Tuesday, September 6, 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT! The Ruckus: Season 3

CONK AND BONE by Joe Musso | directed by Kyra Lewandowski
September 18, 26 and 27, 2011

Somewhere in Louisiana, two men and a triggerless trombone await Death, who brings the cargo they are to ferry across the river Styx. This time, though, things are different. There are two souls instead of one—a headless girl with wings, and a fallen and furious hero. While Conk and Bone wait to make their perilous passage, Achilles finds a sword, the girl disappears, and a long-dormant secret creeps closer to the surface. Help playwright Joe Musso, director Kyra Lewandowski and The Ruckus take Conk and Bone a step further on their journey toward a special kind of hell during this workshop staged reading. Audience talkbacks led by guest dramaturgs follow each performance.

DUMB ANGEL by Seth Miller | directed by Katie Canavan
September 19, 20 and 25, 2011

A chord is a complex thing. It changes and grows, and more often than not, it’s the discordant note that brings it to life, for better or worse. Part transcript, part collage and part explosion of the American image of happiness, Dumb Angel explores madness, meaning and the torment of an artist on a quest for auditory joy—beginning with the tumultuous recording session for The Beach Boys’ 1965 number-one hit single, ‘Help Me, Rhonda’. Join playwright Seth Miller, director Katie Canavan and The Ruckus as we tumble into a rabbit hole of Brian Wilson’s phantasmagoria, and watch the boys of summer try to get the syncopation right. Audience talkbacks led by guest dramaturgs follow each performance.

LITTLE TRIGGERS by Daniel Caffrey | directed by Allison Shoemaker
January 13 – February 12, 2012

Once upon a dark and blustery Christmas Eve, a young man named Martin sits waiting. In the corner of the office, a printer spits, smokes and hisses in a way that would seem malevolent if Martin didn’t know better. He waits for the repairman and watches the clock tick, and wonders what it is that he’s doing with his life. Little does he know that before the evening’s out, a series of mysterious strangers will force him to confront his ideas about success, happiness and failure—and they’re starting with what’s hidden in the back of his drawer. Martin has to find the through-line for his story, and he had better do it fast, because the snow won’t stop falling, and the printer’s out for blood.

by Aaron Dean and Allison Shoemaker | directed by Brian Ruby
RUNG by Matt Test | directed by Timo Aker
April 8 – 11, 2012

These two very different one-act plays explore in tandem the necessity of progress. Perfect Crash. In a windowless room, two people sit on an ugly green couch and plot their next move. How much momentum will get the wheel down the track, and how much more is needed to walk out the door? Playwrights Aaron Dean and Allison Shoemaker, and director Brian Ruby devise themselves out of a corner and discover the best kinds of failure in a marvelous machine. Rung. A body needs a voice—verbal or nonverbal, we require communication. But what happens when a voice needs a body, and you can’t keep sharing yours? Playwright/composer Matt Test, director Timo Aker, are helping Norbert Grover Norquist uncover what to do with this spare voice he’s got rattling around in his head.

Big things happen, strange and sad and wonderful things, but still—the machine needs building. Help The Ruckus and these talented artists make progress with these two new plays. Audience talkbacks led by guest dramaturgs follow each performance.

devised by the Company | written by Calamity West | directed by Karie Miller
June 22 – July 22, 2012

Life is a story, but it’s not a short one. It has many acts, and they never quite end the way we predict. Built through a collaborative six-month process, The Thing About Chekhov prompts playwright Calamity West, director Karie Miller and a band of fearless actors to try to see the Cherry Orchard for the trees in this company-devised work: an exploration of realism, tragicomedy, and never quite arriving in your personal Moscow.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Ruckus seeks...

