A Graphic Perspective

Afternoon, Greyfell fans! I’m Erik Morrison, a senior Theatre Arts and English major from Denver, CO at Lawrence University. For Thresholds, I’m playing Marty (Brian Zindler is my costar as Nibs) in Madeline Bunke’s genius 10-minute comedy Down the Drain. I’ve also been photographing a lot of our rehearsals and I designed both our logo and the door image for Thresholds. 

Yours truly! It’s hard to take an interesting photo of a graphic designer at work…

Yours truly! It’s hard to take an interesting photo of a graphic designer at work…

I’ve acted semi-regularly in Lawrence productions, and I love it. The experience of taking a play to performance from scratch in two weeks is totally unique, though. This is exactly why I want to go into new play development after I graduate —  it’s fascinating to work with material that’s so very new (even being honed while we rehearse) and to collaborate so directly with the playwright when bringing their dream to life. I think this is what I love most of all, and something that characterizes the whole Greyfell experience for me too. Even just a few days from opening, everyone is still collaborating in the creative process. When Madeline, our playwright, was having trouble with rewriting a line, Brian, our costume designer Tina, and I were so excited about getting it just right that all four of us just generated ideas for a the line for about half an hour. All of us are still helping shape these plays and Greyfell as a whole in every way possible. 

In addition to acting, I took on the duty of Series Dramaturg with Nathan Eckstein. Nathan coordinates the drafts of all of the plays submitted, and I take the themes and ideas of the plays and try to put them all together in a program note. It seemed like a good way to put my English major to use up here: I’m trying to incorporate both the scripts and the performances I’ve soaked in over the last few days to convey a sense of what makes us so excited about each piece, and what the audience should be looking forward to too.

As the second week dawns over Björklunden and we start refreshed with a brilliant Alexander Technique workshop from Lawrence’s Kathy Privatt, I couldn’t be more excited for Thursday. Today I’m braving the snow to get the word out about Thresholds by flier-ing in Ephraim and Fish Creek. See you all here!

Brian and myself working on  Down the Drain

Brian and myself working on Down the Drain

A Day of Laundry, Rehearsal, and Music

This fine Sunday has been spent doing a large variety of things. Some people took their time off in the morning to sleep in and catch up on some much needed sleep after the fast-paced work we've been doing over the last week. Others spent time together in rehearsals and working out some less time consuming tasks.

Then there are those who got some fresh air away from Björklunden and spent their afternoon running errands or getting a load of laundry in. 

Abi, Jessica, Luke, and Portia wait for their laundry to finish by having a book party right in the laundromat. 

Abi, Jessica, Luke, and Portia wait for their laundry to finish by having a book party right in the laundromat. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent getting ourselves back together and continuing rehearsals and working with scripts. Our evening session was an open workshop with Kathy Privatt, one of Lawrence University's professors in the Theatre Arts Department. She watched all four of our plays and provided feedback for the actors. We then took this advice and ran through various scenes with her to see how some of her ideas played out on stage. It was a pleasure as always to work with Kathy and we are very excited to be working with her tomorrow morning as well.

Kathy Privatt jumping into a scene with Sophie and Luke giving a visionary to how another character could act in the scene.

Kathy Privatt jumping into a scene with Sophie and Luke giving a visionary to how another character could act in the scene.

The rest of tonight has been spent working in various groups. Public Outreach has discussed how we want to run our presentation for the classes we're visiting tomorrow while the Music Directors for the production have been discussing what they would like to be played and meeting with different company members to see what instruments they brought to play and what songs we might be able to perform throughout our show. Because what's a celebration without music? 

Abi and Erik jamming out on their ukulele and banjo.

Abi and Erik jamming out on their ukulele and banjo.

Getting Ready!

Hi all!  My name is Helen Titchener and I’m an English and German double major with a minor in Theatre Arts from the Boston area.  Here at Greyfell I’ve been working on press releases, directing Tick-Tock, a play about a loving brother and his troubled sister and collecting props for all 4 plays—something I’ve never done before and is proving to be a blast.  I’ve done a quick run around Björklunden itself and found things like stools and tables.  My favorite find is a stand of big paper--like a less fancy whiteboard.  We have one play taking place in an advertising agency that that'll be great in.  Today though, I’m going shopping!  Top of my list is three small cardboard boxes—they’ll be in Stiff but you’ll have to come see the show to find out what they are!

