Saturday, January 19, 2013

2013-01-17 7 Stages Home Brew Series: Mass Transit Muse

On Monday I received a phone call from Heidi Howard, the new Artistic Director of 7 Stages, asking me if I could hop in to Stage Manage a show she was directing this week because the person who was going to be running it had a family emergency.  I was told we'd have rehearsal on Tuesday and the show would be on Thursday.  Of course I said yes because I love 7 Stages and I love a challenge so it sounded like an amazing opportunity to jump into something new.

So I show up on Tuesday with no idea what's going on, what the show is or at this point that it's just a workshop and we're not actually putting on a full production in one rehearsal because, after, these things have happened before.  The gig turned out to be for 7 Stages new Home Brew Series where new plays are being work-shopped before becoming a full blown production.  The show is Mass Transit Muse by Michael Molina, he is a wonderful spoken word artist originally from New Orleans that wrote a book with the same name which he was using as the basis of the play.  It was amazing to come in to see how quickly it developed with Michael doing the spoken word, Dorothy Bell as the Musical Director and singer for the production and Lillian Ransjin as co-choreographer and lead dancer and Manny Rivers on guitar.  The production team was rounded out with Keiron Bone as co-choreographer and Jessica Caldes doing Set and Video Design.  The rehearsal flew by with amazing movement and vocal choices and listening to Michael's haunting words about one of my favorite cities, New Orleans.

Wednesday, we did not have rehearsal, I decided to head over to head over to Java Lords after teaching over at Studio Burlesque and ran into Heidi in the parking lot.  (figuratively, not literally)  She kidnapped me and we headed over to The Highland Inn Ballroom for Write Club since Michael was invited to be one of the spoken word artists.  I had never heard of Write Club before, they give spoken word artists topics and have them compete against each other, two at a time, with the audience voting with applause and a panel of judges determining who received the loudest audience reaction.  The winner of each bout got to have money donated to a charity of their choice.  Michael did a spoken word section from Mass Transit Muse and was the champion of his bout, his winnings going to 7 Stages for which he also had a chance to plug the Thursday night workshop.

On Thursday we did a brief run through before the show at 7:30pm.  The weather was terrible and we'd already received many calls that people were afraid it was going to ice over or *gasp* snow, no time for theater if the white horror is going to fall from the sky, time to stock up on milk and bread for all those milk and bread sandwiches everyone always eats in the winter.  (Seriously, I have no idea why it's milk and bread)  However, we had about half the space full which was more then we were expecting with the weather so we were very pleased with the turn out.  The show was amazing, maybe a third of the script had blocking and music, the other two-thirds were on book but there was still some song and movement through out when ever the cast felt inspiration hit them.

After the show there was a Q&A section where the audience could ask questions and give feed back about what they thought of the performance.  Overall, everyone else seemed just as in love with the performance as I was, lots of comments about, 'I hate spoken word, but this was amazing."  There was a lot of discussion about the other and everyone's perception of the other and the distance we put between ourselves and the unfamiliar and unknown.  I think the audience had some great questions and there was some great feed back for everyone to take back with them to improve.

Mass Transit Muse is currently slated to be the closing production for 7 Stages 2013-2014 season in April/May of next year.  I am thrilled to say that I will be stage managing this production when it hits the main stage next year!  I cannot wait to see where it goes with such an amazing start!

The next Home Brew Series is Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow by Nathaniel Lachenmeyer on Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 6:30pm at 7 Stages in the Black Box theater.  Price of admission is FREE, though they will gladly accept donations towards the theater and this program to help new works get to the stage!