Friday, October 19, 2012

Producing & contracting your solo show Panel

Congratulations to the All for One Theater Festival for it's 2nd successful year.  This year the AFO Festival was at the beautiful Cherry Lane Theater and had a great line up.  I loved performing as part of this festival at last year's inaugural opening.  I was also honored to be asked to speak this year on the panel that closed the festival called Producing and Contracting for Your Solo Show with fellow panelists Peter Ligeti and Jamie Cesa, moderated by Peter Breger.  It was interesting to hear their perspectives on how to get a solo show off the ground.  And it also made me realize how far RASH has come from the beginning and reflect on all the creative venues where the show has been performed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Student response to RASH

Response/Review of Diversity Day from a senior student at Middlesex School who is going to Yale.

" After Tuesday’s assembly, the student body was a buzz about what was to come on the ‘finale’ of our annual diversity day. After having learned that we’d be watching a one woman play, I found myself mildly skeptical. As I sat down in the theater, surrounded in the crowded audience and looking upon the particular bare stage, excepting a trunk and a chair with knitting needles, the temptation to stare at my watch for forty minutes was bordering on the inevitable.
Then suddenly the lights went dark and Jenni Wolfson appeared on the stage, kneeling, reenacting her the moment when her life was almost taken by an impassioned rebel. Jenni’s play “Rash: What If Your Dream Job Could Kill You?” details her journey as UN human rights worker, “living and loving under fire in post-genocide Rwanda.” In an interview for the New York Times, Wolfson explained that she wanted “to give people enough insight to make an unfamiliar world familiar…[to get people] to step out of their comfort zone.” As I looked around the dark theater, I saw many jaws dropping to the floor as she moved around the stage. The urgency, the danger of her encounters made the performance immediate, even though the events had long since past. Thus, she brought the entire Middlesex community back to Rwanda with her, transcending reality and time.
When the lights came up, snapping Middlesex and me back to February 4th 2012, I wondered what I was going to do having learned her story. I came to a number of conclusions. First, Jenni Wolfson is an extraordinary woman. She not only has the strength and smarts to live 12 years as an UN diplomat—three of which were spent in post-genocide Rwanda, but she also has creativity to write a play about it and the chutzpah to act out the one-woman show. Second, on a more personal level, as Middlesex students, we have a responsibility, the talent, and the resources to accomplish similar extraordinary feats. ....
In conclusion, Diversity day was not only a wild success but also an awakening to the depth of our community and the opportunities that lie in front of us all. After moments like we shared on Saturday, Middlesex students come closer to “finding the promise” in ourselves and in our peers."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Diversity day at Middlesex School

This is a nice write up of how the students at Middlesex explored identity through Diversity Day, with reference to both the talk I gave at their Assembly on human rights and video, as well as the performance of RASH and the Q&A that followed with the students.

And they quoted me in answering one of the questions  "You have a responsibility to know what is going on the world.  One day, you may be in a position of influence or power; use it wisely, take risks and listen to your gut.".

Saturday, February 4, 2012

RASH at Middlesex School

This week I travelled twice to Concord, Massachusetts to speak and perform at Middlesex School - a highly regarded New England prep school.  I have never visited a boarding school before and was fascinated by the experience in contrast to my own public school experience in Glasgow.  On Tuesday I spoke at the morning assembly about the work of WITNESS and how the documentation of human rights abuses through video is changing the world.  Today I performed RASH at the school's Annual Day of Diversity.  I was amazed at how engaged and present 400 students could be at 10 in the morning! It was definitely one of my favourite audiences.  On both occasions, students had the opportunity to ask questions which were smart and thoughtful, and many of them came up to speak to me afterwards.  They were an impressive group in more ways than one and I really enjoyed meeting them.  I am so looking forward to performing at other schools in the future. Thank you so much to Brian Smith, the Acting Dean of Students & Director of Diversity for inviting me to share my experiences at Middlesex.   And thanks to Corinne Woods, our wonderful stage manager and to the team at All for One Theater Festival for helping to make this happen, especially Michael Wolk.
Here are some photos that I took whilst I was there.
 Arriving at Middlesex
 My first ever ride on a yellow school bus! Me with Corinne Woods, RASH stage manager
The dressing room.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This week at the All for One Theatre Festival

It's been a great week so far at the All for One Theatre Festival.  Today, JTA published a review of RASH and the background to the story.  On Monday, I spoke on a great panel with RASH director Jen Nails, and two other performers and directors called Directing the Solo Show.  Today I observed Matt Hoverman in action teaching a workshop called Telling Your Story: The Art of the Autobiographical Solo Show.  Tomorrow RASH director Jen Nails teaches a workshop called Solo Show Boot Camp. You've got to click on that link just to see the great photo of Jen!

You have three more days to catch some of the other shows at AFOfest and of course, yours truly, will perform RASH a final time on closing night at 7pm on 20th November.  Audience numbers are looking good and I'm really looking forward to it.  Afterwards, I will see P.J. Walsh's solo play: Over There - Comedy is His Best Weapon if you want to join me.  It will be an evening of war, although I know that Over There is supposed to be very funny and I'm sure having met P.J. that he will be wonderful to watch.  Where will you be on Sunday night?

Pre-show preparations

Chatting to Michael Wolk, Executive Director of the AFOfest before the show

Getting ready in the dressing room before the show

Talking to the tech team before the show

Warming up on stage before the show
 Jen Nails, RASH director (Right), Patrick and Corinne, Tech team (Left)

Opening night at the All for One Theatre Festival for RASH
Thanks Coco for taking the pictures!

Before, during & after

Thanks to Coco who came to the theatre to take photos of me as I was getting ready for the play, warming up on stage and greeting the crew last Sunday. See post above for a wee selection.  Thanks also to Mari and Richard for filming the show - they will be sharing some of the material on the WITNESS facebook page. It was a great performance and I've been so touched by all the amazing emails I've received from people over the last few days, some who I know and some who I don't. Thank you! One down, one to go!