The Development Manager oversees all fundraising, grant writing and event planning efforts for The Ruckus, under the supervision of the Managing Director. The Development Manager also serves as liaison to Ruckus Board of Directors, and plays a key role in strategic planning for the organization. This is a part-time volunteer position within the organization with a great deal of flexibility and room for growth; a commitment of approximately 8 hours a week is expected. The successful candidate will be goal- and deadline-oriented, trustworthy, enthusiastic and passionate about new work and have the ability to ask people for money. [MORE INFO]

The Communications Manager develops, implements and evaluates all programs and systems designed to meet or exceed The Ruckus’ ticket revenue and attendance goals, under the supervision of the Managing Director. The Communications Manager plays a key role in planning and executing all marketing and publicity plans, serves as a spokesperson to the media for the company and collaborates with The Ruckus’ leadership on the continued strategic development of the company’s brand across all media. This is a new, part-time volunteer position within the organization with a great deal of flexibility and room for growth; a commitment of approximately 8 hours a week is expected. The successful candidate will be goal- and deadline-oriented, trustworthy, enthusiastic and passionate about new work, have the ability to think strategically and creatively—and sell lots of tickets. [MORE INFO]

Please send cover letter, resume and two writing samples to jeffrey@ruckustheater.org. No calls please. Game on.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

15 MINUTES: A Love Story, by Stevie Chaddock Lambert

I entered into this partnership almost exactly a year ago, and let me tell you, it started like any budding relationship. Dramatic. The constant texting, the late night phone calls, the not sleeping, the not eating and subsequent over-eating once you get into the comfortable stage (around month four)…

Don’t you just love new relationships?

And then everything changes. The fantasy ends. The veil is lifted. You see each other for who you really are – imperfect. You notice that 15 Minutes chews with his mouth open and almost always misses the toilet bowl while peeing and sounds like a growling Muppet monster when he sleeps. You realize that this relationship won’t continue to grow with just warm, fuzzy thoughts and carnal attraction. It’s going to take work…a lot of work.

So the work begins, and it’s grueling - in a truly exhilarating way. It’s exciting and new all over again. You learn things about each other that can’t be discovered in only a couple months; you dig deeper. You both grow and change - together and separately. 15 Minutes helps you through some very difficult, personal events in your life, and you are stronger together because of those hardships.

Finally, through it all, you realize why you began this relationship in the first place. You realize how truly rewarding a partnership, such as this, can be. You introduce 15 Minutes to your parents and friends, who of course love him, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Playwright Aaron Dean say...

Son of Man, direct your face towards Blog, of the land of Mablog, the prince, the leader of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him.

Eziekiel 1: 38-39

Imagine you live in a little village. Its a happy place. Prosperous and gentle and fair and lovely. The thatch roof cottages sit nestled in buttery yellow wheat fields. There are festivals and dances and it seems the recent Typhus outbreak is fast becomming memory But there is one problem, there is an ogre, up the hill not two miles away, and he gambols down that hill every now and again and scoops up the most apple-cheeked, cherubic, five year old and rips opens its guts and feeds upon the leaky red entrails therein, while the mothers watch and ring their hands in grief. Then he gambols back up the hill, jump roping with the babe's lower intestines and singing Mid-period Moby songs.

Everyone in the village curses and cries and rends their burlap duds and then maybe they burn a goat and by morning they look out at those buttery wheat fields and understand the price of prosperity, they get over it and plan another barn dance.

Then a wandering knight, looking to impress his lady love back home rides into town. Not only is he gorgeous and charming and well-read, his record as a wandering knight is impeccable. Dragons vanquished, riddles solved, spells broken...you could go on forever baby.

He offers to solve your ogre problem. "Heck yes," you say.

You and your buddies armour up and you sing battle songs and play grabbies in the public shower and you head out, the golden knight leading his corn-liquor fueled posse.

You stand at the gates. Weapons poised. The clouds gather, somewhere an ominous bell is wringing. Where's it coming from? A solemn looking raven purches on a denuded tree branch.

You are unphased.

You hear the low, rumbling laugh of the creature.

You stand firm, confident in the knight.

Then over the black, iron gates, breaking the gray sheet of sky comes...a something...it hits right at your feet and when you get a closer look you see it is the head of that little five year old cutie, minus the eyes of course.

The ogres laughing becomes hysterical.

You miterate in your itchy breeches. Making them itchier.

