2018 Season, 20th Anniversary Season, Boom Artists, Indie Theatre Community, Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

A Feast of Clowns: A conversation with Vinnie Penna and Spencer Aste

Boomerang’s TWELFTH NIGHT continues thru July 15th in Central Park.
Recently, Artistic Director Tim Errickson chatted with Vinnie Penna (Sir Toby) and Spencer Aste (Sir Andrew) about playing Shakespeare’s clowns in this celebrated comedy.

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Vinnie Penna (l) as Sir Toby Belch and Spencer Aste (r) as Sir Andrew Aguecheek in TWELFTH NIGHT

Tim Errickson: Ok, first question…Shakespeare’s clowns are some of his best characters. What do you think makes them special?

Vinnie Penna: Speaking truth to power.

Spencer Aste: Absolutely! I always feel like the clowns don’t realize they’re funny.
I always consider them a bit sad.

VP: They also have an uncanny knack of knocking the snooty off their pedestals.
There’s definitely sadness in both Toby and Andrew.

TE: How so?

SA: They’re searching for something to make them complete. Andrew wants to be loved. He wants female companion.

VP: I don’t want to speak for Spencer, but in the case of Toby, at least the way I view him in this production, this is a guy who saw some shit in the army and has really only found solace in the bottle. However, over time, he realizes how important he is to Maria

SA: I also think Andrew knows to the core he’s not a great fencer, dancer or bear baiter. He just wants everybody else to believe that and he wants to believe it himself.

TE: There’s an easy parallel from Sir Toby to Falstaff…

VP: Well, sure, and that was probably intentional on Shakespeare’s part. What’s Twelfth Night’s subtitle? “What You Will?”

SA: Absolutely! And one of Andrew’s line, “take it how you will.”

VP: Falstaff commits a lot of thievery, though, and I find him considerably meaner than Toby.

TE: That’s fair. I think in terms of their (Toby and Falstaff’s) one time bravery, and their conclusion that they no longer want that for themselves. And I think there’s allusion to lots of other people for Sir Andrew, from Don Armado in LLL to Dogberry to a degree

SA: I agree.

VP: That kinda goes along with Sara’s idea that there’s a “crack” in the world in Illyria and madness reigns. “I’ll confine myself no finer than I am!”

TE: For Sir Andrew, I think what makes him so unique is that he’s not just a blowhard like a dogberry, but there’s something more there.

VP: He’s so goddamn weird.

Vinnie Spencer Blues Explosion (1)
Spencer Aste (l) and Vinnie Penna (r)

TE: So how hard is it to bring these guys to life outside? What are the challenges and the pleasures of it?

SA: Playing them balls to the walls! Hehe! Loudly!! I always feel like acting in a comedy I try to make them as serious and tragic as I can. Trying to be funny always fucks me up.

VP: Yes. Playing a clown and trying to be funny is as effective as playing a villain and being all BWAH-HA-HAAAA!!!

SA: Totally!

VP: The pleasures are many. This is a very talented company and they’re very much on their toes, so if something changes or a line is inflected a bit differently (depending on how drunk I decide to play a scene), they are prepared!

TE: Do you play scenes differently knowing you have to reach the “cheap seats”? Meaning, father back, partial view etc…

VP: Louder, maybe?

SA: Yeah. I always try to make the person I think will hate the show, laugh.

TE: Does it take certain choices away? Like smaller things?

VP: Sure. I’ve been in a constant debate with myself about whether or not I’m shouting the whole time. I know I’m not, but still…

SA: I also feel like I’m shouting, which lessens my vocal range. But yes. I think small choices can’t be seen or heard.

VP: Definitely not in the cheap seats.

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Vinnie Penna as Sir Toby and Spencer Aste as Sir Andrew in TWELFTH NIGHT

TE: How about working together…how long have you actually known each other?

SA: 22 years, i think.

TE: Really?

VP: We talked about this during rehearsal. We met in 1996.

TE: Where? How?

VP: At the Westbeth. Spencer played a clown in that one too! Topless!

