Monday, August 31, 2009

Talking the Talk

When speaking in real life, we pause, we interrupt, we overlap, we start and stop. If we are to recreate life onstage, the same speech patterns should exist. But do they? Often language onstage is very polite and neat with each performer taking his turn, rarely fishing for words or ideas.

A playwright friend of mine once told me she spent every day listening to the way people talk on the bus and every night trying to capture that on paper. It is an age old challenge tackled by playwrights, directors and actors. How to talk like real people onstage.

Shakespeare sometimes included directions on how to speak his lines in the lines themselves. Hamlet gives the players the instruction to “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc'd it to you, trippingly on the tongue.” If only there were a Hamlet in every play to convey the playwright’s wishes.

Pinter makes a heroic attempt to help the actors speak the words as he hears them in his head by loading his scripts with pauses, silences, ellipses and dashes. Numerous essays and books have been written to explain what each of these designations imply, but which book or essay to follow becomes the dilemma.

Sometimes the reality slips in during the rehearsal process. There was a wonderful overlapping of lines in Red Tape’s Enemy of the People. Peter Stockman is arguing with his sister and states “You are contractually obligated to receive the approval of the commission before disclosing information to the public” to which Tammy replies “I have the right to speak the truth.” Even though this was not written as an overlapping line, it evolved into one during the rehearsal process. The overlapping built the tension and accentuated each character’s emotional investment in the argument. Rather than seeing two people expressing their opinions one after the other, you saw each person verbally swinging at the other simultaneously, creating one of the most electrifying exchanges in the show.

In Mouse in a Jar, Matyna Majok has created an inspired shorthand which gives the actors and director a clear roadmap of how she hears the voices. Below is her “Dialogistics”.

Brackets [ ] indicate words unspoken but intended.
Slashes / indicate overlap or quickly followed speech.
Double-columned dialogue is spoken simultaneously.
Non-traditional spacing and floating words are requests for poetics and extra syllables. Speed bumps, in essence. Please feel encouraged to experiment – they’re mostly suggestions.

With this innovative scripting, Matyna has made great strides in bridging the gap between the speech we hear in public and the speech we hear on stage.

Come hear the speech as Matyna intended it to be presented.

Errol McLendon
Company Member

Mouse in a Jar runs October 5-31, 2009.
Purchase tickets through our website.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Behind the scenes at "Mouse in a Jar"

Rehearsals are underway for Mouse in a Jar. Director and ensemble member Daria Davis has started a journal about the rehearsal process. Click here to check it out!

Mouse in a Jar runs Oct 5-31, 2009.

Tickets are available through our website.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Red Tape Theatre Announces 2009-2010 Season!

Red Tape Theatre Company is thrilled to announce our sixth season!

October 5-31, 2009 - Mouse in a Jar

A world premiere by Chicago playwright Martyna Majok.

Directed by ensemble member Daria Davis.

Daga tries to pry Ma away from her nightmarish home in a tiny basement apartment. But Ma's past keeps her chained to this world.

Mouse is a magical play featuring Irene Kapustine, Tamara Todres, Kathleen Powers, Benjamin Gettinger and Don Markus.

With designs by Myles Polaski, William Anderson, Sarah Bendix, Kat Powers and ensemble member Kyle Land.

Stage Managed by ensemble member Cynthia Carney.

January 2010 - Fresh Eyes Project

Fresh Eyes Project is an incubator for new and experimental work. It focuses on the needs of playwrights, providing them with a director, actors, dramaturgical support and rehearsal space. Excerpts of the final scripts will be performed at the annual Chicago Fringe Artists Networking Night.

Fresh Eyes is produced by ensemble member Daria Davis.

February 6, 2010 - Chicago Fringe Artists Networking Night (CFANN)

This one night only event brings together Chicago artists from all forms to network and share their talents. Live performances are showcased amongst visual art and installation pieces from classic to quirky. CFANN is for artists, by artists and not to be missed.

CFANN is produced by ensemble member Myah Shein.

May 3-29, 2010 - The Love of the Nightingale

Written by Timberlake Wertenbaker

directed by Artistic Director James Palmer

This modern retelling of the Philomele myth features a large ensemble cast and employs dance, puppetry, music, multi-media and expressionistic design.

Featuring ensemble members James Palmer (Director), Myah Shein (Choreographer), Robert L. Oakes (Male Chorus), Victor May (Tereus), Rob Lynch (King Pandion), Lona Livingston (Queen / Niobe) and Errol McLendon (Theseus / Captain).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Red Tape Members Around Town!

Red Tape Theatre will soon be announcing our 2009-2010 season! Meanwhile have a look at what our Company Members are doing around town!!!

Mackenzie Brown May is beginning rehearsals for the world premiere of The Hundred Dresses with Chicago Children's Theatre.
Performances are Sep 25- Nov 1, 2009

Nicholas Combs is in Boys Life with Hanger9 at Gorilla Tango Theatre.
Aug 7-29, 2009

Rob Lynch performs with the improv troupe Paul 'n the Family at iO
June 28-Aug 16, 2009. Sundays at 9pm

Victor May performs in Cyrano de Bergerac at Oak Park Festival Theatre
July 15-Aug 15, 2009.

Paul G. Miller plays the Skull in The Last Unicorn at Promethean Theatre.
Oct 16-Nov 14, 2009
and in Promethean's Free Incubator Showcase of new plays on Monday, Aug 31, 2009, 7:30pm at the DCA Theatre.

Read more about Red Tape on our website.