Monthly Archives: September 2009

“Fabled Gay Epic Finds New Wings”

AIA
Peter Marks had a nice teaser article about ANGELS in the Post today.  I fully intend to write more about it – to address issues of relevance and production challenges – but today I have bowed out of rehearsal early in an attempt to stave off a threatening cold.  So I’m going to wait, rest, and do some more thinking about this before writing a full post.  In the meantime, take a look at the article.  The most exciting part of producing a show is the conversations it provokes, so while I think on these issues, please formulate questions of your own!  This blog is a great way to communicate about our work, let’s use it to its full potential!

Also, the tweeting continues at a fevered pace.  Today was tweeting from our Company Member meeting with interesting tidbits about upcoming events such as our Speakeasy Fundraiser as well as info about the best way to get tickets for ANGELS.  (Hint: look into the Flex Passes.)  Follow us on Twitter and please – respond away!!!

And check out the gorgeous artwork for the show, designed by the lovely, talented Carolyn Sewell.  The poster is up in front of the theatre now and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!

“My glands are like walnuts.” – Prior

Tonight’s visitor is Forum company member Rose McConnell who worked with AIDS patients at NIH in the ’90s and ’00s.

Medical Rehearsal 3

Rose came in before to help Nanna develop a routine for examining Karl in their scene as Nurse Emily and Prior in MILLENNIUM and tonight she came in to help refine that scene and to help Ro and Jim develop their scene in which Belize puts an IV into Roy’s arm.

There were a lot of specific medical concerns to take into account – such as what the sharps box would have looked like in the 80s – as well as specific choices for Ro to make about Belize’s nursing practices.  Would he rip tape and put it on the IV stand before putting on his gloves? We also discussed specific character choices and whether they jive with hospital etiquette – would Belize be allowed to wear nail polish at his job?  Of course, what might end up being more of a concern is whether Mr. Lies (who Ro also plays) would wear nail polish – or maybe he would wear gloves?  Lots of choices to be made – big and small.

Medical Rehearsal

In working with Nanna and Karl there was a lot of discussion about the fear of AIDS in the mid ’80s.  Rose and her former co-worker Chuck Fiorentino came in last week to discuss their experiences working with AIDS patients.  Chuck worked with AIDS patients in the ’80s when the disease was discovered and he had a lot of insight about the mentality of nurses at that time.  Very little was known about the disease in ’85 (the play is set in October of ’85 – February of ’86) and AIDS patients were often kept at a great distance by their caretakers because everyone was fearful of infection.  However, watching the psychological impact of this behavior on patients, many nurses took it upon themselves to create a closer personal relationship with their patients.  Rose shared a story about one patient who, having already lost his partner and many close friends to AIDS, gasped when she touched his wrist to take his pulse.  He hadn’t realized how long it had been since someone had touched him.

As we develop the scene they’ll each have to make decisions about their relationship.  This is Prior’s fourth treatment according to the lines.  How much have they gotten to know each other throughout this process.  If Emily is working at an AIDS clinic, perhaps she’s more confident in her interactions with patients, less afraid of touching them without gloves.  And of course, we have to figure out exactly how to navigate the stage business of the examination.  How much time is there, how do the actions of a routine exam interact with the clues in the lines about their actions.  According to nursing procedures, the last thing to check would be the skin – checking for lesions, but this comes first in the lines.  So shifting, shuffling, and always making sure it seems realistic and completely natural.

One of the themes ANGELS constantly returns to is that of progress.  The progress of time, the progress of culture etc.  The script invokes the progress of our ancestors across the Atlantic on their way to settle America and the progress of the Mormons traveling across America looking for Zion.  We’ll get to these topics in later blog posts, as we chart our progress on this giant show. Please feel free to post with any questions or thoughts.  We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the theatre!  We’ll have a lot to talk about afterwards…

Live Twittering!

Hey guys,

While I’m in rehearsals, I’ll frequently be twittering about the night’s activities – dramaturgical questions, things we’ve learned from visitors, fun exchanges while working, etc.  You can see a sample of recent tweets on this blog (on the right), but you can keep up with all of our activities by following forumtheatre on twitter!  And maybe some of you can even help me answer a few of the lingering questions…  Anyone know what a hospital sharps box looked like in the 80s?