SA: Hehe!! I did!!

TE: And how many times over those 22 years have you appeared together?

VP: Thrice, I think.

SA: I think that’s right, but having done readings and Congregation (Play Reading Group) and seeing each others work it feels like a lot more.

TE: Obviously Twelfth Night and (Boomerang’s 2010 production of ) The Tempest, although you might not have had scenes together in The Tempest…

VP: We were in the shipwreck and the last scene together, but we exchanged no dialogue.

TE: That’s kind of awesome…first scene and last scene!

SA: Bookends!

TWELFTH NIGHT continues with two more performances this weekend (July 14th and 15th) at 2pm. More details here, and to make a $25 donation to support Free Theater, click here.

 

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2018 Season, 20th Anniversary Season, Boom Artists, Boomerang Support, FF20, First Flight, First Flight New Play Festival, How you can help, Indie Theatre Community, New Plays, Opportunities, Planning, Shakespeare

The 20th Anniversary Season

Hello everyone!

We kicked off our 20th Anniversary Season this weekend with readings and rehearsals and old friends. It was a great start, and I wanted to fill in some of the details on the rest of the season as we know it.

The readings this weekend were part of First Flight New Play Festival, one of Boomerang’s signature programs. Normally, FF Readings take place over a single weekend and consist of 4-6 readings of new plays. For 2018, we are expanding the festival into a year-long celebration of new plays, featuring 20 new plays in development.

New FF

This weekend we featured the first four of those new plays (THE DYING FALL OF GARY FLETZNER by Adam Kraar; NICHIIWAD by Hal Corley; KNIFEPLAY by Shelley McPherson and PERSEPHONE (A NEW MYTH FOR A HOTTER WORLD) by Kristen Palmer) and we have five more readings coming up March 9th-11th, 2018. The remaining 11 will be presented in September and November, 2018. We think this abundance of new play readings will make an even larger impact on new play development, and continue to build the community that supports new work.

To support these readings, we have two big fundraising events that will get everyone up and dancing! We start on Feb 13th with BARDI GRAS, our own wild mashup of Shakespeare and Mardi Gras style.  Last year’s party featured costume contests, trivia prizes, drink specials and beads beads beads! And this year’s party promises more of the same!

On Monday April 23rd,  we celebrate the man himself, Will Shakespeare on the day he shook off this mortal coil. The celebration will feature songs, dancing, prizes, raffles and collaborations between our team and our theatrical colleagues throughout the city. Did you say “puppets?” Yes, there will be puppets.

And we close out the first half of the 20th Anniversary season with a return to where it all began in 1999…Central Park. Sara Thigpen will direct TWELFTH NIGHT, with performances beginning June 16th on the lawn at 69th Street and Central Park West. Expect music, disguises, true love, and bawdy hilarity.

Twelfth Night announcement

There’s not a thing in this schedule you should miss! So save these dates!

The schedule:
February 13th–Bardi Gras!
March 9th-11th–First Flight 20 Readings
April 23rd–Shakespeare’s Death Day Celebration!
June 16th-July 17th–TWELFTH NIGHT in Central Park
September 2018–First Flight 20 Readings
October 2018–Mainstage production
November 2018–First Flight 20 Readings and Rock-n-Roles

If you wanted to donate to these programs, you could do so right here. And we’d be forever grateful.

Thanks!

2018 Season, 20th Anniversary Season, Boom Artists, fundraising, Shakespeare

Holiday Giving Campaign–Summer Shakespeare

One of Boomerang’s signature programs since our beginning in 1999 has been Outdoor Shakespeare. What began as an idea for free performances became an event, and that event became a tradition. Now, in 2018–that tradition becomes a celebration.

We are excited to announce that we will kick off our 20th Anniversary Season with…

Twelfth Night announcement

We’re thrilled to be going back to Central Park and provide quality free theatre to New York City.

TWELFTH NIGHT will mark our 19th free production. We’ve selected for it’s celebratory feeling, and we think it is going to be the perfect opening to our 20th Anniversary. Since 1999, over 22,000 audience members have attended our outdoor productions.

