CTXLT review: THE SOCIETY FOR HARD DETERMINISTS by Twin Alchemy Collective, Museum of Human Achievement, October 17 - November 2, 2014
- Published on Friday, 24 October 2014 10:17
by Michael Meigs
Trust is essential.
Trust is fundamental to theatre art. We the audience come to the appointed place and time, trusting the actors with our attention and our time; company and audience understand the unwritten rules of the playing space. We depart trusting one another on a journey of defined duration, even consenting to turn off our cell phones and other noise-making devices so that, like airline passengers, we're locked away in a shared reality where escape is impossible -- or at least, difficult and disruptive to all.
Twin Alchemy avows, "We are not a cult," but the setting at the Museum of Human Achievement isn't designed to reinforce that message. Audience members are received as 'candidates' who pay their 'dues' to attend. Darkness has fallen across the world as attendees group compliantly in a circle around a lantern outside the playing space. Chatting isn't discouraged, but the gate keeper, with his rigidly courteous questions, doesn't make it easy. You look down and you realize that someone has laid down a meticulous spiral pattern in crushed leaves over the gravel beneath your feet.
Why does he ask for your blood type? A reply of 'O positive' seems to please him most of all. He invites you to close your eyes and concentrate upon the lantern. Then he summons attendees in groups of four to the closed door and accompanies them inside. If you aren't in the first wave, you're wondering what you've gotten yourself into.'
And why did they instruct you to place your car keys in the large circular bowl on the ticket desk?
Your car keys. Your car keys! That was the unexpected moment when you committed to this mystery-play-not-a-cult-but-an-initiation experience. Who the hell would just turn over his car keys to this young stranger with glittering eyes?
You just did. And then it's the turn of the next four candidates, including you.
Your time with the Society of Hard Determinists is not lengthy although you are likely to find it intense. Masks, robes, blindfolds, trust exercises, meditation, video, an invitation to primal shouts and to respond -- or not -- to questions; hugs, a touch of quantum physics, a touch of philosophy. No faces other than your own. There's some kneeling, some sitting, some breathing; exercises with receptacles of water, mixed media, a disappearing cat that may or may not be there. A ritual moment of invitation, passage and assumption. A final blindfolded journey.
A bit of learning, as well. Google and Wikipedia will teach you that 'hard determinism' is indeed a metaphysical concept, opposed to the 'soft determinism' proposed by William James. The question, the eternal question, is whether free will exists. Determinists say that everything results from givens -- environment, genes, social structures -- while soft determinists, also known as compatibilists, grant us the power of decision while denying that we have more than a very few degrees of freedom. Schopenhauer: "Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills." (Thanks, Wiki!)
If you have a thesis concerning determinism, you also have a view toward moral choice and ethics. Twin Alchemy's hard determinists offer one through the exercises, instruction and video. If all is determined, you are free of guilt. No need for regrets, no need for apology. It's a serenely reassuring doctrine, one that invites you to surrender. Not a brain washing, exactly, but a very intimate and seductive brain rinsing that leaves you calm and slightly disoriented when you find yourself in the parking lot outside the Museum of Human Achievement.
This short evening with The Society of Hard Determinists intrudes far past the usual boundaries of theatre, for the narrative, such as it is, is largely internal to you. Don't go if you panic at the thought of temporarily being deprived of vision; your guides are patient, quiet and ready to respond if you indicate distress. You'll just have to trust me, and them, on that.
Speaking of trust: the car keys were still there in the bowl, apparently untouched.Write comment (0 Comments)
- Published on Saturday, 25 October 2014 13:05
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Auditions in/near Austin for three very versatile actors for The Hound of the Baskervilles, Penfold Theatre, November 8, 2014
- Published on Saturday, 25 October 2014 12:49
Auditions Saturday, November 8, 2014 for The Hound of the Baskervilles
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a three-actor version adapted by Steven Canny and John Nicholson for Peepolykus
Rehearsals start: May 2015; Performances: June 4-27, 2015. All roles are paid
Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic novel about the renowned Baker Street detective Sherlock Holmes here receives a breezy and hilarious treatment in the style of Monty Python and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Commissioned in England in 2007, this three-actor rendition has since hopped the pond and popped up at regional theatres around the United States. Its mix of mystery, murder and madcap comedy make it a crowd pleaser for all ages.
Made possible through a partnership with the City of Round Rock Parks & Recreation Department, Penfold in the Park is a series of free, outdoor, family-friendly productions offered every summer.
How do I schedule an audition time? Please email info [AT] penfoldtheatre.org. If you are available only during certain times, please tell us so. We will send you a confirmation email with the exact time and place of your audition.
What should I prepare? Two contrasting monologues (no longer than a minute each) that showcase your versatility. Actors in this show will play multiple characters.
