Thursday, February 26, 2015

Five Questions for Carly Carman, Actor

Carly Carman is playing several roles in "The Nosemaker’s Apprentice" including Kent the Gatekeeper and Jean-Michel. We asked her five questions.

Carly performing Suddenly Seymour
in her high school's production of Little Shop of Horrors
What made you first interested in acting? 
Well, in second grade my town had this community theater that a lot of kids did. My mom put me in my first show there, Guys and Dolls Jr. to try and help me overcome my shyness. Every year the theater would do a musical and so musical theater became a huge part of my life. I performed there until about 8th grade when it was shut down, but still continued to do shows at my middle school, and eventually high school. It's such a huge part of my life, and has molded me into the person I am today, I couldn't imagine going on without it!

What do you find interesting or appealing about The Nosemaker’s Apprentice?
I think the humor is fantastic. Some of the jokes are so dry and crazy that I can't help but laugh almost every time I hear them. I think the show has so much flexibility for actors which is really nice because it opens us up to all different sorts of interpretations.

What is the most challenging aspect of acting in this play?
The accents! Particularly the Cockney accent I have to do for Kent is especially hard for me. You really need to focus on what your mouth is doing and think ahead of how the words are supposed to sound. When you put that together while you're on stage with costumes, make-up, lights, and a mask, it can be very overwhelming.

Carly and her favorite creature, Luna
What would be your ideal role or roles in any show?
I would love to be involved in Mamma Mia as any of the main women, Cosette, Fantine or Madame Thênardier in Les Misérables, and Miss Hannigan in Annie.

If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be? 
Definitely a kiwi. Is that a fruit? I think so. I don't know, they're so cute and sweet and so am I. And I love the color green.

Carly Carman is currently an Environmental Geoscience Major and plans to take a minor in Professional Writing. Aside from theatre, she enjoys eating things made with cheese, watching documentaries about aliens, and fighting for women's rights via her Twitter account.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Five Questions for Kelly Oberlin, Actor

Kelly Oberlin is playing Amelia in The Nosemaker’s Apprentice. We asked her five questions.

Kelly in rehearsal for Avenue Q
What made you first interested in acting? 
I first became interested in acting when I was just a little girl.  I always liked to perform for everyone so when I had the chance to be in a church musical I took the opportunity.  That was my first real experience with acting and I haven't stopped acting since.

What do you find interesting about The Nosemaker’s Apprentice?
The absolute hilarity that is this script is what's most appealing about this show.  Just the words themselves will have audience members rolling with laughter.

What is the most challenging aspect of acting in this particular play?
The most challenging part about acting in such a great comedy is actually breaking character and laughing.  I'm working alongside such great comedic actors that there are times when I just can't keep it together!

Kelly and friend
What would be your ideal role or roles in any show?
My dream role would be Elphaba in the musical Wicked.  Wicked holds a special place in my heart because it was the first show I ever saw on Broadway and ultimately was what set my dreams of one day being on Broadway myself.

If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
If I were a vegetable, I'd be a baby carrot because they're "Kelly sized." When I was little, whenever my older siblings found a small sized food, my siblings would say it was "Kelly sized."  So it's only appropriate that I would be a "Kelly sized" vegetable.

Kelly Oberlin is a senior integrated emphasis with a dance minor.  She works as an assistant director and assistant choreographer at Mifflinburg Area High School. In her free time Kelly loves going to New York to feed her Broadway obsession.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Five Questions for Kate Mochnacz, Actor

Kate Mochnacz is playing the role of Julie in The Nosemaker's Apprentice. We asked her five questions. 

Kate Mochnacz as Hecate
in the BU Players production of Macbeth, Fall 2014
What made you first interested in acting?
I saw my first Broadway show when I was seven.  My mom had planned to buy our tickets at TKTS, with the hopes of seeing Beauty and the Beast.  However, by the time we made it to the front of the line, there weren't two seats next to each other, and mom my didn't really want to let her seven year old daughter sit by herself.  I was given the choice between seeing Thoroughly Modern Millie or 42nd Street and choose Thoroughly Modern Millie because that name was more fun to say.  Five minutes into the show, I fell in love with theatre.  A short two months later, I was back in the city, this time with my mom, my brother, my grandma, my aunt, and my two cousins.  Again we tried to get tickets for a certain play (I forget which, but it’s not important to the story), but were unsuccessful.  I managed to talk my brother and cousin Max into seeing Thoroughly Modern Millie.  This time, I was much more observant of the show and the atmosphere.  I knew then that I wanted to be on stage and acting.

What do you find interesting or appealing about The Nosemaker’s Apprentice?
I love the script.  As the Little Girl, I really get to listen and focus on the story of the script.  It’s fun at every rehearsal to listen to the story that my fellow actors are telling.  I also love that every time we rehearse that I find something new about the story and the script.