We need your donations to bring this theatrical celebration to life. We are looking for 200 donors of $20 or more (one time or recurring). This campaign is extremely significant to our season. Can we count on you?

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Thank you for your generosity!

 

2018 Season, 20th Anniversary Season, Boom Artists, Boomerang Support, donations, First Flight New Play Festival, Giving Tuesday, How you can help, Indie Theatre Community, Shakespeare

Boomerang’s 20th Anniversary Holiday Campaign

Welcome to Boomerang Theatre Company’s 20th Anniversary Season.

We began this journey in 1999 with three plays, not very much money, and an idea of presenting great plays in new ways. Now, after 19 years of 60 plays, 80 readings and thousands of audience members, we are just as excited for this adventure as ever before.

This holiday season we are asking you to support our “20th Anniversary Holiday Campaign” which will support our continued theatrical undertakings.

As part of #GivingTuesday and continuing through December, we are asking people to make a recurring donation of $20 per month (in honor of our 20th Anniversary). If that is more than you are able to contribute, we have a number of other giving levels that you can find here.

Here’s what your donation is making possible:
-An expanded 2018 FIRST FLIGHT New Play Festival, which will feature more plays than any previous fest.
-Our production of TWELFTH NIGHT in Central Park, opening June 16th 2018
-Our growing intern program, which annually brings new artists into the Indie Theater community and introduces them to our award-winning production style
-A premiere mainstage production in Fall 2018. Recent mainstage works have included LOVELESS TEXAS by Henry Aronson and Cailin Heffernan, and THE RECKLESS SEASON by Lauren Ferebee.
-The latest edition of ROCK-N-ROLES, our new play event combining theatre with great music

Please join us for this milestone season. We count on your donations as a vital step in keeping these programs alive. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

 

2017 Season, Bardi Gras, Boom Artists, Boomerang Support, donations, fundraising, How you can help, Indie Theatre Community, Loveless Texas, New Plays, Shakespeare

Photos from BARDI GRAS

Thank you to everyone who attended BARDI GRAS on Tuesday Feb 28th at Madame X. A great time was had, music was in the air, and we raised some much needed funds for LOVELESS TEXAS coming up in Fall 2017.

Did you miss the party, but still wanted to contribute to the madness? Click here!

Here are some pictures of the shenanigans…courtesy of Isaiah Tanenbaum Theatrical Photography!

Bardi Gras, fundraising, How you can help, Indie Theatre Community, Shakespeare

Grab your Crew for BARDI GRAS on Tuesday February 28th!

Mark your calendars, and bust out your costumes and masks for BARDI GRAS on February 28th.

The evening has all the makings of a night you will never forget…adventure, romance, mystery, passion, music and a libation or three to wash it all down.

This is the night you’ve been waiting for. The siren sound in your heart is leading you to this moment. We cannot wait to experience this epic night with you.

Mardi Gras is famous for its Crews, groups that together dress in a theme, build a float together, or celebrate in their own unique style. Gather your crew, dress as creative or provocative as you dare, and sample what the night has to offer.

Put together your Crew of sexy Shakespeareans. Or dare to assemble as the most notorious New Orleanians you can think of. Or mix and match to your heart’s content.

Tickets go on sale later this week, and we have a limited number. Make sure you get yours early.

Follow us at @boomerangtheatre to make sure you have all the info.

2017 Season, Boom Artists, Boomerang Support, fundraising, How you can help, Indie Theatre Community, Opportunities, Planning, Shakespeare

Grab yours masks and beads…It’s BARDI GRAS on February 28th!

For one night only, the sultry nights and cascading music of New Orleans come together with the poetry of Stratford Upon Avon. Tap into the spirit of the night for some romance, cocktails, masks, beads and adventure…

bardi-gras

Mark your calendars and prepare to style yourself as a Shakespearean character, a famous New Orleanian, or a provocative mash-up of your own design. Masks are optional… and just a little decadent.

Welcome to the night you have been longing for.