Executive Director Mary Ruth Marotte and Artistic Director Matt Chiorini appeared on Arts Scene, presented by UALR College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and UALR Public Radio.
Matt Chiorini’s interview begins at 16:05.
It’s a great group (as always) and I’m thrilled to be working with such an amazing group of artists. I’ve been a theatre producer for 10 years now and I’ve found that the single most important consideration in putting together a company or cast or staff or team is whether or not they’re someone I’d like to hang out with. (more…)
Today Matt Chiorini, our artistic director, turned to me and said,”It’s happening, isn’t it? It’s really happening.” Indeed, it is. Working on a festival for an entire year, you can lose perspective. In the throes of fundraising and artistic production, you can lose sight of the end goal, but these past few days have reminded me why we do what we do. Sitting in on rehearsals, I’ve been privy to the palpable excitement generated in a festival such as ours. (more…)
Happy Holidays from Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre! We have a new logo, a new website, and a line-up of shows that are certain to thrill and delight you. With Othello, As You Like It, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Tortoise and the Hare, there will be something to tempt every theater-goer next summer. As the end of the year approaches, please include AST in your charitable gift-giving. We are a non-profit organization that relies on your kinds for the good work that we do. Your tax-deductible donation will make all the difference!
As you may have heard, we are moving As You Like It outdoors to the Hendrix Village greenspace, a locale befitting this Shakepearean comedy set in the forest of Arden. Directed by Andrew Hamm, who brought you the uproarious Comedy of Errors last season, this will be a must-see, must-do event!
We’ve been busy socializing and drawing attention to our one-of-a-kind professional company in the last few months. Many new folks did in fact ‘Join the Shakespeare Party’ in November, an event that featured live music and performances, and just last week we were honored to be a part of the stunning art-show “Seeing Red,” at the home of Brandi and Kristian Andersen, in which 10% of the proceeds directly benefitted AST.
Currently, we are prepping for February auditions and for our very first Little Rock-based fundraiser, featuring Arkansas artists paying tribute to the Bard at the Governor’s Mansion on February 11th, so please save the date on your calendar. We already have quite an impressive list of performers for this special event, so we hope you can join us.
If you have not bought a membership yet, you may do so online (very easily!) here on our new website at www.arkshakes.com (under support). One of our devoted donors has told me that he will match every financial contribution dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000, so your generous contribution would be immediately doubled! In order to provide you quality entertainment and educational opportunities, we must have your support. And, of course, thanks to all of you who have already shown AST financial support this year.
I have so enjoyed your company and have appreciated your words of encouragement this year. I am giddy with excitement about what AST will bring to you in 2011!
Auditions for the 2011 summer festival are currently full.
Internship opportunities are still available.
Auditions will be held for all actors on Saturday, Feb. 5 at the Reynolds Performance Hall at UCA in Conway for roles in the AST 2011 Summer Festival. Actors will be seen from 9am-8pm on the 5th and are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org after January 3 to schedule their appointment. All applicants need to please read THIS FORM before scheduling their audition. All positions offered by AST are paying positions, subject to negotiation. All actors are encouraged bring a headshot/resume and to view our website at www.arkshakes.com for more information prior to scheduling their interview.
AST’s fifth-annual season will feature a repertory of 4 shows: “Othello”, “As You Like It”, “The Tortoise and the Hare,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Actors may be cast in one or two (but not three) productions. The first rehearsal will be May 23rd, rehearsing 6 days a week. The Festival has performances running June 16th-July 2. Child and young adult actors will be encouraged to audition for the Childrens Choir in Joseph at a later date, TBA.
Actors auditioning for AST are asked to prepare 1 monologue (of any genre or type) and 16 bars of a song from any musical (song required only if interested in auditioning for “Joseph.”). An accompanist will be provided, but the actor must bring their own sheet music. The length of the audition may not exceed 3 minutes. If called-back for an acting, singing, or dance call, the actor will be seen within the next 90 minutes and then released. Actors called-back for “Joseph” may be asked to dance, so please bring the proper attire. Actors auditioning should please factor this callback into their schedule, and plan on being at the Reynolds Performance Hall for no more than 2 hours. Actors should please bring a current headshot/resume.
The AST Festival is also seeking hard-working, qualified applicants to work in a number of technical capacities, including: stage management, assistant stage management, costume/wardrobe crew, set construction, sound, and lights. Production Interns will be paid a flat fee for their 7 weeks of work. Free housing will be offered on campus for those requiring it. Internships are open for currently-enrolled or recently-graduated college students.
