The Cast: Great Hill Mouth

From the Drama League Rough Draft Series:

Britt Faulkner- Sarah Meyers

Britt is thrilled to read at The Drama League and return to GREAT HILL MOUTH. Theatre: Sleep No More, salon series (McKittrick Hotel) A Lie of the Mind (Trinity Rep), The Who’s Tommy (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Three Sisters (St. Fortune Theatre) Film: Woody Allen’s Irrational Man. 2015 Brown/Trinity Rep MFA graduate.

Elise LeBreton- Shaylene

NY: Empire Travel Agency (Woodshed Collective), The Myth of Iphis (The Brick). Regional: Orpheus Descending(Intiman Theatre Festival), A Flea in Her Ear (Trinity Rep), A Christmas Carol (Trinity Rep). As a company member of The Williams Project, she has appeared in The Glass MenagerieHenry VI, and Orpheus Descending. Elise has also worked as a resident artist at the Barn Arts Collective. MFA: Brown/Trinity Rep.

Reggie Gowland- Marty

Recent credits include Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare in the Park) 4000 MILES (American Conservatory Theater) and Red (Boise Contemporary Theater).  Television: Unforgettable, Evan and Gareth and Trying to Get Laid. Film: Rover: or Beyond Human.

Dave Register- Alton

Dave is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts where he trained with Kristen Linklater, Andrei Serban and Sam Gold, among others. Recent NYC work: LIGHT, FEN, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Classic Stage Company), NOT AFRAID (Under St. Marks).

Drew Ledbetter- Directions and Additional Text

NYC credits: In Flight (Turn to Flesh Productions),Versailles (Theater for the New City), Self (Metropolitan Playhouse), Magic Kingdom (NYCFringe), as well as readings and new play development with New York Theater Workshop, New Dramatists, The Workshop Theater, and Red Bull Theater. Regional: King Lear and Boing! A Musical Adventure (Trinity Rep), Melena(Playwright’s Rep). Drew has served as the assistant producer for Red Bull Theater’s Obie-award winning Revelation reading series for the past three seasons, and well as the Director of their Educational Programming. Drew is also the Artistic Associate for Chautauqua Theater Company. Upcoming: A Persistent Memory by Jakob Hoffman at Theater Row in June 2016, under the direction of Jessi D. Hill. BA: UC Berkeley. MFA: Brown/Trinity. www.drewledbetteronline.com

d e t a i l

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Photography and Flexible Necklace in black by Lena Wunderlich

I recently met Lena Wunderlich, a German native and current RISD Masters student. Lena is a photographer, and jewelry designer.

When she showed me her portfolio I flipped. It’s so fresh and clean, yet highly ambitious and innovative.  When I felt the materials I couldn’t believe how versatile and durable they were.  Her work, whether photos, art design or intricate jewelry pieces, is always crisp, clean, and forward thinking.

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Lena like many designers I meet, Lena has such an impeccable eye for detail.  Her sensibility is functional, often quiet, and highly individualized. Shooting with her reminded me that good work is really all in the details.

Lena is currently fundraising for resources to help her complete her degree at RISD (The Rhode island School of Design). Check out the effort and contribute if you can.

Westward Ho

an Alfalfa Field
an Alfalfa Field

After Chautauqua I took a little (big) road trip from New York to Washington to unpack the last three years. We passed through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Idaho and Washington.

Some things I did:

  • Caught up with friends and family in Chicago (the most underrated city ever.  I really miss living there.)
  • Had big margaritas at a theme park in Wisconsin while discussing the social and economic pros and cons of strip clubs.
  • Visited the Northern Cheyenne reservation in Montana.
  • Saw Mount Rushmore. (It’s a “memorial” but what is it memorializing?)
  • Had the best burger of my life in Idaho at Hudson’s Hamburgers.  Thanks Ian!
  • Visited a traditional wild west town in South Dakota.
  • Won $175 on a roulette table. (I have a new addiction)
  • Sang “Creep” by Radiohead for karaoke at a gay bar in downtown Coeur d’Alene (not the best upper song for karaoke night but I CRUSHED IT!!!!)
  • Ate at one of my dad’s favorite venues he plays on his tour called Moon Time.
  • Met a really nice black cat named Jasper in Coeur d’Alene.
Ritzville Washington
Ritzville Washington

There is just so much space in this big, old, red an blue country.  I wonder how the entertainment industry remains so over saturated in just two cities, NYC and LA, particularly when they are becoming more and more economically unsustainable. Montana was particularly gorgeous, I mean breathtakingly open and clean and picturesque.  We drove through some patches of bad smoke from the forest fires there, but I couldn’t think of a more beautiful place to start a little company or take a writing retreat.

The Columbia River

The most beautiful landmark I saw by far was the Columbia River in Washington.  They way the water funnels in is just gorgeous.  It was incredibly quiet and arid. There is a great Woody Guhthrie called Roll on Columbia Roll on that you should listen to. It evokes the tone and feel of the space.

Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
So roll on, Columbia, roll on
Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the oceans so blue
Roll on Columbia, roll on

 

Hope to make another trip soon, maybe in the winter.

WW

 

Macbeth in Stride

Macbeth In Stride is an electrified look at the descent of the Lady Macbeth and her husband through the iconic music of Ike and Tina Turner, The Doors, and more. Featuring Shakespeare’s text the show takes an intimate look at a relationship in turmoil and the effects of vaulting ambition. How do we punish and celebrate women who push too hard, who want too much, who sing too loud?

Macbeth In Stride is part one in a series of concert plays exploring Shakespeare’s women, set to rock and roll. Written by Whitney White, directed by Caitlin O’Connell, and produced by Emily Breeze.

Cast

Peter Mark Kendall

Whitney White

History

First created as a solo project as part of Brown/Trinity Rep’s MFA program. Special thanks to Zdenko Martin, Billy Finn, Jesse Nelson, Ian McNeely and the Brown University/ Trinity Rep MFA Acting program.

Workshops / Presentations

White Herron (June, 2015)

Chautauqua Theatre (August, 2016)

Trinity Rep (May, 2017)

Judson Memorial (January, 2018)

Breadloaf (August, 2018)

Third Year

GUTH

First day of the last year of graduate school.  I am excited, ready for more work and collaborations, but above all I can’t believe I made it this far.  It’s always easy to look back and ponder what path you could have taken, and to be weary of an unknowable future. But it’s great to be in the here and now, and to give it your all.

There is a lot going on in the US and abroad and I think it’s important to locate yourself; physically, politically, and spiritually. Where are you? Be where you are.  What do you believe in? Pursue your beliefs. I think that knowing your point of view, your concerns, and where you lie on the line are the best ways to enrich your art and your life. Second Year showed me that, this summer at the Guthrie showed me that, and I hope to carry it into the Third Year.

Looking back:

A Guthrie Experience

Oliver

Project Hedda

Scab

Twelfth Night

Much Ado About Nothing

Grateful, humble, and excited for more.  Thanks to my family, my friends, thankful for good health and my faculty. Wishing you all success in the coming year!

WW

inspiration

inspiration/

in*spi*ra*tion/

inspəˈrāSHən/

defitnition:

the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative.

the drawing in of breath; inhalation.

inspiration is a drawing in of the mind, of resources around you in order to make something new. inspiration is aspiration.  i am thinking of  Stromae  nee Paul van Haver and his blending of reality + dance music. his sound is a sound of the now –> global culture now, unemployment now, uneven color lines now, youth-malaise now, the end of the golden age of capitalism now. 

stromae2stromae

and at the heart of it all a fierce f*%&$*ng relentless beat. formidable indeed.

stromae = how can my art be created and communicated in a connected way?

i am thinking of photography and the power of image. what i mean by “image” is that which is most immediately seen and digested. blink. what do you see? what is stationary near you? what are you looking at? what is the picture you see when your eyes are open? close your eyes. now what do you see? how is this image the same? how is it changing with each blink, moving further and further away from the root image you first saw when your eyes were open?

What are we really seeing then, when we are constantly encountering images both natural and edited? reality based and technologically generated and altered? what is in my mind’s eye if everything i am seeing is based on a construction?

i am thinking of a new year. 2014. hoping to work from an inspired place and create images that are worth being in your mind’s eye.

WW

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On Elysium

NO SPOILERS below. I promise.

Yesterday I went to see the current Matt Damon blockbuster Elysium by District 9 mastermind Neill Blomkamp. The film was nothing short of spectacular. Elysium explores a future in which Earth as we know it is overcrowded and overrun with poverty and disease.   The wealthy live in bliss and perfect health on a space station hovering above.  From the very first screenshot the viewer is hurdled into a world plagued by issues that haunt us today: healthcare and immigration reform, and government that caters to a small percentage of the population. Blomkamp brilliantly poses the question: what would our lives look like if there was no reform or conscious effort to protect those that need protection? And above all, how much can one individual faced with his own mortality impact society?

This is the kind of film that makes you sit back and say “OH! That’s what I’m supposed to be doing. ”

I am currently pursuing an MFA at a 3-year institution, an arguably questionable route for any performing artist to take.  Unlike a terminal degree in business, law, or medicine there is no guarantee of wealth or job stability. However, in today’s world very little is guaranteed to anyone. (Enter foreboding parental comment here). Nonetheless, those who choose the conservatory route trade resources for an opportunity to hone their instrument to the best of its ability.

