Saturday, June 30, 2007

Busy, busy, busy....

Sorry everyone. I am slow posting this week because we have been so wicked busy. Yes, I said wicked, that's how busy we have been.

last night we opened (abridged) to a great audience. This is where you should have been...

...This is the view from the stage at the Cambridge YMCA Theatre. That's our own Mollie MacKenzie working to finish programing the lights earlier this week.

We have 2 shows today! We have the last peformance of Sleeping Beauty today and another Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) tonight. This is going to be a crazy day, so I better get going. More next week!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sleeping Beauty REDUX...

If you missed it the first time Sleeping Beauty is now up and running at The Regent Theatre in Arlington!

It was a very early morning for us Makeshift folks. Half the cast spent the night at Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Overby's house since they live just 30 min from the theatre. It was a Makeshift sleepover!
We had to be at the theatre at 8AM for a 10:30 show. It is one of the many challenges of performing the same show at more than one theatre. We had to arrive early to make changes to the blocking and tech needs to fit the show into a new space. The Regent has a prime time show running at night and we have to use their lights and work around, or incorporate what ever they have on stage for that show. We have become very good at this over the years, and the Regent has been very accommodating with our early arrivals on opening days. Yes, that's right we do all of this the morning of our first performance in the new space, hence the early arrival time. For the rest of the run our call time will be 9AM just so we can recap the changes we have made.
Kudos and a big high-five to our own Mollie MacKenzie, our lighting designer and board op, for being so talented and flexible. She ran through the existing lights, and did a fantastic job of suiting them to our needs. Also, the fact that she is doing all this manually with sliders is just crazy. Ms. Mackenzie rules!
The Regent has a very different lay out for The Coolidge, where we first performed Sleeping Beauty. The biggest of these difference being the fact that The Regent has a backstage. The Coolidge has flats left and right to hide behind, but no cross behind or back stage to speak of. It makes the space very personal and intimate, but there is no way to get the actors off the stage unless they enter or exit through the audience. The Regent has a more classical layout. Each has it's benefits and challenges for a director and a theatre company.
That afternoon was June's Wiffle Ball Saturday! Every third Saturday of the month in the summer we gather old cast members and friends a play a madcap game of wiffle ball and have a BBQ after. May's game was rained out but this last one was a heck of a good time! I was going to take pictures, but I was so excited I left the camera at home. :( I will remember to take pics of the next game in July!
(Abridged) opens a week from Friday!!!!!! Speaking of I need to work on some prop stuff! I will have some pics form (abridged) tech next week and maybe some pics of the opening!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cops & Prostumes...

Now that I am being back to doing what I do best, I thought I would give you all a taste of some of what goes into making our shows happen. Since the up coming The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) is opening in about 2 weeks, and it is our biggest show thus far when it come to props and costumes, I thought I would give you a brief preview.

First meet The Shea. Deb Shea to be exact. The Shea came on board for our first production of Robin Hood 2 years ago, when we were still TRiBE for CHiLDREN, and has designed , built, and/or purchased all the costumes and props for all of our shows ever since. Yes she is that amazing. She is a wonder and a miracle worker with the kind of budget she is given to work with. Also in the back is her mom, Ms. The Shea, who we always thank because she helps out and has helped deliver the goods to the theatre more than once. Thank you Ms. The Shea.

Since makeshift does not have a permanent theatre to call home we use Mr. Rhodes's house for temporary and permanent storage. This Saturday we begin the second run of Sleeping Beauty. In this picture we see all the props and costumes for the show in the stage cubes where they have been waiting in between runs in Mr. Rhodes's living room. Needless to say he has very understanding roommates. If you look closely you will see some of the props for (abridged) also put aside in this impromptu staging area. Speaking of (abridged)...

For those of you who are not familiar with the show it consists of 3 men performing all 37 of Shakespeare's plays in just under 2 hours. As you can imagine there are many costume changes and prop peaces, as I said earlier this is the largest show we have ever done. Our stage manager, Emily Brown, has been assisting The Shea in acquiring all the necessary items for this show. Lets take a look at some of these...

