“There is an enormous amount of space for further experimentation and I’ve found myself left with the desire to see what else is possible with the material.” -Eric Norcross
Today is the first installment of what I hope will be a useful new series for many of my readers. In an effort to expand my understanding of the craft of writing, directing & acting, I have taken to including live performance as part of my studies. I’ve been reading, watching and dissecting various plays, performances of such plays and the theater world as a whole, to better understand the medium. Youtube has been a major part of this exploration, thanks to all of the friendly actors and producers who have put up videos of their productions over the past few years. I feel that by understanding theater and all the different approaches and techniques adopted by theatrical writers, directors and actors, I will greatly improve my storytelling abilities on screen. For many years I’ve required that the actors I cast in my films have some sort of theater experience and training. This policy was always meant to weed out the idiots who are trying to be movie stars from those who have an interest in the integrity of the craft.
From this point on, I’m now requiring it of myself, as a writer and director.
Tonight I had the privilege of experiencing an early performance of Blood Sky at the T. Schreiber Studios. It’s a wonderful and extremely experimental work by house playwright* Yasmine Beverly Rana. Set in rural Mississippi, the story involves the upbringing of a young girl named Joley, who is portrayed by three different actresses, all representing Joley at a different age (14, 18 and 30).
Directed by Terry Schreiber, the play features Kristin Eli Smith, Kelly Kolatac, Jimmy Alexis Cintron, Samantha Rivers Cole, Timothy Weinert, Victoria Guthrie, Brian Shaffer and David Hamzik. This season’s interpretation of the play is its second run since it premiered at The Looking Glass Theatre in 2003 (under the direction of Justine Lambert). Schreiber clearly has a lot of admiration for Rana’s work as the studio closed out their 44th season with Rana’s original play The Fallen and it’s clear in the execution of the material and his direction of his incredibly talented cast that he’s taken great care in bringing the play to life.
While this is not a play that would work well in the mainstream Broadway circuit, it certainly has a future of being interpreted and re-interpreted by some of the more “avant-garde” producers in the theater community, provided Rana is open and willing to let some of these cats give it a go. There is an enormous amount of space for further experimentation and I’ve found myself left with the desire to see what else is possible with the material. I’ve already begun making plans to see the play again at the latter half of its run and I will be following up this article with more information on how the play has developed over the past month.
The T. Schreiber Studios is about to celebrate its 45th season and I am pleased to have been able to experience some of the great things they are doing there. I urge anyone in the NYC area who has an ounce of interest in the performing arts to check out Blood Sky before it ends on April 6th. Lastly, the T. Schreiber Studios is dependent on donations to keep their theater operational. With rising costs, they need the public’s help more than ever. If you’re interested in making a donation, please visit their donation page at: http://www.tschreiber.org/the-studio/donate/2013-challenge/
More info at: http://www.tschreiber.org/
Purchase tickets at: http://www.tschreiber.org/productions/now-playing/
Check out the press release for Blood Sky
As usual – Looking Forward,
*May or may not be the “house playwright” – I couldn’t gauge whether the person I was talking to was joking or not.