Author: mcct

Actor Profile: All Hail the King (Lear). Roy Sillings has never been better as King Lear

Actor Profile: All Hail the King (Lear). Roy Sillings has never been better as King Lear

Roy Sillings has been a part of MCCT for years, playing many roles and challenging the actors that work with him to be better than they have ever been before. As Lear, Roy is every bit the mad king, bringing every part of Lear’s personality to the stage.

What made you audition for Lear?

I didn’t audition.  I was offered the part, probably because I’m old and foolish.

Why do you think this story matters for today’s audiences?

Many of the themes: political, social, psychological and philosophical are, for better or worse, especially relevant today.  It is in some ways a vast morality play commenting on almost every aspect of the human experience.  As one of the great monuments of Western literature, it is an uplifting testament to human creativity, and the heights to which the mind and art of man are capable.  In that sense, this profound tragedy encourages hope.

What new things have you learned as a result of this show?

Further admiration for Shakespeare’s skill as a dramatist.  An incredible amount of background and critical material on King Lear.  I learned just how long my hair and beard can grow in six months and how to pronounce “oeillade”.

Community/Civic theater is a unique challenge. What has been the hardest part of this show? the easiest?

The hardest part has probably been learning to control my pain at the necessary cuts. I understand it is absolutely impossible to do the play without considerable cropping, but in most cases, something wonderful is lost.  Fortunately, the play is so full of wonders, the loss is probably not felt except by those who love the play and know it well. I’m also a little worried about the physical and mental challenges of a role as huge as this.  At my age, things happen…or don’t. 

The easiest has been enjoying the company of everyone on the show.  The rehearsals are exciting and fun.  The schedule not too demanding.  Great cooperation and collaboration.

How did you get involved with MCCT?

Many years ago, walking through the park, I discovered an MCCT audition in progress and did it on a dare. Got a part. Made some great friends. Got addicted, especially to Shakespeare in the park. Wound up on the board.   

What do you do when you’re not rehearsing and memorizing Shakespeare?

Rehearse or memorize something else.  Read, watch the news (Arrgh!) or movies (Yeah!).  Write computer program at work and some for myself at home. Hang out with friends.

Why should audiences come to this show?

See 2 above. Also, because civic theatre, the product of voluntary effort and local contributions, has a unique charm. There’s something wonderful about watching a group doing something for no more than the love of it.  The limited means and warm-hearted inclusiveness inspire audience reactions ranging from amusement to genuine admiration. The performance in a real sense belongs to them. Coming to the show supports a unique and valuable asset of their community.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks to everyone that made this show possible.

Come see Roy and the rest of the King Lear cast beginning October 12!

  • October 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20 at 7:00pm
  • October 14 at 3:00pm

Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Rose Firebay.

Get your tickets today at mcct.yapsody.com.

Actor Profile: Marty Cusato joins MCCT as the Fool in King Lear!

Actor Profile: Marty Cusato joins MCCT as the Fool in King Lear!

Marty Cusato makes his MCCT debut in King Lear this weekend! We asked him why he joined MCCT and why Lear matters today.

What made you audition for Lear?

I wanted to get involved with a non-profit community-oriented arts organization.

Why do you think this story matters for today’s audiences?

It reflects the disintegration of the family/community when people put their own self-interest first.

What new things have you learned as a result of this show?

That Shakespeare’s style is to use 20 words when 5 or 6 would suffice.

Community/Civic theater is a unique challenge. What has been the hardest part of this show? the easiest?

The easiest is the instant rapport that was created with the rest of the cast and crew. The hardest is creating and/or understanding a character’s backstory in relation to the dialouge.

How did you get involved with MCCT?

Through a customer’s son and friend invoved in a previous project.

What do you do when you’re not rehearsing and memorizing Shakespeare?

I enjoy cooking, gardening, and sailing, and needless to say, work fulltime.

Why should audiences come to this show?

It’s a tragedy that seems to have something for everybody, not to mention the absolute dysfuction will make you feel better about our own family.

Come see Marty and the rest of the King Lear cast beginning October 12!

  • October 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20 at 7:00pm
  • October 14 at 3:00pm

Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Rose Firebay.

