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Final Project Revisions

December 3, 2010

This entire blog is part of a web-based journalism class through Cal Poly’s journalism department. Much of the recent content on this site site was part of my final project in the class, a multimedia presentation of local holiday productions. After feedback from my professor, I’ve edited some of the video and uploaded a photo gallery. Here are the final project revisions!

News package, edited. For more information on the Great American Melodrama’s Holiday Extravaganza, check out their website.

Photos of the cast from the SLO Little Theatre’s holiday play, “Nuncrackers.” Check out my story and interview with the director in this post.

And now, more on Bob Cratchit

November 22, 2010

Want to know more about George Walker, one of the actors interviewed for my video on the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville’s Holiday Extravaganza? Well, wait no longer! I’ve put together a quick video with some footage from the show, and George Walker’s take on his Christmas Carol character, Bob Cratchit.

All I Want For Christmas is a Singing Nun

November 22, 2010

Nothing says “Happy Holidays!” like singing nuns, right? Obviously, the folks at SLO Little Theatre thought so, because their hilarious Christmas show, Nuncrackers, opened last Friday. The show focuses on the little sisters of Hoboken, who are filming their first TV special, and as the evening progresses, everything that can go wrong, does, with comedic results.

For actress Anna Romero, who plays Sister Mary Hubert, the play is a great holiday diversion.

“I just think it has nothing to do with anything in real life at all,” said Romero on opening night of the show. And most people would agree that singing, dancing nuns, cross-dressing Julia Child impersonators, and Catholic hoedowns are about as far from reality as it gets.

Audience members appreciated the play as well, as they roared with laughter at the little sisters’ antics.

“It was very funny,” said Wilda Rosene, who saw the play. “And I’m not Catholic, so I think some of the jokes went over my head.”

Overall, the play is a delightful holiday special full of caroling and mirth.

Click Play for an audio interview with Jim Shine, director of Nuncrackers, and photos of the cast!

Q: How did you get involved with SLO Little Theatre?

Jim Shine: I actually just contacted them because the way they do their season, they just ask for directors to submit ideas for their season so I just sent a letter to Kevin and said I wanted to direct this season and he asked me what shows I was interested in doing and I told him and he said, “Well actually, we’ve already chosen the shows this year and we have a show that I think you might be good at. It’s called Nuncrackers and it’s a Christmas musical.” I had never heard of it. So, you know, he gave me the script first and I read it and I said, “Yeah, I think I could do this.” And so that’s how it happened.

Q: So basically already what attracted you to Nuncrackers, I guess it really wasn’t your choice.

Shine: Yeah, it wasn’t. It didn’t. It wasn’t my choice and it wasn’t on my list of things because I had never even heard of it, actually. I mean, I’d heard of Nunsense, but I didn’t know they had a Christmas version. So I read it and he said, “I want you to direct it.” So when you direct something you have to love it. I mean, that’s why they ask you what you want to do, and then, you know, you’re passionate about the things you want to do but then, you know, it turned out that they had the show already chosen and he said, “Read it and do you think you could do this,” and I read it and thought, “You know, this is really fun.” I grew to love it, because, you know directors have to love everything they do. So we did it and here we are. Here we are in three dimensions!

Q:What was your favorite part of directing the show?

Shine: You know, I think the biggest part, because I’m a professional actor, is really, I did community theater way back before I went to school and got training and became a professional, so I hadn’t been in community theater, as anything, for years and years and years. The one thing that I had forgotten about community theater is that people are here because they want to be. They’re not getting paid. They have jobs during the day. It’s the love. They do it purely for the love of doing it. And it’s refreshing to work with people like that because often when you work with professionals they’re jaded and it’s just another job. You know, they don’t. Of course they love it because they’re professionals and they got into it, and you have to love it to do it. The pay isn’t great but the hours are lousy, so it’s really not a good career choice as far as making money or you know all that kind of thing, but you have to love it when you do it. But there’s just something that I learned from coming back to community theater was that I had missed that in working with professionals. You know, of course everyone did their job, but these people are volunteering their time and they really want to be here so it was refreshing to work with people who were like that. Not that all professionals are bitter of course. You know, it’s just that was my favorite part. The little triumphs are things that professional actors take for granted. To them it’s a big triumph because they’re not professional actors so you coach them to get them to go to a certain place and then they do and then they themselves realize, “Wow, how cool is this!” So anyway, that was my favorite part.

Holiday Hilarity Opening Tonight at Great American Melodrama

November 18, 2010

The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville in Oceano opens its annual Holiday Extravaganza tonight. The Extravaganza is a holiday special in three parts: A Christmas Carol, followed by a Sleeping Beauty opera, and finishing up with a vaudeville revue of classic holiday music.

Melodrama Holiday Show Preview

November 17, 2010

As the holidays approach, theater-goers can expect a bevy of wonderful holiday shows to be opening up on the Central Coast. One of the most popular is the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville‘s annual Holiday Extravaganza.

I’m Victoria Billings for SLO Theater Blog coming to you from Oceano’s Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville, where actors and crew are going through their final rehearsal for the annual Holiday Extravaganza. The Extravaganza is a three-part show consisting of A Christmas Carol, a fairy-tale opera about Sleeping Beauty, and a vaudeville, song-and-dance revue. For many locals, the show is a much-anticipated holiday tradition. It opens tomorrow night, November 18, and runs through December 31. More information is available at americanmelodrama.com. From Oceano, I’m Victoria Billings.

We’ll have more on the Extravaganza soon. Look for our exclusive video footage of the show!

Bellydancing and Shakespeare Meet at AHS

November 3, 2010

Atascadero High School students are taking audiences on a journey from Ancient Persia to Denmark with their upcoming productions of Scheherazade and The 15 Minute Hamlet.

Scheherazade, an adaptation of 1,001 Arabian Nights, is a combination of exotic musical numbers and dialogue used to tell the story of a vengeful, woman-hating sultan, and the brave young Scheherazade, who used storytelling to stop the sultan’s rage.

AHS drama teacher and directory Catherine Kingsbury said she chose Scheherazade because it allowed for a large cast where many students could have their time in the spotlight.

“It’s a really great ensemble piece,” said Kingsbury.

“A lot of people have a chance to shine in the show,” said Erica Mundell-McGilvray, who plays Scheherazade.

In addition, Kingsbury enjoys choosing plays that allow for interesting settings and costumes, and Scheherazade, set in Ancient Persia with costumes of silk and silver, certainly fits the bill.

After Scheherazade, a group of students have put together The 15 Minute Hamlet, a short play by Tom Stoppard based on Shakespeare’s classic tragedy.

15 Minute Hamlet is an abbreviated version of Hamlet, and it’s a comedy,” said Jesse Westfall, a drama student at AHS.

“I wanted to do 15 Minute Hamlet for a long time,” said Kingsbury. When she chose Scheherazade, it seemed the perfect opportunity to do 15 Minute Hamlet as well, because both were shorter plays.

The double feature opens at AHS’s Black Box Theater on Thursday, November 4, and will run through November 14. Tickets and information are available at 805-610-9936, or visit AHS drama’s website for more info.

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“Renegade” Actors Take On Picasso

October 27, 2010

An unofficial troupe of actors is putting together a unique comedy that will open November 13 at Tierra Nueva Cohousing in Oceano. The play is “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” written by Steve Martin, and it focuses on what happens when Picasso and Einstein meet by chance in a bar in 1905. Watch the video to get the whole story:

 

Edit: “Exit Pursued By a Bear,” or the renegade actors, now have a Facebook page with updates on shows!