What is the most challenging aspect of acting in this particular play?
Not laughing.  The show is funny and for most of the show, I’m listening to the story.  However, I can’t laugh, so that’s definitely a challenge for me.

What would be your ideal role or roles in any play or musical?
I have a long list dream roles and I've been fortunate enough to have been able to cross off a few of them since I started acting.  A few roles that are still on my list would be Little Red in Into the Woods and Emily Webb in Our Town.

Kate Mochnacz in her natural form
(a princess who loves cats)
If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be? Why?

I would be a strawberry because I love strawberries.  They’re also in season between April and August which is my favorite time of the year: April-June because the weather is nice, July because it’s my birthday month, and August because I occasionally have free time!

Kate Mochnacz is a sophomore majoring in Early Childhood/Special Education with a Concentration in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education as well as Theatre with an Integrated Emphasis.  In her free time, Kate balances her multiple majors, clubs, social life (insert laughter here) and questions her sanity.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Five Questions for David A. Miller, Director

David A. Miller is a theatre & dance division faculty member and Director of The Nosemaker's Apprentice. We asked him five questions.

King Duncan received Macbeth and Banquo
in Macbeth, directed by David A. Miller, Fall 2014
What first interested you in directing?
I believe that I began my theatre experience in Cub Scouts. We would do skits for the Pack Meetings and on camping trips. I have a vague memory of wanting to rehearse the skits more than the other scouts. I knew that we could get more out of the comedy… I was trained first as an actor, but by the end of undergrad I began to shift my focus to directing.

What do you find interesting about The Nosemaker's Apprentice
This play is fantastically ridiculous. As the playwrights guided us, it is a great chance to be shameless. As long as we are grounded in some sort of emotional truth we get to take things as far as we can. I love that freedom. And I love this style of comedy—the mix of highbrow and lowbrow, the mix of family friendly and far-from-family friendly humor.

Where have you found your inspiration for directing The Nosemaker’s Apprentice?
My love of Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, the Naked Gun series, Princess Bride and other comic sources have been great guides and inspiration. I always do a lot of research and the visual images that I find are pretty important in my understanding of the play and to how I share my understanding of the play with designers in early meetings. Several quotes from the play have been driving forces as well, including “You never know what horrors may be revealed to you when the masks be lifted and bandages unfurled.” and “…they lived short, brutish lives filled with magic and wonder.”

Who is an artist you admire? Why?
There are many artists I admire, that’s for sure. The visual artist Anselm Kiefer is one who springs to mind. The work that he does is socially conscious and visually impactful. I love the work of actor Mark Rylance. The way that he really lives on stage is phenomenal. I admire director Arin Arbus for the clarity and heart that she brings to her productions of Shakespeare’s plays.

If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
I would like to be a star fruit. There’s something so unique about it. I don’t know that I would be a star fruit, but I aspire to be a star fruit.

David A. Miller is a director, playwright and educator in his third year of teaching for the division of theatre and dance at Bloomburg University. He is a resident director for Amphibian Stage Productions in Fort Worth, TX (where he directed The Nosemaker’s Apprentice this past summer) and is the former founding artistic director of The Artful Conspirators in Brooklyn, NY. David is also a big fan of visual art and loves spending time in museums and galleries. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Five Questions for Sean Urbantke, Scenic Designer

Sean Urbantke is a guest artist Scenic Designer for The Nosemaker's Apprentice. We asked him five questions.

Wittenberg at Amphibian Stage Productions, 2011
Scenic Design by Sean Urbantke
What first interested you in your area of design?
I was drawn in by model trains and the models of landscapes designers and builders built for movies and t.v. back in the day before all this new-fangled, computer-generated, computer aided design world that we live in today (that I have thoroughly embraced!)  I was always fascinated by the facsimile of life and the environment boiled down to miniature.  As I looked for a way to incorporate that interest into a career, designing for the theater came into my radar.  I get the opportunity through theatrical design to create a world in which the story of a play takes place; I get to read a play, extract from that a message or theme, and use that to build something that is simultaneously informed by the play and informs the production.  I get to make visual art that comes to life right in front of you.

What do you find interesting about this play?
I find this play hysterical in content, but also poignant in context.  Gavin the Nosemaker goes through a series of life changes over the course of the play, and he both finds and loses and finds himself again, and also loses himself one or two times more.  Hilarity aside, it is a great analogy to the day-to-day struggle a lot of us find ourselves in, even when we already love our place in life.  Makes you laugh, makes you think, and definitely makes you appreciate not needing plastic surgery in the medieval era.