Get your tickets today at mcct.yapsody.com.

Crew Profile: B. Stryker DeLong Creates Lear’s World with Fabric and Imagination.

Crew Profile: B. Stryker DeLong Creates Lear’s World with Fabric and Imagination.

B. Stryker DeLong has been behind the scenes and on stage with MCCT for years. We caught up with her amidst costuming and chaos to talk about why she supports local theater and how costuming helps shape the story.

What made you decide to lend your talents to this show?

I’ve worked with Steve Heise before and he asked me to do this Lear.  There are several actors in this production that I love to work with, so it was a go for me. I love working with MCCT because I find the freedom to experiment with different design concepts, different materials, and different ways of thinking of how these things help the actor create a character. 

What is the hardest part of being a part of this production?

The hardest part of this production for me is the timing.  August-October is the busiest time of year for me and finding the time necessary to get this show together along with my other time commitments has been difficult. However, this production team and cast have gone out of their way to accommodate my strange schedule.

How did you get started with MCCT?

A few years ago, a friend of mine was doing Shakespeare in the Park and asked me to help with costumes. I had been doing a lot of work with high school productions and thought it would be nice to work with adults for a change. 

What do you do when you’re not helping with shows like King Lear?

Unlike most of the people involved with MCCT, I am employed in the entertainment industry. I’ve been in theatre since I was 14 years old. These days, I am employed part-time at IU Auditorium with backstage hospitality and as a wardrobe person.  I also freelance as a costumer/costume designer. AND I belly dance with two different troupes here in Bloomington, The Caravanserai Dancers and Different Drummer Belly Dancers.

Why should people come see this production?

I believe that this production of Lear is going to be an exciting evening of theatre. I’ve watched the cast and crew work extremely hard to bring this story to life.

Come see B. Stryker Delong and the rest of the King Lear cast/crew beginning next Friday!

  • October 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20 at 7:00pm
  • October 14 at 3:00pm

Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Rose Firebay.

Get your tickets today at mcct.yapsody.com.

Actor Profile: Gwen Livesay says goodbye to Bloomington with a Tour de Force as Cordelia in King Lear

Actor Profile: Gwen Livesay says goodbye to Bloomington with a Tour de Force as Cordelia in King Lear

Gwen Livesay has made the Bloomington Theater scene her home for several years. As she prepares to move after the close of the show, we talked to her about Cordelia, theater, and what it all means.

What made you audition for Lear? 

It’s one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and one of his best tragedies. Cordelia is one of the strongest female characters in a Shakespeare play, and I was interested in playing that.

Why do you think this story matters for today’s audiences?

I think it matters because it shows how narcissism in a country’s leader can bring about the downfall of that country  Under our current administration, we’re seeing how that plays out.

What new things have you learned as a result of this show?

This show has challenged me as an actor in new ways. Cordelia isn’t onstage very much, but when she is, she has a very weighty presence. I’ve also learned that I’m really good at playing dead.

Community/Civic theater is a unique challenge. What has been the hardest part of this show? The easiest?

Surprisingly, learning the lines has been the hardest part. I’m usually quite good at memorizing lines, but this show has proven harder than usual. The easiest part for me is acting with a group of people I feel at ease with.

How did you get involved with MCCT?

Three years ago, I had a small role in Cymbeline, that year’s summer Shakespeare.  I’ve gradually worked my way up to playing more significant roles and even co-directed one play.

What do you do when you’re not rehearsing and memorizing Shakespeare?

I work at IU Varsity Shop in Assembly Hall.

Why should audiences come to this show?

It’s one of Shakespeare’s best plays.  It also has strong female characters and themes that are still relevant today.

Come see Gwen and the rest of the King Lear cast beginning next Friday!

  • October 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20 at 7:00pm
  • October 14 at 3:00pm

Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center Rose Firebay.

Get your tickets today at mcct.yapsody.com.

Writer Profile: Nicholas Krohn Pens Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision)

Writer Profile: Nicholas Krohn Pens Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision)

Playwright Nicholas Krohn drew on real and fictional inspiration to pen Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision) and is excited to see this new version come to life in September.
 
How did you get involved in MCCT? What made you audition for this show?
 
