The August Wilson Door

From Drew, Arts Management Intern

I don't usually wander down into the scene shop. To administration kids like me, it's an unknown environment that frightens me in a very meaningful way. Bare-handed soldering of huge pieces of metal; huge paintings of Noel Coward's face; super intimidating facial hair; lots of crazy things. However, recently, I happened to find myself deep within its interior (looking for cookies or something) and stumbled upon a giant door. The August Wilson Door.

Acting as a good Rep blog investigator, I looked into it. Supposedly, there is a path in Seattle Center that is being renamed "August Wilson Way" in honor of the late, great playwright August Wilson. Supposedly, there was a request for an "icon" to be designed to commemorate this path. Supposedly that "icon" looks a lot like a door. A twenty-some foot, 3000 pound invocation of 1839 Wylie Avenue, the house that bookends Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle (the characters live in it in the first and debate the demolition of it in the last). And we here at the Rep made it.

And we do tons of stuff like that. I guess our brilliant carpenters/painters/machinists help out with projects outside the Rep all the time. Well, not all the time, but, if you saw Shrek the Musical at the 5th Avenue, the coolest pieces of the set: yeah, that was them. Now, if they do that kind of work for foreigners . . .

Fiduciary Responsibility

From Drew, Arts Management Intern

Seattle Repertory Theatre is a non-profit entity. This means that we make no money so we can make great art and then ask other people for money so people who want to be moved, inspired, enlightened by the art but can't afford the premium price of world-class theatre, can come anyway. This also means that sometimes, we have to make novel use of scarce resources. Thrifty manuevers to keep our financial situation in order/survive to the next day. Case in point: the "Play a Role" buttons. These marvels of design and craftsmanship were first built for an event for the CREW, the group of successful young professionals who love the Rep. Now if we were a for-profit company, or the 5th Avenue, at the end of the night, those buttons would most likely have met the garbage. But, being good financial stewards, since that day I have seen them at meetings with the Board of Trustees, among countless SRT volunteers, on Managing Director Ben Moore, and, today, at the voter registration booth.

Completely Non-Partisan. (To a point)

From Kiki, Audience Development Intern

For those of you who are deaf, blind, and dead I have breaking news for you: it's election season.

You may not believe me, but there are some people out there amidst the barrage of commercials, slogans, yard signs, and lipstick tubes flying in the air that don't know who the candidates are or why November 4th is a great day to try your first Valium. Worse yet, these people may not even be registered to vote.

To help "play a part" this election season, The Rep has set up its very own makeshift voter registration booth. While the effort is small, our glittery, patriotic table toppers are quite large (see right for some such pizazz). Most of the people that have strolled by on their way to previews of The Night Watcher have saluted our efforts...right before they ask where the bathroom is. But we're excited to be mixing it up and trying to affect our patrons in a larger way. I should also note that our efforts are strictly non-partisan. And by that I mean that we will mail in every single sheet that is filled out by a Democrat.

I'm only kidding. (Again, to a point)

Seattle Rep staff out and about

From Joanna, Communications Manager

It might seem crazy, but a lot of us who work at a theatre go home at night and then go make more theatre. The Night Watcher opened in previews at the Rep last night, but here are some other shows that Rep family are involved in this weekend and next:

Always...Patsy Cline
Directed by Erin Kraft, our Literary and Casting Associate
Playing at Centerstage Theatre tonight through October 12 (Happy opening!)

(Pictured: Erin in our season brochure as a character from You Can't Take it With You)

Unregistered—A 2008 Election Cabaret
Written by Andrea Allen and David Schmader. Andrea is our Director of Education
Playing at the Lee Center for the Arts (at Seattle University) for one weekend only: Oct. 2, 3, 4. All shows are pay what you can!

The June Carter Cash Project
Three short plays inspired by the songs of June Carter Cash. Starring, well, me, Joanna Horowitz, Communications Manager. Now you know why I wrote this blog. Total shameless self promotion.
Playing at Live Girls! Theater through Oct. 4 (Fridays and Saturday nights + Saturday 4 p.m. Happy Hour matinee). This Monday, Sept. 29 is pay what you can!

Midwest Sweetie

From Kiki, Audience Development Intern

Buckle up, we have a new guest blogger.

My name is Kiki Abba (a cooler or more Scantron-friendly name has yet to be found) and I started three weeks ago at the Rep as the Audience Development Intern. Don't worry, I don't really know what that title means either, but we'll figure it out together. I'm literally The Lady From Dubuque, and just graduated from the University of Iowa with a double major in Theatre Arts and Communication Studies. I have found the Midwest to be a wonderful place to grow up. It is full of early bedtimes and Yeild to Cows signs. But I'm happy for a change in scenery and where better to go than the home of Grey's and Fraiser?