Where have you found your inspiration for designing The Nosemaker’s Apprentice?
I work best when I've got a good sounding board for ideas.  Sometimes when a discussion happens around the design table, it’s hard to tell where an idea came from or whose it was.  In this case, David, the director, came in with a few images of his own that piqued his curiosity or tickled his notion of what this play was, and one of them was a picture of old, craggy wooden planks that formed the side of a barn.  Something about it felt so right about the world of the play that we started the conversation there with the old wood as a sort of canvas, and the rest of the ideas began to fall right into place.

Who is an artist you admire?
I don’t really have a specific artist that I admire, I just have a type.  I admire the artist who can forsake all else for their art.  I admire the artist who lives and breathes for the message they try to convey.  I admire the artist who can find time to do what they love, but also holds family close to their heart and does what they need to pay the bills.  At the heart of it, I admire the artist who has unyielding passion for what’s important to them.  I also like sunsets and long walks on the beach….

If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be? 
Good question.  Probably an avocado.  You never know what’s going on beneath its skin.

Sean Joseph Urbantke is a scenic designer based out of the Washington, D.C. area, and the theatre design and technology professor at Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD.  Recent design work includes Every Tongue Confess directed by Dallas’ Jubilee Theatre artistic director Tre Garrett at the August Wilson Center for African American Studies in Pittsburgh, PA, Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson directed by Lars Tatom at Anne Arundel Community college, and Shakespeare's The Tempest directed by Dr. Thomas J. Walsh at the Trinity Shakespeare Festival.  He has served as assistant scenic designer on such high profile productions as Macbeth adapted by Teller and Aaron Posner at Folger Shakespeare Theatre in D.C., and the Helen Hayes Award-winning Stunning at Woolly Mammoth Theatre directed by Anne Kauffman.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Five Questions for Kellyanne Klause, Actor

Kellyanne Klause is a Senior at Bloomsburg University and is acting in The Nosemaker's Apprentice. We asked her five questions.

Kellyanne Klause as Versati in The Underpants, 2013
What made you first interested in acting? 
It all started one dark and stormy day during my lunch period in the third grade; my dear friend and I were fighting over a fellow classmate’s lunchbox.  One of us somehow ended up falling into the trash cans and the fight was over. When we told the story we turned it into this crazy epic tale of two best friends who were torn apart over a lunchbox and spent the rest of their days mad at each other, holding onto their grudge even when they met again at a retirement home. We ended up performing the play the next year at our fourth grade talent show.  It was in this moment that I realized I enjoyed making others laugh, (I promise it was much funnier than it sounds… possibly).  As I grew up I found myself being drawn to any opportunities to perform in front of others.  And the rest is history.

What do you find interesting or appealing about The Nosemaker’s Apprentice?
The comedy.  This is my favorite kind of comedy; in your face craziness mixed with subtle moments of ridiculousness add to the world of the play and to the comedy. I think it is amazing that every night at rehearsal the cast still laughs even though we have been working on the show for weeks now.  I cannot wait to share this play with audiences.

What is the most challenging aspect of acting in this particular play?
All of the different accents, doing one accent is a challenge but having three different accents that are constantly changing from character to character can be a bit difficult.  Trying to imitate the German accent ain’t no walk in the park.

What would be your ideal role in any play or musical?
I honestly do not know if I have a particular role in mind that I would love to play.  Last semester I played the role of Macbeth in Macbeth and I think I would like to play the role of Lady Macbeth at some point in my life.

If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
I would definitely be an apple because they are my favorite and they go well with peanut butter and that’s really all you need in life.

Kellyanne Klause is a senior dual-majoring in Theatre Arts and Communication Studies. She works on campus as a mentor for the Center for Visual and Performing Arts’ sophomore Living and Learning Community. She does not like Shakespeare, but she loves her hamster Kevin.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Five Questions for David Lanza, Sound Designer

David Lanza is a guest professional serving as Sound Designer for the BU Players production of The Nosemaker's Apprentice. We asked him five questions.

What first interested you in sound design?
I played in some horrible rock and roll bands in high school.  One of them actually decided for some reason to commit our sounds to CD, and we booked time at a local recording studio.  I was fascinated by all of the gear and knew I wanted to do something like that.  I also acted in community theater growing up.  I studied audio engineering in college with the intent of working in a recording studio, but slowly I began to combine my audio training and my theater background.  That led me to theatrical sound design, and I've been doing it ever since.

What do you find interesting about this play?
Simple, it's hilarious.  There's very few scripts that make me laugh out loud when I read them by myself, but this one had me rolling from the first page.

Where have you found your inspiration for designing The Nosemaker’s Apprentice?
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Also some video game I played once that took place in a medieval village that I can't remember the name of. 

Who is an artist you admire? 
The author, Douglas Adams.  I admire his ability to speak truth to things I in my head, but also make them accessible and extremely funny.

If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be? 
A Kumquat.  Why not?

David Lanza (Guest Sound Designer, The Nosemaker's Apprentice) graduated from Belmont University with a degree in Audio Engineering Technology.  He works as the resident sound designer for multiple theaters in the Dallas/Fort Worth area including Amphibian Stage Productions, Jubilee Theater, and Kids Who Care, in addition to acting as house sound technician for the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.  David has also acted as a production sound operator for national tours of Menopause The Musical, A Tuna Christmas and Tuna Does Vegas. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Character Evolution: Creation of The Nosemaker’s Apprentice Costume Designs

A sneak peek into the process of creating the costumes for The Nosemaker's Apprentice: Chronicles of a Medieval Plastic Surgeon from student costume designer Emily Miller:

When designing for any theatrical production, one has to read the play. When I first read the play, I couldn’t stop laughing, and the fast-paced feeling you got with the changing geography could give someone whiplash. Therefore, when I began researching for the design, I had to keep that quickness in mind. In addition, the emphasis on “conceal and reveal” idea from the director, and the fact that the story is told from the perspective of the Father made it key to find a balance between historically accurate costumes and the fanciful mindset of this ridiculous character.

The four most prominent characters are the Father, Little Girl, our hero, Gavin, and the lady-love, Amelia. From the beginning there is a special connection between the Father and Gavin, so connecting their characters subtly through costume stirred in my head when researching and drawing them. The Father gives off a prominent vibe as the Grandfather from The Princess Bride, which the director really connected with from the start. Therefore, the research began there; a mixture of a “50s father” with the Grandfather’s soft style resulted in a simple but elegant look for our story-telling plastic surgeon.

Gavin, although representative of the Father, still had this beautiful naiveté about him. At first, I was thinking of him simply as “the hero” and having a specific look about him. However, both the script and my gut led me towards a different path; Gavin is influenced one way or another by everyone he interacts with, and vice versa, so I felt it best to represent that influence through specific colors. Through research and rendering, green was ultimately chosen as Gavin’s “color”; he reminded me of a tiny sapling, breaking into the world a new bud, and ultimately shaped by its environment while making its own mark on the world. The metaphor guides how he will finally be portrayed in costume.

The Little Girl, as the Father’s daughter, has a specific part in the story as being the inspiration for its telling. What I found most interesting about her was the fact that we find out her “name” relatively quickly, but in the script she is the “Little Girl”. This gives the sense that no matter who she is as a character, since it is the Father’s story, he is trying to keep her in a “young” state. I began in the direction of Wendy Darling, nightgowns and pastel colors to give the appearance of youth to the actress, who already had a natural childishness about her still. Through discussion with the director, the idea was settled on making her look as young as possible, even younger than the character’s age of 8. That took me in the fun direction of sticking her in an animal onesie, such as “Hello Kitty” or a unicorn, and everything absolutely pink. Her bedroom would be drowning in pink, and so she would be too. Add a pair of super fuzzy socks, and what’s not to love? The ultimate comfort.

Amelia has stayed much the same throughout her design process; I loved the idea of her being the picture of innocence, untouched by every evil in the world. This idea strengthened with the director’s input that she be the essence of beauty, both sensually and sexually. The base idea in research was Cinderella-esque, the stereotypical bar wench fantasy. Being a peasant, she would have patches or holes in parts of her outfit, relating back to the “reveal/conceal” concept, but highlighting certain parts of her body without compromising the actress. A tasteful display, it was fun to design a simple, elegant costume. Even more fun was the design of her after she is ravaged; gone would be the simple, accenting over-layers; more of the rough undergarments would be revealed. The idea was to demonstrate just how much the world has affected this poor girl, stripping her down to her basest layers. However, included is a little skirt trick when she is “saved” that I had a lot of fun contemplating, hoping it’ll work out right.

Overall, the evolution of each character relied heavily upon which parts of their personalities stood out most. As a comedy, none of them have a real “depth” to them, but considering and deciding on which avenues to exploit and explore was half the fun. My particular design process relies majorly on my design research; I love combining different parts of outfits or concepts I find in pictures, paintings, drawings, etc. I can find by searching certain words. When drawing the actual product, I have little notes doodled next to each piece to clarify what is actually being attempted. I’m not the best drawer, so having the research and notes right there make everything easier to understand. Each character went through this process, in addition to a second-look after my collaboration with the director. It’s always great getting that input, because it either means you are both going in the same direction, or can merge them by changing specific things. Each of these characters came out the better, and I am super excited for the final product on stage.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Why a blog?

We love sharing the experience of theatre and dance with an audience. But the performance is only one aspect of the theatre and dance-making process. This blog is a chance to share more about the aspects of the creative work that happen backstage, in the rehearsal room, during the design process and to learn more about the people who make that happen. If you are curious about any aspect of theatre or dance, we invite you to send us your questions and we may just tailor a post to answer your questions.