Thursday, September 30, 2010

Seeking Scripts for Fresh Eyes Project

The Fresh Eyes Project is a bold, new workshop process designed to create and develop plays that are innovative in form or subject. Our directors, dramaturges and actors work alongside the playwright to customize a rehearsal period best suited to the exploration of a particular play.

Here’s how it works:
Once selected, we match you with a director. Together, you design a rehearsal process best suited to your goal, whether it is to finish the play, work on the dialogue, or see if all those puppets in scene 4 really make sense. We give you a cast, a dramaturg, rehearsal space and the month of March and let you go at it. At the end, we invite everyone involved in FEP and in Red Tape to come and see wherever you are in the process without the prying eyes of the public. The following week, your cast performs a selection of your new masterpiece at the Chicago Fringe Artists Networking Night (CFANN).

Here’s what we need from you:

- 10 page submission along with a full synopsis of a project that is innovative in subject or form.
- 1 page description of what they would ideally like a workshop to include at this point in the development of their project.
- If selected as a finalist, playwrights will be asked for a full copy of the script on November 15th (or a detailed outline and source material for an incomplete project)
- Availability for the month of March.

Submissions must emailed to by October 31st, 2010. Please put “FEP Submission” in subject of email.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Kickstarter Campaign reaches the goal!

Red Tape Theatre thanks the wonderful people who contributed to the Kickstarter Campaign for the world premiere of Obscura!

Thanks to you we have surpassed our $600 goal! In addition Kickstarter will allow Red Tape to keep any additional funds raised before October 15!

To support our Kickstarter campaign click here.

Kickstarter Campaign Supporters
Jaclyn Biskup
Nicholas Combs
Kira Elliott and Carrie Drapac
Ben Fuchsen
Whitney Green
Katy E. Hall
Alyssa Jaksa
Philip Joseph
Sandy Karuschak
Whitney Kraus
Levi Lerner
Meghan Reardon
Erica Sartini
Merle Shein
Skip Shein
Melinda Prawer-Stock
Yung-Sang Tang

Obscura runs Sep 23-Oct 23.
Tickets are available through our website.

Monday, September 20, 2010

My Life with a Dialect Coach

Dialect coaches speak a different language. It's all about phonetics, plosives, fricatives and that sly schwa sound. And they expect that you know what they mean!

I first met Obscura's dialect coach, Jason Miller, in a coffee shop. The Obscura script states Ms. Craw is 'foreign' so it was up to us to figure the rest out. We narrowed the character down to eastern European-mostly because the language and syntax made it seem the right choice. Serbian? German? Polish? Russian? It didn't matter; Jason was prepared to show me how proper use of pitch, rhythm, consonant and vowel placement (that ubiquitous schwa, again) can make any accent fluent and authentic.

Jason turned the coffee shop into a performance piece; he stood there breathing and intoning, gesturing and projecting while folks refilled their cups and ordered doughnuts all around him. It was thrilling - all 2 and 1/2 hours, for me certainly and I think for the coffee drinkers too. Working with a dialect coach is a bit like seeing a therapist: they make you honest; they give you homework, and you always leave feeling better.

Come see Obscura and decide for yourself where Ms. Craw comes from. Thanks, Jason.

Lona Livingston
Ensemble Member

Obscura runs Sep 23-Oct 23.
Tickets are available through our website!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Meet the Cast! - Nick Combs

"Ensemble acting in Chicago began in the 1950s with creative collaborations that subsequently evolved into the ensembles that now constitute a major segment of Chicago theater." - Encyclopedia of Chicago

