Theater of War's Antigone in Ferguson at Harlem Stage
Theater of War's Antigone in Ferguson at Harlem Stage

Reordering the Hierarchy of Culture: Bryan Doerries and Theater of War

Howard Sherman

"Our belief is that when you approach audiences with a reverence for the intelligence and the experience that’s in every room, and the humility for what might be possible, new things are possible in the theatre.” 

Those are the words of Bryan Doerries, founder of Theater of War Productions, which for a decade has been bringing classic works by Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides and others to military audiences, revealing how works that are some 2,500 years old still hold meaning and emotional power for present-day audiences, particularly those dealing with some of the greatest challenges anyone can face. Doerries chronicled his own work with both currently serving members of the military, as well as veterans’ groups, in his 2015 book, The Theater of War. In conversation with SD in November, Doerries suggested that while that work continues, it represented merely Act I of his utilization of the classics, with Act II now underway as the company expands to now serve not only the military but the mental health, medical, prison, justice communities and those affected by disasters.

Read more

A Career in Consoles, Catching up with Anne Valentino

Michael Eddy

To say Anne Valentino has been influential in the development of lighting control consoles in our industry would be an understatement. She has been involved in the development of some of the industry’s most defining lighting control products. Most recognized for her work and guidance in the development of ETC’s family of consoles, who she began working with in 1990, Valentino has also worked with Kliegl Bros, Strand, Vari-Lite, and PRG, during her nearly 30-year career. If you have run a lighting console from any of these manufacturers, odds are insanely good that Valentino’s work was an important part of that board. Currently, she is the Eos Product Manager with ETC and is involved with console development from inception through development, and then taking it to the market. Many lighting designers and programmers have worked with, given feedback to, and been trained on the consoles by Valentino at tradeshows and training sessions all over the world. Her contributions to the industry have been deservedly recognized as well. She received the prestigious Gottelier Award in 2016 and in 2018 USITT honored her with the Lighting Design & Technology Distinguished Achievement Award. While at USITT, Stage Directions caught up with Valentino to talk a bit about her career.

Read more
Prop Master Kristine Holmes
Prop Master Kristine Holmes

Kristine Holmes is A (25) Seasoned Props Master

Lisa Mulchay

As the full-time manager of the properties department at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company, Kristine Holmes has spent 25 seasons building and sourcing props for scores of productions. Having been properties master for over 175 shows during her career, Holmes has worked on both regional and Broadway productions of Hedda Gabler and Private Lives. She has also fabricated props for many Disney Cruise Line Productions and has spent 18 seasons as the set decorator for PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. In 2014, the Huntington honored Holmes with the Gerard and Sherryl Cohen Award, recognizing the quality of her work and contributions to the company’s long-standing success.

Read more
Celia Gooding & Antonio Cipriano in A.R.T.’s Jagged Little Pill (Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva)
Celia Gooding & Antonio Cipriano in A.R.T.’s Jagged Little Pill (Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva)

An Immersive Audio Experience on Jagged Little Pill

Wilson Burke

The rock musical, Jagged Little Pill, scheduled to open on Broadway in fall of 2019, had its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) with a sound design by renowned sound designer Jonathan Deans.  The well-received high-energy musical is inspired by Alanis Morissette’s Grammy-winning 1995 album of the same name and features music and lyrics by Morissette and Glen Ballard paired with a book by Diablo Cody. Deans, a pioneer in immersive audio technologies, pushed the limits of immersive sound design for the show, which moves seamlessly between interior intimacy and arena-sized intensity. 

Add a comment
Read more

Sound Designer Scott Lehrer on his Audio Choices for Carousel on Broadway

Stage Directions

The 2018 revival of Carousel, which started previews in February, just finished up its Broadway run at the Imperial Theatre in NYC. Rogers and Hammerstein’s 1945 classic was revived with a fully digital sound design by Scott Lehrer, whose design was nominated for a Tony Award.

There’s a lot of music in Carousel, from “If I Loved You” to the vocal challenge of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, with 34 actors on stage and a fully acoustic—no electronic instruments—orchestra of 26. Sound design for the musical played a crucial role and was made possible by Lehrer’s technical expertise. Lehrer’s associate sound designer was Alex Neumann and the A1 for the show was Carin Ford.

Add a comment
Read more

The Grand Hall Rises as Battersea Arts Centre Reopens

Howard Sherman

That the Battersea Arts Centre in London is calling its current programming roster its Phoenix Season should come as no surprise to anyone aware of the venue’s recent history. In early 2015, an overnight fire rendered the Grand Hall, the largest space in the century-old facility, a charred wreck, with little but the exterior walls remaining. Fortunately, the construction of the building was such that the while the Grand Hall was a shambles, the other parts of the building, equally historic, escaped any significant damage. Unlike most organizations facing such devastation, BAC was already discussing reconstruction with architects the day after the disaster. How did they manage to set to planning so quickly?

{youtube}v=dd_4kBwAS04{/youtube}

Add a comment
Read more

Shadows in the Dark

Jay Duckworth

Superstitions in the Theater
If I am ever home alone and just feeling a little lonely, I put on a scary movie and about 30 minutes later I am pretty much convinced that there is someone in the house with me. My friend’s cabin in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey has a ghost called Hazel Grunzel, the first owner of the cabin. It’s strange how we always shut more doors than any of us open! Theaters are no different; almost every theater I have worked at has a ghost or two.

Read more

The Fake Food Cookbook

Jay Duckworth

We are at that time of gift-giving, when we give things to people that we hope they will need and use. One of the gifts I received this summer and have used [Really, I did, see this month’s Answer Box] was a book that Tammy Honesty brought out to NYC on her last visit. The Fake Food Cookbook: Props You Can’t Eat for Theatre, Film, and TV created by Karestin Harrison and Tamara L. Honesty from Focal Press is a great new resource. I spoke with the authors to learn how the book came into existence.

Add a comment
Read more

Shaking the Tree

Lisa Mulcahy

Reflections on Writing My Eighth Book
I remember my first days at Brandeis University, when I entered the school’s wonderful theater arts program as a freshman. It felt magical and special to walk into the vast Spingold Theater and imagine myself performing on its stage (which I started doing soon after, loving every minute of it). As my years at Brandeis happily progressed, I learned EVERYTHING—every aspect of top-notch theater study and practice was available right in front of me. I studied acting with the late, great Ted Kazanoff and playwrighting with the incredible Edward Albee, sang and performed many classic musical theater roles, worked as a production sound designer, studied theater history (which I found fascinating), and completed my honors thesis in directing. I learned the practical skills that made me tough enough to survive as an actress in Boston theater right after graduation, and honed the chutzpah I needed to direct, produce, and teach professionally in Boston and New York, too. 

Add a comment
Read more