2x4BASH: Doing Theatre Differently
For any artistic institution to remain vital it is sometimes necessary to shake it up and embark on new and different projects that challenge both the artists involved and the audiences they serve. This is the spirit fueling The Western Stage’s newest program, 2X4BASH: theatre on the edge. The project is a series of four challenging, contemporary plays produced in repertory by some of the most talented emerging young artists in the Salinas community.
Featuring: None of the Above by Jenny Lyn Bader; Oleanna by David Mamet; The Shape of Things by Neil LaBute, and; Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead by Bert V. Royal, 2X4BASH begins July 15 and runs in repertory through August 28 in the Studio Theater in the Hartnell College Performing Arts Building.
The mission of 2X4BASH, which clearly embodies the spirit of this innovative venture, is to “provide an opportunity for the next generation of theatre artists to collaborate, innovate, and educate through provocative contemporary works.” Developed by the young artists who created the program, the mission further promises to “challenge artist and audiences alike to approach theatre from new perspectives and invite all to connect their own life experience with the work.”
The primary group of artists call themselves the “Übers,” signifying their overarching responsibilities producing this alternative series of plays. Charged with steering the program, they manage the marketing, design, and overall execution of the productions with the guidance of TWS’ artistic staff. Other participants include the “Doers” (the actors and technicians who perform in and work on the shows) and the directors, including seasoned artists such as Mark Englehorn, Wendy Wisely, and Nina Capriola, who were brought in expressly to bring a fresh perspective to the process.
According to Melissa Woodrow, an Über who also serves as TWS’ Marketing and Social Media Intern, 2X4BASH has been a “trial by fire” for those involved. Starting a repertory program from scratch has proved to be quite a learning experience about how to produce theatre. “We’ve had to learn about how to communicate and coordinate because everyone is wearing multiple hats,” says Woodrow.
The focus on contemporary scripts is an attempt to appeal to a younger audience, 20- to 35-year-olds who are not strong theater-goers. To reach this audience, the group is using online and social networking media where these potential audience members spend most of their time communicating.
In addition to starting a blog (http://www.2x4bash.com), where Übers log entries chronicling their progress with this project and various eclectic thoughts on theatre, they also are creating events that incorporate social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, into the theatre-going experience.
Taking inspiration from SF Playhouse, one of many regional theatres that have begun to incorporate social media into the performance experience, the 2X4BASH team is starting Saturday Night BASHers. During Saturday night performances, audience members will be allowed to bring laptops and other digital devices into the theater so they may post comments, good or bad, via Facebook or Twitter during the performance. “The big thing SF Playhouse told us was to leave it uncensored,” says Woodrow. “Let them say whatever they want at the moment they are thinking it. It is for everyone.”
To participate, BASHers will be required to pre-register at the door a half-hour before curtain on a first-come, first-served basis. Facebooking and Tweeting audience members will be asked to sit in a designated area of the theater where they can freely share their thoughts online without disturbing other members of the audience. Meanwhile, the Übers will be following their posts and responding, thus making the experience even more communal, like a digital coliseum where the audience can voice their pleasure (or displeasure) with Tweets and ‘likes’ instead of boos and cheers…or rotten fruit.
Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1:30 p.m. in the Studio Theater in the Hartnell College Performing Arts Building. To find out more about 2X4BASH: theatre on the edge, the artists involved, and Saturday Night BASHers, please contact Melissa Woodrow at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the 2X4BASH blog at http://www.2x4bash.com, or check them out on Facebook (2X4BASH) or Twitter (@2X4BASH).
Written by Dan Tarker
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Photos by Melissa Woodrow
During the Designer Run, None of the Above
written by Jenny Lyn Bader
Seated, in house, Scenic Designer Tomas Antonio Reyes
Pictured: Jesse Huston as Clark and Nikole Moon as Jamie
During tech #3, None of the Above.
Pictured: Jesse Huston as Clark and Nikole Moon as Jamie
Seated, Lighting Designer, Andrew Sellen
First tech rehearsal of Oleanna, written by David Mamet
Seated, in house, Director Wendy Wisely
Pictured: Skot Davis as John and Sara England as Carol
First tech rehearsal, The Shape of Things, written by Neil LaBute
Pictured: Cristal Clark as Evelyn and Nathan Littschwager as Adam
Pictured: Drew-Davis Wheeler as Philip and Nathan Littschwager as Adam
Pictured: Cristal Clark as Evelyn
During tech rehearsal, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead
written by Bert V. Royal
Pictured: Mason Brown as CB and Casey Rebecca Nunes as Van’s sister
Pictured: Paisley Diaz as Tricia, Tomas Antonio Reyes as Van, Karolina Hepper (standing) as CB’s sister, Star Lasam as Marcy and Mason Brown (on piano) as CB
Pictured: Mason Brown as CB and Karolina Hepper as CB’s sister
Pictured: Mason Brown as CB and Vincent Eclavea as Beethoven
Thank you for the loving support!
Here are some highlights from our support & press
Check out a review by Paul Myrvold, Arts & Entertainment Editor for Out and About Magazine
It’s linked on our Facebook but also available to read here!
Via Salinas Californian, thank you for the speedy turn around!
BIG thanks to Monterey County Weekly
Always a great read and awesome coverage, hope to see you soon!
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