~elissa

Dramaturg, ANGELS IN AMERICA

“Ma cherie bichette.” – Belize

On August 19th we started rehearsals for ANGELS IN AMERICA.  We did both first reads back to back and then spent three days on table work for each play before we slowly began getting on our feet.  It’s a huge play and took all of our attention for a little while, but now we’re ready to start blogging about the process!  This is the first of several posts about producing ANGELS.  Keep checking back for more as we get closer to opening – it’s less than a month away!

Tonight my friend Kyle came to ANGELS rehearsal to give us a makeup lesson.

With Karl and Ro playing ex (and ex-ex) drag queens Prior and Belize, we wanted the boys to have some experience with full-on drag makeup. Having gone to Ziegfeld’s last weekend for our first drag show, we were thrilled to get to play dress-up ourselves.

We started by visiting ULTA in Silver Spring to buy foundation and then we set up shop in the ladies’ restroom at the Education Center.  I stepped in as Kyle’s model while Karl and Ro followed along.  The first step was to glue down our eyebrows as we wanted to make them disappear.  Using water-proof glue will keep them from coming loose even if we start sweating.  Then we used clown white to create highlights.

drag 3

Then we put on lots of foundation with different shades in order to further define our desired facial shape.  It takes Kyle a full three hours to put on drag makeup, but we only had an hour and a half, so we didn’t fully “pound out” our foundation as much as would be desired, but we got a great feel for it.

drag 7

Next Kyle demonstrated how to apply lip-liner.

drag 4

I got “big, whore lips.”

Next, Kyle put eye-shadow on all of us and I helped Ro with his eye-liner.

drag 6

At 8pm the boys had to go run act two of MILLENNIUM so we had to finish.  Kyle spent a little more time putting contours on my face so the boys could get the idea while Ro realized that the first rule of being a drag queen is not to kiss someone on the forehead when you’re wearing bright red lipstick.

drag 8_3

We had a fantastic time and hopefully this will help Karl and Ro embrace their inner queens as they continue the rehearsal process.

And in closing, a picture of our teacher, in full drag as Miss Randi Leigh.  Thank you, Kyle!

Kyle as Randi

Forum at PAGE TO STAGE

Every year, at this time, the DC theatres gather for our annual tradition, the new play festival at the Kennedy Center, Page to Stage.  This year, we are presenting THREE readings.

Why should you come?  Well, it’s FREE, but it’s also a first-look chance to hear three scripts that are in varying stages of development and are plays that we Forum folks are very interested in.  Come out and let us know what you thought~

We have one reading on Sunday, and two on Monday.

Hope to see you there!

ANA AND THE CLOSET

by Tiffany Antone

Directed by Jessica Burgess

Sunday, 2pm Opera House Tier Lounge

Ana, a Iraq War widow, is happily married to her second husband, John – until a phone call from her first husband, the soldier David, turns her world upside down.  When David mysteriously disappears into the closet in apartment – a closet that breathes and belches – John, to prove his love to Ana, goes in after him.  But John does not return, and so Ana enlists the help of a spunky (and armed) Sales Attendant from her favorite store to battle with the Underworld that has seized both of Ana’s husbands.  Who will make it out alive?  A powerful and inventive story about war, love, sacrifice and the pain of letting go.
DIAGRAM OF A PAPER AIRPLANE

by Carlos Murillo

Monday, 4:30pm Theatre Lab

Directed by Michael Dove

As a final act before his death, Javier C, the once promising playwright turned mentally unstable vagabond, sent fragments of his play Diagram of a Paper Airplane to his surviving friends—fragments that can only be made whole if the group comes together to read it.

Javier’s ex-wife and daughter arrange for a memorial service. Javier’s surviving friends, driven by curiosity and guilt, arrive, hoping that the play will reveal the truth behind a tragic mystery that has haunted them for two decades.

A BRIEF NARRATIVE OF AN EXTRAORDINARY BIRTH OF RABBITS

by C. Denby Swanson

Directed by Elissa Goetschius

Monday, 7:30pm Terrace Gallery

Coming up with names is a problem for Mare when she starts giving birth to an endless stream of bunnies. But that’s only the start of her problems, as a whole family of guilty consciences comes to the fore. Who can she turn to? Enter The Stork