Monday, April 25, 2011

Behind The Scenes: Actor's Rehearsing

A typical Prodigals 2.0 rehearsal:

Waiting for Notes:

[L to R: Kirsten Kilburn (Nina), Jameson Parker (Greg), Aslam Husain (Eliot) & Brandyn Eddy (Nips)]

[L to R: Timothy Johnston (Wesley) & Tara Pratt (Jen)]


[Centre: Timothy Johnston (Wesley). Background: Brandyn Eddy (Nips)]

[L to R: Brandyn Eddy (Nips), Kirsten Kilburn (Nina) & Aslam Husain (Eliot)]

[Jameson Parker (Greg)]

[Tara Pratt (Jen)]

The rest of the photos can be seen in our Flickr account. One week until we move the show from the rehearsal hall out at UBC into the venue at SFU Woodward's!!

Get your tickets here (before they are gone)!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Behind The Scenes: Prodigals 2.0 Design Process

Many of you may be asking yourselves what is going to be different about Prodigals 2.0? In one word: a lot. (Okay that is 2 words).

For the workshop production of Prodigals, the production and design team had a shoestring budget. Jon, the Set Designer, was given a little bit of a budget to put together the amazing set he managed to create in the Havana. So, think for a second about what he did in that space with only a couple hundred dollars... and now think about what he's going to be able to do in Studio T with an actual proper budget... Yep, it's going to be great.

And, with Heather, the original lighting designer/production manager off and having a baby at any moment, her and Jon are working together to expand the lighting design into our new venue with all its amazing, brand new, state of the art technical capabilities. Exciting!!

Jane, the Costume Designer, had no budget. And, when I mean no budget, I mean no budget. I think if my mind serves me correctly she had approx $50 to go out and pick up a few things that the actors themselves couldn't provide. Now she too has an actual proper budget and she was in rehearsal the other day doing some fittings with the actors:

[L to R: Jane Sanden (Costume Designer), Kirsten Kilburn (Nina), Brandyn Eddy (Nips), Jameson Parker (Greg)]

[L to R: Tara Pratt (Jen) & Aslam Husain (Eliot)]

Next, with Kevin, our Sound Designer, it wasn't so much about money as it was about time and process. With Prodigals 1.0 Sound was mainly an afterthought. We needed a phone to ring so he came up with a sound cue and that was pretty much it. But, now (as you will see from the video below) it has become an integral part of the show. Kevin has created an amazing original score for the play that has given Prodigals 2.0 an extra layer of depth.

Plus Peter, the Director, has tweaked a few things, or even completely thrown out some things, in favour of creating moments that will serve this production better. Included in those new moments will be the new intro to Prodigals:

[A video clip from rehearsal on April 21, 2011. Cast appearing in the video: Tara Pratt (Jen), Jameson Parker (Greg), Brandyn Eddy (Nips) & Aslam Husain (Eliot). Sound & Original Score: Kevin McLardy]

Welcome to Prodigals 2.0!!

~Sabrina Evertt,
Artistic Producer

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Coffee Talk with Kirsten Kilburn

Last year I did a series of Q&A’s with some of the cast members of Prodigals leading up to the workshop production (If you missed it last time you can read them all here) so I thought with the addition of a new actor to the team I would take a few minutes to get her take on Prodigals 2.0.

Kirsten Kilburn is no stranger to Twenty-Something Theatre. In fact, I have probably worked with her more than anyone else in this industry. So much, in fact, that I was semi-joking around the other day about how I should just make her an Artistic Associate of the company. Her Twenty-Something credits are as follows: Jessica in This Is Our Youth, the inaugural production of the company; The Narrator in The Fever, the inaugural Spotlight production; Candy in our sold-out hit production of Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love; Assistant Director for Blue Surge; and now, Nina in the World Premiere of Prodigals, our first new work.

(Kirsten, on the far left, in This Is Our Youth)

(Kirsten, on the far right, in Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love)

She has been around for a lot of “firsts” and it seems only fitting that she would be part of this “first” as well. So without further ado let’s hear from Kir (as we all call her)…

What’s it like to be the newest addition to the cast and thrown into a play and a group of people that have been together for so long already?

Well, I've known most of the other actors for quite awhile, so it makes that experience of being the "newbie" a lot less stressful. Except when they make fun of me for being the newbie...;) Something I find a little challenging is catching up to the amount of character work and process. I have a few weeks, whereas everyone else has had a year to sit and live with it. And then again, that's also a blessing. Being able to work with actors who are so established in their character relationships makes it easier to make quick decisions regarding my own work. I just like to think that I'm really fortunate to have the opportunity to work on such a wonderful piece with a pretty fabulous group of people, whether I'm the new kid or not.

What is your favourite role to date and why?

Can I pick more than one? I'm gonna do it... my favorite role in film was playing the character of Liz in a short film called "Locked Out". Not only is it shot in Vancouver, it's very much about Vancouver. Even though we shot mostly outside in winter with me wearing a nightie, a short bathrobe, and giant rubber boots, it still wins for favorite role. Liz goes through so many emotions and transitions and still finds the strength and willpower to succeed. The cast and crew are also some of the finest people I've had the great fortune to work with, especially Tovah Paglaro, who wrote, directed and produced the piece.

Musical theatre, I'm going to go with playing Amy in "Quarter Life". I had the pleasure of playing that role twice: once here in Vancouver, and then again in Toronto with some new cast members and an altered plot. "Quarter Life" was a brand new musical written by Chantal Forde and composed by Neville Bowman. The challenge of working on new music and the beauty of the material was an amazing experience in and of itself, but the relationships that were formed, both personal and professional, were what really made the project so special. There was so much heart in that show.

And theatre. Candy in "Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love". Not only is the piece itself challenging; there are many interjections by characters not "in" the scene, one scene is happening on stage while another is still taking place, all actors are on-stage for the entire show; but it was an incredible emotional challenge as well. I feel like it was one of the first times that I was cast against my type, which is such a great way to explore and really find what makes the character themselves. And she's, um, a little bit complicated, so that was fun, too! And again, being able to work with such a passionate and creative group of people is always such a gift.

Tell us your “I wanna be an actor” story…

Well, I'm not sure I have one. I started dancing at three, doing radio commercials before I could read, and singing at six (yes, I DID have a radio announcer dad and a former actress mom!), so I feel like it was kind of just a given. I can't remember wanting to be anything else. Really. I do, however, remember when I decided that I wanted to go to my high school (Victoria School of the Visual and Performing Arts aka Vic in Edmonton). I was in grade six, and we had a field trip to go see "West Side Story" at Vic. Yes, I know. We all love student matinees! I sat in my seat, the house lights dimmed, and I fell in love with everything happening on that stage. I was mesmerized, and just knew I had to go there. So Vic would become my home for quite some time. And I wouldn't trade any moment of my time there for the world. PS One of my very favorite people, Mr Troy Anthony Young, who was just seen in "Nocturne" with Twenty-Something, was in that production of "West Side Story". It's nice to have your inspiration as your friend, isn't it?

(photo courtesy of Kirsten)

How do you relate (or not) to your character, Nina, in the play?

Nina is definitely not shy about expressing her opinions and emotions, and she doesn't always choose the most...kind words when sharing these things. I like to hope that I'm a little bit more diplomatic when I communicate. But I could be wrong. I feel as though we don't really share the same taste in fashion. She clearly is one up on me in that department! I am not a mother, Nina has a daughter. We both smoke, so that's some nice common ground. And Nina has heart. She is fiercely loyal to those she cares about, although they may not get that from the way she speaks to them. And I think the loyalty and need to protect those closest to you is something we definitely have in common. That, and the love of leopard print...

You actually had the opportunity to see the workshop production the first time around. How will this production be different? And, why should people come out to see Prodigals again?

The workshop performance was wonderful to see. It was at the Havana Theatre, which is such an intimate space. This production will be at SFU Woodwards Studio T, which is a larger, open space. The set design makes such fantastic use of the new space, keeping everything open, yet very specific in terms of location. This production will be that much more polished in every aspect. I'm really excited to see it all come together! And again, the cast and crew has had a year to sit and live with this show. The ideas and creativity that have come up are outstanding. Sean, the playwright, has taken this latest script to the next level. The clarity and development of character is that much stronger, allowing the performances to really shine. All in all, it is well worth a second viewing if you saw it the first time! And if you didn't, well you need to see it. Everyone finds a little bit of themselves in this show. Your heartstrings will definitely feel a little tug! Oh. And I'm in this one. That's a good reason, right?

If you had one piece of advice for aspiring young actors, those just starting a training program or going to their first audition, what would it be….

Have fun! I think sometimes we forget why we do what we do. We become bogged down with all of the pressures and unknowns of being an artist; why didn't I get the part? What if I never make it? Why can't I get an audition for that company? But we don't call them "plays" for nothing! We have the joy of being able to become totally different people, to live thousands of other lives, feel the full range of emotions, be a killer, a cowboy, a countess, a call girl, anything we want to be! And then go home and live our lives. There is no other profession that let's you do that. And get paid for it! Always find the joy of being able to play, whether it be on stage, in front of the camera, or in an audition room. That is the best advice I can give to anyone, but especially those just starting out.

Thanks to Kirsten for taking the time to share with us. Catch her as the new "Nina" starting May 3rd (only approx a week and half now!) along with the rest of the Prodigals 2.0 team at Studio T, SFU Woodward's, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reality is Happening

Back in January we launched a major fundraising campaign and in February I wrote a post entitled "This Is The Reality" about the reality of funding and fundraising. Well it is now April 19th and reality is happening.

March was a crazy month!! (I kind of thought I was going insane there for awhile). Not only was I working on Jesus Hopped the A Train as a designer but I was also planning and/or preparing for our March Madness fundraising events. Let me just say one thing: I do NOT recommend doing 2 big fundraisers a week apart. Hindsight is 20/20, right?!

However, both events were a huge success. Last week, I finished doing the reconciliation from the Cabaret show and we made over $2200 that will go directly towards producing Prodigals. Plus, Legacy Liquor on the night of the Wine Tasting event presented us with a $1000 cheque as the first installment and with over 100 people at the event the final cheque will go a long way towards helping us reach our goals.

So, three and half months later, here we are back in the rehearsal room for Prodigals and thanks to the help and support of many I'm no longer asking myself the question: "Where the #$@# are we going to get the money to do this?" That is a huge relief.

Now I can just be excited about getting our first official World Premiere of a new work up in front of audiences!!

~Sabrina Evertt,
Artistic Producer

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Under the Influence

On the weekend of March 31 - April 2 we held our very first Cabaret show: Under the Influence. It was such a great show and we all just had a blast doing it. I managed to take a few photos and get some video clips of the show to share with you. Enjoy!!

(The cast at rehearsal during the day)

(Show Time!!)

(Pretty Girl Blues. Music & Lyrics by Kerrigan-Lowdermilk. Singers: Kirsten Kilburn, Tamara Vishniakoff & Dustin Freeland. Dancers: Calida Kuzek, Paige McCulloch & Brett Owen)

(How To Not Be With You. Music & Lyrics by Kerrigan-Lowdermilk. Singer: Dustin Freeland. Dancer & Choreographer: Joel Sturrock)

I will eventually be posting more video's of the show for your viewing pleasure on our youtube channel which you can visit here.

Thanks again to everyone who came out and made it such a fabulous 3 nights!! Hopefully we'll do it again soon.

~Sabrina Evertt,
Artistic Producer