Boom Artists, Indie Theatre Community, Indie Theatre Week

Indie Theatre Week–Zack Calhoon

Continuing the series of essays for Indie Theatre Week, I asked Zack Calhoon–actor, playwright, blogger and our most recent Hamlet–to talk about why he chooses Indie Theatre as one of the venues for his work. Here’s what he had to say…

Zack Calhoon in HAMLET (photo by Isaiah Tanenbaum)

“Why am I doing this? Who am I doing this for? These are the questions that I ask myself after every audition, rehearsal, and performance. I work in a brutal profession that most of the world believes is dying and has been dying for decades. I began this journey thinking I knew the answers to these questions and that my answers would be set in stone for the rest of my life. They would never change. I was so sure of my vision of the future. As I’ve grown older, my priorities have changed and personal motives have evolved.

The one constant in my life in the last decade or so (besides my beautiful wife) has been Indie Theatre. I’ve worked with new and old companies in the Indie Theatre Community. Companies that have grown exponentially into pillars of our community like Boomerang Theatre Company and Flux Theatre Ensemble, and companies that are now defunct like Expanded Arts. I’ve watched numerous theatre spaces disappear in the wake of the credit and housing bubble bursting; historic hotbeds of theatrical creativity like the old Ohio Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Source.

Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat terrified that I might not know the  answers to those simple questions anymore: Why am I doing this? Who am I doing this for? My younger self never planned on feeling doubt. My younger self never thought I’d stare into the void with fear. I never counted on my nerve being tested in the way it has for the last decade.

I slowly learned that the uncertainty is part of the journey and that sense of doubt that I feel is a feeling that everyone in this community felt themselves at one time or another. In those moments of doubt, I look to the leaders of our theatrical island of misfit toys: fearless leaders like Daniel Talbott and Tim Errickson; imaginative writers like Mac Rogers and Crystal Skillman; powerhouse actors like Susan Ferrara and Susan Louise O’Connor; and theatre advocates like August Schulenburg. These are the people talk me off the ledge. These are the individuals who inspire me to dig deeper, work harder, and challenge me to be the best artist that I can possibly be.

I know now that these questions are my touchstone as an artist. These questions remind me I’m still alive and that I want to be better actor…a better writer…a better husband…a better citizen of the world.  Indie Theatre has given me so much and I know it will continue to nourish me as an artist for years to come. Why am I doing this? Who am I doing this for? I know the answers to these questions today for myself. They are private and ever evolving. I know they will change and that is as it should be.”

Boom Artists, Indie Theatre Community, Indie Theatre Week, Rep Season

Boomerang receives two New York Innovative Theatre nominations

Boomerang’s  THE REAL THING receives 2 NYIT Award Nominations

We’re extremely excited to announce that Boomerang Theatre Company’s production of THE REAL THING by Tom Stoppard was nominated for two New York Innovative Theatre Awards last night.

Aidan Redmond and Synge Maher in THE REAL THING

The nominations include Outstanding Production of a Remounted Play and Outstanding Leading Actor for Aidan Redmond. 

Congratulations to the entire cast and crew of THE REAL THING, including director Cailin Heffernan;actors Zack Calhoon, Douglas B. Giorgis, Kate Kenney, Synge Maher, David Nelson, Aidan Redmond, Valerie Stanford; our terrific designers including Nikki Black, Kia Rogers, Cheryl McCarron, Jay Spriggs, Evan Hill and Sara Slagle; and our tremendous stage management team of Michelle Foster and Lauren Melrose.

The New York Innovative Theatre Awards ceremony will be held September 24th. 

Support The Boomerang Theatre Company!

Make your donation here!

Award nominations don’t happen by themselves. We need your help to continue doing outstanding work. Please give generously. 

Thank you!


Boom Artists, Indie Theatre Community, Indie Theatre Week

Indie Theatre Week–Lanie Zipoy

As part of Indie Theatre Week, I’ve asked members of the Boomerang extended family to talk a little about their work and why Indie Theatre matters to them. First up is Lanie Zipoy, one of the busiest people in this town…press agent, producer, tennis fan, all around great gal. I’m really excited to have her kicking things off, here’s what she had to say…

“Why Indie Theatre?”

Indie theatre is hard work and the most fun you can have tearing up a disgusting carpet in a flooded dressing room at

Lanie Zipoy

2:00 am with dear friends and colleagues (thanks Mozz Mendez and Tegan Culler). Sure, you’d rather be somewhere else, but not with anyone else.

