Posts Tagged studio roanoke

The set for “57 Hours in the House of Culture” takes shape

Here's a more distant version. Notice the "blast" holes in the set, and the cut-outs of armed men on the balcony, intended to create a surreal feeling.

Here’s a more distant version. Notice the “blast” holes in the set, and the cut-outs of armed men on the balcony, intended to create a surreal feeling.

The set for my show about the Moscow theatre siege is taking shape at Studio Roanoke.

We don’t want to give away too many production secrets, but here are some photos to give you a taste of what’s to come.

The key thing: The goal of the production is to make you feel you’re there, at the House of Culture in Moscow when Chechen terrorists seized it in 2002 and held it for 57 hours. (Hence, the name of the show: “57 Hours in the House of Culture.”

With that in mind, we are trying to reproduce — in abstract form, at least — what the set at the theatre really looked like. Fortunately, it was a spare set for the musical “Nord-Ost.”

My show opens May 16 and runs through May 27 at Studio Roanoke.

A few close-ups:

A close-up of the set.

A close-up of the set.

Here's "the bomb" -- a replica of the homemade bomb that the terrorists set up in the ninth row of the theatre.

Here’s “the bomb” — a replica of the homemade bomb that the terrorists set up in the ninth row of the theatre.

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Rehearsal photos from “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

Joel Gruver (as Ivan, the usher) rehearses a scene from “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my show about the Moscow theatre siege. At left, quite dead, is Owen Merritt (Dmitri the pit musician), and at right, equally dead, is Heather Sexton (Irina, an audience member.)

Rehearsals are well underway for “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my show about the Moscow theatre siege that runs May 16-27 at Studio Roanoke.

I really like what director Brian O’Sullivan is doing with the show.

It promises to be just as dark and spooky as I envisioned — if it not more so.

Here are some rehearsal photos. You’ll notice that many of the players are laying down on the floor. That’s because their characters are dead.

Heather Sexton (top, as Irina, an audience member) and Kelly Anglim (below, as one of the female terrorists) rehearse a scene from my show about the Moscow theatre siege.

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We’re building a bomb!

Director Brian O'Sullivan, technical director Joanna Jessee and artistic director Melora Kordos go over Joanna's set plans for my show based on the Moscow theatre siege.

It’s a good thing the FBI wasn’t listening in on our production meeting Tuesday for my upcoming show at Studio Roanoke — otherwise, the G-men would have heard us talking about, oh, how to build a bomb, and assemble a small arsenal of weapons. Including an actual AK-47.

All these, of course, are not for revolution, but for art — specifically, “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my show about the 2002 Moscow theatre siege that runs May 16-27.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Studio Roanoke technical director Joanna Jessee showed off her sketch for what the set will look like, based on previously conversations she’s had with director Brian O’Sullivan. The plan is to recreate — in somewhat abstract form — the actual set that was in place at the House of Culture (aka, the Dubrokva Theatre) on the night that Chechen terrorists stormed the place in October 2002.

Here’s another photo from Tuesday’s production meeting. Rehearsals got underway Sunday.

Director Brian O'Sullivan, technical director Joanna Jesse, artistic director Melora Kordos and stage manager Brandon DuMonde.

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Rehearsals begin for “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

The cast gathers around as director Brian O'Sullivan shows a photo from the actual Moscow theatre seige of 2002, on which my show is based.

Rehearsals for the world premiere of “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my full-length script about the Moscow theatre siege, began Sunday evening, April 22.

The show runs May 16-27 at Studio Roanoke.

The cast gathered with director Brian O’Sullivan and stage manager Brandon DuMonde for the first read-through. For some of the cast members, this was doing double duty — most of them had already been in a show earlier that day. Owen Merritt, Kelly Anglim and Gary Reid had just finished “Monkey Wrench” at Studio Roanoke. Tim Kennard and Joel Gruver had likewise had their final performance of “Lion in Winter” at Showtimers.

We’ve had one last-minute cast change. Peter Colbert had to drop out due to some unforeseen scheduling conflicts, but Joel Gruver has signed on to play Ivan the usher. I’ve been a fan of Joel’s work for some time and am delighted to be able to say he’s in my show. In fact, I saw him just Friday night in action as the French king at Showtimers.