I'd like to think that Red Tape Theatre Company will continue this acting ensemble idea for many years to come. Being a part of a theatre's ensemble as an actor is a dream; made famous by Steppenwolf Theatre with such actors as John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, Joan Allen, and Laurie Metcalf. I believe the reason Steppenwolf and so many other Chicago-based theatres have ensembles is because it creates a home for the actors in a city that is flooded with talented actors. In college, professors know who their actors are, and many times they will pick their season based on who they have in the program. This allows the actors to grow and be comfortable. This same idea is what makes being ensemble member at Red Tape work for me. Once you’re an ensemble member of a theatre, you’re able to work and act like a family and whether you have a huge disagreement or an off-night performance, you are able to just let it all go and be forgiven. Working on Obscura I'm blessed to be sharing the stage with three other ensemble members. The level of trust that normally develops through rehearsals is already established. I've worked with them before, I know them and there is an understanding of what we are trying to do in this play. I find myself being more creative when I'm in the room with these people, I can just be myself.

Nick Combs
Ensemble Member

Obscura runs Sep 13-Oct 13

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Look at Obscura!

This Sunday, September 12, ensemble members Nick Combs and Meghan Reardon performed a scene from Jennifer Barclay's Obscura at our Secret Agents Event!

Obscura runs Sep 23- Oct 23.
Tickets are available through our website!

Hammers, nail, and puppy dog tails!

If you build it they will come....and Kevin Costner isn't even a part of this. How exciting!

Chop saws and the smell of 2x4's and getting sawdust in my hair reminds me of my dad building things in the basement while I was growing up. and of Saturdays in high school...when all of us Drama Club Nerds would wake up early, head to the theatre, and work all day at set construction, creating this whole new world for us to play in....and on and under and around. I can't tell you how fortunate I feel having this constructive background in the pockets of my life-experience-tool-belt (whoa! cheese!) really, though....being adept at hammer-swinging has come in handy over and over again in my life as an actor.

And such was the case at Red Tape last week.

Since joining the ensemble back in June, I've helped out striking two different shows, but working on Bill Anderson's set for Obscura marked my first real construction with the company. And this, I love. Strike is always fun, seeing as how you get to just tear stuff apart and break things and generally show off your destructive prowess. . .

But building. building is a whole different beast.

When you're building a set you have to be specific, thoughtful, and patient. Luckily for me (and the actors in Obscura) our TD, Kyle Land is all of those things. Because, if the steps aren't all exactly the same height, the actors are going to trip every time they walk upstairs. If the platform you're putting ten feet in the air isn't secure, the actors could plummet to their DEATHS in the middle of act two! Well. probably not, but you get the idea. Kyle is a master builder, and it was loads of fun working with him. He kept me in line....mostly... It's just that there is a precision that comes with building an entire set that is simply exhilarating. If you put this riiiight here, and that riiiiight there, you suddenly stand back to see a looming monstrosity that you created with your own hands. It's part of the art of theatre that, as an actor, I think we tend to forget about. The set can often tell a story by itself. We actors, that are stomping around on it every night are just extras. With voices....

But the set.
The set creates a world for us to play in. It tells us so much about where we are, and who are and why we are. Even though I'm not acting in this production, being a creator of that world--knowing that the story wouldn't be the same without me. . . well, that is a pretty cool feeling.

soooooooooo. come see Obscura! It's like shake 'n bake...and I helped! but. with wood. and no chicken.

Amanda Reader
Ensemble Member

Obscura runs Sep 23- Oct 23.
Tickets are available through our website!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Casting Inside the Circle

A theatre company is its ensemble. The mentality that I have developed as a Casting Director for Red Tape Theatre Company is that we are nothing without the support of a core group of talented and respected artists. Red Tape is truly as exciting as ever, now adding to our ensemble after the successful production of The Love of the Nightingale. From my own point of view, this makes the casting process a more fruitful experience. I am able to continually work with our core group of actors to create a wonderful jumping off point in casting a production. Our ensemble’s reputation allows me to pull experienced outside actors, who have really honed the craft and see art the way Red Tape does. Red Tape encourages humility, hard work, and imagination. These values beat in the hearts of our ensemble.