I’m the playwright, so I became involved when the director (hi, Emily!) convinced MCCT to produce my play.
 
How long have you been acting/involved in theater?
 
I’ve been doing theater more or less since the eighth grade when my speech and drama teacher (hi, Mrs. Reising!) took a chance on me by letting me into her class.
 
What do you do when you’re not writing?
 
I’m not sure my brain ever stops writing, but I also play guitar, I’m a voracious reader and an extremely amateur magician. With that and my frequent insomnia, I keep pretty busy.
 
What has been an unexpected challenge of this production?
 
When I first wrote this play a few years ago, I deliberately set out to write in such a way as to give it a long shelf life. Comedies, especially ones that revolve around technology, tend to lose their relevance quickly. To stay away from that, I kept things generic, referring to “online” or “internet” dating as opposed to the specific platform people used at the time. It’s been challenging to accept how close I came to utter failure on that goal. I managed it, but only just. I felt so safe at the time.
 
What has been most rewarding?
 
Just having the play be produced is its own reward, and seeing the super talented cast get excited about putting the play before an audience is a great feeling. And knowing that Emily’s tireless enthusiasm for the material made her want to do this, and MCCT’s support have both been very humbling and touching.
 
Why should audiences come to see Uncertainty?
 
Because it’s a good laugh, and hopefully there is food for thought as well.
 
What are your top three dream roles?
 
In ascending order:
  1. Prospero in The Tempest
  2. The manager in The Office (not necessarily Steve Carrell’s part, just any manager)
  3. A tie between old Batman and old Superman in a film adaptation of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. Which I’m also available to write. I work cheap.
What made you write Uncertainty (Or,  Imprecision)?
 
I’m not sure I wanted to write this show before I was already well into the process of writing it. For me, there is a point during writing where there is enough material for me to see something interesting taking shape, and then I know what the end product should feel like. At the time I wrote this, I had no real technique for applying structure to my work. Now I do, but even still, that gets rolled into the process of getting to the point of inspiration, and then that initial planned structure changes slightly.
 
tl/dr: I have no idea. Seemed like a good idea at the time.
 

 

Catch the show at Oddball Fermentables
  • Sunday, September 9 at 2:00pm
  • Monday, September 10 at 7:00pm
  • Tuesday, September 11 at 7:00pm
Actor Profile: Jessica Joslin brings Allison to Life in Uncertainty

Actor Profile: Jessica Joslin brings Allison to Life in Uncertainty

During her long, construction-heavy commute from Indianapolis, Jessica Joslin has plenty of time to think about her Uncertainty alter-ego, Allison, and what it means to step back on stage after a long hiatus.
 
How did you get involved in MCCT? What made you audition for this show?
 
Emily McGee has been trying to get me involved with something in theatre down here for several years. I think she had just about given up on me when I came to audition for this. 
 
How long have you been acting/involved in theater?
 
I started Meisner training in spring of 1999. I haven’t been on stage in 17 years prior to this production.
 
What do you do when you’re not rehearsing?
 
Rehearsing. But this time, music. I’m a frontman and bass player for a rock band in Indianapolis. I’m also in graduate school, preparing to test for my LMHCa License to be a mental health counselor.
 
What has been an unexpected challenge of this production?
 
The commute. I drive 1.5 hours to and from rehearsals, and I have a big part in the production. I’m in most rehearsals. That construction!!!! Whew!
 
What has been most rewarding?
 
Being here, going through the process again for the first time in so many years. I think theatre, once in your blood, never leaves. My theatre life was dormant for years. I constantly waged the battle to beat it silent after seeing shows and volunteering for local theatres. It was like laughing again for the first time in a year or something to be able to do this work again.
 
Why should audiences come to see Uncertainty?
 
It is just so darn funny. I mean, when you work on a comedy, you get used to each other’s jokes because you’ve heard the script a million times. However, in this play, the way we all work together, we are constantly laughing in fresh places. This show sounds and looks different every single time we run it. Our director is a genius that way. She just throws all of us in the same soup pot without telling us what the finished dish is supposed to be. So you might get beef stew and you might get chili. No matter what, every drop is just a pleasure.
 
What are your top three dream roles?
 
