Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dance Palace Summer Stock Players are present

Sara Tanner, Summer Cassel, Ruby Fisher-Smith (Citizen photo by Linda Petersen)
edited by SF Dell (West Marin Citizen August 5, 2010) 

“After we had read the play together and I got an OK [from the actors] to do this show,” says Dance Palace Summer Stock director Sam Fisher, “we started to cast it.”
“We immediately got into trouble,” says Fisher, “There were not enough guys. What girls would play guys this year, I asked? The play calls for nine men and five women. At the time, we had ten female and four male actors on the crew.”
“It occurred to me that we could flip the sexes of all the roles. With that in mind, I read it again,” says Fisher. “It worked without having to change much, maybe rewriting a scene or two.”
“I ran the idea by a couple of cast members. They were keen on the idea.”
“A friend and I sat down to rewrite; we ended up changing very little. It is a farce –a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations–afterall. Does it need to be water tight?” he asks.
“This is my largest group yet,” says Fisher.
 Catch the Summer Stock production, A Flea in Her Ear, at the Dance Palace Friday, Saturday and Sunday August 6, 7 & 8 or Friday, Saturday and Sunday August 13, 14 &15 at 7:30 p.m..

Summer Stock Cast and Crew 2010:
Terra Hagen
Raini Kellog
Alyssa Tanner
Laurel Ann Riley
Amelia Riley
Ruby Fisher-Smith
Claire Marshal
Nathaniel Buteux
Sara Tanner
Summer Cassel
Evan McGiffers
Bronomir Alder-Ivanbrook
Aaron Boyes
Silas Blunk
Avery Stray
An interview with Summer Stock Theater Director Sam Fisher

Citizen: Why is this particular piece suited to this group of players?

Sam: I tell them all when we meet earlier in the year, I look for plays that I would be happy to take any role.  Georges Feydeau's farces are written so that everyone has a moment to shine, even if you only have a few lines.
This is not your traditional audition a bunch of people and pick the actors you want.  I need to get everyone involved.  The first three years I found my cast and then auditioned plays to fit them. 
This play is full of fun and colorful characters.  The sky is the limit as to how big you want to make these people.

Citizen: When did you first decide on this piece?

Sam: When I first got the job as the director of Summer Stock I put a call out to friends that are into theater, asking them to tell me about plays they like–plays I may not be familiar with.
My friend Johnny suggested the new version of Georges Feydeau's farce by David Ives.  After reading it, I could see it was a lot of fun and has good parts for all the players. I wanted to do this play that first year–and the two years that followed, but we only had six actors that first year.
Last year twelve people came out for the production, granting me the confidence that we could do this.

Citizen: What has been the greatest challenge?

Sam: The biggest challenge comes in motivating the crew to get their lines down early. Once all the lines are learned, developing the choreography or the physical aspect of the comedy is another thing all together.
In “A Flea in Her Ear”, there is the last bit of the second act where everyone is involved and people are running in and out from all over.  It has been dubbed 'the chaos'. I told them a long time ago to memorize this section first because we will be working on it almost daily. With under two weeks to go are still working on it. Oy!

Citizen: What makes this group of players unique?

Sam: It is fun to see them all bond. Not everyone knew each other in the beginning. This group has already had a movie night and a line run through that they set up on their own. There is also talk about a weekend get together–to run lines and have fun. We even kicked around the idea of a weekend camp out.

Citizen: Any old players or new players?

Sam: I have nine people in this cast who I have worked with before.  It is Ruby's third year and Claire's fourth.

Citizen: Any teens new to theater who seem to have found their calling?

Sam: For some it seems to be an easy transition.  Mostly, I work on getting them to focus: Mind the audience with voice–projection, speaking clear and loud–and with body–always stay open to the audience, don't turn your back to them. Finally, react to what is happening on stage and be in the moment–be your character. 
For an actor, it is difficult to leave yourself out of the equation, I see people struggle with this, worried about how they will be perceived.  It is always a challenge to break players out of this pattern. Where as others bust out all over the place.

Citizen: Any supportive community members who have returned to the scene to lend a hand of support year after year?

Sam: There would be too many to list.  I almost never can use all the help that is out there and ready to serve.
I don’t know other communities, but this one sure is supportive of the arts and the youth.

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