Category: Marketing

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
MCCT Presents “The Tempest” for 29th Annual Shakespeare in the Park

MCCT Presents “The Tempest” for 29th Annual Shakespeare in the Park

Monroe County Civic Theater

PO Box 2032, Bloomington, IN 47402

info@mcct.org | mcct.org

For Immediate Release

 MCCT TO PERFORM “THE TEMPEST” FOR 29TH ANNUAL SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK

Bloomington, IN – Monroe County Civic Theater, Bloomington’s first and only all-volunteer theater company, is pleased to announce their production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest May 31-June 3 at Waldron Hill & Buskirk Park in Bloomington, Indiana.

The Tempest is a story of magic, mystery, and intrigue as Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, seek their rightful place in the world. Prospero is a powerful magician and creates a storm at sea to bring enemies to shore and demand his rightful place in the kingdom. Along the way, the audience meets a large cast of characters, from the sprite Ariel to the dark and sinister Caliban.

In addition to The Tempest, this Shakespeare in the Park season introduces the MCCT Children’s Theater program with a pre-show performance of Tempest in a Teacup, a shorter version of the story designed to aid the audience in understanding the plot and celebrating young actors.

The Tempest is directed by Rory Willats, and Tempest in a Teacup is directed by Jason Lopez. All-told, Shakespeare in the Park combines the talents of over 45 local residents, from acting to behind the scenes work on costumes, sets, and sound. Shakespeare in the Park is always free. Attendees are invited to bring blankets and chairs and make an evening of it. Park restrooms will be available.

MCCT was recently given the designation of Bloomington’s first Dementia-Friendly theater group from Indiana University Health. The Sunday performance will be a dementia-friendly, relaxed performance.

When:

May 31, June 1, June 2:       Tempest in a Teacup: 6:45pm        The Tempest: 7:00pm

June 3                                    Tempest in a Teacup: 2:45pm        The Tempest: 3:00pm

More information:
Contact MCCT at info@mcct.org

Actor Profile: Eric Van Gucht portrays Teddy in “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?”

Actor Profile: Eric Van Gucht portrays Teddy in “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?”

Monroe County Civic Theater is entering into its 32nd season as Bloomington’s only all-volunteer, amateur community theater company. First up, director Isadore James Torry brings us a gripping drama where small town diner patrons and staff are held hostage and forced to face their own mortality… and each other.

Eric Van Gucht plays Teddy, the perpetrator of these crimes in the MCCT production of Mark Medoff’s “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?” the 1974 Obie Award winner for Distinguished Play. The production will be performed at Cafe Pizzaria, April 6-8, 7pm.

This is the first in a new series of MCCT actor/crew profiles. I’ve asked Eric to talk about playing Teddy, his experiences as an IU Theater graduate, and what community theater means to him.

 

KHV:

When did you first want to be an actor? Was there a first acting experience that really made you love it and can you tell us about that?

EVG:

I was in seventh grade, around age thirteen, when I started doing theater seriously. I had a neighbor who had done it for several years, and I saw him acting and thought it would be fun to try. At the time I didn’t expect my theatrical career to last as long as it has, but I’m glad it did. At my first serious audition for a middle school play I ended up getting the lead role and never looked back. It’s been a very good friendship between the craft and I.

One production that I really loved which made me really want to pursue theater beyond just a high school level was The Fantasticks as a junior at Bloomington North. I got to be on stage with my best friend, and it was the first serious show (i.e. show not written for middle school audiences) that I’d ever experienced. It remains one of my favorites to this day.

KHV:

What would you say your biggest hurdles were as an actor/theater student? Did you consider other degree programs?

EVG:
Good question! One of the hardest parts about theater was learning how to deal with failure. Since I had a couple of lead roles in middle school, I came in a little overconfident as a high school actor. In those four years I ended up doing two productions where I acted on stage, and two more where I worked backstage.

For beginning actors an important lesson to learn is that the nature of competing in professional theater means you’re going to get a lot more noes than yeses. I’ve done a lot of work with Monroe County Civic Theater and other local groups, and I’ve gotten involved in a few independent shows connected to IU.

I also have a B.A. in French, and between the two degrees I feel like I have a good command of words. I never really considered any other degree programs at the time, but in hindsight it might have helped me to consider other options. I love to do theater, but creativity has a lot of competition in it.

KHV:

What can you tell us about your current role in “When Ya Comin Back, Red Ryder?” as Teddy, a Vietnam veteran who holds the customers and staff in a 1970s New Mexico diner hostage? How did you prepare for it and how do you think your personal and professional experience helped you learn about the character?

EVG:
I’m reading Teddy as a misanthrope, someone who’s seen the worst of the world and doesn’t know how to react accordingly. He either doesn’t care anymore, or has a desire to cause pain to the very system that enabled him. At the same time, he is able to get several characters to figure out their own values, so I’d argue there is something significant in that.

The role is very psychologically and physically challenging, but I love roles that are psychologically troubled. These characters often have more life experience due to the inconsistent and chaotic nature of their world.

KHV:

What are your goals as an actor in our community and beyond? What kind of roles do you think would stretch you?

EVG:
In terms of stretching myself? I’d love a chance to play a romantic lead in the near future, to try to see if I can succeed. I also would love to play characters that seem to have something missing in their lives. Essentially “man vs. society” and/or “man vs. self” roles, perhaps a combination of the two whenever possible. My goal is to find the balance between art and life, and find the time to enjoy both.

There’s a hidden beauty to art, and I’d love to try to find out what that means. It might help bring back some hope in this world that we seem to be missing nowadays. Basically, I want to explore the therapeutic, healing side of art. I’ve heard a saying: “As long as you have four things – an idea, an artist, a location, and an audience – then art will always survive.” I’ve always loved that saying.

KHV:

What advice would you like to give for anyone looking to get involved in community theater, or for someone who wants to study acting professionally? Any other words of wisdom?

EVG:

I’m going to paraphrase something I was told by a fellow actor, which is something I try to use both on stage and in life: “Don’t do the work looking for a reward.” Let it happen naturally, and let the work itself be rewarding. Knowing yourself is very important in life, and I’d argue especially in the arts.

Last Question: who would you like to give a shout out of thanks to for their support?

I’d like to thank my dad Dirk, stepmom Linda, and late mom Ruth for coming to so many shows and fostering my love for the arts; my brother Nick, sister Dinska, and stepbrother Chris because even if they can’t make my shows they always give me words of encouragement; the cast of Red Ryder for keeping me grounded during this production; Andi Dema, a great actor and great man who I am honored to call my best friend; and to Allison Moody, a professor I had for two semesters in college who I consider my mentor.

Interview conducted by Katelin Hope Vesely, MCCT

***

The historic Cafe Pizzaria is partnering with MCCT for this show.  We will set the stage in their back room with the authentic decor of times gone by. Cafe Pizzaria was the first to bring pizza to Bloomington in 1953, and is still housed in a building which lends itself well to the 1970s restaurant aesthetic in Red Ryder. This will be an immersive experience, with the audience sitting close as if also witness to the events taking place.

Cafe Pizzaria is located at 405 E. Kirkwood Ave.

When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?” is April 6-8 at 7pm. Mark your calendars and purchase tickets in advance through https://mcct.yapsody.com/