“The Chalk Boy” in rehearsal

The Chalk Boy by Joshua Conkel is the first show to open this season, Friday July 13th.

Beneath its boring facade there is more going on in the tiny town of Clear Creek than the opening of the new Taco Bell.  Four of the town’s local girls are here to take you on a tour of their funny, yet brutal reality.  They struggle with faith, friendship, sex, the occult, algebra, and the disappearance of… The Chalk Boy.  This is a deathly black comedy that punches as hard as your high school bully.

Directed by Nina Capriola and featuring Nikole Moon as Penny, Luna Ezekiel as Lauren, Genevieve Toribio as Breanna and Daniella Vargas as Trisha.

Set design by Samantha Petrovich, lighting by Matthew T. Pavellas, sound design by Vincent Eclavea Jr., costumes by Sarah Larson and props by Genevieve Toribio – stage managed by Natalie Cruz

Stay tuned for the commercial…(snap shots below!)

They can drive a sane person mad…

For those of you unfamiliar with any of the day-to-day tasks of stage management, one of the fun jobs we get to do is take line notes. A line note is a note taken during rehearsal when an actor doesn’t say a line correctly, calls “Line!” (meaning, they need the line given to them), drops words, paraphrases, etc. The Shape of Things is a four-person play…which means they have all a LOT of lines (and they are doing an awesome job, by the way!) and it’s inevitable that there will be pages upon pages of notes for them…

My wonderful assistant stage manager, Mason Brown, is a part of a SM team for the first time and I’ve delegated this responsibility to him for a few reasons:

1) I trust that he will give the actors accurate notes

2) He pays attention during rehearsal (this seems silly, but really… it can be a lot to ask)

3) As stage managers, we’ve all had to go through it: why not go all out for your first time?

So, Mason, I appreciate all that you’re doing (and the actors do, too!) Welcome to my world, kid.

This is what lines notes have done to him.  Enjoy.

Identity crisis.

As a first time costume designer on Dog Sees God, I guess the only things I’ve got going for me are:

  1.     I attended FIDM for awhile (but dropped out – sorry, Mom and Dad)
  2.     I like clothes
  3.     The show is set in modern times (so I don’t have to worry about being time period specific)
  4.     Lots of people that work with me trust my judgment (or so they tell me)

Although I am armed with these…um, powerful tools of design, this show will be no easy task: it has the most looks out of all of the shows featured in 2X4BASH. But there is a larger challenge I face: one of my characters, C.B.’s Sister, is a teenager who has an identity crisis and is constantly changing her look and how others perceive her and I need to express that via costumes. I’m definitely up for the challenge, but it’s a lot to take on.

On a personal note, I admire this about the character, in a way, and feel that it is extremely indicative of what we’re all doing in the BASH. One day, I’m someone’s stage manager and two hours later, I’m their sound designer, and all the while, dealing with the every day issues of managing a new company. Wearing multiple hats all day long can be tiring and, mostly, confusing, leaving me wondering on a daily basis “who I am” today.

This particular character inspires and scares me. Sometimes, I fear that I won’t be able to define myself clearly as an artist the best way I can this summer, since I am not primarily a “designer” by nature. I am an arts manager: I am excellent at upholding the integrity of others’ artistic choices. But making my own? That’s a scary thought, but I’m up for the challenge.

So, here’s to finding my way, through design, this summer. C.B.’s Sister: you are my personal mascot for breaking through the confusion and defining myself.

I wish I was a Mechanical Engineer

Ron Barth, President of Resource Furniture, demonstrates and explains their amazing line of Italian-designed space.
This video is pretty cool. I have been thinking of ways to to give set pieces dual purposes and this video validates my idea. (Thank you, Shane, for sending me this.)

Space is always an issue  in theater and even more so at The Western Stage, now that 2x4BASH will be in the mix of the main season productions. I have one piece built but still working out some mechanics  for Dog Sees God. Right now, the units have two roles within the same show. I can’t wait to talk to the other designers about their needs and how we may apply this idea to cross set pieces between shows. Space-saving furniture is key, in my mind, due to the fact that two shows are in the round, relying hugely on furniture alone to set the scene.

The Genesis of a Production Poster

The Impossible Task

I never thought that designing a poster for a couple of theatre productions would melt my brain, but after working on our show poster for 2X4BASH: theatre on the edge, it’s a very real possibility. Our show poster had to feature all four 2X4BASH productions plus the dates and authors, as well as the specifics of where, how much, contact info, etc. It all seemed very daunting at first.

As I was crawling into the fetal position, thinking about all the aspects the poster needed to include, I luckily glanced at the pin board above my computer.  A couple of old local band show fliers hung there like shining 1/4-page papers of hope. They had about four or five band logos on them plus the show info and it all fit onto little 1/4-page pieces of paper! If whoever designed these fliers could fit that all on there and make it look interesting, I could make a regular sized poster no problem. Plus the band show poster had the grittier look that we were looking for to represent our on-the-edge line up of plays.