I would love to do Laura from The Glass Menagerie before I start looking my age. I love any Ibsen and Shaw roles, and can’t wait to truly hit middle age just to be able to be a great Virginia Woolf. I’d like to keep my options open on that third one. I mean, I didn’t know about this role at all, and I love it dearly. 
 
What is the best/worst thing about playing Allison?
 
Playing Allison is sometimes scary for me because she’s almost exactly like me in my youth. It’s the best and worst thing. Sometimes I freak out a little thinking, “This feels too easy!!!! Did I really do the work?!” Then we get to really hard part in my lines and I realize, Oh yeah. I did the work alright.
 
Anything else you’d like to add?
 
Thanks to MCCT for taking a chance on a fresh face and an out of practice actor.
 

 

Catch the show at Oddball Fermentables
  • Sunday, September 9 at 2:00pm
  • Monday, September 10 at 7:00pm
  • Tuesday, September 11 at 7:00pm
Crew Profile: Emily McGee Celebrates Her Directorial Debut with Uncertainty

Crew Profile: Emily McGee Celebrates Her Directorial Debut with Uncertainty

When Uncertainty came to life the first time, Emily McGee portrayed Werner Heisenberg. This time around, she is stepping behind the curtain to make this hilarious show her directorial debut. In her career, Emily has been an actress, costumer, props master, and so much more. Read on to find out why Uncertainty makes the perfect directorial debut, as well as why she loves Bloomington and MCCT.

 

How did you get involved in MCCT? What made you audition for this show?

 

I was first involved with MCCT back in 2013, I think?  I was cast as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I just became reacquainted with MCCT last year when I was cast in Travesties, which was also done at Oddball Fermentables.  I had taken a look at the upcoming season and realized that there was a deep need for some comedy, and it all just sort of clicked.

 

How long have you been acting/involved in theater?

 

I have had a 26-year love affair with theatre.  I was bitten by the theatre bug when I was in a production of The Music Man and here I am, over 130 productions later on and I still love it.

 

What do you do when you’re not rehearsing?

 

It is very rare that I am not rehearsing for something! When I’m not rehearsing, I can usually be found hanging out with my husband and my cats!

 

What has been an unexpected challenge of this production? 

 

This is officially my directorial debut.  I felt ready to really actually direct something; but, usually, when people just start out directing, they usually pick a show with 2-4 actors.  It didn’t occur to me until I was setting up the scripts and water for the table read that I took on an ensemble show with 9 actors!

 

What has been most rewarding? 

 

I am humbled by my cast.  Every day they come to rehearsal with something more to offer and it just blows my mind!  I have also enjoyed watching actual friendships form amongst them.  There are so many moments that are coming out of the script that are fueled with a genuine care for each other.  That’s not a thing that can be directed, and it is just a wonderful thing to see.

 

Why should audiences come to see Uncertainty?

 

Nick has crafted a script that is ridiculously funny and sometimes heart-breaking in its way, but in the end, I feel like the play has something really profound to say about friendships or the family that you choose for yourself. It is just so rare to see a well-crafted comedy that actually has a strong message at its core.

 

What are your top three dream roles?

 

Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Blanche Dubois in Streetcar Named Desire

 

You acted in this production before directing it. How are the two different? 

 

Oh my gosh! EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT! When I first did the show, I was just getting into acting in theatre that was not attached to any kind of music.  I had been doing a lot of musical theatre and opera, so this was my first shot at ‘straight theatre’.  I don’t even think that it occurred to me that I would have wanted to direct at that point.  I played Heisenberg when I acted in it and loved every minute. Directing has been a new and exciting challenge.