Your knees knock together.

"Hold," Sayeth your captain.

You hold, he's just that good, in his golden helm and mighty sword, his cross draped shield and his...

Wait...wait a sec, what's that being hurled over the wall?

You find yourself in a shower of human body parts. The last thing that falls is the head of another knight, handsome face, golden helm, the works.

Minus the eyes of course.

And the ogre laughs till the earth at your feet shakes.

So what do you do? You run, you run like heck, back to the village. Will the knight and the posse take the gate? Slay the ogre. Who knows! Who cares!

So too is it with a devised piece. Our company was doing good. We had our share of success in a brief existence. But there is always the nagging to do more, to risk more. Then we decided to do a devised work. Which, most sensible people have a fear of. And we were on board, even the sensible ones.

And then come the heads.

Late nights, fast approaching deadlines, rehearsal after rehearsal waiting for the script, blocking waiting, designers waiting. And the ogre laughs and laughs.

Its scary. Reputations may be on the line, and you have started a process, without a play. You rehearse as you write, you have bull sessions and improvs, and they are all wonderful. And then its easy to let up and loose control. And then you scramble!

And you could run back to the village and be comfortable until the next time the monster comes down and then go back to being comfortable again after that. Or you could charge the gate, and risk becomming an eyeless head, thrown out of a gate to scare other posse's. You may fail. You may succeed, but to do the latter you must stay behind your knight.

We did.

We stormed the gate and brought that ogre down.

And now we have a dandy little play.

I love my wheat field. I always have, but what I love more is what it took to earn it. And who I earned it with.

So join me, raise your flagon of mead to the devised work, whether deemed successful or not. But drink not too much. For you never know what comes next to challenge you and your knight.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Juniper Hawk's Methods of Flying

We have long known of the phase of human history where our ancestors traveled by aircraft. Many of us have watched the Network footage, and I have even walked down the aisle of a now-defunct vessel. It is possible, and I can verify, that people can travel down the street, to other areas of the country, and even underwater. I alone can testify to that and have done so a great many times.

What we have not discussed is the now-rare phenomenon of human flight. Our mode of living is confined to supposedly provide safety and calm in an otherwise unstable world. But there are a great many sacrifices we’ve made to live this way. Our People to People peers have been examining and testing these different methods for about three years now and they’ve given me permission to share their findings with all of you, to perhaps encourage your interest in the outside world. None of these methods are possible in current Cube arrangement.

1) FALLING DOWN: Due to the confined nature of our living arrangement, the most anyone can fall is from their Mirror unit onto nearby floor or adjoining wall. This is a fairly minor fall and in in no way matches the destructive and wonderfully painful tumbles our ancestors experienced. From what I’ve seen, there are many different styles and shape a typical fall can take. The most I’ve ever traveled is the occasional stumble over uneven pavement on my many day trips. I have yet to encounter a set of stairs or a railing high enough to allow a moment of flight as I’ve seen in my research.

2) BASKETBALL: The rules of this game still elude me, but examining the former playing grounds and footage, there is evidence of a goal positioned at least 10 feet into the air and individuals would have to travel from the ground to the goal with a ball in their hands. The air over the playing ground was only thick enough to support one player at a time, and not everyone was strong enough to sustain such a long flight.

3) DANCE: Though I've long been ridiculed for my immense compact disc collection, my appreciation for disco in particular brings me one step closer to defying gravity.

Disco is not a flight dance(but a delicious series of movements across a dance space). It requires the body to move in ways it wouldn’t move for everyday purposes, which is a key element of any dance. Some forms specialized in leaving the ground for various periods of time.

Allow me to repeat: there is no way any of us can fly in a Cube. We will forever attempt to recreate the thrills and marvels that were once available to us(proof that we are meant for different living arrangements), but we will not be capable of actual human flight until we leave the Cubes. I encourage you all to find other methods once employed and attempt them in the limited floorspace you have available. I guarantee you’ll fail, much like Sebastian’s original mustache.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rayne’s Dos and Don’ts of Exercising, Eating Right and Leading an All-Around Healthy Lifestyle

DO measure yourself everyday. I realize using a measuring tape seems antiquated, but it works! Weighing yourself is inconsistent and not helpful in determining how good or bad, thin or fat you look on your mirror.