As I heave another mouthful of cupcake down my gullet, I can't help but feel the responsibility to let you all in on a secret: Jerry Manning, our Producing Artistic Director, is in love with Cupcake Royale. The torrid affair started years ago, and for anyone that has tasted these petit slices of heaven, you'll understand completely.

Here's what I know for certain: 1.) Today he brought in four cupcakes and left them carelessly on a counter top, basically asking, "Hey Kiki, would you mind stealing one of these?" One thing you'll learn about me is that I always follow orders. I did a sly walk-and-grab and have been feasting on this cupcake for the past 5 mins. You know it's hard out here for an intern.

2.) About two weeks ago MetroMart advertised that they were going to be giving away FREE Cupcake Royales at 4:00pm on a Friday. Manning sent an e-mail to everyone at 9:30am asking, "Should we go en masse? They're good cupcakes...." To say the least, the Rep shut down for about 10 mins as we headed across the street to get out sugar fix. Who needs a watercooler when you have a grocery store stocked with free cupcakes? This is where we bond.

3.) It's probably just a rumor, but I heard that he had a spam e-mail address entitled: But that's just what I've heard.

I rest my case.

From the Rehearsal Room: Swords, Batman, and more

From Hilary, Casting Intern

Now that we’re coming on tech for The Three Musketeers, I think its time to look around the rehearsal room with fresh eyes. If I had never seen this room or these people before, would I think them odd? You bet. Here’s a list of sights and sounds that have become normal for me…but maybe shouldn’t be.

One of our actors wears a Batman mask. He wears it so he can get practice dancing in a mask. You’d think I’d be surprised to see the Dark Knight at this particular shindig. (I’m not. Like I said, I’ve gotten used to weird).

Our stage manager neighs a lot. That’s because we are waiting for tech to add sound effects, but we still need to hear the sound of the horse Buttercup. I’ll be sad when she stops her delightful whinny.

Mesh and leather is totally a new trend. The men wear leather boots and sword belts, rehearsal capes, and workout clothes. Looks great.

Swords. Everywhere.

From the Rehearsal Room: Let the Good Times Roll

From Hillary, Casting Intern

What’s it like to be in a rehearsal room with fabulous and fabulously armed comedians? It’s exciting, enjoyable, and professional. But comedy is comedy, and sometimes we do have too much fun.

As I suggested in my last entry, I tend to get sucked into the fights and inevitably believe the actors. So while watching the fight between the Musketeers and the Cardinal’s Guards (a 10-person fight!), you can imagine my reaction when I heard a moan and the sound of head hitting metal from upstage. Terror. I am confused and nervous as I see actors breaking out of the sequence to crowd around their fellow actor who is on his knees, quivering. “I’m fine, I’m ok” he quietly assures us, but he’s covering his mouth with his hand, and he looks anything but. Is he bleeding from the mouth? We spring into action as he opens up his hand and shows us a tooth. Oh my gosh, he lost a tooth!?!?! Stage management rushes to the first aid kit, actors get glasses of water, and I, not always at my best in medical crisis, start wildly grabbing tissues.

I hear laughter. Which cruel person thinks that losing a tooth while rehearsing fight choreography is funny? Who on earth has the stomach to laugh at our poor actor’s misfortune? The actor who got hurt apparently. He stands up smiling, showing us the hole in his teeth. Is he in shock? He puts the tooth from his hand into the empty spot and says, “Gotcha!” Turns out, our actor has a prosthetic tooth and great comedic timing.

I should have known. He’s an actor, and his craft is clearly well-honed. I won’t fall for it again, I resolve then and there but, between you and me, I know that's not true. I’ll fall for it every time. Now the only question is, How can I get him back?

Charlayne Woodard on The Night Watcher

The incredibly articulate and animated Charlayne Woodard chatted with us about her newest play, The Night Watcher.

A YouTube search also brings up Charlayne's acting reel: scenes from The Terminator and more. Interesting...

Seattle Times writes column about Seattle Rep usher Leon McLaughlin

The Seattle Times' Nicole Brodeur just wrote a column about Leon McLaughlin, who has been an usher here at the Rep for 28 years. A savvy businessman who shines shoes and founded his own water filtration system development company, Leon is on his way to Bolivia to install water filtration machines. Read the column here.

On a related note, did you know you can become a volunteer usher at the Rep and see shows for free? More info about that and other volunteer opportunities here.