Interviews for production internships will be held from 11am-1pm on Sat. Feb. 5th at the Reynolds Performance Hall and will last no more than 10 minutes and are available on a drop-in basis during that time, with no appointment necessary. Applicants are encouraged to bring a resume and/or portfolio of their work. Production internship applicants are also welcome to audition for acting roles.
Auditions for the 2011 summer festival are currently full.
Internship opportunities are still available.
What an incredible honor it is to be asked to return to Conway in 2011.
I had not even been home a full month from last summer’s amazing Arkansas Shakespeare experience (Shakespearience?) when my phone rang, Matt Chiorini on the other end. And here’s a little inside baseball, a look into how things like contracts and seasons get put together. He asked me if I was interested in returning for a second summer as a director, composer and associate artist, and then asked for my thoughts on what kind of play I might like to direct.
Now let me tell you that this doesn’t happen a lot, a hired director being asked to give input on potential scripts. It’s quite flattering, an honor really, and a huge responsibility. I’ve been on the staff of a Shakespeare company before, so I’ve been part of the process of putting seasons together. I knew that whatever decision we made, it would have to be in the context of the rest of the summer, and it would have to be the best possible choice for the company first.
That said, I wasn’t about to ignore the opportunity to have a say in the matter. If Matt’s going to ask what I want to do, I’m going to tell him. My mind flashed back to my recent directing history:
Yes, I had to go all the way back to 2007 to find the last time I had directed a serious play. And in all fairness, it was a two-actor reduction of Faustus featuring (you guessed it) a surprising amount of bigger faster funnier. In fact, it genuinely may have been the funniest production of Doctor Faustus ever staged, and I realize that isn’t saying much. In fact, I have to go all the way back to 2006, when I helmed a five-actor Othello for Richmond Shakespeare, my first directing gig for that company, to find a production I’ve put together with an entirely serious intended effect.
So my answer to Matt was, “Well, Matt, I’m kind of comedied out right now. I’m feeling pretty pigeonholed as an artist, and I want to make sure my resume isn’t getting too one-dimensional. What does the 2011 season look like so far? Do you have any plays in mind?”
Matt said, “Well, we keep almost doing As You Like It. It seems like that play is the runner-up for the comedy slot every year. It’s a lovely play for the Natural State, with all the action in the Forest of Arden. And I think you’d be a really good fit with that script, especially coming off of Comedy.”
I thought for a second. “You know what, Matt? I can do some drama in Richmond between now and then. Let’s do it. Let’s do As You Like It.”
Here’s why it was so easy for me say yes to this script: I think As You Like It is to Shakespeare’s comedy what Hamlet is to tragedy. Not only do I think it’s his best comedy, I think it’s his best comedy by a mile. It’s a huge cast of memorable characters, a delight for audiences to enjoy and a feast for actors to sink their teeth into. It’s two pairs of brothers, their relationships broken by jealousy. It’s two women, closer than sisters, bound together in deception in a strange land. It’s two awkward country boys who can’t help but love two awkward country girls even in the face of all rejection. It’s dueling clowns, one mean-spirited and one melancholy. It’s love and romance and country-mouse-versus-city-mouse and music and family and redemption. It’s “All the world’s a stage.” And it’s a girl disguised as a boy pretending to be a girl who actually happens to be herself.
This is my favorite comedy written by anybody, ever, featuring my favorite cast of characters in all of world theatre.
In the meantime, I’m here in my home city of Richmond, Virginia, beginning to work on This Beautiful City with the Richmond Triangle Players, my first acting gig since 2008′s Amadeus. I’m going to be directing a staged reading of Eliza Anderson’s The Water Principle at a theatre to be announced, and Sycamore Rouge in Petersburg is looking to produce my play Awake in Pennsylvania in March. And I’m beginning to put together a program for artists with mental health issues in conjunction with the Firehouse Theatre Project‘s production of Something Intangible. I figure that’s more than enough drama to satisfy my limited need for seriousness between now and May. If you are so inclined, you can keep up with my local doings, as well as some truly awful NFL picks, on my own blog, Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express.
I can’t wait to be able to delight you, fair readers, with word of which wonderful actors will be playing these amazing roles. And as the months go by I’m going to continue to write about the preparation, the foundational ideas, and the process of this show, on which I’ve already begun working. I’ve already begun to talk music with Matt and costumes with Shauna Meador, who has instantly become one of my favorite artists to collaborate with ever. I know this much already: it can’t help but look and sound gorgeous.
The 2011 Arkansas Shakespearience is already beginning!