Monthly Archives: February 2009


It’s time to vote in the Washington City Paper’s “Best of DC” issue.  We’d really appreciate your vote so waste no time—choose FORUM now!


MARISOL cast interview: 1 week in

Here we are, a month away from opening Marisol, so I thought we’d do a little interview with some of the cast.

MARISOL first read

MARISOL first read

MICHAEL:  For Patrick [Bussink] and Helen [Pafumi]:  you have both been in a few Forum productions— how does this play compare to your previous experiences?
Are there common themes to the Forum shows you’ve been involved with?  Is it a departure in any way?

HELEN: I am enjoying a cast of four.  It’s so manageable and calm.  Marat/Sade was a blast, but with a cast that huge it could get kind of nutty especially when the guys were all doing Christopher Walken impressions.  It’s my first time working with everyone in this cast as well as with Alexander.  We seem to all be speaking the same language so far – English.  So that’s nice too.

PATRICK:  I’d say it’s about as linguistically agile as Memorandum, as poetic as Judas, and as creepy as The Skriker, which is a pretty great stew if you ask me (though I was not actually in The Skriker).  Other than that, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done.  Definitely the most intensely out there play I’ve seen Forum take a stab at, but I wouldn’t say it’s a departure.

HELEN: Michael likes plays about morality.  About what constitutes good and bad, and how that compass is different for each person.  What are you trying to figure out there Michael?

MICHAEL:  It’s not just me choosing the shows, of course, but yeah—we do seem to be drawn to those plays.  It’s that gray area that can always spark a nice debate.  Morality and angel wings:  that’s all we look for in a play!

Brandon [McCoy], you are making your Forum debut:  What were your first impressions to this script, when you initially read it?  What excited you?

BRANDON:  I was pretty familiar with the script before I read it this time, so I had a general knowledge of the structure and the story.  I’m very excited about the extraordinary challenges it provides.  Rivera has created such a dark world, and I get to play three characters that certainly support that ideal.  I’m excited about the truly scary potential for storytelling in this piece.

Marisol (Veronica del Cerro) about to get all Buffy on Lenny (Patrick Bussink)

Marisol (Veronica del Cerro) about to get all Buffy on Lenny (Patrick Bussink)

MICHAEL:   We are about a week into rehearsals.  How’s that going?  How would you describe the overall process, so far?

BRANDON: Working with Alexander is great. He gives the freedom of exploration, but has a knack for molding his ideas into each performance. I’m also thrilled to be working with such a fine cast. It’s been great getting to know them so far, and I look forward to getting to know them better. The production staff is terrific as well.

HELEN: Fast and fun and funny and ffffffff…. I  am out of f words.  That apply to this process.  I am actually never out of f words, truth be told.

PATRICK:  It’s unfolding pretty naturally.  Tablework was a wonderful day and a half exploration of the underlying sinews of the play.  And now we’ve staged it pretty quick and already have a rough runthrough under our belt 3 weeks before tech, so it’s really nice to know there’s a lot of time to play and experiment now that it’s up on its feet.

Holly Bass, our Angel, doing table work

Holly Bass, our Angel, at table work

MICHAEL:  Looking ahead to the coming weeks, what do you see as challenges ahead in taking this script from the page to a performance?

PATRICK:  There’s a real feral quality to the world Rivera’s created—everyone’s trying to survive on a very basic animalistic level.  It can be a pretty ferocious headspace to occupy, which is definitely a challenge.  Thankfully there’s also a lot of humor to tap into, which is its own challenge of course, but a welcome one.

BRANDON:  The script is brutal, literally and figuratively.  The play is very busy and technically daunting. To nail down the challenges to an issue or two is too difficult. In performance, we will have to have extreme concentration and focus, and I have all the confidence in the world we will be able to do so. It’s going to be fun.
HELEN: My challenge – I have to get better at acting.  Then it will be a cinch.

An exciting week for Forum

It’s a busy and exciting time for us Forum-ites this month.  We started rehearsals for MARISOL last Wednesday (more on that later), we are reading countless plays as we look to choose the rest of next season, doing some early planning for ANGELS IN AMERICA, and are putting the finishing touches to our announcement of a late-night program that will debut in March in conjunction to the MARISOL run (more on that soon, as well).

But in middle of it all, we were thrilled to learn that Forum has received its first Helen Hayes nomination!   We want to thank and congratulate the cast of THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT for their Canadian Embassy Award for Outstanding Ensemble, Resident Play nomination!  We couldn’t be more excited about this.  It’s amazing to have our young company recognized among all the great groups represented in both this particular award and among all the other categories.  Thanks to the judges for voting for such a small, scrappy outfit like us~

The cast of JUDAS

The cast of JUDAS

And, as we always want to highlight and support a good discussion, here’s a link to DCTheatreScene’s article on the nominations.

UPDATED Missy Frederick’s DCist post on the nominations gives us a nice mention.

MARISOL rehearsals begin

Hello everyone–

We’ve had a nice producing break since Judas closed.  Time to plan and announce a big show for next season, time to debate the the current and future state of our craft, and time for some plain old rest.

But, cabin-fever has set in and we are ready to shake off the winter rust and get back to it!  Starting tonight, we are rehearsing our next, exciting, though-provoking, adventure, Marisol, by award-winning playwright, José Rivera.

Over the next few weeks, as we approach opening night, we’ll be sharing updates of the process, research, rehearsal room stories, pictures, and whatever we think might be interesting to you before you come visit us at the theatre.

The production will be led by our very own Alexander Strain and will feature a few familiar faces as well as a couple Forum newbies.   Joining Veronica del Cerro (Judas Iscariot) Helen Pafumi (Marat/Sade, Valparaiso),  and Forum company member Patrick Bussink (Judas Iscariot, The Memorandum) are Holly Bass and Brandon McCoy.


So, much more to come~