DON’T skip even a day of exercising. Not only does it keep you looking your best, but also, people like to watch so chances are you will gain some Knowns.

DON’T get discouraged because of your lack of space. Get creative. Use everything you have. Do wall push-ups. Use your ottoman for one-legged lunges or tricep dips. I once ran an entire marathon in place. It can be done!

DO watch what you eat. I know our portions are small to begin with, but really think about what and how much you’re putting in your mouth. Also, try and limit yourself to ONE tasty bin a week.

DO get a friend to workout with you. You’ll be held accountable to another person, and it’s really fun to have someone to talk to and help pass the time. Plus, you can encourage each other will simple gestures like smiling or waving. My best friend and workout buddy is Ivy Brock!

DON’T hesitate to ask for my help or my advice! Also, don’t forget to become a member of L.E.E.F.F.R., the League of Extraordinary Exercisers Fighting Fervently for Recognition, of which I am Founder and President.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

IVY BROCK say...

Ok, listen up, b*****s.

Gah….ok, I hate typing. No, like seriously, I hate typing. And this new keyboard ap is beyond lame.

I’m pretty sure this is totally pointless since you all know who I am already, and if you don’t, then you’ve been living under your desk like a Loser McLoserson.

So, I found one of those stupid surveys from like forever ago, and I figured it might be a good way to present you with a few little known facts about moi.

A - Age: Mind your d**n business. I look good and you know it.

B - Bed size: Like you don’t know. My sleep sessions are legendary.

C - Chore you hate: Letting in the drones (barf) for mirror maintenance

D - Dog's name: One time I had a virtual puppy named Fluffles. I bought her the most adorable pink rhinestone collar, but I forgot the puppy chow. Oops.

E - Essential start your day item: My hand. JK LOSERS! A hair brush, I don’t know. Whatever.

F - Favorite color: pink

G - Gold or Silver: PLATINUM, Baby.

H - Height: Again, I look good and you know it.

I - Instruments you play: Are you effing kidding me? Shut the eff up. Who does this anymore?!?

J - Job title: HBIC/ Flirt at Canoodle. (Like you don’t know…psh…)

K- Kids: I am not nor never will be a breeder. My genes are way too awesome to share.

L - Living arrangements: CUBE

M - Mom's name: Who the hell knows?

N- Nicknames: Why don’t you make up one for me?

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth: What?

P - Pet Peeve: Lame guys who request gratification rendezvous with me. Get on my level.

Q - Quote from a movie: “Sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, and then they think of sex.” Cher from Clueless

R - Right or left handed: Whichever you’d like.

S - How many siblings: Who knows?

T - Time you wake up: Whenever I feel like it. It’s not like you don’t love to watch me sleep anyways!

U- Underwear: ;)

V - Vegetable you dislike: I don’t know, but I do like cucumbers.

W - Ways you run late: I have never been late a day in my life. I have an impeccable sense of timing.

X - X-rays you've had: everywhere

Y - Yummy food you make: Who makes food? I just get a delivery every week.

Z - Zoo favorite: I just had to Google that. I hope those don’t still exist!

Ok!!!! Thanks for reading!!!! If we aren’t friends yet and you’re way awesome, you should totally request me!!!!!!!! Or you can find me on CANOODLE!!!!!!! J J J J J



Monday, May 30, 2011

Alyse Kittner had this to say a while back...

i don't know if you heard the news, but i am going to Vegas - in a matter of minutes. The main reason of going is to skydiving. Yup, I am paying someone to push me out of a plane. While there, i am also jumping into the world of RISK. Financial risk, emotional risk, physical risk, and moral risk (it is Vegas after all).

how far are we willing to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and into the world of risk? I love physically risky things. let me climb to the top of anything, throw me around like a beach ball, i am also good a balancing things on my head. I don't have enough money to worry about being financially risky. I think that is one of the sad problems only rich people have to deal with. Moral risk- i am just going to let that one go.

