As we go into our second week of rehearsals, it’s crazy to think of all the things that have lead up to this show.
A project cultivated from rejection of preconceived journeys, these shows have begun blossoming into fruitful gardens of hard work, insightful rehearsals, and talented collaborators. Back in October, between day jobs, I read these plays on the floor of a used bookstore, unable to leave until I got to the end. I poured over the books generously, not even remembering that I had not come into the bookstore alone or that the bookstore even closed. Luckily, I have understanding friends and patient booksellers.
What I have loved most about Murray Schisgal’s writing is the absurdity of reality that he seems to capture so gracefully. When I first read The Typists, I kept thinking, “I know that feeling. I know that struggle. I know that and that and that…” At first glance, I was perplexed at the parallels these two plays, both published in 1963, resonated with me in 2017. Maybe it was the “right time, right place”; whatever it was, I am grateful for how it has infiltrated my life.
As we delve into the monotone office of The Typists and the dingy basement of The Tiger, I am honored to be in the room with such dedicated performers, Sarah-Winter Rose and Wes Elliot. This experience already has been one for the books. Even though it’s only been a week, we’ve already found ourselves swimming gallantly through the mind of Murray Schisgal.
I am so excited to share the world we, as an ensemble with the guidance of Schisgal, have already fallen in love with. Thank you to all of our supporters who have made this happen!
On June 25, we hosted an array of artists as they shared their words, voice, and good cheer on a warm summer’s eve. Artists included: Beth Seongwan Fehrensen, Sherrie Howard, Joyce Russell, Lia Russell-Self, and Wes Elliot. Thank you so much for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you all at our next Lune!
Beth Seongwan Fehrensen on stage (Photo by Sherrie Howard)
Stage (Photo by Lia Russell-Self)
Joyce Russell sharing her poetry (Photo by Wes Elliot)
Beth Seongwan Fehrensen sharing her PFF (poetry fact fiction) (Photo by Wes Elliot)
Thank you all!! (Photo by Lia Russell-Self)
The July Lune was a wonderful Night of Dance featuring original pieces by Heather C. Meehan and company co-founders Lia Russell-Self & Wes Elliot, and it is Now Online!
———> https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1603955173221019 <———
(dances in order of appearance)
Choreographer & Dancer: Heather C. Meehan
Song: So Good to Me
Artist: Chris Malinchak
Big Blue Beautiful
Choreographer & Dancer: Lia Russell-Self
Song: How Big How Blue How Beautiful
Artist: Florence + The Machine
Dedicated to Wendy Shifrin
. unbroken .
Choreographer & Dancer: Wes Elliot
Choreographers & Dancers: Wes Elliot, Lia Russell-Self, Heather C. Meehan
Artist Note: Based off of a sculpture seen at a concept art shop in Paris, (un)Grounded explores the ideas of freedom and complacency. For centuries, birds have been a symbol of freedom, an ideal that so many of us strive for throughout most of our lives. However, freedom is not free of flaws, something that can be difficult to see while searching. As three young people finding this in our own lives, the subject matter is something close to us. In this piece, we strive to explore both the great strengths of freedom as well as the forgotten beauty of limitations.
-Come One, Come All-
Tonight is the June Lune! It will be a wonderful night of dance. Hosted in the Beckerman Dance Studio in the Daniel Arts Center, the June Lune will feature solos by Heather C. Meehan, and co-founders Lia Russell-Self & Wes Elliot. Come support the young arts community of the Berkshires. And plus, it’s FREE.
We may have had some technical difficulties in printing our programs, but they look fabulous now!
A night of dance, presented by 84 Productions!
On the night of July 2nd at 8 PM, a showcase of new dance and works-in-progress. Please come and enjoy solos by
The trio will also perform a new work-in-progress based on the idea of freedom and how we understand it.
Where: Beckerman Dance Studio, Daniel Arts Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230
When: June 28 @ 8 PM
Hope to see you there!
The May Lune 2015 is online!
The scene Alex & Lindsey was written and directed by Co-Founder Lia Russell-Self. It starred Co-Founder Wes Elliot as Alex and Tessa Anderson as Lindsey. The scene deals with mature issues of peer pressure in youth culture and how that can quickly lead to much more intense themes: rape.
Left to Right: Tessa Anderson as Lindsey, Wes Elliot as Alex
Artist’s Note: The original script had both Alex & Lindsey as thirteen-year-old girls. In my own upcoming, sex was a robust topic of discussion among my peers, all hormones but rarely facts. The goal was always to please your partner, often the female pleasing the male in a heterosexual coupling. When we decided to work on this scene, I was nervous about how people would react to such a scene. I thought that maybe my middle school experience was abnormal because what is the most talked about in general media was the opposite, the “cute” parts of preteenage years, such as first crushes and new breasts. This scene was not that. It was two fourteen-year-olds talking about how to give a blowjob without any of the smatterings of music to mask it and a no-holds-barred attitude to it all. Lindsey is not one to accept failure, but the way in which that manifests with Alex is a force that is often overlooked with women and girls. We sometimes fail to realize the perpetrators of our society’s expectations, including pressure to have sex and pleasing the masculine figures.
The only difference from the original script is the change of Alex’s gender, and that change adds a new layer while leaving the original message blatant and clear. Having a newly-out-queer, young boy trying to figure out his life among the pressures of what society wants him to be, it makes the scene completely different while remaining the same. We are still discussing the perpetrators of the norms of society, but setting it through the eyes of a newly-out-gay boy shows how we see same-sex relationships and who is supposed to do what based on appearance and demeanor.
In writing and directing this scene, I hoped to bring light to the problematic conversations that are often glossed over, and we all hope that you are inclined to look at this in your own surroundings.
The Lune Series
The Lune Series (pronounced like “loon”, or you can be fancy and pronounce the “e”) is our a monthly installment series. With each moon (or month or whatever) we aim to produce a new piece of art. This piece will hopefully be showcased in a larger performance of either our own or other’s work. (We love working and collaborating with others!)
While all the Lunes will be part of the same series, they are not innately sequels to each other. The Lune Series was born out of a desire to constantly create. The connecting tissue between all Lune pieces and performances is the overarching theme that (performance) art is what we love and what we want to do. That spirit is what drives us through our days until we can dedicate our time to our art (which typically happens with the rising of the moon, come nightfall).