Monday, May 31, 2010

Associate Producer

Hi everyone and welcome to my first-ever blog! This is a big step for me, a somewhat technologically challenged twenty-something year-old. Case in point: my phone just dials phone numbers. That’s all. It doesn’t surf the net, have cool apps, play music, or even have a particularly original ring tone. I was the last of all my friends to join Facebook and I’m still navigating the intricacies of downloading music. So when Sabrina asked me to help with Twenty-Something Theatre’s social media this summer I was excited to try something new, but admittedly I was a little nervous as well. I still am! What could I possibly have to say that anyone, other than my mother, would read?

Well I do have a tremendous love of theatre. There’s something about watching or participating in a live performance that I find incredibly energizing. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy movies and tv as well, but I always find I feel more affected by live performances (in both good and bad ways).

When I was five years old my mom’s friend, Vanessa, was over at our place in Ottawa one day. She was going to be touring with The Phantom of the Opera and I remember asking her what it was about. I instantly became enraptured with this tale of a tortured soul, unrequited love, and the days of a bygone era in a country I didn’t know anything about. Months later, the show came to Ottawa and my mom and I went. I was hooked! I loved the watching the plot unfold in front of my eyes, how the sets could change seamlessly to create a new place and mood, and the drama of a chandelier crashing to the stage – all very cool to a five year old! Actually, the more theatre I attend, the more impressed I am with the stories created and what is done with the spaces in which they are enacted.

In the years since Phantom I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many wonderful (and some not-so-wonderful) musicals and plays. I’ve become far more impressed with everything Sondheim and Jason Robert Brown than Andrew Lloyd Webber (despite his clear success). I’ve also become much more appreciative, and often amazed, with theatrical initiatives that really push the envelope – regardless of whether it’s done on Broadway or by a group of students performing in a black box at UBC.

I think anyone who enjoys theatre will always carry a soft spot for the first show they ever saw. Love it or hate it, I will always feel that way about The Phantom of the Opera. As she entertained a five year-old with her story-telling, I doubt Vanessa ever thought she was initiating what has become a decades’ long love of theatre and the performing arts. Thanks Vanessa!

Currently I’m a third year UBC student studying theatre and commerce. It’s definitely not a common combination, but it’s one I hope will prove useful for me. I continue to love theatre and am hoping to build a career within the “business-side” of the industry. These days I bartend at a well-known restaurant outside of school, and while I can mix a mean martini I suspect that’s not what’s going to land me a job after I graduate. However it was through some guests who came and sat at my bar last fall that I met Sabrina. A special shout out to Derek and Lesley for that introduction!

This summer, along with blogging, I’ll be working with Sabrina as Associate Producer for the production of Blue Surge. It’s a great play and one I think audiences will really enjoy. I look forward to what’s ahead over the next few months!

~Sarah MacKay
Associate Producer

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Choosing Your Material

Last year around audition time I did a post with a few tips about the actual process of auditioning. This year I’m going to offer some tips as to how to choose your material for an audition.

BE AGE APPROPRIATE. If you are a young actor in the age range of 18-35 pick a monologue that is around the same age as you are or as the role(s) that you are auditioning for. Don’t pick a monologue where the character is a middle-aged woman who is going through a divorce just because it is dramatic and you think it will showcase your abilities as an actor.

Sorry but a good monologue generally does not necessarily equal a good monologue for you. And, a monologue where the character is forty does not help me see you as the 18 year old in the play you are auditioning for. And on that note…

KNOW THE PLAY. Read the play you are auditioning for before you come to auditions. Don’t just read a synopsis. Or the Coles Notes version. Or watch the movie version. Do your homework and read the bloody play. It will take an hour or two out of your life. You will not die from this, I promise.

Now having read the play, this should inform every decision you make from this point forward. This will tell you how to choose a monologue that will best show you off and get you cast as one of the characters in the play. How do you do this?

CHOOSE MONOLOGUE CONTENT THAT MATCHES THE STYLE OF THE PLAY. This may also seem like a no-brainer but I will say it again do not show up with a classic monologue for a contemporary play. If you show up with a Lady Macbeth monologue you are not only already breaking rule #1 above but you are also doing yourself a complete disservice. Unless you are auditioning for Shakespeare or some other classical piece of theatre no Lady Macbeth’s are required. Thank you.

Further on this note, is the issue of accents. Generally, as a rule, DO NOT DO AN ACCENT. If I hear one more person show up to an audition doing a bad southern accent from a Tennessee Williams play I may just shoot myself in the head. No joke.

Again, unless you are asked to do an accent, don’t. Just don’t. I want to hear your delivery of the words not you butchering the words to death.

