2012 Matches

2012 Matches:
Elyse Leyenberger (Photography '12) : Andrei Jackamets (BFA Photography '83)

Ryan Berardi (Sculpture '14) : Anthony Visco (BFA Sculpture '70)
Kaylyn Gray (Multimedia '13) & Michael Knaub (Multimedia '13) : Michele Kishita (BFA Painting '97, MFA Painting '10)
Diane Meck (Dance '13) : Geoffrey Kershner (BFA Acting '00)
Kennedy Dickerson (Photography '14) & Michael G Malloy (Photography '12) : Nancy Eichenbaum (BFA Photography '87)
Megan Beck (Illustration '13) & Lydia Guadagnoli (Illustration '14) : Veronica Cianfrano (MFA Painting '11)

Monday, May 28, 2012


This week was one of the hardest weeks of the summer, and for me personally.
In addition to working The Comedy of Errors up to our first public performance, we began Macbeth rehearsals on Monday.

        On the way to the first rehearsal of Macbeth, a small group of us passed a huge, cawing raven (the occurrence seemed significant, and somewhat fitting for Shakespeare's infamous tragedy).  Monday's read-through was exciting for several reasons.  It was refreshing to focus on another project for a little while, and to hear about all the plans and ideas for this very different show. 

        The outdoor performance space that we are using is a dell, and it is huge!  Working in such an expansive space is very different and will greatly affect the sound and feel of the show.  The set is incredible...  It's difficult to explain, but it will look somewhat like a huge, jungle gym that will feel organic and grounded to the space, yet also jarred and unnatural at the same time (if that makes any sense?).

        Our version of Macbeth is set in 1814 during the War of 1812, and we are focusing on the idea of Manifest Destiny and the possession of land.  Also, the entire show is being underscored by a local band called Virgineola.

        I also found out a little more about my character...  The three witches are combined into one character in our version; a Native American Medicine Woman.  My character is a Young Native Woman who has survived a horrible accident/explosion of some kind, and has been left behind and discarded, but is taken care of by the Medicine Woman.  This accident that I've survived will inform my physicality and appearance.  It'll be exciting to expand upon this character as rehearsals continue!  
        So far, it's been interesting blocking Macbeth in the (semi-) dark, since we rehearse at night.  It's been cool to see how we can adapt the text in some ways to fit the setting and time period, and to play around with the idea of validated choices (that each of us believes our actions to be fair and justified).
        With Comedy, this week, we have integrated our performance costumes and props into the show, and performed two full runs at a local high school on Friday.  The audience seemed to follow along quite well, and it was nice for us to have a live audience.  We learned a lot from those two shows, and have now entered into the Tech part of the rehearsal process.  I can't believe the show opens this Friday!!
Opening soon -- get your tickets: http://endstationtheatre.org/opening-soon-the-comedy-of-errors/
Check out this cool post from our dramaturg:

-We have, once again, moved, and are now in our permanent dorm building!
-It has not been all work, and no play!
>On Friday, the company enjoyed a night of karaoke at a local restaurant & bar called "The Briar Patch." (In fact, it was the most enjoyable thing I've experienced within the last month, by far!)  Afterward, some of us spent some time at the boathouse here on the Sweet Briar College campus.
>On Saturday, I went kayaking and swimming at Smith Mountain Lake, and played with water balloons!

-I don't know why I chose this week, of all weeks, to start the 60-day "Insanity" fitness challenge... but I have two exercise buddies, and it makes all the difference!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Community Ties

This has been a very exciting and eventful week here at Endstation Theatre Company, and one that has been very much about bonding and community!  This week at rehearsals, we have staged and cleaned the rest of The Comedy of Errors, worked on tightening up conventions, tediously tracked costume/prop changes, added and refined parts for the “stage hand,” and worked our way up to our first complete run-through of the entire show on Friday with no stops!  This is a pretty big feat when you consider that by Friday, we had only had a total of 8 rehearsal days!