Indie theatre is filled with the most kind-hearted, generous people. Those who wish to bring creativity to underserved populations, such as a medium security men’s prison in Kentucky (Synge Maher), the autistic community (Boomerang’s very own Marielle Duke) and youth in Harlem and throughout the world (Project Girl Performance Collective). Those who make us re-think the world we live in and how we would re-imagine it. Playwrights like Mac Rogers, Pia Wilson, Bekah Brunstetter, Micheline Auger, Gus Schulenberg, and the list goes on and on. Those who offer a helping hand whenever you need it. Those who challenge us to think about theatre as a living, breathing medium that is “raw, messy and beautiful” (coined by Jack Doulin). And yes, I’m talking about Daniel Talbott and Cino Nights. Those who toil and toil to gain recognition for everyone else’s work. Hello Shay Gines and Nick Micozzi.

Indie theatre isn’t just theatre. It’s a way of life. A way of living. Sharing art and artistry. Wherever we go, wherever we perform, whatever we do, we carry the ethos of hard work, community-building and passion.

Two years ago, I was at a DIY wedding of two lovely members of the indie theatre community at a barn in the middle of somewhere Pennsylvania. Shortly before the ceremony, the power went out. The barn’s proprietor freaked out, but I told her she was in luck because many of the wedding guests were indie theatre stalwarts. Ok, that didn’t mean much to her at first. So, I explained that we would be able to figure out how to MacGyver the wedding somehow, someway – find other ways to light it and pitch in to help make it be a success. We were, by nature, adept at problem solving, particularly around facility malfunctions. Luckily the lights came back on, but we were prepared if they didn’t.

Why indie theatre? The big, beautiful group of people who make it and live it.

Indie Theatre Community, Indie Theatre Week

Indie Theatre Week 2012

Folks, Indie Theatre Week is here!

Lots of things to do this week to celebrate our scrappy, elegant, messy, vibrant and creative community. It starts with a party tonight and ends with a softball game on Saturday the 28th. In between, you are going to hear from people about why they do what they do, see listings for shows happening right now, and how you can support all of this good stuff.

The New York Innovative Awards blog has a listing of some of the Indie Theatre Week festivities. And I’ll be posting here, on Twitter and on FB with more info on goings on and with profiles from Indie Theatre All-Stars.

Please check out all this wonderful stuff, and then go see a show.

Indie Theatre Community, Indie Theatre Week

Indie Theatre Week–All for One Festival

In honor of INDIE THEATRE WEEK, we’re showing as much of the wide world of Indie Theatre as possible. On Thursday night, the All for One Theatre Festival had their season launch party. All for One is a new festival highlighting solo performance, and they have a terrific lineup of shows for their coming season. They’ve also partnered with the lovely Jen Conley Darling and the SoloNova festival to co-present a lineup of terrific solo work. Mike Daisey is on AFO’s advisory board, and he delivered a funny and passionate keynote address to kick off the festival’s season. You can check all of their info out here.

Please check out their site, or make a donation to support a new exciting endeavor!

  

2011-2012 Season, Boom Artists, Indie Theatre Community, Indie Theatre Week

Indie Theatre Week–Sara Thigpen

I’ve asked people in the extended Boomerang family to write their thoughts about Indie Theatre and why they do what they do. Sara Thigpen recently starred in Much Ado About Nothing as Beatrice, and last summer directed our acclaimed production of The Tempest. Here, she tells us what keeps her coming back for more…

“Why Indie Theater?

In college, one of my design professors started every class asking us, “What’s wrong with a bare stage? Why can’t we tell the story with a bare stage?”

Every time I enter a theater, I still ask that question.

Theater at it’s best, connects us with stories and characters. Asks questions. Answers questions.Creates community. Sparks imagination. Give voice to the voiceless. Holds the mirror up to nature, and I’ll be damned if I’ve seen myself or my friends or our questions and concerns on most of these excessively bedecked raised stages – with $100+ ticket prices.

I want Diversity. Courage. Possibility. Intimacy. Vulgarity. Raw Beauty. Personal investment. Excitement…and until that is brought to the Lunt Fontaine, Brooks Atkinson, Foxwoods, Majestic, Winter Garden…etc. I will continue to frequent The Brick, PS 122, Access Theater, Jimmy’s No.43, parking lots, parks, and living rooms where truly vital theater is being written, discussed and performed.”

2011-2012 Season, Boom Artists, Indie Theatre Community, Indie Theatre Week

Indie Theatre Week–Melissa Gawlowski

I’ve asked people in the extended Boomerang family to write their thoughts about Indie Theatre and why they do what they do. Following up on Marielle’s eloquent post from yesterday, here’s playwright Melissa Gawlowski. Melissa’s new play SPRING TIDES was just workshopped at the Last Frontier Conference in Alaska this summer, and will be produced by Boomerang in February 2012, directed by Michael Criscuolo. Take it away, Melissa…

“Why Indie theatre?

Indie theatre is free.

No, not free “Am I getting a comp?” free. (For you, though? I’ll see what I can do.) I mean that it’s artistically free—free from being lashed to the huge barge of capitalism, of marketability—free from being commercial, free to express ideas, to manifest one’s vision and passion, in the purest sense. It’s undiluted.