But emotional risk? Like letting my guard down? Or, god forbid, exposing faults and fears? My heart races, chest tightens, mind races, and i have this uncontrollable giggle. If you know me, even a little, you know i don't giggle. I smirk. I belly laugh. I am not a giggler unless very uncomfortable. emotional risk makes me very uncomfortable...teeheeheehee.

As an actor working on 15 Mins, i have taken my fair share of risks. Some easy, some hard, some that are still TBD. But the character's choice of to take a risk or not...that is compelling. what is the difference between risk and stupidity? what is the difference between safe and boring? what is it that makes all the risk worthwhile?

For me and Henry it is the opportunity to experience something completely new. After I jump, I will never be the same. When Henry risks it all, nothing will be as it was. Feeling new things makes the risk worthwhile.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A little something from playwright Aaron Dean...

Yip yip yip yip yip yip yip yip
Bum bum bum bum bum bum
Get a blog
Shan na na na nanana
Get a blog

I have a strange relationship with technology. I always have. Here is me. I am 29 years old. I wear fuzzy sweaters and smoke pipes and schedule time to take walks. All without irony too.

I hate using the phone. I don't like to drive; I never had an interest in automoblies,unlike most Americans who find driving akin to breathing. I didn't really use a computer until I was probably 18, in high school I would visit releatives to write term papers. Although I do like the promise of the personal computer, I still don't know my way around one, and would rather be doing just about anything else than sitting in front of a screen.

And it's not like I hate technology, just the opposite. I find it miraculous! We are living in an age of pure magic, and although I think it has it's merit, I have come to terms with the fact that it just isn't a world I fit into. I'm fine with this. And if you become close to me, eventually you will have to deal with the fact that while you're sweating bullets trying to get a hold of me, because its soooo important to be able to get ahold of me because I'm sooooo important, I am probably watching geese swallow stuff at the park, I can spend close to two hours watching stuff slide down those long, graceful necks. I don't know why! And I have given up analyizing it.

That's not to say that I am stubborn about it (I kinda am though) I'm pretty open minded. I am for whatever reason, just really indifferent to technology.

What I am not indifferent to however, is what it all means for us as a human race.

I'm no reactionary, when I see all the headphones, and screens and see everyone talking to the angels via tiny headsets I don't shake my tiny fists and say "You damn kids...blar, blar.." because it's cool, it's cool stuff. And there is so much talk about what it is doing to us. And I agree that it is doing something to us. And it's not cuz its evil or whatever, we just don't have the maturity, as a society, to balance it out with the rest of our lives yet that's all. It's a tool and a toy, and I love that. But we are not really treating it that way, there is something quasi-religious about the culture of technology right now, and if you don't believe me listen to people get together and talk about their phones. But that's just cuz it's all so new. When you were little and you get a badass new toy, your stuffed animals sat in the corner for a while. But you pick 'em back up and snuggle them again. We'll snuggle again gang, we just need to get all the electro-ecstacy out of our collective system first. So until you do my friends I will be watching the geese. Come join me, and I dare you to leave your phone at home.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Simon Lee and Tips for Virtual Pets


My name is Simon Lee.

I…um… Well, I’m not…I’m a people person. I like to watch people and to talk to them. They don’t…um well they don’t always talk to me, but I think that it’s just a bit of a slump for me right now. I’m getting better at--I mean I’m improving. I think, in the ways that I communicate.