Elysium-Second-TrailerAt the end of this process what you end up with are a lot of actors that pop back into a commercialized regional theatrical system,  working in film and TV occasionally.  It is much more rare for these programs to produce artists interested in or even financially able to challenge persisting socio-economic or political systems on a large level.  We are encouraged to “be the best we can be” in all American fervor, but I’m still trying to figure out how that best version of myself can produce a message, be brave enough to put that message into a world, and ambitious enough to get that message out on a large-scale.  This is what I am seeing from Blomkamp’s work. Both in District 9 and Elysium Blomkamp challenges himself and the viewer while creating unique mind-blowing entertainment.

A Daughter’s Wish

Since viewing the film I’ve found myself most fixated on the issue of healthcare.  My mother is currently engaged in a battle with stage 4 ovarian cancer.  She has faced every obstacle with such bravery and grace and her struggle has so profoundly changed me. Sitting in a theatre with people who have been touched by their own health issues, a room full of beings who will all at some time pass, Blomkamp’s intelligent design immediately is rendered effective.  The content of the film connected me to my concerns about an unknown future and an innate understanding of humanity.

“Elysium”-

  1. The place at the ends of the earth to which certain favored heroes were conveyed by the gods after death.

  2. A place or state of perfect happiness.

As far as heroes go who else would you want to call on but Matt Damon? He is full of brains, heart and brawn. His performance illuminates why the “hero” trope still important. In my life I am fortunate to have many heroes, my all patient mother being #1, my faculty, and people who continue to incubate and support my work.   For now Mr. Blomkamp you are one of those heroes. I thank you for pushing the limits of entertainment. What you are making I would like to call “activist entertainment”. It is not only profitable but a positive addition to the cultural landscape.  We can only hope that our future won’t need a beefed up butt-kicking hero like Matt Damon to save it.

(Oh, and Jodie Foster rocks.)

W

A First Look

Let me start by saying this is the first post I have done for 2013. Well, Happy 2013.  It got off to a great start with the First look Festival- a night of theatrical programming completley planned and created by my class. I made my directing debut and also had my first writing piece featured. Shot from rehearsal below…

Condition
Rehearsal for “Condition” my first short play part of the First Look Festival

My class, 16 funny-brilliant-unique-spaztastic people from all over the country, created a really unique evening that culminated in dancing (yes!) AND SINGING (double yes!). I also was a part of another festival, Writing is Live, in a new play written by Ugandan playwright Margaret Namulyunga. The piece explored, or rather exploded, traditional Ugandan conceptions of sex and marriage.

Backstage for He is Here He Says I Say, by Margaret Namulyunga. Part of the Writing is Live festival
Backstage for He is Here He Says I Say, by Margaret Namulyunga. Part of the Writing is Live festival.

The days are always crazy, but I’m learning more about myself and about what collaborative work is.  I am thrilled to say that my next project will be In The Blood by Suzan-Lori Parks directed by Flordelino Lagundino, the role of Mother Hester.

Eternal thanks to my mother, without whom none of this would have been possible.

W

A Kind of Providence

I am halfway through my first semester in the Brown/Trinity MFA program in Acting.  (Yeah….. I started in Late August and now officially live in Providence, RI) The program is a joint venture through Brown University and the Trinity repertory Theatre headed by Stephen Berenson and Brian brian McEleney.   It is a three-year conservatory program that comes with all the challenges a conservatory program brings.  With a heavy course load and rehearsal times, graduate school has become a full time gig.    Our first year is devoted largely to American Naturalism and learning more in depth about what our instruments naturally do; our habits, tendencies and strengths.  Everything is coming to surface and there is nowhere to hide. It is an incredible process of change.

My class is composed of 14 actors and two directors, and we could all not be more different from each other. With class six days a week we have become an odd little family of sorts. Imagine the Real World on Artsy-Fart fairy dust.

For my first scene showing, I have been assigned the Tony Award winning play “Dinner With Friends” by Donald Margulies. The play follows a divorced couple exploring the effect a destroyed relationship has on those closest to them. Beth is definitely a new character for me, very fiery, mature and grounded. My big task for this scene has been to rediscover listening and grounding my breath, two things which I will be chasing after the next three years to be sure.

More on the work of graduate school coming soon… so lets just cut tot he good part.  I am starting to feel more and more like an East Coaster. Providence obviously does not have the crazy night scene that New York does, but thanks to Brown, RISD and the countless local artists and musicians there is a plenty to get into. I have to give a shout out to my favorite spot in town, Flan Y Ajo  Located on 225a Westminster.  Flan y Ajo Tapas project is a fab little spanish inspired BYOB restaurant owned by Siobhan María Etxeberría and Diego Luís Pérezand. The menu is incredibly imaginative and features fresh plates for lunch and dinner.

One of my fave posters…

The tapas bar…. you MUST try the tuna sandwich. Incredible.

Very fun and romantic little spot indeed.

More to come as I continue to settle in.  Special thanks to everyone in New York and Chicago who helped me with this transition and my application. 

W