Indie theatre isn’t looking to fill a bank account. It just has something to say. Indie theatre has a voice—regardless of what people think about it, it needs to put it out there. Would it be great if that message took off and made everyone involved outrageously well-to-do? Of course. But that’s not the priority. The work is.

Because Indie theatre doesn’t run on money—it runs on passion. It’s an energy you see behind every Indie production, whether you dig a particular aesthetic or not. It’s an energy you see in the people who choose to invest their time there. They run on passion, too—and they’re most generous, dedicated, motivated (and also incredibly super fun) people I’ve ever met.

Indie theatre is its own engine, its own life force, generated by the combined hearts and minds of an intensely committed community of artists. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

2011-2012 Season, Boom Artists, Indie Theatre Week, Podcasts, Uncategorized

Life Offstage – Episode 5 is on the air!

Episode 5 of Life Offstage is now available. In this episode, Tim is joined by Carrie Brewer, Boomerang Theatre’s resident fight director. Listen in and hear all about Carrie’s history with Boomerang and as fight director extraordinaire!

Come check it out here!

As always, please send your questions, personal, theatre-related, or otherwise, to lifeoffstage@gmail.com and we will answer as many as we can.

Boom Artists, Indie Theatre Community, Indie Theatre Week, Uncategorized

Indie Theatre Week–Marielle Duke

I’ve asked people in the extended Boomerang family to write their thoughts about Indie Theatre and why they do what they do. Leading off, the lovely Marielle Duke

“At 20 years old, trapped in an idealistic fervor and certain I wanted to be the next Margo Jones, I set out to create a new kind of theater (something only a 20-year-old would list as a goal on graduate applications.).

Thankfully, I had already been actively working in the indie theater community for almost three years at this point. I’d seen productions come into being from almost every angle and felt I had some capacity to replicate that on my own (bear in mind I said some capacity!)

But the final piece to that equation, and the most important part in my opinion, was that I had the people in my life to join me in a production of my own.   I had people I could turn to and say, “Hey, so three months from now we are going to stage the first non-children’s show in the country for individuals with Autism. And what’s more? It’s going to be Brecht!” And for some reason, these people didn’t turn and run! (I am still, sometimes, amazed at that).

And was it a bit rocky at first? Sure. Was it a bit rushed and a bit crazy? Of course. But it was also a bit amazing and a bit like your heart jumping out of your body and doing awkward, fluttering somersaults. In a short time, we had original compositions written for us of all the songs, masks painted for most of the near 40 characters, and puppets built from scratch for the rest.  We had an ensemble of 14 actors rehearsing almost 7 nights a week for no pay.

But the most wonderful thing for me in all of that was the artists involved, the relationships I could fall back on. These artists and I have continued to work together, in my company and in others across NY.  Those who haven’t been able to see productions, have supported us in other ways; writing plays, being audience members, being emotional support behind the scenes.

And we all are incredibly busy people. We all have very little free time be someone’s emotional rock at three in the morning when a design element isn’t quite right, or to jump in and run a light board at the last minute, or to write a new piece for a reading series the following week.

So why do we do it? This is a community that seems to truly trust each other (even in our crazy ideas) and love each other. And we really do. The people I work with in my shows are the same people I ring in the New Year with, the same people I bake birthday cakes for, the first I call with good news and bad news. We have laughed, cried, made far too many inappropriate jokes, but mostly made some kick ass art.

And perhaps this all sounds rather maudlin. For me though, the most important part about indie theater community in New York, the reason I chose to be here and will choose to stay here is the people.  It’s a group of people who are not only willing to accept and run with your own crazy theatrical passions and ideas, but whose own passions shine through in any interaction.  And if I can spend my life surrounded by passionate, shiny people, I figure I am doing something right : ) “

Indie Theatre Community, Indie Theatre Week

Indie Theatre Week–Rising Sun Performance Company’s CRAVINGS closing

In honor of INDIE THEATRE WEEK, I wanted to include all of the different facets that make up the Indie community and the process of putting on a show. We tend to always talk about opening nights, great reviews, and “show-mances”, but we rarely talk about closing nights and striking a show. Maybe it makes sense; these things are inherently sad events, as a project built on passion comes to an abrupt end, often too soon. But these are part of our world nonetheless, and they should be recognized for the celebrations and rituals they are.

Recently, I had the privilege to direct a one-act play as part of Rising Sun Performance Company‘s 5th Annual One Act festival. The entire evening was entitled CRAVINGS, and the plays (both comic and dramatic) explored the dark desires within the human heart. CRAVINGS closed on Saturday night, and celebrated with drinks, food and of course, striking the set and costumes 🙂

Here are some pics of the talented Rising Sun crew both at the closing night party, and the next morning during a very sweaty strike and load out.

Because you are a generous and thoughtful individual, full of sex appeal and good sense, you’ll want to make a donation to Rising Sun here.