August 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
I was so excited to sign onto this project, because I had never done a true psychological thriller like this before. I had directed some intense pieces such as the musical JEKYLL & HYDE, but nothing like DIAL “M” FOR MURDER with so many twists and turns throughout. The other thing I loved about the show was that it took place during the 1950’s, a time period that I happen to love because of the overall sophistication and wardrobe. There’s just an elegance about it all that makes it intriguing to me.
The staff on this show is top notch. The great thing about it is that we were all on the same page from day one. The show is centered around The Wendice’s, a wealthy couple who reside in London. Since they were wealthy, it was important for me that we show the grandiose lifestyle that they live in. I also love levels, so having a platform raise upstage was something we thought would really give the set some dimension. There are some other fun tricks we’ve concocted for the show, including some brilliantly intense fight choreography by Claire Yearman, but I definitely don’t want to give anything away.
With all shows there are challenges to overcome. This show definitely has its share of challenges. The first big challenge are the props. This show is extremely specific when it comes to who has a key, who doesn’t have a key, or if the key is placed somewhere on stage or if it’s removed. The same thing goes with stockings, scarves, handbags, glasses. Sometimes during rehearsal, we find ourselves having a NOISES OFF “sardines” moment. We stop in our tracks and say “wait, who has the key now?” or “where is that handbag?” At times, though it can be frustrating, it tends to be comical after the fact. The other thing that is challenging, is that the script is also very specific in terms of directions. I, sometimes, try to ignore some of the stage directions so I have the opportunity to get creative, but with this play, I don’t really have that option most of the time. Most of the stage directions within the script are so important to the story and what happens next that we have no other option but to do what it tells us. However, even though we have some restrictions, I think we have created a lot of great moments and stage pictures in the show. I think the audience is really going to be at the edge of their seats.
In order to have a successful show, though, it really comes down to the casting. If you have a cast that has chemistry and trust, the possibilities are very exciting. The cast for DIAL “M” FOR MURDER is a group of fearless actors that are excited to explore during rehearsals. Directing needs to be a collaborative process; not just with fellow staff members and designers, but with the actors you’re working with as well. It’s important for a director to have an idea of what he/she wants, but at the same time, the actors involved need to be apart of that creative process. I feel so fortunate to be working with these talented artists, and I am looking forward to Opening Night!
May 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
I am pleased to share my thoughts regarding the latest Metropolis Production of The Last 5 Years that begins previews on May 15 and opens on May 18 to run through June 15. As has been my pleasure as Executive Director I always catch our main stage productions during their final dress rehearsals so I can attest to the work we are doing.
March 26, 2014 § 1 Comment
Anne’s story isn’t shared to make us feel miserable, and it’s not shared to make us feel fortunate or lucky or to make our trials and tribulations seem insignificant. Every struggle is real, and every struggle is relative. As she herself says, “What’s the point of thinking of misery when you’re already miserable? That’s stupid.” It is important to not misunderstand the purpose of spreading this amazing account. I am not portraying Anne so that teenagers today see how lucky they have it. Metropolis, my castmates, Kevin, and I are sharing her story to teach a lesson, to illustrate the danger of groupthink, to prevent anything similar from happening again. We are telling her story to make certain that history does not repeat itself.
We lost so much by letting evil win. Imagine what Anne’s brilliance, intuitiveness, passion, and optimism could have done for the world. Imagine where we might be if her life wasn’t cut short, if she had grown to her full potential and had unleashed her virtuosity on society.
Evil may have temporarily won, but it did not permanently prevail. Thanks to a miracle, Anne was still able to “go on living even after [her] death.” She still made her mark. The Nazis may have ended her life, but they didn’t end her spirit. It lives on through her writing and through actors like me, who are awarded the amazing opportunity to play her.
As you can imagine, this is a tall order. On one hand, Anne Frank is the easiest role an actor can play: never is an actor delivered a character’s inner thoughts on a silver platter. On the other hand, I have never been so petrified in my life. I need to do Anne justice. I need to convey how seriously frightening her life became in an instant. I need to tell her story in a way that will spur action, or more importantly reaction.
Herein lies the real challenge: effectively conveying the constant anxiety, the crippling fear, the severe loneliness, the intensifying frustration, and the courageous hope with which Anne lived every day. It is so easy to distance ourselves from the horrors that occurred 70 years ago. It is simple to pretend it will never happen again, to block our minds and our hearts from really feeling, really understanding that this actually happened. To real people. People with feelings. People with normal lives like ours. Innocent people. I have read thousands upon thousands of pages about Anne Frank, the 1940s, WWII, the Nazis, and Amsterdam. I ingested this information as facts, separated myself from it. It was not until I started watching videos that I began to feel. It is one thing to think and another to feel. This show consumes audience members and makes them feel. They will meet Anne, relate to her, and feel for her. They will realize that she was a normal teenager with normal hopes, desires, qualms, and dreams. That what happened to her could happen to them. This show will take Anne’s story from a tale to a reality. And that is why it needs to be done.
March 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
March 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
My husband Tom and I have been season subscribers at Metropolis since the theater opened in 2000. At that time, we had a 3-year-old and were looking for opportunities for pre-scheduled “date nights.” Metropolis provided a great option for us to enjoy quality live theater in an intimate setting, while also supporting the local community. As we live only 8 blocks from the theater, an added bonus was our ability to walk to and from the theater and the surrounding downtown restaurants when the weather was nice.
As she grew, our daughter Kristina performed in several Curtains Up! productions over the years, including her favorite role of Tinkerbell in the 2010 production of Peter Pan. As a parent, there is nothing more fun than seeing your child perform on stage with the many friends she made each summer!
Over the years, we have enjoyed many a show and concert at Metropolis, and when it converted to not-for-profit status, we were happy to sign on as financial supporters as well. Over time, we steadily increased our support and I became actively involved in planning various fundraising events for Metropolis, including my personal favorite, the annual Sunday Soiree. In December of 2011, I was privileged to join the Board of Directors for the organization.
My family loves living in Arlington Heights and we especially love its strong sense of community. We are very committed to supporting local business and supporting Metropolis furthers that commitment. Metropolis adds terrific value to the Arlington Heights community and I am happy to play a small role in its success. If you have not had an opportunity to visit the theater for your very own “date night,” I encourage you to do so soon!
January 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
Genuine respect for the global community is the root of peace, and this is exponentially becoming more and more a reality. The performing arts have always played a paramount role in the appreciation of others – their strengths, their cultures, their humor, their fears and their needs. We are fortunate to have Metropolis at our fingertips. I embrace the Metropolis as a center of learning, engagement and of peace.