Category: Interview

Making Magic Behind the Scenes – Meet Stage Manager Dorothy Granger!

Making Magic Behind the Scenes – Meet Stage Manager Dorothy Granger!

There’s a good chance you’ve seen Dorothy at an MCCT show. She’s usually dressed all in black and she’s making sure the show happens from behind the curtain. As a seasoned Stage Manager, Dorothy is someone everyone in MCCT has come to rely on! Read on to hear why she volunteers with us and what being a part of MCCT means to her!

What brought you to MCCT in the first place?  
Jen Whitaker, we were at WFHB one day with nothing to do…

Why did you want to be a part of Farndale? 
Farndale is a hilarious script and who would not want to be a part of it?!?

What is the most challenging part of your role? 
Say WHAT?!? You think actors are the only ones with challenges?!?

How did you become a stage manager? It seems like hard work!
My daughter was in a professional company (Louisville/New Albany) when she was young and I was forced to sit through rehearsals…I mean, I went to all the rehearsals and am not very good at just sitting and being a good girl so I volunteered to help back stage and the rest is history. I am generally an organized person and this helps back stage.

What is something unexpected that you’ve learned by being a part of community theater? 
I’m not sure it was unexpected, but I love that everyone has a role in community theatre! Acting is not easy and it’s not for everyone…except here. Everyone is welcome, everyone is encouraged, and everyone can play!

What is your favorite thing about this show? 
The show is hilarious and it is fun to watch the actors have fun!

What is your biggest challenge with this show? 
Trying to stay healthy has been a challenge not only for me but for the majority of people involved with the show. So when you hear deep, guttural coughing backstage, it isn’t necessarily me.

What would surprise the audience to know about you? 
I am a quiet, retiring, bookish sort of woman.

Meet Mr. Peach – Steve Scott

Meet Mr. Peach – Steve Scott

Steve Scott becomes Mr. Peach in Farndale Macbeth

As we get closer to our Farndale Macbeth opening, we want to introduce you to some of our cast and crew. First up is Steve Scott. Steve has been a fixture in the MCCT and BPP worlds for years, but his role in Farndale is unlike anything he’s ever done before!

What brought you to MCCT in the first place?
A former President of MCCT, Eric Anderson, saw my silly theatrics when I taught children’s classes at my martial arts school. In 2012 he asked me to play the role of “the fireman” in “Studs Terkel’s Working: The Musical”. I loved it.

Why did you want to be a part of Farndale?
The role of Peach offers me a chance to stretch out and test my range as an actor.

What is the most challenging part of your role?
The wardrobe, the makeup. I’ve been getting a LOT of help with that!

What is something unexpected that you’ve learned by being a part of community theater?
It isn’t so much what I’ve learned but who I’ve gotten to know. I’ve met some outstanding people through my years at MCCT.

What is your favorite thing about this show?
It’s tremendously funny. I acted in four of MCCT’s Shakespeare productions and get the biggest kick out of seeing a farce built around “The Scottish Play”.

What is your biggest challenge with this show?
See #3. With the addition that walking in heels might be a challenge…

What would surprise the audience to know about you?
In real life I’m Mr. Peach’s antithesis. If I can make Steve Scott disappear and become a convincing George Peach, I’ll count it a success.

Farndale opens April 12 at Stages Bloomington. Tickets are $15 and available now. Get yours here!

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.

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: Mike Milam goes from MCCT Supporter to Cast Member in His Acting Debut

Actor Profile: Mike Milam goes from MCCT Supporter to Cast Member in His Acting Debut

After years of supporting MCCT behind the scenes, Mike Milam braves the stage as Alonso in The Tempest. We asked him about why he made the transition from proud supporter to actor, and how his knowledge of Shakespeare adds to this production of The Tempest.

How did you get involved with MCCT?

I became involved in MCCT because my daughter, Jennifer Whitaker, is on the board, and I and my wife, Pam, have been supporters for several years. Pam is also involved in MCCT matters, working on props, and, in fact, my grandson, William Whitaker, has played in several MCCT productions and in the present one.

How long have you been acting?

About a month. This is my maiden voyage. I cannot even recall being on stage in grammar school although I may have been once in that distant past.

What do you do when you aren’t rehearsing Shakespeare?

My day job is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of International Programs at the University of Indianapolis. After teaching ancient and modern drama, including the Bard, for a number of years, I decided to take a whack at Shakespeare, so to speak. I am on sabbatical this summer and next year, so after the Tempest, I will be reading, writing, working around the house, and relaxing for some time.

What has been the hardest part of this production?

Having taught Shakespeare in class, the language with which I am not unfamiliar proves not an encumbrance. However, speaking the lines is a challenge. I found out—and how sharp the point of this remembrance is!—that memorizing lines without speaking them aloud as one does the blocking is impossible.

What has been the most rewarding?

Seeing and being involved in making Shakespeare come alive on stage from the static existence of the page. When we study drama in class, we are concerned with structure, theme, historical context, language and such literary considerations. Being involved in performance has given me insights into what I teach that are exciting and revelatory.

Why should Bloomington audiences come out to see The Tempest?

Because we are going to knock their socks off! They shall weep! They shall laugh! They shall leave enlightened!

They shall leave cathartic! There will be moments of pathos. Acrobatics! Dionysian revelry. Levitation of levity! Tragedy merrily averted. Stunning visual effects. Maybe, just maybe, we shall collectively find out how the genius of tragedy and comedy are one as Socrates so tantalizingly suggests at the conclusion of The Symposium. Now, who would possibly want to miss that?

