Archive for the ‘Mike Geither’ Category

Tear it Off

August 15th, 2015 No comments

Tear it OffTear it Off. Get to it. See it. Experience it. Mike Geither hit a homerun with this play about two lonely sisters who pass their time recording their enactments of romance novels that they’re writing. Like the playful games and skits children enact, the two sisters, Beth (Lucy Bredeson-Smith) and Bridget (Lauren B. Smith), create the stories in three dimensional space: sneaking, exploring, eating, paddling canoes, and scaling the terrain of their imaginations. It’s like watching a devised theater piece being created, except the lonely sisters actually know how to tell a story.

It’s conceivable that the two sisters could have gone on like this forever, but for the visitation of Charles, the handyman/plumber (Terrence Cranendonk) who becomes the object of obsession for both sisters, who don’t miss a beat in including him in their story. Tensions rise. Shirts are torn off. Sex is in the air.

Charles has a brother, Tim (Beau Reinker), who quickly comes to the aid of this bodice-ripping plot by filling the role of the sinister brother. A petty crook all his life, Tim quickly complicates things for Charles and the sisters.

I’m not going to spoil the story for those of you reading this by revealing the turns of Geither’s tale, but it is sufficiently entertaining for you to go and watch it yourselves. Geither creates a magnificent landscape of the mind while using a sparse set. Limited props are used effectively: glasses, pitcher, water, tape recorder, a coin, a shirt, a book, a phone. But perhaps most effective is the braids of two stories: one imagined and one real, that entwine to tangle the lives of the people in Geither’s play.

Directed by Karin Randoja (who directed Mike’s hilarious play Living Tall) many years back, and who does a fantastic job keeping this story moving along while letting the fantastic actors make their choices in dynamic splendor.

Well worth the time and money. Get to convergence and Tear it Off. Runs through September 5.

Rehearsal Reports

February 9th, 2011 No comments

So for the rehearsal updates I am taking advantage of the very fine work that Jarod Witkowski is doing with the rehearsal reports. I have removed some content that is not generally necessary (such as attendance and theater specific requests). The full report is at the bottom of the post.

Jarod is a fellow playwright in the NEOMFA program and was drafted into working on the playwright festival by Mike Geither as a part of the formative learning process of play production. Jarod is the stage manager for Patterns and is not even getting credit (formal credit) for it; though he’s putting in some serious hours. Additionally, Jarod fills in and reads parts when actors cannot be present. I know he’s proving to be highly valuable to Zoldessy in this process and I certainly respect what he’s doing. He also brought me some Zywiec from Chicago last time he was there, which makes him mighty fine in my book.

During the first full rehearsal (not reading) Zoldessy blocked the first 11 pages of the script. Blocking is the process of articulating how and where actors move in the space and what the actor will be doing at any given point in time. Blocking is always an issue, but it is especially so with a new play, where no template exists for how the thing has been done previously. Obviously, blocking is one of the more important pieces of getting the play up, as actors spend most of their time in motion or speaking. It wasn’t until this process began formally with Patterns that I recognized just how important. In this play there are 7 actors. Excepting one scene in the play, all actors are never on stage at the same time. This begs the rather obvious question: what are the actors doing when they aren’t “on stage”. This is a perceptive question that Geither asked me right off the bat. I admit that I did not understand the full implications of the question until blocking work started.

For instance, taking the most lame-o scenario imaginable: when two actors are “on stage” (I am using that term loosely to mean ‘doing something’ to garner the direct and immediate attention of the audience) the other five actors could be sitting on chairs at the back. (Which is exactly what my lame directorial imagination called up when writing the piece–largely because that was not the focus of my attention.) So, again, two actors acting, five actors sitting. This isn’t so much of a deal until you realize that five people sitting on chairs doing nothing can draw attention. But worse, one of five actors doing anything other than sitting can draw attention, too. So, there’s the discussion of whether or not the actors should “be in character” the whole time they’re sitting. This raises new questions for a play like mine in which actors portray multiple characters.

I brought a video camera and a TV we don’t use around the house. Jared Bendis lent me an Edirol video mixer to run multiple camera sources into one tv output; so, I will be playing with this. The camera is another important piece of the equation which must be mixed in to the blocking and the general timing of events to ensure that it is a part of the flow of the performance and not just a clunky add-on.

Rehearsals right now are in the East Storefront at CPT because the Levin is booked solid with Black Box through March 6. This poses problems of its own which are not uncommon to productions: you rehearse somewhere other than where you will perform. This means that on March 7, when we do get access to the space for Tech Week, the actors will have 4 days to get acclimated to the actual performance space. Unfortunately, these 4 days will not just be acclimation, they also represent time that must be spent testing light positions, light changes, special lighting effects, sound cues, video: in short, the mind will be under assault from a variety of directions and it will take serious focus on everyone’s part.

Date: 2/8/11
Start Time: 6:30 Break: 8:05 – 8:15 End Time: 9:45

– Blocked pages 1-11
– Tom brought and hooked up video for use during rehearsal

– Line change on page 7, Aisa’s line to introduce the “Demented family dynamic causes daughter to live in head” scene previously included actors’ real names, they have been removed and will be removed in every subsequent case. Notes will be made when the time comes. Aisa’s line now reads, “In this scene, I shall play the part of the daughter. Not that this implies anything, you understand? (Calling to house) Family lighting please.”

– Mike will be in charge of camera during page 5’s caption read by Lynna, Laura will operate the camera when Debbie reads the caption on page 7, and Jim will be in charge of camera on Mike’s rant on page 11.

– One tv, one table, and one camera on tripod were all stored in the space for wednesday’s rehearsal
– The entire props list was completed by Tom/Brian and will be emailed/distributed to everyone by week’s end



-Tom set up the feed effortlessly, worked flawlessly, and some cast members are aware that they will need to work either behind it, or in front of it at some point

-The two center chairs that will be the focal point on the round, raised platform will need to have a straight back and flat seat in order to place the plywood on to make the Queen’s death scene into her death bed, so to speak.

Next Day Schedule:
Wednesday, feb 9th 6:30
We will block pages 11-20, review pages 1-11, and Ali will come in for measurements

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