I have a pony. A virtual pony. His name is Simon2 and he is very popular with the ladies. Well, the lady horses. Here is a picture:

It’s an old picture, but you get the idea. He has been with me for as long as I can remember. Which… Well, I guess that’s rare. I could give you some tips if you like, but you don’t have to take them, but I do pretty well with my pony upkeep…so it might help you with your stuff…or whatever. Here are some rules to follow:

  • Go to a RELIABLE virtual pet shop. Often times you’ll find that people will over charge you for your animal and they will already be on the verge of death or starvation or are just plain not good. The virtual animal ring in this country is cut throat. Don’t trust people who make huge offers for a small price. I myself was forced to visit a number of undesirable pages for a good two years before I had earned the right to my virtual pet and even then I was forced to nurse Simon2 back from his previous owner who left him on death’s door. Don’t settle. I suggest Takio, Bastingo’s Animal Hideout or Ain’t No Thing but a Chicken Wang for Animal Lovers.
  • Feed you pet 3 times a day. Again, I visit a number of undesirable pages in order to have the credits for Simon2’s food. I make sure that he is always well fed and healthy, even if this means that I must go hungry. A virtual pet is privilege. His needs must come before your own.
  • Play with your animal. He needs love and respect. I, myself, give Simon2 my attention for at least 4 hours of the day. He is always well brushed and muscular and happy. There is no excuse for a lack of this level of commitment. He is an actual living virtual pony. Treat him with the respect he deserves.
  • And lastly take your animals to a virtual vet once a week. Again I visit many undesirable pages in order to have the credits to make this happen, but I know that the health of my virtual animal is a direct indication of the mental health of me. If he is sick I must be a sick person to let that happen. Don’t be a mentally ill person. Take care of your animal. I suggest Bastingo’s Animal Hideout, The V.E.T, or Fix’er Up or Bury ‘Em for Animal Fanatics.

I hope this has been helpful or- - Well hopefully this has been enlightening. I work very hard on Simon2 and he means the world to me. I don’t know what I would do without him.

I um… bye.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rayne Droppe: The Person (not the stuff that’s been falling from the sky all April)

When you hear the name “Rayne Droppe,” what kind of person do you think of? Probably some tie-dye wearing, peace sign flashing, go-with-the-flow hippie, am I right? Hmmm, not quite.

So who is Rayne Droppe? No, really, who is she? We’re still writing here, folks. Your input would be really helpful. Ok, ok, enough joking around! Yes, we are still writing this beast, but we have pretty good idea of who this gal is and (not that I’m attached or anything) she’s pretty great.

I’d say she’s a mix of Max Fischer (ala Rushmore) and Rachel Berry (for all you Gleeks out there). Some say she’s more akin to a Disney princess. However you’d describe Miss Droppe, I think you’d all agree on one thing; she’s endearing as hell.

Rayne’s insecurities shine through as she strives for perfection, and if you asked her to describe herself, she’d give you a list of all her “qualifications” (i.e. breeding, soccer, macramé, scrapbooking, taxidermy, portraiture…I think you get the point).

Obviously, Rayne has a lot to learn about who she truly is, including the fact that her identity is not comprised of self-assigned accolades. What she doesn’t realize is that only through other people, actual human-to-human interaction, can she discover these truths about herself.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sebastian Duder and an episode of BYTES!




And no, that isn’t what you think. Or maybe it is.

Soon, very soon you’ll all have your suspicions confirmed.

Or denied.

Or something.

Look at these!!!!

The abs. Of steel. And American.

This is patriotism at its best. Explosive and sexy.

By the way, Happy Easter.

Cute right? Cuddly, right?

This is what people want to see.

This is what people want to experience, sex followed by cuddling. It’s comforting, it’s routine, it’s expected.

In other words: it’s ideal. This is what we’re fighting for, Warriors.


We keep things together, we honor ourselves and those who came before us by living up to these ideals.

Fuck the Commies.

Also, who’s hungry?

You want this. I can tell your salivary glands are salivating.

That’s what happens when you want something delectable, something that’s gonna tantalize your senses, assault your reason and quench your thirst.

That’s what I give you,

just like those before me.

Boom. Look at his

determination. His

resolve. His cockiness at

knowing he’s the rightest

person in the world.

He was an amateur.

What I’m gonna show you is a million times more explosive.

Happy Easter.