When are callbacks? Callbacks are tentatively scheduled for Sunday, November 16th.
What roles are available?Both men and women are encouraged to audition. All three actors will play multiple roles:
Sherlock Holmes, and others.
Dr. Watson, and others.
Sir Henry Baskerville, and others.
Auditions in Austin for Piece of the Puzzle by Carl Gonzales, Oh Dragon Theatre Company, November 5, 2014
- Published on Saturday, 25 October 2014 09:23
Oh Dragon Theatre Company is proud to announce auditions for their first show of their third season, Piece of the Puzzle by Carl Gonzales. This will be the premiere performance.
Three different characters portray a young man the week before his wedding. He struggles with the idea that married life will change him and not allow him to follow the career he is passionate about. With old friends and family in town for the wedding, he takes time to reconnect with high school buddies, distant relatives, and finds that the people closest to you will often hurt you the most. During the play the three actors playing the main character will interchange between scenes and interact with other characters. At the end of the play we see how surroundings can influence a person, but never change who they truly are.
Auditions are Wednesday, November 5th from 7 p.m.- 10 p.m. at Room #15 @ SPACE, 7915 Manchaca Rd.,Austin, TX 78745
Character Descriptions -
Gay - Male, Hispanic or African American. Must be comfortable putting on drag makeup/cross dressing (20's-30's).
The Players: 3 women, 2 men (20's-30's) The players help tell the story. They play multiple characters and serve as “helpers” as the story evolves.
Actors need to prepare a one-minute contemporary monologue. Monologues must be memorized. Cold readings/sides will also be available on request of the director.
Please bring headshot and resume to your audition.
Please email ohdragontheatrecompany [AT] gmail.com to request an audtion time.
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- Published on Saturday, 25 October 2014 08:46
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- Published on Friday, 24 October 2014 18:48
The 2015 Season: Comedy, Tragedy, Comedy
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
April 3-25, 2015
Our first offering is classified as a comedy, or, more precisely, a tragicomedy. Measure for Measure explores the ideas of justice, politics, and morality. We are holding auditions in early November for this spring 2015 show.
This comedy uses a familiar Shakespearean device in which a character spends most of the play disguised as someone from another walk of life. Measure for Measure‘s Duke of Vienna disguises himself as a friar in the first act of the play in order to spy on city’s inhabitants, whom he has left under the watchful eye of Angelo, a Puritanical deputy.
The Trojan Women by Euripides
July 1- 25, 2015
The Baron’s Men once again tackle a classic Greek play next summer. This is the story of the women of Troy after the soldiers from the Trojan Horse went home in victory. The play deals with the aftermath of war, the danger of knowledge, and the loss of home. These themes are as relevant today as they were in Euripides’ time.
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare
October 2-24, 2015
Widely loved as one of Shakespeare’s best comedies, Much Ado will be the first repeat performance in Baron’s Men history. Monnette Mueller will be guiding us through this wonderful courtship romp.
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- Published on Friday, 24 October 2014 18:33
Cate Blouke interviews artists of Trouble Puppet Theatre and Glass Half Full, Austin, and Bootown and Bobindoctrin in Houston.
The Stepchild of Theater Thrives in Texas
Most of Texas’ foremost puppeteers aren’t the performers you’d want at your children’s birthday parties. “Not unless,” as Connor Hopkins says, “you want your kids to cry.” Artistic director for Trouble Puppet Theater in Austin, Hopkins speaks for his own steam-punk, expletive-filled aesthetic, but the description seems to fit for many prominent Texas puppetry companies. Last year in Dallas, Matthew Posey of Ochre House used puppets to take audiences into a slaughterhouse in Dreams of Slaughtered Sheep. In Houston, Bobbindoctrin’s upcoming remount of Danse Macabre (11/6-11/19 at 14 Pews) is one puppet’s tale of misery, despair, and suicide.
This fall, Trouble Puppet is bringing Austin a re-imagining of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Classic, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Oct. 30 – Nov. 23), but with Hopkins’ own special twists. Hopkins explained he was drawn to this particular story for its banality. “I don’t find the central metaphor to be all that interesting. It’s something we all take as a sort of given of human psychology now: the idea that people have dark sides, people have light sides, people pretend to be things that they’re not. How do you take something where everybody knows the story and crucial plot twist, because the whole book is built on this revelation that’s played out by the time you’ve finished reading the title… how do you take something where all of that is given away before you even get anyone interested, and make it compelling?”
Telling it with puppets is a start, but Trouble Puppet shows usually layer on a bit of political commentary and a lot of humor. A long-time vegan and something of an anarchist at heart, Hopkins described his ideology by pointing out that a number of Trouble Puppet shows explicitly conflate capitalism with cannibalism. Even when he’s doing shows that seem apolitical, he often turns to the historical background to add flavor to the story.
