· THE POETRY CLUB PRESENTS "SICK AND WIRED"|
Matt Mahoney wrote this epic performance poem for our high school talent show, and who did he ask to be one of the two lead performers? Yes, I played "Little Boston" in his journey through self-destruction. Good times!
Let me tell you a little story about my high school's Poetry Club. After Odyssey of the Mind, this was the best creative collective I had going for me. Matthew J. Mahoney founded this club in his senior year, 1995-96 and it continued though my whole high school career. Every week, usually on Fridays after school, we'd get together in one of the classrooms and read poetry. It could be our own writing, some of our personal favorites, or even the back of a cereal box -- it was all open to interpretation. And then we could offer our thoughts, criticisms and downright slams. It was great, we all really connected with each other. But in 1998 it all shattered. The club ended up offending some parent somehow and Matt was not allowed back on campus. His absence was the start of the unravelling of The Poetry Club. We did our best to hold it together but to no avail.
The whole experience made me realize the need for this kind of outlet for teens. Which is why I plan to create my own "art center" for youth in the city. A place young adults can come in, create art, poetry and everything. Care to help?
· THUNDER ON SYCAMORE STREET
An ex-con moves into a quiet suburban neighborhood and all hell breaks loose when the residents of Sycamore want him out. This play was based on a teleplay that aired in the 60's about a black family that moves into white suburbia. I played the voice of reason (the Jimmy Stewart, if you will).
My girlfriend at the time was in the Arlington Children's Theatre production of "Oliver" and she asked if I wanted to try out for their next show. I hadn't done much theatre since grade school and wanted to give it a go. My high school was doing nothing but musicals and I'm not much of a singer so I didn't bother. I wanted serious drama. It was great!
· GIVE THANKS
Laura Duggan's original take on the story of the first Thanksgiving. I was taking "Stage Lighting 101" at Emerson and was very anxious to put my new found knowledge to the test. Friend of the family, Laura Duggan was putting on this show at a local community space and asked if I'd help with the lights and I obliged. We got a great deal from fellow Emerson alums at BN Productions (now part of ALPS Lighting) and the show went great. After working with exclusively theatre lights on the show, I incorporated some into my scheme for the first episode of "The Vampire Game" and that went great, I highly recommend experimenting with theatre lights in filmmaking.
· LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT
A slice of Eugene O'Neil's play about a 1950's suburban family broken in part by the mother's morphine addiction. I wanted to contrast the heavy narrative by making the play a 50's sitcom, introducing the play with an old-school radio commercial jingle and narrator saying "And now we return to 'I Love Mary...'" Also, I liked the idea of an actor interacting with a voice recording on stage, so I did something like that. I assembled three scenes from the play for this cut. In the first the mother character, Mary, cleans the house and does the dishes all the while these disembodied "voices" are talking about her as though she weren't there. In the second part, she is actually interacting with the recording as though it were a live person and in the third, the voice playback is her own (in her head) as she makes herself a sandwich and daydreams of a life that could have been. Ashley Nease braved this multimedia experiment as the show's lead (and only) character and our Directing class at Emerson just loved it.
Ever since I heard of Samuel Beckett's post-apocalyptic parable about the demise of four disabled denizens holed up in a basement shelter, I wanted to take it on. The story so intrigued me I had to give it a shot. It was my Directing 2 class in my final semester at Emerson and I was not planning to leave college quietly. The assignment was to put on a one-act play bewtween 20 and 30 pages. Well "Endgame" is one-act, I thought, but significantly longer than 30 pages. What was I to do? I asked the teacher if I could abridge the play by eliminating the two minor characters. He said, "Well if you want to give yourself the extra work be my guest." So I did.
Another classmate of mine was planning on staging her play in her apartment basement, but she didn't want to drag all the class down there just to show her play. So I asked her if I could stage "Endgame" in her basement as well -- since it does in fact take place in a basement. She said, "Absolutely." So we did and it rocked.
Now during all this last semester, I unfortunately was also writing a feature-length script and filming the series finale to "Vampire Game" not to mention some other research project for my Media Law class. Added to which, part of the Directing 2 class requirement was to attend all the oher students' shows. And of course this was all happening in the last two weeks of school. Something had to give... so I ended up missing the other students' shows. I guess being "the film guy" in the theatre directing class I always felt like I was on the outside, so maybe I thought you wouldn't miss me that much. I know how hard you all worked on your shows and I feel terrible even to this day that I missed them. I am so sorry : (
An array of video segments incorpoated into a multimedia production of William Shakespeare's Othello. While some of the scenes stand alone, most involved some interaction from the live performers. This was the first play (first project, actually) on which Arika and I had collaborated and the show that got me the job assisting the eighth grade drama productions. What fun! My first ored of buisness for the show was to design and buld a movie screen for rear-projection. This allows live actors to perform in front without getting in the way of the projection. We used muslin fabric for the screen and it worked nicely (though not as nice as what was used in "Tea with Mary Cassat") The clip below is a brief collage of images (think "24" splitscreen stuff) that plays concurrently with the live performance of Emelia watching Desdemona drop her handkerchief--a pivotal moment in the story. Produced for Cambridge Friends School in Cambridge, MA. Live production directed by Arika Cohen. Theatrical performance on January 27th, 2006.