Come see Mike and the rest of the 2018 Shakespeare in the Park cast and crew May 31-June 3 at Waldron Hill Buskirk Park (formerly Third Street Park).

  • Thursday-Saturday shows are at 7:00pm, with a pre-show performance of Tempest in a Teacup at 6:45pm.
  • The Sunday matinee is at 3:00pm with a 2:45pm preshow.

As always, Shakespeare in the Park is free!

Actor Profile: As Ferdinand, Caleb Curtis Explores Bravery, Love and Loss

Actor Profile: As Ferdinand, Caleb Curtis Explores Bravery, Love and Loss

MCCT newcomer Caleb Curtis brings to life Ferdinand, the Prince of Naples, in The Tempest. We sat down with him before his MCCT debut to talk about dream roles, Ferdinand’s love and uncertainty, and what makes being a part of Shakespeare in the Park is really like.
How did you get involved with theater?
A friend of mine who was a part of Monroe County Civic Theater in the past heard that I was looking to be in a show before I went to Interlochen Camp of the Arts for the rest of the summer and suggested that I audition. So I did, and here I am!
How have you approached the role of Ferdinand?
Ferdinand is the Prince of Naples, and with that comes a massive amount of responsibility! I believe that Ferdinand is very reluctant to accept this position in life, and because of that has a supreme lack of confidence in himself and his abilities. Ariel mentions to Prospero that Ferdinand was the first to LEAP from the boat when it wrecked, and to me, that sounds like a man who is afraid. Throughout the course of the play, when Ferdinand speaks of himself, he is either building himself up to an amusing rate or tearing himself down, which I think supports the fact that he is very insecure. Miranda is not only the love of his life but through his love for her, he finds a strength that he never knew he had and she gives him the confidence that might help him one day accept his position in life.
What’s it like rehearsing each night in the park?
It allows me to absorb some vitamin D! In all seriousness, I really enjoy the ability to rehearse outside, considering most of my rehearsals take place in a cold dark theater. Sure, it gets hot sometimes, but the heat and the surroundings of the park really lend itself to this play! And for being in the middle of downtown Bloomington, this park is extremely beautiful!
What are your top three dream roles?
Edmond From A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Christopher from the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and a tie between Ned Weeks from The Normal Heart and Prior from Angels in America.
Why should Bloomington audiences come out to “The Tempest”?
This production of The Tempest is extremely immersive! The space that we find ourselves in, the nature of the play, and the way our director Rory has blocked this show takes the play off the stage and puts it right in front of the audience! I think this is a timely play that tackles many important themes including love, abuse of power, displacement, dealing with feeling alone, and even facing death. And, you even get a good laugh once in awhile! This cast is really doing the best they can to make this a memorable version of this frequently done play, and I think the work we’ve put in shows!
What do you hope the audience takes away from this production?
I hope audiences are able to identify with some aspects of these characters and the quirks and fears that they have! I hope the audience is able to receive the needed message that this play provides that Shakespeare has wrapped in a bow of magic, charm, and humor.

Come see Caleb and the rest of the 2018 Shakespeare in the Park cast and crew May 31-June 3 at Waldron Hill Buskirk Park (formerly Third Street Park).

  • Thursday-Saturday shows are at 7:00pm, with a pre-show performance of Tempest in a Teacup at 6:45pm.
  • The Sunday matinee is at 3:00pm with a 2:45pm preshow.

As always, Shakespeare in the Park is free!

Designer Profile: Jacy Harper Brings The Tempest to Life Through Costume

Designer Profile: Jacy Harper Brings The Tempest to Life Through Costume

As opening night for The Tempest draws near, we caught up with Jacy Harper, our costume designer for the show.
You’re a student right now, what are you studying?
I am majoring in Theatre with a minor in education.
How did you get into theater?
I got into theatre when I was in 5th or 6th grade and got to see our high school perform Into the Woods. After that, I was dead set on being a part of that.
What sparked your interest in costuming?
When I was in 8th grade I got my first sewing machine from my aunt and I had always wanted to make my own clothes. However, when I got into high school I found that making elaborate costumes for cosplay is way more fun than ordinary clothing. And because I’m already involved in theater, I was waiting for my chance to work on costumes for a show.
Do you have any favorite inspirations that contributed to your designs?
I feel that for this show specifically, I took a lot of inspiration from nature, as cliche as that sounds. I’ve been really obsessed with people/creatures mixed with Earth. After talking about color palettes, I thought this would be a good show to pull that into. Especially with the characters Caliban and Ariel.
Off of that, do you have any favorite pieces in this production?
With that said I think that Caliban, Ariel, and the Goddess costumes are my favorite pieces along with Prospero’s coral ruff.
Anything you don’t want the audience to miss?
I don’t want the audience to miss the Bloomington logo on the back of Prospero’s cloak.
How do think this show will connect to the Bloomington community?
I think that this show is very connecting because we have people of all ages and backgrounds in the show itself and we invite people of all ages and backgrounds to see the show as well and have aspects that everyone will enjoy. Especially with the children putting on the Tempest in a teacup. I also think that having a dementia-friendly performance is really great for the community.

Come see Jacy’s handiwork and the rest of the 2018 Shakespeare in the Park cast and crew May 31-June 3 at Waldron Hill Buskirk Park (formerly Third Street Park).

  • Thursday-Saturday shows are at 7:00pm, with a pre-show performance of Tempest in a Teacup at 6:45pm.
  • The Sunday matinee is at 3:00pm with a 2:45pm preshow.

As always, Shakespeare in the Park is free!