Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A new home

Last night, we met for the first time in our new home: University Hall on the UCCS campus. TheatreWorks arranged for us to use a classroom just outside the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theatre, where the theatre company performs all of their shows.

The space worked out amazingly well. With a minimum of effort, we were able to rearrange the desks to give us an open space for our actors. It was warm, well-lit and quiet. Most importantly, the acoustics were excellent, making both the readings and the discussions easy to hear. And I don't know if it was the novelty of the space or the college atmosphere, but our discussions seemed especially animated and constructive last night.

We had 20 people attend the meeting, including one new actor, Deirdre Gilbert, who decided to join our merry band, and two other people who sat in for the first time: Karen Hamer, director of Tin Roof Productions, and a teenage friend of Victoria who got drafted into one of the plays.

Playwright Jeff Keele made a welcome return after an absence of more than a year, and although he didn't have new writings to share, he did read with us for the first time and did a great job in a couple of oddly dark roles.

We opened with a short monologue by Charlie Ammen titled So Long, Bobby. Set at a gravesite, this touching monologue was performed to great emotional effect by Roy Kieffer.

Then we read a rewrite of the first two scenes of Sue Bachman's one-act family drama Torn. Several people liked the realism of the dialogue and relationships while others thought the goals and conflicts needed to be heightened.

After that, we read the end of the first act and beginning of the second act of Grant Swenson's twist on The Wizard of Oz titled And Your Little Dog, Too. Here we saw the group plan their assault on the Witch. People really enjoyed the interplay between the well-known figures of the story (The Tin Man, The Scarecrow) and the brand new characters Grant introduced in his version (Heart, Brain).

Next we read a short comedy that Jeff Schmoyer wrote for Black Box Theatre's FIVES contest. It was very well-received, getting a ton of laughs for the quirky characters and the unexpected twists of the plot.

That was followed by a short comedy that Tim Phillips wrote for the same contest. This also got a lot of laughs, especially for the over-the-top attitudes of the characters in the beginning.

We wrapped up with a couple of scenes from my twisted fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, Private Eye, with our hapless detective finishing his interrogation of Snow White and moving on to Cinderella. The audience thought the pace moved briskly and they seemed to like the gags.

Due to our new relationship with TheatreWorks, we've been able to drop our dues to just $15 per year. If you haven't paid yet, please bring a check or cash to the next meeting. If you don't know when your renewal date is, email me and I'll let you know. Thanks.

And we'll be seeing you at our new home on Monday, March 10!