Tuesday, June 29, 2010

False Phallus

I'm the one with the big. . .thing.

Easy to identify, difficult to ignore and one of the oldest comedic prosthetics. But none of this came into the decision behind my buffoon's most prominent "lump." When the ensemble first began to work in this style of clowning, we were asked to draw where we initially thought our "lumps" would go. They are areas that resonate with sensitivity and insecurity, which the world scrutinizes. For one reason or another, I was personally drawn to symmetry, feeling that each place of vulnerability had a double on the other side. My lumps are the calves, genitals, hips, shoulders and ears. Though the false exaggeration of these areas physically offers protection, they are highlighted emotionally.

The emotional openness of this type of performance is easily the most difficult aspect. If we're doing it right, it's about completely dropping our defenses and letting everything in. It's a type of psychological state that is litterally unhealthy to live in day-to-day, as some semblance of emotional protection is simply necessary in the real world. But for the clown (or buffoon), we get the opportunity to create our own world where we can be absolutely vulnerable. While exhausting, the work is so rewarding and ultimately much more interesting to the audience to be invited into this world. Never before has the ensemble experienced the emotional stress that a full run of a show demands but I think I can speak for the group when I say we are all looking forward to it as a challenge.

The most integral part of this project is you. It will not exist without the support of new and veteran audience members alike. So get on rown paper tickets, choose a date, pick out your outfit and we'll see you at the show.

Scott Ray Merchant
Les Enfants Terribles
Believe in Nothing, Mock Everything
July 14-August 14 at Red Tape Theatre

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Behind the Bouffant

The modern clown is an ever growing influence on the Chicago theatre scene. Its influences affect actors, directors, and the final artistic product. And why shouldn’t it? The clown loves the audience and has an insatiable appetite for play that is infectious with spectators of all ages. The clowning tradition that Les Enfants Terribles follows takes a different approach. The buffoon disgusts the audience and its world of play emerges from an insatiable appetite to mock.

The buffoon is best recognized by his lumps and deformities that make him a parodied version of a human being. He is ostracized for his appearance and is fed with bitterness and relentlessness. These deformities may not to be admired, but they are the buffoon’s license to tell the truth - or at least his version of the truth. An ensemble of bouffant believe that they live in an ideal society. Their inner workings and relationships are to be highly respected. Coming from their model world, buffoons have observed our behaviors, they have seen our way of life, and they are noticing some glaring flaws. They recognize the absurdity of our belief in love, social norms, and a number of other pressing subjects that we refuse to diagnose objectively.

The buffoon acts as an agent of change by very simply presenting our world to us. Our behaviors are performed with comic antics that might be considered below skill, or wit, or competence of any kind. The jokes are those of a low jester, but the buffoon is to be admired for his cleverness and innate intelligence. Audiences slowly begin to approve of the buffoon and eventually learn to respect him and even begin to accept his appalling actions and appearance.

The bouffant tradition is centuries old and yet still resonates with audiences today. Its past is storied, its future is bright, and that is why we have chosen to be active members in paving the bouffant’s future. Won’t you join us?

Alex Kyger
Les Enfants Terribles
Believe in Nothing, Mock Everything
July 14-August 14 at Red Tape Theatre

Monday, June 14, 2010

Red Tapes Welcomes Four New Ensemble Members!

We're thrilled to announce Red Tape's newest ensemble members!

Carrie Drapac joined Red Tape Theatre after her involvement in their 2010 production of The Love of the Nightingale. She holds a B.F.A in Theatre from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, having focused on musical theatre in the CAP21 program and film acting at Stonestreet Studios. She has had the pleasure of working on a wide variety of projects ranging from devised theatre to feature length horror films. Carrie's favorite projects include a musical adaptation of the novel Hotel Sarajevo, silent short films about the Iraq War (Red, White and Blue) and metamorphosis (Tropism), and 1940's musical fluff Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Carrie is a personal trainer and co-founder/owner of Comfy Fitness. Currently, Carrie and her business partner are producing a kids' fitness television pilot.

Amanda Reader's first production with Red Tape Theatre was The Love of the Nightingale, in the spring of 2010, after which, she joined the ensemble. In Chicago, she was seen onstage in The Blessed Child, as part of Halcyon Theatre's Alcyone Festival and Sex Marks the Spot at the Theatre Building. She also performed in North Carolina Shakespeare Festival's productions of King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing (Ursula), and will be in Michigan Shakespeare Festival's Comedy of Errors (Luciana) and Romeo & Juliet (Juliet) during the summer of 2010. She has studied with Profiles Theatre, and also stage managed their production of The Mercy Seat. Amanda holds a BFA in Acting Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Meghan Reardon is a performer from Topeka, KS and is extremely proud to call herself a Red Tape Company member. She graduated in 2008 with a BA in Theatre and Dance from Knox College, where she received the Colton Prize for Performance and The Karger Award in Theatre Arts. In Chicago, she has performed in The Love of the Nightingale with Red Tape, Dumbspeak in the (a)Symmetry Cycle, SubUrbia with the Nine Chicago, Spectacle Lunatique with Redmoon (where she also served as a performance intern), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie with Signal Ensemble, The Conduct of Life with Tooth and Nail Ensemble, A Hampstead Hooligan in King Arthur's Court with Chicago Dell'arte, Dracula and as part of the Objects in Motion festival at The Building Stage, and Frugal Love with The Moving Dock. She has studied at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland and has studied with the SITI Company and The Actor's Gymnasium. She holds a particular place in her heart for movement and ensemble-based performance. Meghan was the recipient of a 2009 CAAP Individual Artist Grant.

Kathleen Romond performed in Red Tape's 2010 production of The Love of The Nightingale. Other Chicago credits include; Blind Date and Talking Pictures as a part of The Horton Foote Festival at The Goodman Theatre. Regional Credits include; The Cherry Orchard and The Government Inspector at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Kathleen was born and raised in Kentucky. She graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy High School in Michigan before hopping across the pond to Glasgow, Scotland where she received her BFA in Acting from The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. This winter Kathleen will be understudying Honey in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Steppenwolf Theatre.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ensemble Summer Projects

As Red Tape finalizes our 2010-2011 season our ensemble members are working on summer projects.

Nick Combs performs in Sketchbook with Collaboraction. June 10-27.

Red Tape trustee Eric Evenskaas performs improv with The Hamiltons at the Oracle Theatre. Thru June 18.

Errol McLendon performs in Point Break Live! at New Rock Theatre. Thru June 26.

Robert Oakes performs in After the Fall with Eclipse Theatre. July 7 to Aug 22.

More news to come!