 

 

Catch the show at Oddball Fermentables
  • Sunday, September 9 at 2:00pm
  • Monday, September 10 at 7:00pm
  • Tuesday, September 11 at 7:00pm
Actor Profile: Gregory Maus Steps into Stephen Hawking’s Life

Actor Profile: Gregory Maus Steps into Stephen Hawking’s Life

Gregory Maus is stepping on to the stage for the first time since…well, it’s been awhile. Learn a little more about him and why he is excited to bring Stephen Hawking (yes, that Stephen Hawking) to life in Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision) this September!
What made you audition for Uncertainty?
My friend Lucas suggested that I try out for the play. Presumably, he thought my stick-like physique and arrogant pedantry made me a good fit for Hawking.
How long have you been acting/involved in theater?
I mean, life is theater…man…you know?… As far as actual productions though, I did a few parts in church plays during high school ten years ago, but haven’t done it formally since then.
What do you do when you’re not rehearsing?
Mostly I procrastinate on getting anything done for my Ph.D. program, including playing tabletop and computer strategy games and memorizing lines.
What has been an unexpected challenge of this production?
Personally? Transportation. Based on the try-out location I foolishly assumed that rehearsals would be within biking distance for me. I have since had to parasitically prey off the kindness and generosity of my cast mates with cars.
What has been the most rewarding part of being in an MCCT show?
Getting to know my all-too-generous castmates has been delightful, whether chatting during breaks or on car rides.
Why should audiences come to see Uncertainty?
It’s the most hilarious rendition of dead drunk physicists commenting on ridiculously terrible dates that they’ll ever see. (Probably.)
What are your top three dream roles?
Myself: That would imply that I’ve done (or at least been involved with) something sufficiently significant and/or interesting that a play or movie exists about it, and I’m apparently still alive, healthy, and free to play it. Hannibal Lecter because creepy sociopathic geniuses are fun. And, of course, Alexander Hamilton, well-meaning and perhaps over-ambitious geniuses are also delightful and how can one pass up Miranda’s writing?
What is the best/worst thing about bringing Stephen Hawking to life?
What I really enjoy about playing Hawking (or at least Uncertainty‘s version of him) is this fun dichotomy between his starry-eyed wonder at the transcendent beauty of the cosmos, contrasted with his all-too-human pettiness born of deep insecurities. I suspect that the worst thing will be if people expect me to actually explain his theories, but despite my efforts and initial enthusiasm, I have yet to actually finish A Brief History of Time.
Make plans to see Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision) September 9-11 at Oddball Fermentables in Bloomington. Tickets go on sale August 15.
King Lear Cast Announcement

King Lear Cast Announcement

Monroe County Civic Theater’s Fall production of KING LEAR has a cast! And a wonderful one at that. Meet the players –

Lear – Roy Sillings
Fool – Martin Cusato
Kent – Steve Scott

Goneril – Nicole Hill
Albany – Cairril Adaire
Oswald – Eric P. Van Gucht

Regan – Jennifer Whitaker
Cornwall – Nic Newby

Cordelia – Gwen Livesay
France – Parker Jones
Burgundy – Phillip Addison

Gloucester – Bill Goveia
Edgar – Oliver Moss
Edmund – Jason Lopez

Doctor – Dianne Shewmaker
Old Man – Dan Heise
Curan – Ashton Webb

Various Attendants, Servants, etc – Ashton Webb and Justin Brown

King Lear will be performed October 12-21 at the Firebay in the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. We are still looking for tech crew for this show, including a Stage Manager. Interested? Email mcctlear@gmail.com.

Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision) Cast Announcement

Uncertainty (Or, Imprecision) Cast Announcement

Uncertainty (or Imprecision) by Nicholas Krohn, is a new comedic play about three friends who meet at a bar on the same night to provide moral support for each other as they embark on their respective online dating prospects for the evening. Along for the ride is the bartender supplying the trio with plenty of liquid courage as well as two well-known (and completely out of their respective dimensions) scientists supplying plenty of terrible advice for the trio of friends as they embark on their first physical meeting with the people they have been chatting with online. The dates themselves prove to be one disaster after another in this bizarre and madcap comedy that proves once and for all that dating is the worst, but we all may as well laugh about it.
Stan: Emily Bedwell
Stephen Hawking: Gregory Maus
Werner Heisenberg: Jody Black
Eric: Matt Fletcher
Allison: Jessica Joslin
Stacy: Heather Wesner
Mitchell: Lucas Kempe-Cook
Swan: Bill Goveia
Debra: Evangeline Mee
Uncertainty (or Imprecision) will be performed September 9-11 at Oddball Fermentables in Bloomington. Tickets will go on sale in early August! Don’t miss it!