time to blog. I have dutifully viewed Aaron’s videos and have communicated with him via email and text. With Aaron’s steadying hand, I carefully step upon my newly provided soap box and embark upon yet another phase of my Actor’s Mission experience. That, my friends, is the subject of my “portmanteau of the term web log” which is a definition of the word “blog”.
There has been much discussion among the Actor’s Mission faithful about bringing new people into our group. Fresh faces and talents to help keep the Mission from becoming too “in-bred”. As my good friend Dave Gutierrez once said, using the same actors over and over turns us into an acting troupe, not necessarily the best thing for community theater. Reality is that the same directors tend to cast the same people because they are familiar and comfortable with the ability of actors they have worked with before. And frankly, it’s difficult to find new people willing or able to make a committment to the arts. The thing we have to realize, and encourage is the fact that becoming involved with our jolly family is actually GOOD for people. Case in point: Me.
A couple of years ago, I would never have imagined that I would be a part of community theater. Though I had stage experience with my comedy act, I viewed theater productions as something best left up to the high school drama department. There was also the fact that most people involved in my previous profession view interest in community theater or the arts in general as somewhat “unmanly”. Circumstance then led me “out of my box” so to speak.
Once upon a time, I met a girl. It just so happened that community theater was her “thing”. (Dang, I am using alot of “quotes”). One day at lunch, she asked me if I would help her run lines as she was cast in the production of “Beauty of the Father”. I looked over the script, got the back story and me being me, I read the lines in my best spanish accent, which was probably more mexican than spanish. A couple of days later, she asked if I would help during rehearsals by reading one of the parts. The production was having problems, she said. One of the actors had stopped showing up and the director was going to have to fill in somehow. And it was getting close to tech week! Tech week! What the hell was tech week? I had no idea but I wanted to spend more time with HER so I went to rehearsals. Just read the part they said, that’s all we need. The director is going to play the part of Lorca the ghost by speaking dialog into a microphone from off stage. Next thing I know, I’m the one reading lines from off stage. Then I was told “Ya know, your character really has to be on stage at the beginning of the play to deliver a few lines. Just so the whole thing makes sense.” A few lines turned into several pages of lines. Then they decided that my character really had to deliver a few lines at the end of the play, just so it all made sense.
So there I was. On stage, in costume, wearing make up, which included GUY LINER, playing the role of a dead homo sexual poet. I had stepped far away from my box and entered a world filled with the craziest sons a bitches I had ever met in my life. I won’t name you all, you know who you are. The whole point is that I have met people I would never have met before, become friends with people I probably would never have spoken to before and experienced things I would certainly never have experienced before. The Actor’s Mission experience has enriched my life in many ways not to mention the fact that my plan to score points with HER worked like a charm.
So the next time we talk about how bringing new people into our group will benefit the Actor’s Mission, don’t forget how much we are doing for them as well. And learn from my example. Sometimes we have to lure people out of their box and into ours. It might take a little work but with the right bait . . .
Today only! Today’s matinee is your last chance to see the crazy funny “Insane With Power”, directorial debut of Tony Hills. Get there early. Seats have been filling before food service even begins. A funny show for the whole family, what’s not to love? Don’t find yourself saying, “I wish I could have seen that one”. Get down to the Elk’s Lodge today and say, “It was so good!” instead.
The matinee begins at 2:00 pm with food service beginning at 1:00 pm.
This is just a quick reminder to our patrons that there is a performance of “Insane With Power” tonight, Thursday the 16th, in lieu of the performance originally scheduled for Saturday the 18th. Tonight’s performance takes place at the usual time, 7:00 pm with a complimentary dinner served one hour before.
Are you a writer? Has a piece of theatrical genius been languishing in your desk drawer, patiently (or impatiently) waiting for someone to realize its genius and produce it? Do you live in the state of Wyoming? If you answered yes to the above questions then you’ll be happy to know that Actors’ Mission is once again putting out the call for local and regional playwrights to submit original scripts to the AM readers’ committee to be considered for the 2014 season.
Ever since the first original performed by AM, Sharon Dolan’s “Terms of Surrender”, original scripts have been a part of the AM script line-up. As part of the theater’s ongoing mission to encourage its own diversity and growth by supporting the arts in many forms, original scripts play an important role. The readers’ committee is always on the look-out for exciting new originals, be they comedies, dramas or anything in between.