That’s why in Hopkins’s The Strange Case of Edward Hyde and Dr. Jekyll, there will be a socialist chambermaid, and Dr. Jekyll’s journal reveals an interest in the burgeoning field of eugenics, which proposes to improve mankind through targeted breeding and sterilization over several generations. An avid optimist, this Jekyll hopes instead to “perfect it in an instant with a hypodermic!” But, as we all know, things don’t quite go as planned.
While he wouldn’t reveal too much about his updated version, Hopkins did talk about his love of what puppetry can do that normal theater can’t: “You can’t make your actor grow to be five times taller than they are. You can’t literally fly people around. You can’t fling your actors off the stage to lie in a heap for the rest of the show.” You certainly can’t mount Shakespearean battles or disembowel your actors on stage, but that’s precisely what Hopkins did in Trouble Puppet’s production of Macbeth.Write comment (0 Comments)
(*) Rehearsal Video: WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? by Edward Albee, Attic Rep at the Tobin Center, San Antonio, November 12 - 23, 2014
- Published on Friday, 24 October 2014 18:04
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(*) WHITE CHRISTMAS, musical based on the Irving Berlin film, book by David Ives and Paul Blake, Woodlawn Theatre, November 28 - December 28, 2014
- Published on Friday, 24 October 2014 17:06
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THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Jay Presson after Muriel Spark, Different Stages at the Vortex, November 21 - December 13, 2014
- Published on Friday, 24 October 2014 11:40
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- Published on Friday, 24 October 2014 04:59
(with a tip of the hat to Stacey Glazer)
Published October 23 via the SRO Associates Facebook page:
SRO Associates, Inc.
SRO Associates, Inc. IS HIRING!!! We are adding to our very special family of Story Artisans. If you are a creative, outside of the box thinker who wants to to be challenged and excels in a collaborative work environment, WE WANT YOU. We are seeking qualified professionals for the following positions:
A SCENIC FABRICATOR This position seeks someone with extensive skills in wood and plastic fabrication. The right person for this job will have 3 to 5 years professional scenic studio or similar experience. Please note - we finish everything to museum grade quality. This position is best suited for an artisan who likes the opportunity to do their best work.
AN ARTISTIC METAL FABRICATOR This position calls for a creative problem solver who is a very a qualified welder. The right person for this job will have 3 to 5 years in a professional scenic studio, decorative metal shop, or the equivalent. Aluminum and Stainless experience a plus.
A DRAFTSMAN The best person for this job will be versed in AutoCad and/or Vectorworks and be familiar with scenic construction methods. This person will be drafting, scenic drafting, preparing shop drawings and preparing submittals. The best person for this job will be detail oriented and be a stickler for things done correctly.
ASSOCIATE SCENIC DESIGNER This is a great opportunity for a recent MFA or BFA scenic designer who has a couple of years of regional theatre under their belt. We are looking for someone who is competent in Vectorworks and/or AutoCad, SketchUp or another 3D modeling tool. Experience with Illustrator and Photoshop are helpful. This person will answer to the Sr. VP of Design and Construction and will support her in her design projects. This position will have also have independent design responsibilities, your portfolio will be an important part of the application process. This is a great opportunity for a designer who really wants to expand their vision beyond just the stage. You will be working on very large projects and with entirely new types of material and techniques. The best person for this job will work well in a collaborative environment, is an innovative visual artist, and is looking to grow their skill sets.
These positions are all full time positions at our Boerne, TX studio.
- CTXLT review: ARDEN OF FAVERSHAM by anonymous collaborators, Hidden Room Theatre, October 17 - 19, 2014
- (*) THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP by Charles Ludlam, Company Theatre at Little Italy restaurant, San Antonio, November 6 - 15, 2014
- (*)TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION, Company Theatre at Big Apple Room, Little Italy, San Antonio, October 31, 2014
- (*) THE TROJAN WOMEN by Euripides, Vexler Theatre, San Antonio, October 25 - November 15, 2014
- Auditions in Austin for MY DINNER WITH BAMBI by Randy Lewis, University of Texas, November 12, 2014
- SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE JERSEY LILY by Katie Forgette, Austin Playhouse, November 21 - December 21, 2014
- HAMLET by William Shakespeare, Mary Moody Northen Theatre, St. Edward's University, November 13 - 23, 2014
- A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE by Martin McDonaugh, PSH Studio Theatre, Texas State University, San Marcos, November 6 - 9, 2014
- WILD AND PRECIOUS by Steve Cadwell, University of Texas, November 13, 2014
- WAITING FOR LEFTY by Clifford Odets, Street Corner Arts at the Hyde Park Theatre, December 5 - 20, 2014