Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas inspired thoughts

Most of you probably already know that I'm spending my Christmas (as I always do) in snowy, cold, Irving Berlin-esque Michigan. Since my parents are real swell folks and all, they always try to theatre it up a bit for me. This year that meant lots of plays under the Christmas tree, including the 2006 Humana Festival collection. Whoo! Naturally, that gift got me thinking about this year's Humana Festival. The line-up was just posted this month, and it looks pretty good . . .

Anne Bogart's group (the SITI Company) is presenting a new Charles Mee play, and Zoe Kazan, who played Masha in the very well-received production of The Seagull on Broadway (ps. Suzanne and I saw it and Kristin Scott Thomas was BORN to play Arkadina), is also one of the presenting playwrights.

As part of our dedication to new theatre forms and etc. etc. I think some of us Night Lighters might be planning a trip out this spring to catch a couple of the shows (after we assess our collective schedules, of course). If anyone is interested in a cultural field trip, please let us know. The more people the cheaper the hotel room, right? . . .

So, all in all, a nice snow-covered theatry Christmas. I would also like to mention that my brother and I returned the gift of performance to my parents with a ticket subscription to The Civic, the main local theatre here in Kalamazoo. So, everyone got to play (pun alert!) a part this holiday.

That was terrible. I apologize.

Happy Holidays.

- kerry

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Match Made In Hawaii? (And Alaska)

Our Aloha read-through last night was most notably punctuated by a surprise guest appearance from Bonnie, straight off the plane from Russia! I have to say, it sure is nice having your Artistic Director back in town. Especially when she's chock full of great ideas and new approaches to theatre. And since Bonniwell was able to show up last night too, it marked the first time our entire creative team have been in the same room since August. Turns out you get a much more complete view of a show when everyone can contribute their own expertise. Huh.
In addition to the four of us, we were joined by Alison Haracznak, Becca Muhleman, Joe Carlson, and Brandon Crowder. I can't say enough how nice it is to hear a script out loud. Suzanne and I have lately been working on audition pieces from Aloha, and therefore have been studying parts of the play. But it's never the same as having 5 other people approach all the different characters (and there are a lot of different characters).
Aloha Say The Pretty Girls by Naomi Iizuka is one of the scripts that we're thinking about for a future Night Light production. We wanted to introduce it into our read-through program to see if we still liked it after really hearing and studying it. I'd like to hear other opinions, but I certainly did.
One of the questions Bonnie asked us before the read-through was what the relevance of this particular show was. Why was it important for us to do this show now? Taking that into consideration, we found a lot of parallels between the script and our own situations.
The story follows ten or so twenty-somethings as they forge and break relationships, migrate, evolve, and deal with all those questions that twenty-somethings deal with. On paper, admittedly, it sounds pretty boring (is the plight of the twenty-something interesting to anyone not 21-29? Is it even interesting to us anymore?) However, one character turns into a lizard, one gets (possibly) eaten by a giant dog, several live in an Alaskan terrarium, and there are so so many pinatas. The constant coming and going, and the migration of the characters from NYC to the far western states is a trend that still rings true for any age group. We are a nation, generation, whatever, etc. of people wary of settling down and setting up roots, yet feel compelled to, nonetheless. Families are established between characters that have nothing to do with blood ties, and are all the stronger because of it.
The show features an Altman-like ensemble story. No one character plays the lead or has a more important plot line that any of the other, and over the course of the show, everyone interacts with everyone else. As a company that believes highly in ensemble work, as well as using everyone involved equally (actors, designers, etc.) to build a show, I think that this script really lends itself to that process.
So, while not dealing with the current political system or the economic crisis we're facing right now, I think a good argument can still be made for the timeliness of Aloha, as well as it's relevance to Night Light Collective.

Friday, December 12, 2008


We've finally settled a time and place for our reading of Aloha Say The Pretty Girls! While we already have all the actors in place for the read-through, we'd like to offer up an invite to anyone who wants to come by and listen and partake in the discussion, and most importantly, hang out with Andrew Bonniwell (He's our trump card). We're meeting on Tuesday at 7 pm. For more information, please feel free to contact us @ or you can just call me. I assume most of y'all reading this have my number . . .

- Kerry

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Monologue Workshop

Henley St. is holding auditions for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern this weekend, and because the all-female casting of this show has been widely publicized, all of us girlies are anticipating a highly competitive audition. So, we decided to make ourselves as competitive as possible with a little monologue workshop. Joining Suzanne and I was our good friend and fellow thespian, Sandy Wittman. We used a round robin approach where each of us had a turn to present our piece and be critiqued by the other two. Then we worked 'em until they were good and ready for auditions. It was a successful endeavor, if for no other reason than just doing it before someone (anyone) before the actual audition. I don't know about anyone else, but I definitely got a lot more than that out of this session. It's funny how easy it is for a third party to figure out the motivations and actions for your character that you've personally been struggling with. Not to mention a fresh take on the words I've been endlessly repeating to myself for the past week is invaluable.