Four originals have been performed to date by Actors’ Mission: the aforementioned “Terms of Surrender” by Sharon Dolan, a historical piece about Sweetwater County performed in its actual historical setting of the old train depot. “Pariah”, a drama about a veteran of war, by Donovan Rawlings. “Mother’s Day” a comedy/drama about the relationship between mothers and daughters by Nina Kessner and “The Geography of Heaven”, a drama about the light and dark sides of faith and the healing power of mercy, also by Nina Kessner. A fifth original, “Behind Stone Masks”, a historical-fiction/Drama set in Nazi Germany, by Aaron Volner, is set to be produced this fall.
With that kind of variety in original works being produced by the Actors’ Mission, won’t your piece fit right in?
Submissions from any part of the state of Wyoming are welcome. All submissions must be completed works. Actors’ Mission will assume all production costs and offer a fully staged production of any selected original scripts in lieu of royalty fees. For more information on how to submit your original script contact Actors’ Mission via Facebook, the Contact Us page, or by leaving a comment on this post. Direct your messages to Nina Kessner, the current Vice President of Actors’ Mission and head of the readers’ committee.
Hey everyone, Aaron here! I was just thinking about the second weekend of performances for “Insane With Power” coming up in a few days. Isn’t having two weekends of performance great? Obviously the answer to that question is yes, but I wonder if our audiences realize what it is that makes second weekends so great? To sum it up in a single word; fear.
After a grueling weekend under the hot lights before a full house, the actors are tired, their bodies slumping, their minds feeling like bowls of well-cooked oatmeal. That’s okay because they’re feeling accomplished and invigorated as well. “We got through it! The first weekend is done! Now we can relax and enjoy our second set of performances!”
Or can they?
Maybe it’s a few minutes after curtain call, maybe it’s the next day, but inevitably it happens. A line escapes. Just like that, one of the hundreds of lines they’ve spent eight grueling weeks memorizing and perfecting flutters out of their brain like a hummingbird and cannot be summoned back with any effort of will. “No problem,” the actor thinks, “It’s just one line. I’ll look it up in the script and refresh my memory and everything will be fine.”
Or will it?
The actor opens their script, they find the line, they breathe a sigh of relief as it settles back into place, ready to be spoken at the appropriate moment. Then it happens. Another line of dialogue vanishes from the actor’s mind. They look it up, and another disappears. Before you know it lines are vanishing faster than the actor can replenish them and the terror begins to set in. Terror of a crappy second weekend.
Furiously the cast sets to work, pouring over their scripts as if it were the first week of rehearsal; jamming lines into their brains like a starving man shoving food into his pockets. Soon they begin calling each other, each realizing they fatally dropped a line and didn’t even know it, each desperate to prevent the mishap from occurring again. A frantic discussion of when and where mistakes might have occurred ensues. The director rolls his or her eyes as the cast suddenly wakes up to mistakes they’ve been making for weeks during rehearsal and which the director has long since given up trying to fix.
Typically the cast reaches this point about twelve hours after curtain call on Monday morning.
Things escalate. The next few days are a caffeine powered marathon of studying the likes of which would put any graduate student to shame. Finally, the night before the second weekend opens they collapse into their beds and fall into a temporary coma, haunted by a conviction that they will single handedly ruin the entire production for everyone the next night.
A miraculous thing happens on that first night of the second weekend though. No lines are dropped. No stumbles are made. Energy is up and everything comes together without a hitch. The terror has run its course and the production is the better for it.
So come experience the actors’ fear for yourself, by laughing yourself silly at the terrified cast of “Insane With Power” Thursday night at seven. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Not that you need any extra incentive to go see this wonderfully funny production, but here’s some reactions we’re seeing on Facebook to the opening night of “Insane With Power”
“Proud as can be of Director Tony DaMan and his “super” amazing cast and crew. Stellar opening night for “Insane with Power” by Scott Haan! What a great audience and what a good time they had, almost as much fun as the actors on stage! All right, if you don’t come out for this show, you are terminally a deadhead! Why deny yourself? Some hearty laughter is just what you need! This show is going to have a HUGE word-of-mouth turnout! Better come early and come often!” - Dave Gutierrez
“The word hilarious doesn’t quite do justice to “Insane With Power”. Go see it!” - Aaron Volner
“It’s so funny. I loved it! Will have to see it again, definitely.” - Danielle Thompson
“Hats or I guess “capes” off to the amazing cast of the Actor’s Mission production of Insane With Power!! I couldn’t stop laughing and u wont either!! Don’t miss this great show!! Debbie Jensen, Zachary Gomez, Hailey Redden and the rest of the cast rocked it!! SUPER job ” - Claire Schaefer
“Success, brilliance, hilarity. Good job, Tony Jay Hills, Kc Bozner Hills, and a wonderful cast of lesbians, legislators, and lofty thespians! (I think just one lesbian and 1 legislator…uh….you never know).” - Nina Kessner
With reviews like this, how can anyone resist coming to this show! Did you see opening night? Tell us what you thought in the comments!
