Sunday, February 24, 2008

Work Updates!

So January and February have been extremely hectic and busy, which is fortunate, because we've been having the most snowy, icy, freezing-cold winter in years here in town. I've come to realize that being busy in the winter is essential for me: though I spend a great deal of time out in it (or waiting for buses and trains to get me out in it), it makes the time pass and gives me lots of things to think about besides fear of hypothermia and eternal hopelessness. So!

I spent January and February working with my beloved xWing on a large-scale, site specific commission for the Department of Cultural Affairs. We were to collaborate with high school students from Multicultural Arts Center at Little Village High School and visiting artists (both local and from the U.K.) and create a huge lantern festival to be performed over a weekend in Millennium Park. We set about building lanterns, giant creatures, puppets, and objects of all kinds out of a bendable kind of willow reed and a clothlike paper which we applied to the reed frames pretty much like paper-mache. We wrote and staged six separate puppet shows to run concurrently in the public space surrounding the Bean.

When I say, "we," I essentially mean everyone else did a ton of work and I showed up sometimes and helped out as much as possible. The reason for this, although I'd initially planned to be much more involved, was that mid-January I was offered a really wonderful role in a show. It doesn't open til April but this means I'll have lots of time to develop the part and learn from it. It's an English play called The Skriker by Caryl Churchill, set to open here April 17th at the Mary-Arrchie space at Sheridan and Broadway. I play a girl called Josie who is institutionalized after murdering her 10-day-old baby. Josie meets a fellow patient (or so she believes) who turns out to be a shapeshifting ancient fairy (and a portent of death) who makes friends with Josie and takes advantage of Josie's vulnerability to bargain and finagle her way into the lives of Josie and her best friend Lily. It's a wonderful play (if you don't know Caryl Churchill, she wrote Top Girls and Cloud 9 and is one of those wonderful avant-gardeists who everyone reads in theatre school but who seldom really gets produced). And the company who is producing it, GreyZelda Theatre Group, is a great young company run by awesome people.

It always seems to happen this way, not that I'm complaining. I'll go weeks and sometimes months auditioning and trying and working really hard. Nothing will come of it for a while (if at all). Then two amazing things hit at once and I inevitably have to choose where to pitch my time and energy. The lantern festival was awesome and completely unconventional, and I'm thrilled that I was able to be as involved as I was. And regarding the play, I really can't overstate what it means to be to have a great part in a great show again. I feel really lucky and blessed right now, and I feel excited that 2008 is already off to such a start.

Some links:
About the lantern fest:
An interview with Nick and Carolyn
An interview with Gordon McLellan of Creeping Toad (U.K.)
Pictures of construction, procession, and finished projects (photo cred to Rachel)

About the Skriker:

About Caryl Churchill and her work

More to come! Thanks for reading!


Post a Comment

<< Home