We meant to take pictures of this workshop so that we'd have something interesting to post here, but then we kind of forgot while it was going on. And then we got distracted by watching Fringe. So, to cover this oversight, Suzanne and I staged a dramatic recreation of our monologue session. We've reproduced it below.

- Kerry

A Not-So-Accurate Pictoral Depiction

Monday, November 24, 2008

What we're up to (kinda):

Shakespeare was meant to be performed. High school students stuck reading Romeo And Juliet for class are only having half the experience (unless, like myself, they were lucky enough to read it the same year as Baz Luhrmann's totally sweet and mildly accurate movie came out). Arguably the same goes for any playwright. Reading a script by yourself in your apartment just doesn't give you the full monty. Lately Suzanne and I have been pouring over dozens of scripts looking for the perfect next project for Night Light, and have been having this very same problem. In so doing, we realized something else we wanted out of this company: group read-through and discussions. Preferably accompanied by food and drink.
Thus a new Night Light project is launched!
We debuted this idea with On the Verge (Eric Overmeyer), a verbose script about a trio of time-traveling Victorian lady explorers. Alison Haracznak, Matt Cowan, and Thomas Gordon participated in what ended up being a two night event. Not only were we able to finally appreciate the sounds of this very wordy script, but we managed to discover several themes and patterns to the work, that I doubt we would have touched on our own (turn of the century feminism, phenomology, and the three basic life paths, to name a few). It was almost like we were on our own adventure into terra incognita! Wow wow wow! How helpful it all was, and how fun! What an amazing tool to use to decide what we want to do for our next show.
So . . . now to make it a habit:
Next month, look for comments on our reading of Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls (Naomi Iizuka). Also, if you're interested in being a part of these readings/discussions/etc. feel free to let us know.

- Kerry

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'll Sarah Ruhl You . . .

So, Suzanne warned that the thing about blogs is that you have to continually add to them or they seem dated. So, based in that advise, the Night Light blog will not only be the home of all show/audition/contact info, but also a place to talk about theatre. Not that there's any lack of that in town (damn you Dave T. for already cornering the market on that!)
ANYWHO, to proceed on topic . . .
While I was visiting my BFF (Corey Dzenko shout out - she also helped me start this site) in Albuquerque, I had the unique please to continue the Sarah Ruhl fest that just finished here in RVA. The Tricklock Theatre Company ( ) was performing a new play of hers while I was there. Melancholy Play has not yet had it's New York opening, so they performed it with special permission from the author, and were allowed no reviews or extensive advertising. As a result, the audience was sparse, but whoever missed the show definitely missed out.
I can only wait for the time to come that
1. This play gets it's debut and becomes available for the rest of the country to do.
2. Richmond becomes less saturated with Ms. Ruhl's work.
Because this new play is made for Night Light. Not only does it feature a very tight ensemble cast, but the entire play is written to be scored with live cello accompaniment. Ahhh! Amazing. Not to mention the plot is lovely:
A girl becomes so depressed, but in a sexy way (think beautiful sad thoughtfulness), that everyone around her falls in love with her. Eventually she drops the bad mood, and a melancholy epidemic breaks out. And the symptom? People are so sad that they start turning into almonds.
While Clean House may be her best all around play, this one is definitely her most fun. Who new such exciting theatre was happening in Albuquerque?

- Kerry

Friday, November 7, 2008

House of Yes

August 28 & 29 2008

Our first show! There's no better way to introduce a new company then by putting on a show about incest. It's a show that made us uncomfortable and challenged what we thought was right and wrong. Talk about a piece capable of making us grow as people as well as actors . . .
We wanted to approach the text using new techniques. Bonnie coached the cast through Anne Bogart's Viewpoints and physical scoring, and Charley provided an intense contact improv workshop. We worked extensively with movement, gesture, and music to create the characters and their relationships to one another. All of this was complemented for the performance by an original cello score developed during the rehearsal process.
As for the show itself, everything kind of fell together while we were working on this. How did we ever find that pink suit? What luck that Charley was turning his living room into a theatre space! Even the weather pitched in with a couple of hot, rainy nights. It was clearly meant to be.
Working on something that was completely ours was a very exciting and rewarding experience, and we are grateful we to got to share it with everyone who came.
Thank you!

(Pictures courtesy of Michelle Angresano)

The Beginning . . .

Once upon a time, a couple of girls had some down time while they were rehearsing The Seagull over at Henley Street. Naturally their conversation turned to the state of theatre in Richmond, and specifically the ratio of talented young women to available roles in town (I don't suggest thinking too hard on this topic - frankly the result is ultimately depressing). Now, usually this talk doesn't really lead anywhere, but maybe this time they were especially fed up, or maybe the stars were aligned just right, but they decided to do something about it. And so they did. Several discussions, meetings, and booze-flavored drinks later, an idea was born, and after successfully wooing Andrew Bonniwell to our cause (with a combination of our charm and passion for new theatre forms, I'm sure), we had Night Light Collective. And then we all lived happily ever after. Or maybe, that's when all the hard work began. I always forget how that story goes . . .