DO WHAT YOU KNOW. So, you’ve slimmed it down. You are going to do a contemporary monologue, without an accent, that falls within a suitable age range. There are many to choose from so how do you choose? Do what you know.

Example: You are a loud-mouth funny guy. Do a loud-mouth funny guy monologue. You are an awkward geeky sweet guy. Do an awkward geeky sweet monologue. You are a sarcastic hipster. Do a sarcastic hipster monologue. Ok, you get the picture.

An audition is the time to show yourself in the best possible light, and more often than not, the best possible light is showing me who you are. Not you trying to be something you're not. If you are more of the quiet and introverted type, 9 times out of 10, I am not going to buy your orgasm monologue. Yes, there are times to stretch yourself as an actor and artist; however, auditions are not the best time for that. Do what you know.

Ok, you’ve thought about it and you've picked a monologue. Now READ THE PLAY FROM WHICH YOU HAVE CHOSEN YOUR MONOLOGUE. Again, no synopsis, Coles Notes or movie version. Read the actual play so you know the context from which this monologue comes from. I can’t tell you the number of times I have asked an auditioner: “So, what play is this from?” Only to have them stare at me like a deer caught in the headlights. Or for someone to do a monologue completely out of context. A good example of this is the female monologue from Oleanna. Unless you read the play you will not understand the context from which to approach this monologue. The number of times I have seen Carol from Oleanna done completely out of context is ridiculous.

Don’t be that person. Be the person who comes in and rocks your monologue because you’ve actually read the play that your monologue comes from and understand the context and character. Be the person who has chosen your monologue because it matches well with your personality and the style of play you are auditioning for.

It is not as simple as leafing through a monologue book and then choosing one because you like it. In order to put your best foot forward you have to do your homework and you have to know why you picked the monologue you did. Just by doing this you will already be leaps and bounds ahead of 90% of the other people auditioning.

Then it’s all up to the director. And, if you don’t get cast, it won’t be for any other reason except that maybe, for this particular production, you weren’t right for that particular director’s vision of the piece.

There is nothing you can do about that. But you can be prepared.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Friday, May 7, 2010

Upcoming Auditions

Celebrating our 5th year of production, Twenty-Something Theatre has featured some of the city’s best up-and-coming artists in such highly acclaimed works as This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan, The Shape of Things by Neil Labute, The Fever by Wallace Shawn, Suburbia by Eric Bogosian and last summer’s sold-out production of Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love by Canadian playwright Brad Fraser.

This year Twenty-Something Theatre is pleased to present the Vancouver premiere of Blue Surge by acclaimed American playwright Rebeccan Gilman running from August 24th - September 5th, 2010 at Studio 16.

Auditions for this production will be held:

GENERAL AUDTIONS: Saturday May 22nd from 10am – 6pm

CASTING AUDITIONS/CALLBACKS: Sunday May 23rd, from 10am-6pm.

Location: Alliance for Arts & Culture, 938 Howe Street, Downtown Vancouver

2 male actors, mid-thirties to play the roles of Curt and Doug, both small-town cops.

3 female actors, Sandy age 18, Heather age 25, and Beth mid-thirties. Sandy and Heather are young prostitutes working in a massage parlour. Beth is an art teacher and Curt’s fiancee.

Blue Surge tells the story of Curt, a small-town cop and Sandy, the 18-year old prostitute he meets in a raid on a massage parlour. Curt finds an unlikely kindred spirit in Sandy and begins a relationship with her that puts everything – his career, his friendships and his engagement to his fiancĂ©e – at risk

Special Info:
Non-Equity Profit Share. Please prepare 1 comedic and 1 dramatic contemporary monologue (you may be asked to do one or both) no more than 2-3 minutes in length.

Please note: nudity is required by the script for the role of Doug.

Send resumes (NO HEADSHOTS PLEASE) and contact information to You will be contacted after the deadline has passed with a time slot. Please DO NOT send duplicate submissions.

Deadline for application is May 14th.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bridge Mix

To quote a friend (ok, ok, that friend is Simon from The Next Stage. I can’t help it if he’s always got the best lines) -- “we aren’t just promoting our own shows we are promoting an industry” -- which is precisely why, now that Twenty-Something’s latest show has closed, I am happy to promote another young company in town. That company is ITSAZOO and their upcoming project Bridge Mix. And, something tells me from the Q&A I did with ITSAZOO’s Co-Artistic Director and General Manager, Chelsea Haberlin, this is exactly the same idea behind Bridge Mix.

Chelsea, where did the idea for Bridge Mix come from?