I also really like writing press releases.  I’m working with one other person to write them and two other people to help get pictures for them.  It’s really exciting when a news outlet picks up our story from the press release I helped write!  (We’ll be in The Advocate next week—keep your eyes peeled!)  I'm a English Major, which means I normally write essays.  Seeing a way I can apply my major to my love of theatre is super exciting.  It's also a great chance to practice another style of writing.  

Ken and I write a press release!

Last night I went and saw a show at Third Avenue Playhouse—The Wonderful Life.  It was a great play and you should totally go see it—it runs through the 29th in Sturgeon Bay.  But I was really excited to see the audience, because I’m hoping we’ll be able to lure some of TAP’s regulars to our performance.  It was a good crowd, largely of older couples, who laughed through the play.  They were interested, they were engaged, they came early and only left after greeting TAP’s staff.  If we have such an audience for Thresholds: A Celebration of 10-Minute Plays, I’ll be delighted.

Movement and Caroling

Today was the first break that we as a company have had.  We spent the morning in a movement workshop with Deb Loewen, the artistic director of Wild Space Dance Company in Milwaukee.  She worked the entire company through a series of different movement exercises that forced everyone to think about how they can use their bodies to show different emotions and stories.  For one of the exercises, the room was divided into four quadrants with each quadrant representing two different words.  There were exact/brief, part/share, past/follow, and contact/somewhere.  It was fun to get to play with the lines between these different quadrants and to see how each person interpreted each word.  This was a great experience for everyone involved because it loosened everyone up and made us realize that we can work together to create many different interesting pieces of art.

Rehearsals for the plays continued throughout the day.  Sunday night, each play will be run for Lawrence theatre professor Kathy Privatt and so everyone was working on getting each show fully blocked out and run a couple of times.

Erik and Brian rehearsing  Down the Drain .

Erik and Brian rehearsing Down the Drain.

This evening, a group of company members went to Baileys Harbor's Town Hall to sing Christmas carols for their Christmas Tree Lighting celebration before the actual tree lighting.  It was a great success and was a lot of fun.  At one point, a group of little girls came up to us and asked if they could sing Jingle Bells with us.  It was absolutely adorable.  It was great to get out into the community and we got a lot of positive feedback from people in the community.

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Tonight was a nice break.  A group of people went to see This Wonderful Life at Third Avenue Players in Sturgeon Bay while another group stayed in to get a few things accomplished in order to have an amazing morning off tomorrow.  Tomorrow night, though, things pick back up at full speed and we hit the ground running with our first full runs of all of the plays for small audiences.

Almost a week in!

Sophie, Luke, and I rehearse for Sitting with Strangers.  

Sophie, Luke, and I rehearse for Sitting with Strangers.
 

Hello to all from chilly Bjorklunden! My name is Sarah Tiano and I am a junior Theatre Arts and Spanish major. Being a part of the inaugural year of Greyfell Theatre Company has been such a great opportunity. We've  been at Bjorklunden for almost a full week-- and I can't believe how much work Greyfell Theatre Company has done as a cohesive unit.  I have learned so much from my colleagues and am really excited about the works we will perform in less than a week! I am honored to be performing in Sitting with Strangers.  I will be playing a character named Linda- who will prove to ignore many boundaries!

Matt, Tina, and I on our adventure to Sister Bay!

Matt, Tina, and I on our adventure to Sister Bay!

Besides being really excited about acting in Sitting with Strangers,  I am most excited about is the progress this company has made. I am so impressed by everyone’s willingness to collaborate and help each other out. During company meetings, we all update each other one what is going on with each niche of our company. During yesterday's meeting, Tina and Matt volunteered to go to with me to Sister Bay to pick up our flyers from the printer. Our adventure proved successful, as we came home with 500 flyers to start advertising our upcoming shows. We will take some of these with us tonight as we carol and also to see a Theatre on the Avenue (TAP) show in Sturgeon Bay!

We are five days away from opening night! Each day gets better and better, so I can only imagine what this next week will bring.