The good thing is that I work with a lot of amazing artists, however from a Casting Director’s standpoint it can be quite difficult. There is no question that each production should have ensemble member in it. There is so much talent that it is sometimes hard to nail it down! Fortunately, collaboration between James Palmer, the ensemble, the director, the playwright and myself cuts a clearer path. Usually, in the beginning stages of choosing a play for the next season it is pretty clear of who is appropriate for what role.

An importance to the development of Red Tape is the artistic growth of each individual ensemble member. Upon joining Red Tape, I was surprised to hear that this was a responsibility of the company. I thought that it should be the ensemble’s responsibility to ensure the growth of the company. I quickly realized that artistic development of the ensemble parallels the successful development of a theatre company. This is one of the most significant aspects in casting an ensemble member.

I feel this sets us a part and makes our company special. When a role is appropriate for an ensemble member and stretches their skill level it benefits the individual while promoting the company’s mission to engage our audience in new ways and transcend the traditional.

Paige Sawin
Casting Director

Obscura runs Sep 23-Oct 23.
Tickets are available on our website!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A new role for Meghan Reardon

Hello all!

First-time blogger and company member Meghan Reardon here. I am lucky enough to play the role of Salvia in the lovely and peculiar world of Obscura, but I want to fill you in on my even newer role, Director of Loyalty and Retention here at Red Tape!

In addition to having the catchy acronym of DOLR, my job is to create new, exciting ways of turning our network into a community. Our plays have always engaged our audiences in different and unexpected ways and we want to take the same approach to getting to know each of you! Get geared up for a few special events we have planned for Obscura.

After each performance, you’ll have the opportunity to literally step into the world of the characters. Join cast and company members as they take you through a tour of the set. Explore where the characters live and give yourself the chance to see even more of this voyeuristic love story! And if you still don’t have enough Red Tape in your life, join us every Friday night during the run of the show at Brendan’s Pub immediately following the performance. Grab your play-going friends and a beverage of choice and get to know your friendly Red Tapers.

And there’s plenty more in store for everyone, all you have to do is be there. See you around the theatre!

Meghan Reardon
Ensemble Member

Obscura runs Sep 23-Oct 23.
Tickets are available on our website!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Meet Jennifer Barclay - Playwright of Obscura

Obscura was my thesis play at UC San Diego, where I recently earned my MFA.

I began writing Obscura while on a summer writing retreat in Paris. I sat at sidewalk cafes where all the chairs faced out for better people watching, and I people watched and wrote. But Obscura is the product of years of listening to my neighbors through walls and ceilings and floors in all my apartments across Chicago and San Diego. Listening to the neighbor below me bang on my floor when my sink started to flood his apartment, hearing the neighbors beside me hurl intimate insults, and feeling the weight of my neighbor’s death directly overhead. These were people who I knew intimately on one level, but for the most part I didn’t even know their names.

Jennifer Barclay
Playwright of Obscura

Obscura runs Sep 23- Oct 23.
Tickets are available on our website!

Meet Julieanne Ehre - Director of Obscura

As a city dweller, I’ve lived in multiple apartments where I’ve spent years listening to my neighbors -- sometimes in their most private moments -- without ever actually meeting them face to face. Despite being crammed into small units on top and underneath of one another, we often do not interact with the very people who we unwittingly share intimate moments of our lives.

Jennifer Barclay’s play, Obscura: A Voyeuristic Love Story, is a symphony of sounds colliding from the recesses of various units in an apartment building. I was drawn to the play because of Jennifer’s original voice and her unique and rhythmic use of language. But I’m most attracted to the deeper questions the play raises about our society. In a world of instant messaging and Facebook Friends, how have we simultaneously become more isolated and yet more intertwined by technology? With the “millennial” generation coming up in the age of the internet and reality television, what happens to the public vs. private dichotomy and how will this altered view of privacy shape our personal relationships and our culture?

I look forward to exploring these questions with all of you in this blog and at Red Tape’s production of this fantastic World Premiere play!

Julieanne Ehre
Director of Obscura

Obscura runs Sep 23- Oct 23.
Tickets are available on our website!