A big part of this early rehearsal process has been about inventing and refining conventions regarding “getting away with” the clear and decided “shortage” of actors that we have.  For those of you that might not know, The Comedy of Errors is a story about two sets of identical twins (Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus, and their respective servants, Dromio of Syracuse and Dromio of Ephesus).  Most productions identify the twins as four different actors, with each set dressed similarly.  However, in our production, each set of twins are identical because they are played by the same actor!  This play is already crazy as is, but with two actors instead of four, even crazier things occur!  What happens when more than two characters have to appear onstage at the same time?!  And what happens when, on top of that, other actors in the play are also playing multiple parts?!  I don’t want to give anything away for anyone coming to see the show, so I’ll just say that it’s been a very interesting experience watching this creative process!  I’ve really enjoyed seeing some crazy and sometimes abstract ideas turn into clear, “readable” actions, while also efficiently furthering the story.  It’s been a neat experience to see how a somewhat confusing story can be made visually clear so that the audience can understand what’s going on even if they might not be able to understand the text.

 Another big event this week was that the casts and interns moved into the dorms.  Friday was the official start of the internship (finally!), so we had an intern orientation where we met the staff, and also a company picnic/cook-out later in the day.  It’s nice that almost everyone is finally here, and that it’s now easier to socialize outside of rehearsals! 

Endstation Theatre Company really feels like a community of people, and one that is very connected to the local community.  I could be wrong, but don’t think there are very many companies that feel this tight knit!  One of the great things about being here, too, is that since the company is young, all of the founders are still here, actively involved and serving as the backbone of the company.  It’s exciting to hear about how much the company has grown in the last five years, and to be a part of something so vibrant and connected.

To get back to my duties this week, however… I also attended rehearsals at night for the Broadway in the Blue Ridge Concert, and became familiar with the music so that I could serve efficiently as “page turner.”  Through this process, I actually learned a lot about the relationship that an accompanist (and music director) has with the singers, and refreshed myself on reading music and keeping a steady mental rhythm.  The concert was a nice mix of Broadway songs performed by the cast of Big River, and included four songs from the show to entice the audience to come see it.

The Broadway guest artist that Endstation brought in for this concert, Tory Ross, was fun, very friendly, and extremely talented.  Some of her credits include: both the movie and national tour of The Producers, as well as Wicked9 to 5, and the tour of White Christmas.  [If you would like to see what the director of Big River wrote about her on the company blog, you can click here: http://endstationtheatre.org/broadway-star-tory-ross-through-the-years/]

The concert was a complete success and a blast!  All the performers did a wonderful job, there was a great turnout, and people seemed to have a really good time!  This concert served as the official kick-off of the 2012 Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival, so it was a big night for Endstation.  We celebrated with a post-show company dinner!

Rehearsals are moving quickly!  On Sunday, the cast of Comedy took part in a small sneak preview performance and discussion at the nearby Amherst Museum.  And, this Friday, we have our first full performance of Comedy for a local high school.  In fact, this coming week will prove even crazier than the last as we move into double rehearsal duty with The Comedy of Errors continuing to rehearse from 10:00-5:00, and Macbeth rehearsals beginning tonight from 7:00-10:00 PM!!  Stay tuned for more excitement!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fresh Air, Green Fields, Music, and Ticks

      Thursday and Friday were beautiful days, so we worked outside, finishing table work and beginning to stage The Comedy of Errors in the space.  Both days were very productive and quite enjoyable as we worked on adding humor to the already funny show.  We further developed characters and relationships between the characters (including altering certain characters for our show’s setting and time period).  We also worked on adding temporary costumes and props, as well as instrumentation and music, into the show.  Finally, we worked on inventing and defining the role of the “stage hand” (that’s me!).


      I think one of the best parts of rehearsal is that everyone comes in with their own ideas and is given freedom to try different things before the director, Geoff, begins to shape what’s there.  There is definitely a sense of playfulness and experimentation.  In all honesty, the show is completely ridiculous… in a good way!   

      To our pleasure, we had the weekend off!  This was probably the only time this summer that we’ll be completely free for an entire weekend, so everyone took advantage of it in different ways (catching up on sleep, hanging out, working on lines, seeing their boyfriend, etc.).  One highlight? for me was going to the driving range for the first time.  I’m awful.

      On Sunday, somehow I wound up joining an amateur a capella singing group!  Every Sunday night, a group of about 7 ladies meet in the Brown’s house to sing.  This group of friends has been meeting for over 10 years!  They have a very eclectic list of songs in their repertory.  Right now, they have Ukrainian, Yiddish, French, and Shape Note Music songs, just to name a few!  I was there, doing nothing, in an adjacent room when rehearsal started, so I was asked to join, and then warmly welcomed into the group.

