Category Archives: Uncategorized

Up Next: HEADSCARF AND THE ANGRY BITCH

Up next at Forum is Zehra Fazal’s Headscarf and the Angry Bitch — a semi-musical, fully-comic exploration of the American Muslim experience.  This beef ain’t halal!

We’re psyched to be launching Zehra’s 2011 Summer Unveiled Fringe Festival tour to Cincinnati, Hollywood, Toronto and Indianapolis. Headscarf will be at Round House Silver Spring (8641 Colesville Road) May 17-May 20 at 8PM. And you can buy tickets … HERE!

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Flea OpenForum: Podcast Trading

We at Forum are BIG podcast listeners and were starting to find that we’d often reference a podcast we’d heard in rehearsal or when talking about a show. So, we decided that this can be a natural extension of OpenForum as we want to share our findings with you and hopefully get some suggestions for continued listening FROM you.

So, with One Flea Spare in our minds, we’ll kick things off with some lovely Plague-casting. In this podcast from The English Programme, Daniel Defoe discusses The Great Plague and its effects on 1665 London, where Flea takes place.

(Perfect for being cooped up at home with this snow storm)

#Newplay DC Discussion Hosted by Forum Theatre

Forum Theatre is thrilled to host the DC Theatre community “watch party” and discussion as part of the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage national convening, entitled From Scarcity to Abundance: Capturing the Moment for the New Work Sector.”

The event will be held on Saturday, January 29 from 9am to 1:45pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building, just a block from the Round House Theatre Silver Spring Black Box where Forum is the company-in-residence.

The national convening will focus on the following: identifying the rich and vital activity that already exists in the new play sector, exploring the gaps and challenges facing the field and strategizing the means of continued and closer collaboration to advance the new work infrastructure moving forward. This convening will build upon the outcomes and initiatives that grew out of last year’s convenings: Defining Diversity, Black Playwrights: the Stories We Tell and Devised Work.

The Forum-hosted event will be a combination of livestreamviewing of the national convening and DC theatre community-specific conversations about the state of new plays in our area.  The DC gathering of theatremakers will be part of at least 8 others events, nation-wide, that will all be a part of a cumulative report put out by the New Play Institute. The discussion will be led by Artistic Director Michael Dove and company member Hannah Hessel.

The watch party event is free to attend, but please RSVP to tickets@forumtheatredc.org as space is limited.

You can also follow the entire week’s discussion via Twitter under #NewPlay as well as livestreamed portions at #Newplay TV and coved on the 2AMt blog. Forum Theatre will be live-tweeting the event on the 29th via @forumtheatre.

For more information on the entire convening, visit http://www.arenastage.org/new-play-institute/convenings/new-work/

Where:

One Veteran’s Place, Civic Building

Silver Spring, MD

(back, side entrance)

Directions here


Choosing a Season: A Diary (part 1)

We are in between shows, at the moment, but this is the time of the year when we start looking ahead to next season and start planning what our lineup will be. This is the first of a series of “diary” entries about that process as we put together season 8. Part 1 is by Artistic Director Michael Dove:

So, here we are again. The most interesting/exciting/nerve-wracking part of running a theatre. I suppose, when it comes down to it, this is the primary task of the artistic director. Sure, there are loads more that go into the job, but the planning and executing of our seasons is what I spend the most time thinking about.

When I was asked to start this journal/diary, I think it was assumed that I’d have some procedure as to how we choose a season…some roadmap or plan that has been devised over the seven years we’ve been around. If I’ve learned anything, though, it’s that each year seems to come about somewhat differently, each time. It’d save a lot of stress and back-and-forth-ing if we had a clear plan going into each year, but I think that the way these seasons come about leaves a lot of room for surprise and inspiration. Somehow, they always happen. I probably nearly convince the company and board that they won’t, on a yearly basis, but somehow they do.

We do have a few guiding principals. 1) We have our mission, for starters. It, too, has evolved and changed as we’ve grown, but always feels truer and stronger in each iteration. We take it very seriously and feel that it gets closer and closer to the ideal version of what we want this theatre to be. I could probably write a whole post on the history of our mission (and how each new version has been reflected in each season), but the current version states that we are a theatre that:

produces adventurous, relevant, and challenging plays that provoke discussion and build community

So, that’s a start. I want our shows to challenge audiences in a meaningful way through adventurous writing. I want to do plays that take you on a journey through stories that make you think and feel long after the show has ended. Stories that talk about current social issues, political questions, and/or topics that have local, national, and global relevance. It’s what our idea of what theatre should do and what we make our focus when choosing, producing and hosting discussions about our season.

