Posts Tagged 57 Hours in the House of Culture

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:

* 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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Review for “57 Hours in the House of Culture”: “It ain’t Oklahoma!”

Dan Smith — editor of Valley Business Front — has posted this review of “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my show about the Moscow theatre siege,” on his personal blog.

Some of the key thoughts:

“I’ll simply say that this one was not my cup of tea, but I applaud everybody involved for their work and their obvious passion. Most of those in the audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the production.
Give it a shot. It ain’t “Oklahoma” but it ain’t supposed to be. This is real theater.”

There was a previous review from Heather Brush of the Cave Spring Connection who called the show “the most interactive show I’ve seen.”


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Congressman attends “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Dwayne Yancey, Maryellen Goodlatte outside Studio Roanoke. (That’s director Brian O’Sullivan in the background.)

We had nearly a full house for the first Friday night of “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my show about the Moscow theatre siege now playing at Studio Roanoke.

Among those attending was Roanoke’s congressman — Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County — and his wife, Maryellen.

The Goodlattes are noted theatre-goers. About a year ago, they attended the Attic Productions youth show to see my one-act, “Curiosity Killed the Cat.”

The congressman said he took notes so he could do more research on the Moscow theatre siege.

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Review for “57 Hours in the House of Culture”: “Most interactive show I’ve seen”

Director Brian O’Sullivan (in red, sitting in second row at left) delivers notes to the cast and crew after the final preview night. Notice the man with the AK-47 in the right hand corner; that’s James Honaker, who plays the terrorist.

We have our first review of “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my show about the Moscow theatre siege, which opened May 16 at Studio Roanoke.

Heather Brush of the Cave Spring Connection says, in part:

“This surround sound and action atmosphere draws the non-acting audience in to an intimate experience and most interactive show I’ve seen. There were shocking moments and sad ones, with bits of humor, and all were experienced rather than simply witnessed. Panic at their moments of death is palpable in the darkness and smoky air, and then the ease of acceptance of what has come to pass as the violin plays a lullaby. It was a truly memorable experience as reality was suspended.”

You can read her full review here.

And here are some more photos of the cast and crew, shot on May 15 after the final preview night: Read the rest of this entry »

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Media interviews for “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

This photo by Sam Dean was on the front page of The Roanoke Times’ entertainment section on May 12.

I am in the midst of a mini-media tour to promote “57 Hours at the House of Culture,” my upcoming show about the Moscow theatre siege at Studio Roanoke.

* I did an on-air interview on May 11 with 101.5 The Musicplace — and also worked in a plug for Roanoke as “Virginia’s Theatre City.” You can find a replay of the interview here.

* The Roanoke Times did a feature story on me on May 12. You can read Mike Allen’s story here — or comment on it on his Arts & Extras blog.

* On May 15, actor Gary Reid and I appeared on “Daytime Blue Ridge,” the noontime program on WSLS-TV (Channel 10), the NBC affiliate in Roanoke. Gary, who plays the audience member Andrei, peformed one of his monologues, while I talked about the show. You can see it here. We shared the bill with legendary Roanoke singer Jane Powell, who even had the weather guy rocking out as she sang her rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” You’ll notice I wore my Lady Gaga tie for the occasion.

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