      Today’s rehearsal (Monday) was held inside because of rain.  We continued staging the show, and cleaning and running the entire first half of the show.  Our rehearsals thus far have been very productive (it’s easy to get through a lot when you rehearse for 6 hours a day), and we are slightly ahead of schedule! 

      Another thing that made today exciting was that I started my intern “duty” of observing rehearsals for Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  This musical goes up a little after The Comedy of Errors, but the cast is currently concentrating most of its efforts toward Endstation’s Broadway in the Blue Ridge Concert with Broadway Veteran Tory Ross.  Since the concert goes up this Saturday, there is a press for time!  Today was the cast’s second music rehearsal, and they already sounded great and difficult songs were coming along well.  It was fun just being back in a musical environment, even if I was just an observer.  Also, earlier in the day, I was recruited to be “page-turner” at the concert.  What an honor!

By now, you’re probably wondering where the ticks come into play… 
Well, all you need to know is that ticks do exist in Sweet Briar.

**If you want to follow Endstation's blog (and see a few production photos), click here:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Getting Situated

I’m here on the campus of Sweet Briar College (in Sweet Briar, Virginia) where I will be for close to three months serving as an Acting Intern with Endstation Theatre Company!  I arrived yesterday afternoon and moved my (many) things into my host family’s house where I will stay for one week before I move into a dorm room.  After moving in, I got acquainted with the few people with the company who are already here for the summer, hung out, and went out to dinner. 

 The married couple that has graciously offered up their home for three of us with the company are both Creative Writing and English professors at Sweet Briar.  They are extremely welcoming and kind to us.  Their house looks exactly the way you might imagine a Creative Writing and English professors’ house to look like.  It’s in the middle of the woods, surrounded by huge oak trees and lovely gardens and open fields.  The house itself is very cozy and cute with a winding layout; the rooms are jumbled together like a maze.  Everything is very colorful with patterned designs, and books, art, and trinkets everywhere!  Somehow I really feel like I’m in a novel!  To make things even better, they have a happy, kleptomaniac Pug named James Brown. 

After a restful night’s sleep last night (being lulled to sleep by the soft patter of rain outside my window), I got up for my first rehearsal of The Comedy of Errors.  I met all the other actors, the stage manager, dramaturg, and my alumni-host Geoffrey Kershner, the artistic director of Endstation Theatre Company and director of both of the Shakespeare shows I’m in this summer.  Before we began, we watched a video of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2009 production of The Comedy of Errors.  It was a laugh!  They used interesting conventions throughout the play, which is why Geoff wanted us to watch it.  That, and their version was also a play within a play, where the actors are seen clearly as actors in addition to whatever character they are playing.  Geoff really wants to stick to the idea of having the audience see the artifice of us “putting on a show,” and for our version, we are going to be a troupe of turn-of-the-century Appalachian players who pull up in a wagon to perform the show. 

After talking a little about the RSC’s version, we had a read-through of the play.  My character is being added into the show, and is for the most part (if not completely) silent, so I mostly listened and watched the other actors.  Geoff is very open to ideas and suggestions, and is supportive of a collaborative rehearsal process, which makes this experience even more exciting.  The read-through was absolutely hysterical. 

We then took a field trip to see the outdoor location where we will be putting up the production.  The spot that we’ve chosen is adjacent to the President’s house, is lined with small trees and large shrubs, and has plenty of shade offered by some larger trees.  It looks like a cool space, and we are planning on integrating it into the show.  After this little expedition, we began table work.  We discussed and brainstormed some conventions that we are imagining for our version (such as adding music into certain sections, and using hats to distinguish what actor is playing what character), and also some dialect choices for our characters.  We’re using guitar, banjo, mandolin, and percussive instruments for our music.  It was very cool seeing the work that everyone has already made on their characters and everyone’s interpretations coming together.  And we all experienced an epiphany that, for some reason, Shakespeare makes more sense when done in a "hill country" dialect!

All in all, it was an excellent first day, and I’m super excited to work with these talented actors!  
More to come later this week!