Posts Tagged 57 Hours in the House of Culture

Photos from “57 Hours In the House of Culture” at Sweet Briar College

Sweet Briar College in Virginia put on a staged reading of 57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE on March 19. We had a full house, including the college president! Here are some photos from the afternoon rehearsal.

The cast.

The cast.

More photos below: Read the rest of this entry »

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“57 Hours in the House of Culture” to have staged reading at Sweet Briar College

Poster for the Sweet Briar reading.

Poster for the Sweet Briar reading.

My dark play about the Moscow theatre siege comes back to life on March 19 with a staged reading at Sweet Briar College in Virginia.

I would say it comes back to the stage, except this time it won’t be on a stage, it’ll be in an art gallery, where the backdrop is an exhibit on Soviet propaganda. Very fitting!

Here’s what Sweet Briar has posted on its website about the reading (and about me.)

Here’s more about 57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE below: Read the rest of this entry »

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“57 Hours in the House of Culture” to have staged reading at Sweet Briar College

My dark play about the 2002 Moscow theatre siege will come to life for a second time. Sweet Briar College (north of Lynchburg, Virginia) will hold a staged reading of 57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE on Saturday, March 19, 2016.

I’m indebted to Sweet Briar theatre instructor Melora Kordos for arranging (and directing) this. She remembered the show from its previous production at Studio Roanoke in 2012.

The staged reading will be in the Pannell Gallery, which at that time will be hosting an exhibit called “Art For the People: Propaganda and Public Service.”

The reading is at 7:30 p.m. and is free.

You can find links about the previous production — and my 2016 production schedule below: Read the rest of this entry »

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Poster for staged reading of “Olga” in New York

Women History

Here’s the poster for the staged reading of my 10-minute play OLGA, which will be part of a festival of short plays about women in history in New York on Sunday, December 14.

The Olga in question is Olga Romanova, the first victim of the Moscow theatre seige in 2002. I have a full-length play about that event — 57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE — which was staged in Roanoke in 2012 and has come oh-so-close to being staged at two other theatre since then. (Here’s a link to more about 57 HOURS.)

This 10-minute play is not a cutting, but a spin-off that focuses on one of those characters.

This festival is put on by the Mad & Merry Company, and will be at the IRT Theatre at 154 Christopher Street #3B in Manhattan (West Village, or thereabouts) on December 14. Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is free, but $5 donation suggested.

I’m told that space is limited, so if you’re interested in going, please email madandmerrytheatreco@gmail.com to reserve a spot. Here’s some more on OLGA.

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“Olga” to have staged reading in New York festival

My ten-minute play OLGA will have a staged reading in New York in December by the Mad & Merry Theatre Company as part of the company’s Women’s Histories Festival. The show will be at the IRT Theatre at 154 Christopher Street #3B in Manhattan (West Village, or thereabouts) on December 14. (UPDATE: Showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is free, but $5 donation suggested.)

About the festival:

The Women’s Histories Festival is an incubator for new work, which will run alongside Mad & Merry’s production of Daughters of Leda at IRT this December. The goal of the festival is to bring new voices to the stage and drastically widen the spectrum of women’s voices and narratives being represented.

I’m obviously not a woman but OLGA is about one — based on the true-life story of Olga Romanova, the first victim of the 2002 Moscow theatre siege:

OLGA
A look at the true story of Olga Romanova, a 26-year-old perfume clerk who came in off the street during the Moscow theatre siege of 2002 and tried to help — but got killed by terrorists instead. Cast: Eight – 3 female, 2 male, 3 non-gender. Running time: 10 minutes.

This piece is related to my full-length script about that terrorist attack, 57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE, but this is a separate, stand-alone work, not a cutting.

So, here’s the latest list of my upcoming productions (and one reading):

* November 7, 8, 14, 15, 22, and 23: DEMOTING PLUTO, one-act, Short Science Play Showcase at the Explora Science Center and Children’s Museum, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
* November 9: HIT THE BOOKS, Lafayette County High School, Higginsville, Missouri.
* November 12: JENNA AND HER PRIZE-WINNING PIG CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY, Lewis and Clark School District, Minot, North Dakota.
* December 2: KLAUS, staged reading in New York, as part of the Gi60 Extended Editions.
* December 6-7: THE BEAUTIFUL OGRE AND OTHER FAIRY TALES, CAN I?, CHEF PIERRE DOES NOT DO SIMPLE, and GOD AND THE DEVIL MEET FOR A BUSINESS LUNCH, by the Jeonju Players, Joenju, South Korea.
* December 19-20: LET THERE BE LIGHTS! by Mockingbird Players, Columbia City, Indiana.

And here’s a partial list of productions this year:

Read the rest of this entry »

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“57 Hours in the House of Culture” called “well-crafted” and “compelling”

Just got one of the nicest rejection letters ever, this from a theatre in . . . well, let’s just say somewhere in the United States.

This was in reference to my full-length script “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” about the Moscow theatre siege.

And I quote:

“I did want to let you know that out of the 200 submissions we considered, 57 Hours in the House of Culture made a very strong impression and stayed on our shortlist until close the very end. It is a well-crafted story told in a compelling manner with characters that are diverse and strong. However, due to the larger cast size along with technical elements we felt were essential to telling this story correctly, we had to pass on it this year. However, we look forward to considering it again next year, along with any other work you submit in the future.”