Friday, January 14, 2011

From Kristen Ahern: "To Build a Testicle, The Costume Designer’s Perspective"

I love this show. It has everything I love about theatre, it’s clever, bawdy, musical, historical, fantastical and many other adjectives; in short, I was thrilled to be asked to design it. I had planned on sharing my sketches for the show with you but sadly, my sketchbook has run off so here’s a brief description:

The design has one foot in history, one in modern day, and one in a Grimm faerie tale. It’s the largest show I’ve done so far without having a costume shop at my disposal, I counted costume pieces for my Mum over Christmas and I was up to 130 individual items and that included things like “suit” or “socks” which technically are each two pieces. It also has used many different techniques: corsetry, dying, distressing, paper mache, painting, tailoring, thrifting, altering, renting, millinery. In short, this show uses almost every costume creation technique possible.

I am being helped by some lovely ladies, Katie (who is pulling double duty by also being in the band) and someone not even associated with the company but a willing friend of a member of the company, Ruth. I would not be able to do this without help; I should also mention that of my boyfriend, Michael, who has kept me fed and functioning during the sprint to the finish since Christmas.

To conclude, here is a picture of my sewing room at 7:30 AM after a night of paper mache, January 3rd, 34:30 to first dress rehearsal:

From Kate Black, ESCAPE FROM THE HALTSBURG BOYS CHOIR's plucky mastermind Johanne

This is a great story. Might be one of my favorite blog posts ever.

Kate Black leads the Escape (center). Also pictured: Liz Goodson (top) and Alyse Kittner (shot with an arrow).

So, funny story... I had no idea what I was getting into when I went to the audition for Escape from the Haltsburg Boys Choir. Like... seriously. No idea. I thought it was a straight play where the characters periodically spoke in prose. Does that make sense? No. Of course not. However, this is what I thought I was auditioning for when I awkwardly walked into the Side Project Theatre back in August. My first indication that something was amiss was the man walking in with a giant keyboard and being referred to as the "accompanist." "Accompanying what?" I thought. My second indication were the girls coming in with sheet music and quietly practicing scales. Even my slow brain comprehended the significance of that. I wanted to turn around and run. Unfortunately, I had already checked in with a really nice guy in the front and they had my name. Maybe the only thing worse than being a no show is showing up and *then* dashing for the door. So that was it, I was stuck. I looked down at the check in sheet and saw at the bottom of a list of questions about our scheduling conflicts the request to "Tell us a joke." I thought only briefly and then wrote, "I didn't know this was a musical! HAHAAA...ha..."

Being called into the room was sort of a blur, doing my monologue is still a very hazy memory, but what I remember quite clearly is the look on everyone's faces when I sheepishly said, "I don't have a song...?" I saw a lot of confusion and puzzled, "How could we have been clearer?" faces but not a SINGLE face of judgment- which may be the only reason I didn't run out of the room crying like a psycho. It was that moment that it occured to me- this may be the moment that my year of taking voice lessons had prepared me for. While I still had a momentous fear of singing in front of people, I had the forsight in the summer of 2009 to start taking voice lessons in an effort to conquer my fear. This was the moment I had procrastinated: singing in front of a group of people who weren't my voice teacher. The truth is, I may have never gotten up the balls to go to an audition for a musical if I hadn't stumbled upon it so strangely. So I looked at those puzzled faces and said, "Can I sing something a capella?" Suddenly enthused by the idea they all agreed and couldn't have been nicer about it.

I don't remember singing. I remember having a moment in the middle where I thought, "This doesn't sound terrible!" but that was about it. The next thing I vividly recall was walking to the Jarvis red line stop and calling my mom and telling her I just made the biggest ass out of myself at an audition and after hearing my story, she somewhat jokingly suggested I move out of the city immediately to protect my image.

Today, I am Johanne. The boy with the "golden voice." This experience has made me a stronger person and certainly a braver artist. Life has a way of surprising you, and if you don't actively seek out challenges, it will periodically demand you stand up to them when it throws them at you. And thank God/Buddha/Karma/Fate for that.

See, what did I tell you? Great story. Come see Kate sing (rather beautifully, I might add) between now and January 30th. She's the tops.