We’ve also added on Blake Lipscomb for a small role as a Russian soldier; we’re still scouting for another Russian soldier.

So, the line-up stands:
* Andrei, a retired civil engineer who is in the audience that fateful night: Gary Reid
* Svetlana, his wife and a retired teacher: Diane Heard
* Irina, a young mother in the audience that night: Heather Sexton
* Ivan the usher, who serves as a kind of narrator: Joel Gruver
* Dmitri the pit musician: Owen Merritt
* Mosvar Barayev, the terrorist leader: Tim Kennard
* Fatima the Black Widow, one of the female terrorists: Kelly Anglim
* Olga Romanova, a brave but naive perfume sales clerk who came in off the street to try to solve the situation: Cadie Burks
* Russian soldier: Blake Lipscomb.

Gary and Diane, it should be noted, are the main characters — two audience members caught up in a horrific event beyond their control. They also showed up with almost all their lines already memorized — this even though Gary was just in a show!

The cast gathered on the set of "Monkey Wrench" for the first read-through.

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Cast for “57 Hours in the House of Culture” announced

Director Brian O’Sullivan has put together a very strong cast for my show “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” which premieres at Studio Roanoke May 16-27.

Here it is:
* Andrei, a retired engineer in the audience: Gary Reid
* Svetlana, his wife, a retired teacher: Diane Heard
* Irina, a mother in the audience: Heather Sexton
* Ivan, the usher: Peter Colbert
* Dmitri, the pit musician: Owen Merritt
* Barayev, the terrorist: Tim Kennard
* The Black Widow, a female terrorist: Kelly Anglim
* Olga, the perfume sales clerk who comes in off the street: Cadie Burks

Cadie is a newcomer; all the others are well-known from previous roles at theatres in the Roanoke Valley. Owen most recently appeared at Studio Roanoke in “The Emancipation of Alabaster McGill” by Jeff Goode; I believe he, Gary and Kelly are all in “Monkey Wrench,” which opens this month. Gary I know, all the others I’m looking forward to getting to know — and seeing in action (again).

We’re still looking for two young men to play small parts as Russian soldiers; they have a few speaking lines. If interested, please contact the director (or me, and I can relay a message.)

We’re also looking for a violinist willing to record four short segments of a particular piece of Russian classical music (we have the sheet music available.)

The show is a dream-like account of the 2002 Moscow theatre seige, where Chechen terrorists seized a theatre during a musical and held hundreds hostage until Russian authorities pumped the place full of poison gas.

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Video: “Deanna Dupes the Devil” plays to full house at Studio Roanoke

Studio Roanoke in Roanoke, Va. hosted one of its quarterly “Big Idea” variety shows on Saturday, March 24, with Chris Shephard as the impresario.

Chris had asked me to put on a staged reading of a short play as part of the evening; I offered up “Deanna Dupes the Devil,” a light comedy about a young woman who tricks the Old Trickster himself.

The piece stars Lianne Jackson McCray (soon to head off to Yale Divinity School!) as Deanna, Kevin McAlexander as the devil’s minion and Mike Allen as the devil.

Katerina Yancey directed the piece.

The evening opened with readings by Ben R. Williams and concluded with a film by Chris Shepard, “Kitty Man.” The other highlight of the evening included an appearance by the Angels of Assisi, and some of the adorable kittens they have for adoption.

Best yet, we had a full house!

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New director, new poster for “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

More news about my upcoming show at Studio Roanoke: We have a new director and a new poster for “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my dark full-length script about the Moscow theatre siege.

* The new poster isn’t all that new; it simply corrects a typo from the original.
* The new director is Brian O’Sullivan. Sadly, Charlie Boswell had to withdraw due to some unforeseen circumstances. I’m sorry to see Charlie go — I always look forward to working with him in any capacity. But I’m equally excited to have the chance to work with Brian, who I have admired from afar (or not so far) in many productions at Studio Roanoke.

Auditions remain on March 24 and 25; details on those in this previous post.

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