The show was originally produced in May 2012 at Studio Roanoke in Roanoke, Virginia. Here’s more on that production:

MORE ON “57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE”:
* Video: “57 Hours in the House of Culture” at Studio Roanoke in May 2012
* Backstage graffiti from the show
* Photos from the show
* Audience reaction to the show
* Review: “It ain’t ‘Oklahoma!'”
* Congressman Goodlatte attends the show
* Review: “Most interactive show I’ve seen”
* Media interviews about the show
* The set takes shape
* Rehearsal photos
* Rehearsal begins
* The poster for the show

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“Sweets to the Sweet” to be produced in Chicago in September

The Gorilla Tango Theatre in Chicago will produce my full-length script “Sweets to the Sweet” in September at its Skokie theatre in the Windy City’s suburbs.

If the name of the show sounds familiar, it’s because it comes from Shakespeare. Specifically, Hamlet.

This is my re-telling of the tale — cast in the modern-day, and with the genders reversed.

Or, as my synopsis says:

SWEETS TO THE SWEET
This is the female version of Hamlet. It’s the basic Hamlet story, transported to a modern setting and with all the genders reversed. So Hamlet becomes Hamlette, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern become Rosie and Gilda, Claudius becomes Claudia, and so forth. Instead of being set in a castle in Denmark, this version is set in a suburban home — and opens at a slumber party instead of the nightwatch. And, of course, it’s told in modern language. Otherwise, everything’s here — the skull, the gravediggers, the poisoned swords, the climactic sword fight. And, because the genders are reversed, this script gives women a rare opportunity for a swordfight on stage. If you’ve ever wanted to stage Hamlet, but didn’t think the cast or audience would get the language, or that you didn’t have enough men, here’s the solution. Cast size can range anywhere from 13 to 20, depending on doubling. If 13 — 11 female, 2 male. Or the cast can be expanded up to 20 — 13 female, 6 male, 1 non-gender.

Gorilla Tango reduces that to this on its website:

Lies. Murder. Sword fights. After her mother’s untimely death and her father’s remarriage to the murderer, Hamlette is looking for vengeance in this modern retelling, gender reversed version of Shakespeare’s classic tale.

Show dates are Sept. 7-8 and 14-15.

This will be done with a teen cast, which is how I envisioned the show — as something for high schools or community theatres with youth ensembles.

This will be the fifth full-length script I’ve had produced.

The others are:

* “An Old Story for New Times,” by Attic Productions, Fincastle, Virginia, November 2004.
* “Virginia’s Real,” by Cobb County Playhouse, Acworth, Georgia, July 2006.
* “Red Moon Rising in the East,” by Alley Stage, Mineral Point, Wisconsin (July 2009); 40th Street Playhouse, Norfolk, Virginia (July 2009), The Venue, Norfolk, Virginia (February 2010), and Duluth Playhouse, Duluth, Minnesota (November 2010.) You can find coverage of the Duluth show here and the Norfolk show here.)
* “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” by Studio Roanoke, Roanoke, Virginia, May 2012. (You can find video and photos starting here.)

I’ve had a staged reading of another full-length script, “Klaus,” by the Hollins University Playwright’s Lab, in December 2012 in Roanoke, Virginia, and a reading of “The Ballad of Alejandro Lopez” scheduled in June in New York by the Barefoot Theatre Company. You can find video and photos from “Klaus” here.

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Video: “57 Hours in the House of Culture” in Roanoke, Va.

Here’s the archival video from the premiere of “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my full-length play about the Moscow theatre seige.

The play was produced at Studio Roanoke in Roanoke, Va., in May, and played to good reviews and good houses. We even had a visit from our local congressman, Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County.

The video is so long it’s broken into several parts, although the show ran without an intermission.

And here’s part three:

And here’s part four:

MORE ON “57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE”:
* Backstage graffiti from the show
* Photos from the show
* Audience reaction to the show
* Review: “It ain’t ‘Oklahoma!'”
* Congressman Goodlatte attends the show
* Review: “Most interactive show I’ve seen”
* Media interviews about the show
* The set takes shape
* Rehearsal photos
* Rehearsal begins
* The poster for the show

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Photos from “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

From left: Dmitri the musician, Olga the cosmetic clerk who entered the theatre (whose legs are visible),  Ivan the usher, Irina an audience member, Barayev the terrorist and Fatima the Black Widow. Not visible are audience members Andrei and Svetlana).

Here are the official production photos (courtesy of David Gross) from my show about the Moscow theatre siege, “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” that was produced at Studio Roanoke in May 2012.

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Audience reaction to “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

The “wreckage” of the theatre. The audience entered to find chairs overturned and the space littered with programs (in Russian), water bottles and candy wrappers.

The goal of the recent Studio Roanoke production of my script about the Moscow theatre siege — indeed, the goal of the script itself — was to make people feel like they were really there.

So the audience entered the lobby to find . . . a video of the actual production of “Nord-Ost” playing on a television screen . . . still photos of the Moscow production were posted . . . audience members were handed a program that was in Russian . . .and two soldiers in Russian military garb blocked the doors until showtime — when they quickly donned gas masks, threw open the doors and ran into the theatre space.

As audience members followed, they found cast members “dead” around the theatre . . . chairs overturned, and the floor littered with debris — water bottles, candy wrappers. I am indebted to Kenley Smith, Studio Roanoke’s founding patron and playwright in residence, for helping me visualize all of this, and to director Brian O’Sullivan for pulling it off.

I attended almost every night of the show (my son’s baseball schedule kept me away on two nights.) Most of the audience members I heard from “got” the concept; a few did not. One night, one woman sniffed “they didn’t do a very good job cleaning up the theatre after the last show” and appeared to be completely serious. Another night, one audience member, on his way out, started picking up the trash!

Other reactions: I’m told one audience member wiped away tears on opening night when Olga was shot. And I was there another night when a woman suffered a panic attack as soon as she entered the space and declined to see the show.

Here’s a summary of some other feedback that people have posted on Facebook: Read the rest of this entry »

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