Look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s opening night of “Insane With Power”! Tonight is your first chance to see a hilarious comedy, the directorial debut of lifelong comic book fan and Actors’ Mission member Tony Hills. Don’t worry, there are five other performances as well. Wondering what this play by Scott Haan is all about? Here’s the Actor’s Mission blurb to get you interested:
The Stanley J. Kirby Psychiatric Hospital is an unusual facility, as journalist Lois Lancaster is about to discover, dedicated to patient care with minimal oversight and security. More unusual are its colorful patients; self-proclaimed superheroes such as Dim Bulb, who has the amazing power to turn off lights by clapping his hands. As Lois delves deeper into the strange claims of the ‘guests’ at Kirby she not only finds the story of a lifetime, but a lot more than she bargained for.
Still need convincing? Then come for the food! As always, there will be a complimentary dinner served one hour before each performance! Missing this play would be downright crazy, so if you’re in the Rock Springs/Green River area or anywhere in Sweetwater County, then be sure to head down to the Elk’s Lodge for “Insane With Power”.
Actors’ Mission is considering the possibility of creating a cookbook of recipes served at our shows over the years as a way of raising money for the theater. We’ve served some delightful meals over the years, all lovingly prepared by goodhooded folks in the community who would no doubt love to share them with you and yours. Would you buy such a cookbook? Comment on this post or respond on Facebook and let us know!
AM’s web-master has tagged me to be the newest blogger on Actors’ Mission’s NEW WEBSITE. According to Aaron Volner’s master plan, several of us are going to cycle through a regimented schedule of regular postings. And, if you know Aaron, this system is going to be well-oiled! So it’s a little late (but still almost on time); here goes…
WHAT’S NEW? Well, quite a bit actually.
In case, you haven’t heard, we are about to begin tech week for our NEW SHOW, our 41st production: “Insane with Power” by Scott Haan. Keeping with the comic book theme, this play is going to be SUPER, a MARVEL, an EPIC! Tony Jay Hills, our comic-book-obsessed but bright new director, has been waiting for such a play as this to come around ever since he was old enough to put on a cape. And Tony has recruited a crazed assortment of madcap players, both veterans and newcomers (as well as his capable wife and cute-as-can-be kids) to pull it off! Yes, there will “super powers” to amaze and bemuse and manic antics on a super colossal scale right there on our stage and, for those of you in a more mundane mindset, there will be men (and ladies) in tights (or more accurately pajama bottoms)!
“Insane with Power” will open this Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 9, 10 and 11, and the following week as well. NEW IS A CHANGE IN A PERFORMANCE DATE the second week: the play will run evenings Thursday and Friday, May 16 and 17 but NOT Saturday. There will also be a Sunday matinee on May 19 at 2 p.m.
What else is new? How about some NEW DIRECTORS! AM has made an effort over the last year to find ways to mentor, develop and train new directors. Last fall during “The Witching Hour,” Christina Magagna and Danielle Thompson apprenticed with Kirsten to become directors-in-waiting. Now, so far this season, two green directors, Jerry Val Evans and Tony Jay Hills, have had their Actors’ Mission debut. The advantages should be obvious. New people, new ideas, new directions! I am proud of the “The Shape of Things” and “Insane with Power” for bringing something fresh (and dare I say young) to our stage. Go AM! Go, you beamish young guns!
Speaking of new! Want to be involved in deciding NEW SEASONS? Yes, that’s 2014 and 2015 (we’re beyond “Back to the Future” here)! Well, Nina Kessner, our frisky new V.P., is heading up the Readers’ Committee now. Therefore, there’s bound to be plenty of good-hooded fun involved. It’s important work for AM, and you can volunteer!
Reminds me, it’s been a year since I directed Nina’s original script “The Geography of Heaven”! What a great undertaking and a wonderful original script! That was a NEW PLAY, folks, never seen any place but here! Another original is next on our docket, Aaron’s “Behind Stone Masks” this Fall. Why not submit a new play of your own to Readers’ Committee?
NEW DIRECTIONS is a topic very much on your board’s collective mind lately. In June, we plan a retreat to refocus on our mission and current state with an eye toward future undertakings and hopeful new directions! We are going into a challenging period in our history as we evaluate what we have so far accomplished (a lot) and just how far we want to carry things into the future.
Well, that’s enough “new” for this not so new guy!
Hey, here is something new to end with! What about some NEW FACES! To pull off what we wish to pull off for Actors’ Mission, we need to get more new, talented people on board! High energy, a propensity for fun and good times, and untapped skills and creativity are needed! Could that be you?
Actors’ Mission President