Download and watch the the handkerchief clip! (643kb)
· ANYWHERE BUT HERE
A multimedia production about two very different islands. On the island of Greenyl, people live in harmony with nature and live off the land. On Graynel, the populace has embraced technology and "improved" nature. Each island preaches hate against the other like two rival football teams, and this has been the status quo until one day a boy from Graynel shipwrecks on a mysterious shore and meets a girl from Greenyl... The two video segments are broadcasts from Graynel television networks. The videos reinforce the artifice and introversion of Graynel. Produced for the Eighth Grade at Cambridge Friends School in Cambridge, MA. Live production directed by Arika Cohen. Theatrical performances at Cambridge Friends School on April 28th and 29th, 2006.
· TEA WITH MARY CASSAT
The Carr-Duggan team at it again for Laura Duggan's latest original work, a one-woman dramatization of the life and work of Mary Cassat. It was another return to Emerson (see "See Jane") and my first show in the new Emerson Tufte Performance Center. Laura's concept for the show was Mary Cassat sipping tea with her biographer and dramatizing various events throughout her life. As part of the parlor setpiece, Laura wanted two large picture frames on the back wall each with a projected image of a painting or photograph that could change along with the narrative. We achieved this by using two LCD projectors and two laptops with Powerpoint. The screens that filled the picture frames were made of real rear-projection material and the image projected from behind. It looked great!
Having wowed the kids last year with my video skills, I thought to myself "How can I impress them even further?" Two words: green screen. I brought in my 9-foot chroma green backdrop and the kids and I did several different green screen FX including: putting a "real fire" in the witches' cauldron and making Banquo's ghost fly above the dinner table. The still on the right shows Macbeth's POV as he approaches the sleeping King Duncan and we used green screen to put the sword in front of the camera with Macbeth's reflection in the blade.
The coolest part of the whole multimedia element in "Macbeth" had to be the vision of Lady Macbeth's bloody hands. It was the first idea the kids had for any video in the play and it was the first we filmed. Arika wrote about the kids' experience creating that image with me in a paper for an arts education class at Harvard. Read Arika's paper!
Produced for Cambridge Friends School in Cambridge, MA. Live production directed by Arika Cohen. This production marks the third collaboration between myself and the Cambridge Friends School eighth grade, following last year's "Othello" and "Anywhere but Here". Theatrical performances held at Cambridge Friends School on January 20th, 2007.
· BLOODY MARY
Arika Cohen's original work about a young girl who loses her imaginary best friend and must travel to a mysterious world to find her. Arika showed me a draft of this play in our senior year of college and I really liked it, I hoped that one day we could work on it together. She had put it aside for a while to do other things, but when she told her eighth grade class about it they enticed her to finish it so that they could perform it. And it was awesome. Now, I had done sound for her shows before, but this time she wanted some really specific stuff that wasn't out there, so I had my turn at some cool sound design (something that I plan to exercise a lot more very soon). Theatrical performances held at Cambridge Friends School on April 27th and 28th, 2007.
Back for another Shakespeare show at the Friends School! This time it was the Bard's "Hamlet" for which Ari wanted me to design some sound. We played up the spooky themes of the show with some deep atmospheric sounds. I also designed a neat blacklight effect for the when the ghost appears. Naturally the kids were impressed : )
Theatrical performance held at Cambridge Friends School on May 16th, 2008.
· ROMEO AND JULIET
In addition to some extensive sound design, Ari had in mind a set that would enclose a number of whole scenes inside a diner, staging like the figures in Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks". She asked me to help her build a set that was the outside of a diner looking in upon the action. By sheer coincidence I was planning a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago where hangs Edward Hopper's famous work. Things like this happen to me all the time when collaborating on projects. Anywho, it was a great show. Theatrical performances held at Cambridge Friends School on March 13th and 14th, 2009.
· MRS. JACK OF FENWAY COURT
Laura Duggan's one-woman show about the life and times of Isabella Stewart Gardener. Laura asked me to film some scenes to be incorporated into the live performance, including some interactive dialogue. We're going to film 19th century period scenes at the historic Charles Street Inn in Boston, very cool stuff!
First theatrical performance to be held May 2009.