Here are some of the items we had to purchase. Pictured here is an asp for Anthony and Cleopatra, a sword for general swordy-goodness, and a few items for when the guys turn all of Shakespeare's comedies into one play. These are only a hand full of all the props that are starting to come together for the show

Also we have the Converse Chuck Taylor's which are iconic to the show. They are such a part of the show that they are pictured in the poster. These were bought and I believe each cast member is purchasing them from the company as keepsakes from the production. The Shea is busy working on the costumes she is building for (abridged), Purchasing material and getting patterns. Some of the costume peaces that are just used for one scene are being purchased from locations such as the local Salvation Army, Boston Costume, and the Garment District. Some items are being borrowed and will be dry cleaned and returned to their generous owners, and proper thanks printed in the program.

Most small independent theatre companies barrow a lot of what they need for shows, or have the actors be responsible for all of their own costumes. Mr. Rhodes never liked this idea to much, mostly because he never has much to choose from in his own closet. From the start he put aside a portion of the budget for each show for props and costumes. The idea being that things will be used over, and over, and over again, and the budget will go down for each show. So far this theory is winning out.

One of the challenges with this is storage space. Since we do not have a theatre of our own at this time, here is a picture of what I like to call the "HOLD". It's Mr. Rhodes's cellar where we store all of our stuff. The place is pretty damn creepy at night and looks like the hold of an old pirate ship. The house is some 90 years old, and has wooden slats every where and the cobwebs give it that certain "ich" effect. For those of you familiar with our shows, if you enlarge the picture you can see the Misdirected Trunk, a bow from Robin Hood, and some pillows from Aladdin, among other things.

I hope this gives you a brief idea of what goes into creating the craziness you see on stage. Some of these thing are finished and used for the first time the day of the performance. believe it or not. So, when you see an actor on stage looking pretty sweet in the fancy duds, take a look in the program and see who made it possible for them to strut their stuff and give them some high fives if you see them at the show.

Next week I should have some pictures form the Regent opening of Sleeping Beauty! See you then!


Monday, June 04, 2007

Street fair success...

We came, we saw, we got tan lines.

The Medford Street Fair in Arlington, MA was a rousing success! We had a great time. Mr. Rhodes even did some juggling out in public! Yikes! We met a whole bunch of new friends and saw some old ones. They even had a parade with minute men firing muskets. It doesn't get much better than that! To the left is Herr Direktor, Mr. Rhodes, doing some juggling next to our promotional poster. He tries to be cool some times.

Princess Briar Rose, our own Julia Bingham, was on hand taking "magic" Polaroid pictures with the kids! Boy did we feel old when half the kids had never see a Polaroid camera. We are positive her pretty face is adorning many a family fridge right at this very moment. She did have a bit of a run in with 2 of Arlington's finest as you can see. "When good princesses go bad." They let her off with a warning for being too cute!

We did a scene from Sleeping Beauty during which we had a surprise scene crasher jump on stage. As you can see Mr. Legget and Mr. Overby were not quite sure how to react. The impromptu assistant was from the dance school that had performed before us. Now, what bothered me more than her jumping into the scene was the fact that the dance school had performed a version of THRILLER, which crasher girl had been in, just moments before. During this performance Mr. Overby asked "What is that?." Mr. Rhodes replied with a "What are you talking about? It's THRILLER." I came to find out that neither Mr. Overby or Mr. Leggett had ever seen Michael Jackson's THRILLER. Looking at the picture now, maybe they thought she was a real zombie. Mr. Rhodes looked disgusted at both of them and walked away. We also did a scene from The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) which wowed the crowds.

Also on hand for the day was our friend Jenny The Juggler,, who showed up Mr. Rhodes's juggling skills in every possible way.

In the end many a picture was taken, many a flier was handed out, many a ball was juggled, and a good time was had by all. With no sun burns!

Good times. It's great to be home.