2) Next, we have made a commitment to choosing seasons that, as a whole, ask a compelling question. It’s a theme that I want audiences to be thinking about when seeing each show and when discussing them in context to one another. This current season, for instance, is a series of plays that are connected by a theme of HOME. As we settled into our new space in Silver Spring, we kept coming back to discussions about what it meant to be in a new location and a new community and the shows we chose reflected these talks we had as a company. We wanted to share stories that asked what it meant to be “part of a place.”

Sometimes, like this season, these themes come before the shows are picked. Sometimes, one play will speak to us in a certain way and it guides us in what other shows to put around it.

3) And then there’s the “don’t do crap” factor. I’m not even kidding. I never want us to do a show I don’t LOVE. Never produce theatre that makes it difficult to look at yourself in the morning. We might not always reach our goals and productions may not be as good as we had planned, but we will have tried and bled to make it happen because the play was good enough to warrant that. Sounds simple and it is. Don’t do crap.

There are a bunch of other things that go into how we start, for sure. Everything from wanting to do big shows that feature company members or artists who we love to how much can we squeeze out of the budget we have. I still have a ritual of reading The Empty Space by Peter Brook, each year, just because it’s good and keeps us honest.

So, that’s where we start. I’ll do the next post on where the plays come from and how we make our way through a shortlist that is short only in its relation to every play ever written.

–md

OpenAccess – Episode 3!

In our third episode of OpenAccess, we interview Dana Levanovsky, Amy McWilliams, and Rena Cherry Brown…who all play the character of Nawal in SCORCHED.

Waiting for Lefty Reading THIS SUNDAY! (Venue has changed)

This Sunday, Forum Theatre is proud to participate in Amnesty International’s first annual Human Rights Art Festival with a staged reading of Waiting for Lefty, by Clifford Odets.  The reading will be held at 3pm at Taste of Morrocco, 8661 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD—it’s FREE and open to the public.

Based on a 1934 strike of unionized New York cab drivers, Waiting for Lefty is a spirited and vigorous one-act play and a classic example of agit-prop theatre.  A series of vignettes framed by two union meetings leading up to the strike, its 1935 opening at the height of the Great Depression was a critical and popular sensation, which soon led to many productions across the country.  But the play is more than mere theatre history; with its backdrop of economic uncertainty and political strife, Waiting for Lefty has an uncanny relevance today.  Running time: 1 hour.

Directed by Forum company member Patrick Bussink, the reading will feature a fantastic cast, including both Forum alumns and some new faces:  Rachel Beauregard, Rex Daugherty, Josh Drew, Danny Gavigan, Kimberly Gilbert, Brian Hemmingsen, Scott McCormick, Dylan Myers, Kevin O’Reilly, Joe Palka, Jesse Terrill, and Andy Wassenich.

JOIN THE STRIKE!

Dark Play Open Thread

James Flanagan and Brandon McCoy

James Flanagan and Brandon McCoy

Thanks to  all who came out to our first OpenForum discussion over at H Street last night, it was a really great conversation.  We started off with a little exercise where everyone wrote their reactions to the play twitter-style, only it was 50 characters or less instead of 140—some interesting responses.  Here they are, in no particular order:

“Boys occupy time by testing the limit of power play.”

p
“Surprisingly layered.”

p
“This is why I had to play pussy wants a corner” or “Juxtaposing what we want with who we are”

p
“Does it make it real if we both pretend it’s real?”

p
“Amazing play.  beautifully directed and performed.  provocative.”

p
“If it wasn’t based on a true story I wouldn’t have believed it.”

p
“How we identify ourselves comes through more truthfully online?”

p
“No one is safe and privacy is extinct.”

p
“A revealing tale of the times we live in where anyone can appear & disappear on the internet and the detachment of the social situation.”

p

Ok so not everyone can count, but who’s counting?  From there we went all over the place, from the early days of internet chatting—back when AOL was pretty much the only name in town—to how social networking has transformed our online lives.  We talked about the addictive quality of living online, specifically the hardcore gamers who spend countless hours a week living another life in another world—we’re not naming names, World of Warcraft.  And finally we got into some other real stories in the media involving dark play, including the MySpace Suicide, the GQ story from the last entry, and the Vanity Fair article that inspired the play.  And last but not least, what conversation about our technologically saturated lives would be complete with out touching on sexting?

Thanks again to all who came out.  This is an open thread which means we welcome you to continue discussing the play by posting a comment here, whether you were with us last night or you saw another performance.  And don’t forget we have 4 more OpenForum discussions in person on July 19,23, 26 and 30.  See you in the lobby at H Street!