Last year Enlightenment Theatre and ITSAZOO decided we wanted to collaborate on a project. This got us thinking about the idea of working with lots of other young companies and the importance of these collaborations. It began as ‘A Hive of our own’ but has transitioned in to something very unique. In order for young companies to survive we need to work together – share resources, funding and creativity. We believe this is the way to survive and Bridge Mix is the beginning.

So, then, tell me a little bit about each of the companies and how you got them involved in the project.

The really intriguing thing about this show is that the companies involved have been around anywhere from 6 months to 10 years and all have very different mandates and objectives.

Slam Ink is a cooperative that came into being last fall. They have a focus on writers and develop new comedic works for production as means of providing opportunities and experiences to actors, writers, directors, etc. The members of Slam Ink went to university with the co-artistic directors of ITSAZOO and this seemed like a great opportunity to showcase this exciting new company.

Tigermilk Collective
has been collaborating since 2004 and were incorporated in 2006. They are a group of women who tell their own collectively created stories and those of their heroes. They are a unique and determined company. They have proven themselves to have sticking power in the Vancouver Theatre scene and were an ideal addition as one of the more established companies in the group.

Peter n’ Chris is a comedy duo made up of Chris Wilson and Peter Carlone. They got their start last summer when they created a show that they presented at both the Victoria and Vancouver Fringe Festivals. The shows were extremely well received and Peter n’ Chris will be touring with the Fringe again this summer. Peter and Chris went to UVic with the Co-Artistic directors of ITSAZOO and were asked to join Bridge Mix because of their unique brand of humour and so that they could have a chance to work out some new material.

Upintheair Theatre
has been around since 2000. Over the past ten years they have developed a reputation for creating original contemporary theatre. They are committed to creating thought-provoking performances in a rigorous physical environment, to fostering positive ensemble work, and to a populist theatre, which is accessible to as wide an audience as possible while still pushing artistic boundaries. They are also the founders and producers of the Walking Fish Festival. Their company has a great deal of knowledge and experience and so it was a no brainer to include them.

Spectral Theatre
was founded in 2002 and is dedicated to producing dynamic theatrical works which awaken the imagination and challenge the mind. They are a tireless company with a project always on the go. They have a remarkable space on the east side and are incredibly dedicated to their craft. I worked on a show with them last fall and was inspired to invite them to be a part of Bridge Mix because of the energy and enthusiasm they brought to everything they did.

SNAFU Dance Theatre is a company based out of Victoria. It is run by an amazing young woman named Ingrid Hansen. SNAFU creates performances inspired by Viewpoints, Butoh, found object puppety, storytelling, clown, ritual, fables, politics, children, history and lore. Ingrid expressed an interest in the site specific and collaborative nature of Bridge Mix and was invited to join.

Genus Theatre began in 2003 as a group of theatre artists who wanted to create original and exciting productions that incorporated both live theatre and integrated video shorts. When Tigermilk was invited to be a part of Bridge Mix they suggested Genus as a participating company. I had seen a show of theirs and was super excited about the idea of having them on board because what they create is hilarious and really inventive.

All of these young companies under one roof (or parkade) sounds amazing! Paint us a picture of what you hope this experience will be like for the audience.

It will be really fun and unique. The audience moves from scene to scene. It is unpredictable and hilarious. It is thought provoking and surprising. There is a roving bar so you can drink at any point in the evening. It will be a casual night filled with laughter, creativity and beer!

Pretty much anything that has a roving bar is already awesome in my books. Does ITSAZOO have a specific audience in mind when you produce a project like this?

Anyone and everyone. Ideally this show will bring out people in their late teens to late thirties – a demographic that rarely attends live theatre. By taking theatre out of a traditional playhouse and making it more of an informal event we hope to attract this audience. Having said that, this show will be fun for anyone who likes innovative theatre.

And finally, if you had one piece of advice that you would give to other young companies just starting out, what would it be?

You need to be persistent. It’s hard and it will probably always be hard. Find other like-minded individuals and work with them as much as possible. Find strong mentors and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do the work you love – don’t worry about conforming to what’s come before. Apply for funding as soon as possible and don’t stop applying until you are getting as much money as you need to create great work. Thank everyone - a lot! Hire a publicist and Facebook, Twitter and Blog your face off. Again, be persistent. Producing theatre is not for the faint of heart.

Bridge Mix opens this coming Thursday, May 6th and runs through until May 8th and then again from May 11th – 15th. There will be a pay-what-you-can preview on Wednesday, May 5th. All performances take place at the Metro Parkade, 1070 W Pender. Tickets are $14 - $18 and are available online or cash only at the door. Parking will be available in the parkade for $5 and you are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

(Photos courtesy of Rebecca Coleman)

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer