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IT’S Coming!  The Great, Exotic, Everything Must GO

IMG_1308… DreamWrights Annual Yard Sale

Opportunities Abound!  You can Donate … Help – Set Up, Organize, Mark, Sell … OR Buy!

It’s  a great way to give away things that you are no longer using, but are still usable … and make a contribution to DreamWrights at the same time.

If you have a few hours to volunteer to carry, unpack, display, price and/or sell – you will have fun, and won’t have to go to the gym that day.  We will be working  Monday the 25th 10 – 2, and Tuesday thru Thursday 9-8.  Donations may be dropped off Monday thru Wednesday.

The SALE runs Friday May 29th 9-5, and Saturday May 3rd 9-3.  There will be books, furniture, toys, puzzles, flowers, pictures, jewelry, kitchenware, linens, sporting goods, collectibles, antiques, etc.  In short … Treasures both big and small!

See you at the SALE!

PS – Don’t forget  … Auditions for Twelfth Night this Tuesday or Wednesday 6:00 pm.

 

Nancy Drew is Coming To DreamWrights

The cast and crew of NANCY DREW: GIRL DETECTIVE are anxiously preparing for their debut on May 14th.

What a joy it has been to work with this group of very talented teens!  They had their lines memorized well before hand and have started crafting their characterizations.  As we draw closer to getting on stage, the cast is becoming more comfortable with their blocking and look forward to nailing it down once the set is in place.

NANCY DREW promises to take the audience on a light mystery suitable for amateur detectives of all ages.  There will be chills and thrills, suspense and romance! Join Nancy and her closest gal pals, Bess and George, as they try to figure out what the theatre troupe out on the old Van Pelt estate is seeing.  Are they ghosts or life-size puppets and what are these creatures planning?  Hidden clues and a play within a play are all part of this delightful show.

Come and see for yourself what Nancy is facing.  Will you be able to solve the mystery before her?  The only way to find out is to buy your ticket to a performance on May 14th at 10:00 a.m., or May 15th & 16th at 2:30 or 6:30 p.m.

Nancy Drew Rehearsal Shot
Nancy Drew Rehearsal Shot
Nancy Drew Rehearsal Shot
Nancy Drew Rehearsal Shot
Nancy Drew Rehearsal Shot
Nancy Drew Rehearsal Shot

Rodd Robertson, Guest Director

Tickets are available at www.dreamwrights.org, by calling the office at 848-8623, or at the door.

Our First Day On the SET!

DSC_0240 DSC_0259 DSC_0255

DreamWrights & York Symphony Orchestra at The Strand

In 2006 I received a phone call from the York Symphony Orchestra.  That, our first year, we interpreted eleven pieces of music including Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek, Jurassic Park, E.T., Superman, and the overture from William Tell.  Since that time we have done Harry Potter, animals and famous stories galore, and last years multi ring Circus!  Though it takes very little time to tell you about all these wonderful opportunities … putting them together is quit a process indeed.

First a cast is needed.  I usually pull folks from those that indicate interest in the doing  Symphony show on the most resent main stage audition forms.  The largest group I can recall taking was 25 cast members always between the ages of 7 and 50 something.  Then comes A LOT of listening to the music to first ‘See’ a story and then do the blocking.  Rehearsals are always interesting.  Trying to give the cast what I see in my head without the benefit of them having words to say is always daunting.  While all of this is going on costumes, props and sometimes set pieces are simultaneously being dealt with.  Costumes are always the largest need.  In 2006, we gathered, fitted and transported 61 costumes for those first performances.  We also needed a climbable tree, a fence and a pond for Peter and the Wolf’s set. There were also some fascinating props such as: giant cat toys for children size cats, 15 magic wands for wizard training at Hogwarts, Safari gear, bows and arrows and an apple that could be shot off a head without being touched.  And of course all of it must be moved from DreamWrights to the Strand and back again.  It’s a great deal, like running a marathon or cooking a meal.  The preparation is lengthy, and then it’s over or eaten comparatively quickly.

If this sound like a lot of work that’s only because it is!  So why did I say, “Yes” for the past Nine years?  “Oh, my, there are so many reasons.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for both the actors and the audience to share the visualization of a piece of music.  The opportunity for the cast to perform with the YSO, and at the Strand is a forever memory.  Finally, the challenge of putting it all together helps keeps me young!”

This year’s Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is the most difficult piece I have ever encountered.  It is so fast and has such extreme emotional highs and lows.  Though it is true that there are as many stories possible for a piece of music as there are listeners,  I struggled with this one.  I saw color first, and had an idea that was fun, but physically impossible for humans to do at tempo Beethoven has provided.  As I carried the music and ideas around in my head, eventually the story you can see Saturday morning May 2nd, at 10:00 AM took shape.  Some early rehearsal photos, that follow, may give you a clue.

No, I’m not going to tell you the story.  It has to be seen, and heard, to be best appreciated.  You can get tickets at the Strand or online.  We hope to see you there!

 

Symphony Rehearsal Take 1
Symphony Rehearsal Take 1
Symphony Rehearsal Take 2
Symphony Rehearsal Take 2

 

Another Opening … Another Opening!

No, my fingers are not stuttering.  At DreamWrights we have two opening nights for our four double cast shows.  So all the excitement, nervousness, high energy, hugs and flowers are experienced two nights in a row!

How do subsequent performances differ?  Well, all of the above are present, but the degree of intensity is different.  For a casts’ first performance the energy level cannot only be felt but actually seen!  I always say, “If only the energy from these casts and crews could be captured we would be able to run the theatre for a month without electricity.”

Another favorite of mine is seeing someone receiving flowers for the first time.  The joy felt by all ages and genders at that moment is … just so special.  We seldom think about it, but men don’t often get flowers … they are the givers right?  However we all like pretty things, and everyone likes to be congratulated, in this special way, for a job well done.

After weeks of rehearsal, having your first audience is almost magical.  All of the previous work now has a purpose … to share the story and characters with other people, aka the audience.  And in turn, the audience teaches sometimes more then the director ever can.  When there is laughter and/ or applause it’s like a light bulb goes off.

Actors often don’t understand something is funny until the audience tells them by laughing.  And applause is, like flowers, a way to tell the cast and crew that they are doing a good job.  The director, is much like a parent, you can tell your child something over and over again … but if someone else tells them the same thing then it is validated.  To that I say, “Whatever works.!”

Enough from me … here are some thoughts on opening nights from both casts plus:

My favorite part of opening night is always my first scene, because its fun to think you can see lots of people then you go on and you see… black!!! The stage lights are so bright you can’t see the audience at all.  Julia Ferrell, 10

Opening night we had an almost full audience, and I enjoyed working in the new preshow play area fishing pond before the show!  Jacob Schlenker, 15

There is a new wonderful opportunity for DreamWrights friends to prepare the minds for seeing Tom Sawyer.  Now, before seeing the show, there is an interactive area with games and activities for children of all ages.  The fun games include fishing, treasure hunting, and there is even a place where they can dig for worms!  There are also beautiful fish that can be colored after they are “caught”.  I love this new, creative and engaging way to include everyone!  Carol Alvarnaz, Adult Audience Member

I loved it so much.  I wish that opening night was every night.  Addie Steel, 10

Opening night was nerve-wracking but exciting.  I loved dancing in my costumes with the twirly skirts.  Michaela Wagner, 16

Everyone who has done a DreamWrights show before knows about the pre-show circle!  Tonight we welcomed  some new friends to this fun tradition – And then we were off!  All the  work, all the time, all the effort – it  paid off tonight and I was so proud to be a part of it.  Thanks to everyone who made tonight’s show a success!  Bill Steel, adult

 

"Land on the lily pad froggy!"
“Land on the lily pad froggy!”
"I caught a Big One!"
“I caught a Big One!”
Audience members coloring fish they caught!
Audience members coloring fish they caught!

 

The time has arrived!  It is Tech for both casts this weekend.  What that means is it’s time to add … costumes, props, lights, sound, projections and the actors can no longer call line!!
For some it will be like starting all over again.  There is a huge difference, for example, between someone saying blackout, which is when you enter, and you walking to your place  versus there being a blackout and you trying to get where you need to be.

Costumes themselves offer a whole new world.  Imagine the total freedom of pants and knitted fabric sans buttons, zippers or ties being replaced by slips (what are they?), tights and dresses that can’t just be pulled on over your head.  In addition you need to have your hair look like the period, and be out of your face!  Also your shoes/boots have no velcro! And if all of this isn’t stress enough … you have to learn how to Hang Up your costume!  You adults may be laughing, but many young actors find a lot if not all of this totally foreign.  So you see how much live theatre can teach?

It’s a 13 hour day for the Director and some staff members.  And an 8 1/2 hour day for cast and crew.  The general agenda for the day is: Arrive 1:00 PM and enter through the stage door, check your props, go up to the greenroom and sign in and join a cleaning crew, learn about your costumes and but on your first one, go to theatre and learn the curtain call.  All of these are first time events. Then you finally begin running Act One!  Next comes everyones favorite part of the day … we get to eat together, after we hang our costumes and get into our own clothes.  Following the meal the crews setup for act two, actors dress and we run the second act complete with the curtain call.  The final thing to do is go home and sleep!

A few of us then do this all over again the next day!  Yes it’s a lot of work, but it can be fun too and it’s mandatory.  Without Tech the show could never go on.  We sometimes think how pretty the set, lights, or costumes are, or how did they make that sound, or do that illusion, but generally we have no idea about all the thought, time and work that goes into making any of it happen.  The truth is that all the weeks the actors are rehearsing the designers, sewers, builders, painters and various technicians are also hard at work creating the ‘world’ of the play.

Tech rehearsal introduces the actor to their world, and allows them to experience a whole new way of life.  Not to mention what it is really like backstage!  The following are some thoughts from cast W and pictures of Cast W & O & Staff:

“Tech is always our longest rehearsal and a very busy day!  But it’s also one of my favorite days during each show because we finally get to see everything really come together for the first time!  It’s so much fun!”   Kierstin Foltz, 19

“I always love seeing the sets under stage lights for the first time.  The theatre becomes a magical place that is full of fascinating characters, and fabulous adventures.”  Michael Ney, 40ish

“It’s dark and different.  It’s very exciting and fun.”  Stella Wolf, 9

“I forgot my ABC’s!  I’ve never been in a show before so I found out that tech is fun.”  Audrey Johnson, 12

“Tech is a full day of fun, fashion, friends and fantastic characters.”  Scott Seitz, 55

“I thought my costumes were absolutely beautiful.  The costume people did an amazing job.”  Annabel Alford, 11

Tech is an amazing experience because it’s fun to see the skeleton of a performance.  It’s also fun to see our silly mistakes and instead of laughing at that person, your laugh with them.  Lydia Alvarnaz, 9

 

Tech O
Joe  trying to get his sisters to go play. Cast O
Tech O
End of show. Cast O
Tech W
Treasure Hunt Dance Cast  W
Tech W
Tom promises Aunt Polly .. Again.  Cast  W
Tech W
Searching for Tom.  Cast  W
Tech W
Curtain Call  Rehearsal.  Cast  O

Tom and Huck

Bob setting the stage
Bob the  Tech Director working on the projections.
Tech O
The Reverend  shows the Thatchers the  town.  Cast  O
Tech O
Tom  Cast O Tries to sneak away.
Last Minute Light Adjustments
Tony Fogle, lighting designer focuses a light 20 feet up.
Show Pianist
George Boyer our musical director and pianist at work.

 

 

 

In The Dark At DreamWrights

It's still light outside!  We had rehearsal in the parking lot when the power went out inside.
It’s still light outside! We had rehearsal in the parking lot when the power went out inside.

With  only five rehearsals left per cast the last thing we needed was a lost rehearsal!  However, on Wednesday, April 1st, at a few minutes past our start time of 6:00 pm the lights went OUT!  No it wasn’t an April Fools prank … unfortunately.                                                                    DreamWrights is a huge building and our emergency lights came on immediately giving off enough light to keep us from bumping into each other.  Could we rehearse in our Black Box (aptly named) theatre?  There would be no way.                                                                                          We do the obvious, and pick up the phone to call Met Ed.  Right … the phones are all hooked up to electric.  Hurray for cell phones.  We were not only using them for flash lights,  but also as telephones!  We were informed that we were the first ones to report the outage, and they would send someone out to investigate.  The earliest we could anticipate them solving whatever the problem might be was 8:30 PM.  Our rehearsals run until 9:00 pm.   What to do now?                                                                                                                                                                           It was still light outside.  Everyone was asked to stay for awhile to see the the electric would come on again.  It is a magical thing, right?  We all went outside to the parking lot.   To assure that those who use our lot as a street could not do so, two cars were moved to block access to our new dance rehearsal space.                                                                                 Singing and dancing commenced in this improvised open air space.  There was only one problem.  It was cold, and it would be dark soon.  So, close to 7:00 we commenced the second round of cell phone usage.  We were able to contact drivers for everyone, and alert those signed up for costume fittings not to come.  All this was accomplished and the building vacated by 7:20.                                                                                                                     Just when you stop worrying about snow cancellations … something you never thought you would need to be concerned about happens.   I suppose this only helped teach  yet another skill necessary for live theatre … improvisation!                                                                          Yes, we did take some improv rehearsals photos.  We will post them as they are received.

HAPPY EASTER Weekend to ALL!!

BLOG the Second – Current TSS Status

Rehearsals for Tom Sawyer Sings are starting to count down!  We have 10 rehearsals before Tech (that’s when we add costumes, props, lights & sound), and then only 4 more before we open.  Dear Geese, that’s only 7 rehearsals left for each cast!

Why do we double cast?   DreamWrights is committed to allowing as many people the opportunity to experience live theatre as possible.   With our main stage auditions numbers always over 100, the interest and need to double cast is great.   Isn’t it more difficult with two casts?  Yes and No!  It is harder for the director, but for the casts the freedom to switch (rehearsal & shows with their other) allows for many to be involved who could not otherwise do so.

How’s our progress thus far?  Well, both W & O (these are the secret cast identifying letters) are Off Book (the actors know their lines and songs) for Act One.  This weekend will complete the blocking (were actors enter/exit/cross) and choreography for Act Two.  They will then have until April 2nd to get off book.

Meanwhile the set, props, and costumes crews are building, painting, pulling, sewing and collecting. Lighting and sound are being designed, hung, focused &/or recorded. The producers and staff are completing the program, selling tickets, making show buttons & posters, handing out t-shirts & business cards, and most important of all … selling snacks during the breaks!

In short … we are busy.  Today we even had sharings from our Spring Classes. Some of this weeks thoughts from the Crew & Teaching Staff are as follows:

“Today our Spring Classes culminated with a collection of sharings for family and friends. Our youngest participants showed off their bridge poses and downward dog poses. Characters from Beauty and the Beast were physically explored on stage. We finished out the afternoon with an experimental lights and sound theatre piece, and two scenes from “Kindness.” It was a day of theatrical fun! Keep your eyes peeled for the Summer Camps flier or check the camps out on our website. Join us for SUMMER FUN!” -Renee, Theatre Education Consultant/Adult

“We faced an interesting challenge in Tom Sawyer’s set painting- One paint job that would look both like leaves, trees, and rocks! Andrea Unger picked a mixture of greens and Tony Fogle combined that with two different colored lights. A leaf pattern shone on Andrea’s painting looks green- like Spring! A deep purple brown with a cloud pattern on the same paint job looks like grey rocks. The magic of light, painting and talented people!” -Bob McCleary, Technical Director/Adult

“Every show I have a new costume crew aged 10-70. They come with a variety of sewing experience. We learn from each other, and create together.” -Rebecca Eastman, Costume Designer/Adult

“I enjoy working with all the people at DreamWrights. It’s fun to meet all the people who are excited to work, people who are funny, and just meeting new people in general. Even if I don’t enjoy painting, I still do it. But I love building the set. There’s always something to do,  and you’re almost constantly working.” Zachary W./Age 13

“I enjoy using the skills my dad taught me. I made a flag stand for the show, as well as a railing.” -Samuel Fife/Age 13

Welcome to DreamWrighters

Hello!

Welcome to the DreamWrighters first … Theatrical Happenings Blog for All Ages by All Ages!  DreamWrights Youth and Family Theatre began 18 years ago thanks to seventy area families and a soup pot.  I promise I’ll tell you that whole story in another blog.

Right now we are in the middle of rehearsals for Tom Sawyer Sings, which opens April 17th.  There are two cast (31 actors per) and two crews (23 persons each), since we double everything to enable more people to have the opportunity participate.  All of these folks are regular people like you between the ages of 7 and 50 something for this show.  Our oldest participant was 87, but that’s a tale for another time as well.

Speaking of other times, Mark Twain wrote Tom Sawyer in 1876, 139 years ago!  In 2003, I adapted the story into a play with music.  This will be its second production. Why do it again?  Well, Tom Sawyer is probably Mark Twain’s most memorable character.  He is sort of an ‘everyboy’ thus he is universal.  He is good hearted, but he’ll remind you of a kitten … “he just can’t help getting into everything”.  Adventure could easily be his middle name.

When asked,  Being in a play at DreamWrights is …  some of the cast’s answers were  as  follows:

… “an adventure of your imagination because you get to pretend to be another person as you play different characters.”  Beth Tyson/Adult

…”spectacular because there are so many crazy and awesome things that go on here.”  Brayton Kominsky/12

…” a pleasure because it is fun and I’m learning a lot.”  Elizabeth Ferrell/7

…”like taking a wonderful family vacation through time, because the plays are from various time periods, and your family gets to experience it together.” Dora Townes/49

 

 

Tom Sawyer Sings Rehearsal
Tom Sawyer Sings Rehearsal
Tom Sawyer Sings Rehearsal
Tom Sawyer Sings Rehearsal
Tom Sawyer Sings Rehearsal
Tom Sawyer Sings Rehearsal
Tom Sawyer Sings Rehearsal
Tom Sawyer Sings Rehearsal