From the Rehearsal Room

Hi! I’m Hillary, and I’m a new member of Seattle Rep’s Professional Arts Training Program. I’ve just moved to Seattle from Providence, Rhode Island where I graduated from Brown University with a degree in Theatre Arts and English Lit. As the Casting Intern, my jobs include scheduling auditions, doing script reports, and making myself as useful as I can to the fantastic people in the Artistic Department.

In Rehearsal for The Three Musketeers
My third week as the casting intern at the Rep, I have began assisting the director of The Three Musketeers. It’s my first show at the Rep and my first professional show ever. During rehearsal I sit next to the director, her sounding board and devil’s advocate when she needs it, but always I am a watchful observer of this exciting and, for me, new world.

A bit about the rehearsal room. There are 20 swords, 4 pistols, and one bullwhip neatly living on the weapons table against the side wall. At the back of the room, the wall is lined with fun props like French breads, bar stools, carafes, and a beautiful chess set. Behind me is the break table, where everyone in the room (even me!) has a mug with their name on it. There’s always fresh coffee, hot water, tea, ice water, and, perhaps most importantly, altoids. We work closely together, so curiously fresh breath is a priority. The stage space is dominated by a 6 ft. metal scaffold, a smaller version of our set. Stage management has taped out the floor to show where various set pieces would be. With a bit of imagination I can see the world that will soon be in front of me onstage.

We rehearse six days a week, and our schedule is orderly. Stage management makes sure we follow the rules of the Actors Equity union. The union has rules about how long our rehearsals are, how many breaks we get during rehearsals, and how often we get them. These rules are really to make sure the actors are given the circumstances they need to do their best work in rehearsal. And our actors need those breaks—this first week they’ve been learning fight choreography.

For the first six days of rehearsal, the cast has been learning and rehearsing sword fights for hours. I see toned arms, engaged minds, and high spirits as I watch the cast punch, kick and draw their swords to fight each other. Truth be told, I am always relieved when the fights stop and the fighters become actors while they talk to each other about any difficulties or confusion there might be in the choreography. They help each other out so that when I watch I’m always convinced that they’re fighting for their lives—or at least their honor.

Presenting...The Future

We've been trying to figure out a way to give you more content online and pull together all the things were doing—blog, videos, articles, etc. And ladies and gentlemen the future is here. Or something. Today we launch our new online magazine Offstage. It's the home for interviews, videos, weird little features like which characters from the season we'd invite to dinner, and more. We're testing it out. Please let us know what you think:

In this issue:
Fight Director Rick Sordelet talk about The Three Musketeers' 22 fights, 18 swords, and non-traditional weapons (a rubber chicken?!).

Actress and playwright Charlayne Woodard and director Dan Sullivan chat about how they make a play (The Night Watcher) out of a series of stories.

Charlayne tells some of those stories.

Our Literary and Casting Associate Erin Kraft takes us through the series of "creative truths" (i.e. big ol' fabrications) that made up all of the different versions of The Three Musketeers.

Plus a couple of special features about the season, wacky facts about our first two playwrights, and chance to meet the first two directors, and video of both Rick Sordelet and Charlayne Woodard.

Seattle Weekly on Jerry Manning

John Logenbaugh just wrote a column in Seattle Weekly about our new Producing Artistic Director Jerry Manning. Here's an except:

"I think it's time that we put the 'Seattle' back into Seattle Rep," he says, then spends several minutes expounding on the wealth of acting talent that's here and constantly emerging from the UW and Cornish. This is very encouraging: When he speaks about "local talent," it's not the cant of a newbie buttering up his board, it comes from a guy who probably knows more actors, both Equity and non-Equity, than any artistic director working in town.

What the Rep also needs, he says, is younger people—not just in the audience, but onstage and maybe even running the show. "If I were to have my say, I think these institutions, not just the Rep but ACT and Intiman and the Arena and the Goodman, should be run by younger people, artists in their 20s and 30s. There's a smart way to do it and a dumb way to do it. But I think for the future of theater in this country it's going to have to be done."

Continue reading the article...

Video of Fight Director Rick Sordelet

Isn't it funny that Rick Sordelet's last name pretty much has the word "sword" in it? I don't know, just saying...

Musketeers in the house

Rehearsals have started for The Three Musketeers. Word is there are 22 fights in the show, and, as of last night, five of them were already choreographed. We got to sit in on the very first rehearsal and watch the team of actors work with Fight Director Rick Sordelet (the country's leading fight choreographer with almost 40 Broadway credits to his name) to build trust. Here's a photo of the group doing some extreme trust falling.

Photo by Cindy Farruggia, Communications Assistant.