The Band Poster: My Inspiration

The Font Search

And so I began my journey of making a band show themed poster. The first thing I did was create “band logos” for each of the shows. This meant finding fonts that could pass as band logos but also worked with the feeling and themes of the shows.

I never knew how mind numbingly grueling a font search could be. I searched font website after font website with glazed-over, tired eyes and eventually found the perfect ones to use. I then quickly came up with a color-blocked design that used our red, black, and white 2X4BASH colors to keep the poster simple and eye catching. Many of my fellow 2X4BASH teammates liked the design, but unfortunately, several of the fonts I used turned out to not be free for commercial use. To avoid having to contact the font creators and buy all of our fonts, I fell back into the search for fonts. This time it was even more difficult, because I tried to find free commercial use fonts that looked similar to the ones I was replacing.

After another few hours of searching fonts, I found the replacements and put it up for more review among the 2X4BASH team. Several tweaks later, our poster was complete.

The Future Is Upon Us

2X4BASH is interested in trying to fuse newer forms of technology with our theatre performances, so we included a QR code in the right bottom corner that can be scanned with an application on a smartphone and be taken to a picture of this same poster on our blog. This should make it easy for people to get our info without having to write it down.

As much as I make it sound like designing the poster was a big pain, I did have a lot of fun making it. Keep an eye out for our poster around town!

“You’re a difficult equation with a knack for heart evasion…” Design inspiration for None of the Above

So, it’s my second time ever sound designing (pretty stoked about it) and after reading the script, I felt the relationship between the two characters had a quirky, sometimes awkward, but playful tone to it. Other than the lyrics cleverly bouncing around metaphors of math and English, Sia’s “Academia” captures the kind of mood that I hope to throughout my design in the show. The song talks about two people who are trying to essentially express the same thing to one another, but it’s as if they speak two different languages. Give it a listen! Let me know what you think! (Lyrics are below).

You can be my alphabet and I will be your calculator
And together we’ll work out on the escalator
I will time you as you run up the down
And you’ll measure my footsteps as I pleasure this town
The mean of our heights is divided by the nights
Which is times’d by the daggers and the root of all our fights,
The pass of your poem is to swathe me in your knowing
And the beauty of the word is that you don’t have to show it

Oh academia you can’t pick me up
Soothe me with your words when I need your love

I am a dash and you are a dot
When will you see that I am all that you’ve got
I’m a binary code that you cracked long ago
But to you I’m just a novel that you wish you’d never wrote
I’m greater than x and lesser than y, so why is it
That I still can’t catch your eye?
You’re a cryptic crossword, a song I’ve never heard
While I sit here drawing circles I’m afraid of being hurt

Oh academia you can’t pick me up
Soothe me with your words when I need your love

You’re a difficult equation with a knack for heart evasion
Will you listen to my proof or will you add another page on
It appears to me the graph has come and stolen all the laughs
It appears to me the pen has over analysed again
And if I am a number I’m infinity plus one
And if you are five words you are afraid to be the one
And if you are a number you’re infinity plus one
And if I am four words then I am needing all your love

Oh academia you can’t pick me up
Soothe me with your words when I need your love

We’re following the Tweeter, the Tweeter, the Tweeter…

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

An idea that we at 2x4BASH have been toying with is incorporating “media-friendly” shows, where people can sign up to sit in designated seats in the house (as to not disturb our ‘traditional’ audience members) and use their Smartphones during the show to comment on or react as they watch. SF Playhouse (http://www.sfplayhouse.org/) used this concept during their production of Wirehead with Twitter and they re-tweeted select posts from audience members. I think this concept is pretty cool, but as I see it, there are so many factors that go into making this even slightly successful, especially introducing it as a completely new idea to our theatre community here on the Central Coast.

Cell phones in the theatre are typically considered blasphemous, but as time evolves, I feel we as theatre artists need to, as well. Most of us always have our phones on our person at all times (I know I do) and yes, I do think it’s incredibly rude to talk on your phone at the theatre, or not silence it. But if we were to create an environment where it was okay to use your little, technological limb for good rather than evil, I think both audience member and the theatre could benefit.

We have to look at the constants versus the variables in this situation. The constants: where the seats are located, making sure all participants interested sign up and have a verified Facebook/Twitter account (so we can check to see if they actually posted something). The variable: Internet connection, and the biggest variable of them all… human beings. We can only tell them what they are supposed to do, but will 100% of the participants do exactly that? Doubtful. The idea is to get our audience engaged and talking about what’s going on, on a first impression basis. Most of the time when we see a show, if something strikes us in a strong way, we have the rest of the show to think about or rationalize it. But if you had the opportunity to say exactly what they thought or felt about that moment in time (as we often do with Facebook and Twitter anyway), wouldn’t you want to?

Ideally, if we can rally up enough interest in our production, people will want to talk about it, right then and there without having to wait. I believe this is our ultimate goal: interest, reaction, dialog. We want to share our dialog with you.

To get started, follow us on Twitter! (2x4BASH) We promise to follow you back!

Some interesting links, regarding this topic: