A, E, I and You

Caroline and Anthony are partners on a project analyzing the use of I and you in Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”.  On the surface the two have little in common as Anthony is cheerful, laid back, and outgoing while Caroline is sickly, angry, and seems unable to communicate outside of social media.  As they analyze Whitman’s poem, they begin to peel back their own layers to fully reveal each to the other and a friendship grows between them. . .and perhaps something far more.  This is I and You by Lauren Gunderson and currently playing at the Blue Barn Theatre.

Lauren Gunderson has crafted something truly original with this play.  It is a slice of life in its purest sense.  The play eschews the normal narrative style.  Instead it relies on a powerful sense of voice as the construction of the dialogue is purely conversational.  There doesn’t seem to be a plot as the two characters engage in ordinary conversation.  Yet through this conversation you see the bonds of friendship come into existence and strengthen.  A nice touch to the story is how Ms Gunderson makes the two characters two sides of the same coin.  Each is nearly a polar opposite in terms of personality, height, gender, race, and philosophies.  In spite of these surface differences, one finds they have much in common as they slowly show their real selves to the other.  The play also contains one of the most satisfactory endings I’ve seen in almost any show.

Barry Carman provides a very fine piece of direction to this work.  His staging is of superlative quality as his actors stay pretty far apart from each other when the show begins to show the gap between them.  But they physically move closer and closer to each other as their friendship grows.  His understanding of the script is both deft and delicate as he knows how to get his actors to hit the beats just right so the discoveries always pop with surprise.  Carman has also led his two performers to sterling characterizations.

Early in the show, the character of Caroline refers to herself as “small, but mighty”.  However, small, but fierce might be a better descriptor.  In the hands of Anna Jordan, the character is simply acting gold.  Ms Jordan brings a real sense of anger, distrust, and determination to the role.  Caroline suffers from a bad liver which has kept her a virtual shut-in for most of her life.  Being cut off from the outside world has kept her away from a lot of joys in life.  The nuances of face to face conversation elude her as social media is her primary means of communication.  Pleasures like reading seem to be anathema to her as she’d rather google things.  She’s resigned herself to being alone and dying young, though what she wants is to be out in the crowd and living life.

Ms Jordan’s physicality is tremendous as her anger manifests in her rigid, rodlike posture and body language.  So ever present is her anger that this physicality is used even when she is having fun like dancing in her room which was one of the show’s highlights.  As Anna loosens and opens up, so, too, does her physicality.  Her movements become more fluid and culminate in a rocking air piano solo to Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire”.

Jordan Isaac Smith keeps pace with Ms Jordan with his own excellent portrayal of Anthony.  Where Caroline is tight and withdrawn, Anthony is completely loose and open.  Smith’s physicality is almost gliding as he practically floats around the room, especially when he is gushing over the work of Walt Whitman.  He gives a very convincing portrayal of being a good kid.  He’s close with his family, gets good grade, and is popular.  But he also does fine work in playing typical teenage behaviors such as his sheepish looks and delivery when he confesses to Caroline that he’s put off this project until the last minute.

Smith is equally skilled at playing the heaviness of Anthony as well as his lightness.  Though Anthony is a pretty happy person, he does carry his own well of sadness that he slowly reveals to Caroline as their friendship grows.

Martin Scott Marchitto has designed a stellar set for this show.  It truly looks like a typical teen’s bedroom.  His set is further enhanced by the properties of Amy Reiner.  Few can dress a stage like Ms Reiner as her properties of books, toys, records, computer, and furniture add to the messy, lived in quality of this room.  Josh Mullady’s lights add their own brilliant life to the show.  Especially impressive are his use of planetarium lights from Caroline’s toy turtle and the subtle transition from light to dark to light during a moment of awakening in the show.  Molly Welsh’s sounds blend so smoothly into the show that you are sometimes unaware of their presence until powerful moments end and you realize the sound was adding to the moment.

The play’s narrative style may catch a few off guard as it doesn’t follow the ordinary path of a story, but its utter realism and naturalism are crucial to the unfolding of this tale.  With sure and stable direction combined with a pair of potent performances, I and You is another winner in the Blue Barn legacy.

I and You plays at the Blue Barn through Feb 24.  Showtimes are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm with the exception of a 6pm performance on Feb 17.  Tickets are $35 for general admission and $30 for seniors.  For reservations, call 402-345-1576 or visit www.bluebarn.org.  The Blue Barn is located at 1106 S 10th St in Omaha, NE.

“I and You” to Open at Blue Barn

I and You

by Lauren Gunderson

January 31st – February 24th, 2018

Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm

Sunday 2/10 & 2/24 at 2pm | 2/17 at 6:00pm

About the play:  One afternoon, Anthony arrives unexpectedly at classmate Caroline’s door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and an urgent assignment from their English teacher. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, they unlock a much deeper mystery that has brought them together. I and You is an ode to youth, life, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness.

About the production: I and You features Anna Jordan and Jordan Smith. Directed by Barry Carman, with scenic design by Martin Marchitto, sound design by Molly Welsh, lighting design by Josh Mullady, and properties by Amy Reiner.

The production is generously sponsored by Jannette Davis, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Mutual of Omaha.

Tickets:

General Admission ($35) and Senior ($30) tickets are available at bluebarn.org. Educator, Military, and BLUCrew tickets are available through the box office (402) 345-1576.

Engage:

Whitman Exhibit

Jan 31st-Feb 24th: Visit the Mammel Lobby at the BLUEBARN to peruse a display on the legacy of Walt Whitman curated by UNL’s Whitman Archive.

Louder than a Bomb: Songs of Ourselves

Sunday, Feb 10th @ 6:30 pm: Join us as we host Nebraska Writer’s Collective presenting spoken word poets from their Louder Than a Bomb program. Four high school teams  (Central, Abraham Lincoln, Mercy and Skutt) will compete on the Blue Barn stage in celebration of poetry, theater, Walt Whitman and young writers.

Gifts of Life

Sunday, Feb 17th, Post-Show: Following our 6pm performance, BLUEBARN convenes a forum of transplant donors, donor family members, recipients, and professionals in partnership with the UNMC Transplant Team and Live On Nebraska. Join us for a discussion on the powerful impact of organ donation and the misconceptions that may prevent some from becoming donors.

AfterWords

Thursday, Feb 14th and 21st, Post-Show: Following the show, stay for a revealing conversation with the stars of I and You, Anna Jordan and Jordan Smith. He and she will be ready and willing to answer any and all questions about I and You for you and yours.

Engagement events are free and open to the public.

Will You be Part of the Book of Will?

The Omaha Community Playhouse is holding auditions for the upcoming staged reading of Book of Will on Sunday, Jan 20 and Monday, Jan 21 at 7pm at OCP.  The staged reading is part of OCP’s Alternative Programming Series.

Production:  Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson

Show Date:  February 25, 2019

Theatre:  Omaha Community Playhouse (Howard Drew Theatre)

Rehearsals:  To be determined once show is cast.

Description:  Without William Shakespeare, we wouldn’t have literary masterpieces like Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet, but without Henry Condell and John Heminges, we would have lost half of Shakespeare’s plays forever!  After the death of their friend and mentor, the two actors are determined to compile the First Folio and preserve the words that shaped their lives.  They’ll just have to borrow, beg, and band together to get it done.

Director:  Marie Amthor Schuett

Auditions:  7pm on Jan 20 and 21 at the Omaha Community Playhouse (6915 Cass St, Omaha, NE)

Those auditioning should enter through the west “Stage Door” entrance and proceed to the check-in table.

Roles:  Ed Knight, Isaac Jaggard, Elizabeth Condell, Emilia Bassano, Lanier, Fruit Seller, Marcellus, Alice, Susannah, Shakespeare, Ralph Crane, Barman, Compositor, Francisco, Henry Condell, Richard Burbage, William Jaggard, John Heminges, Rebecca Heminges, Anne Hathaway, Ben Jonson, Barman 2, Dering, Bernardo, Marcu, Boy Hamlet, Crier, Horatio

Notes:  Actors only need to attend of of the audition dates to be considered for a role.  Those auditioning will be asked to read from the script provided at auditions.  If special accommodations are needed, please contact OCP prior to auditions.

Please Bring:  All contact information, personal schedules, and a list of rehearsal conflicts with which to fill out an audition form.  To expedite the check-in process, please bring physical copy of a headshot or recent photo of yourself.  Please note, photos will not be returned.

Contact:  For more information, contact Breanna Carodine, bcarodine@omahaplyahouse.com, at 402-553-4890, ext. 164.

Blue Barn Announces First Auditions for “America in Pieces” Season

The BLUEBARN Theatre is pleased to announce open auditions for Circle Mirror Transformation.

Auditions will be held at the BLUEBARN located at 1106 S. 10th St.  (10th & Pacific Streets.)

Sunday, August 5th from 4-6 p.m. & Monday, August 6th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  Callbacks will be scheduled if necessary

Circle Mirror Transformation runs September 27th through October 21st, 2018.  Rehearsals begin August 27th, 2018

Company members needed:

LAUREN (16)Open Ethnicity, Female. The youngest in the class. Wants to play Maria in West Side Story. Takes things seriously. Chronically dissatisfied. A bit endearing.  

THERESA (35) – Open Ethnicity, Female. Recently moved from NYC to Vermont after ending a toxic relationship. An actor who is also studying acupressure. Energetic, genuine. At a bit of a crossroads.

SCHULTZ  (48) –  Open Ethnicity, Male. A carpenter. Schultz finds himself unhappily alone after his recent divorce from his wife of many years. A bit eager.

MARTY (55) – Open Ethnicity, Female. Co-executive director of the community center. Teaches the drama class, and others in jewelry and pottery. Longs to move to Mexico. Nearly confident. A bit lost.

JAMES (60) Open Ethnicity, Male. Married to Marty, with an estranged daughter from a previous marriage. A good sport. A bit ineffectual.  

Auditions will consist of prepared sides, and cold readings from the script. Maybe some games.

Prepared monologues under 2 minutes are welcome, though not required.

To request a copy of the script, sides, or to schedule an audition contact Barry at: bcarman@bluebarn.org 

About Circle Mirror Transformation

Students in a community-center acting class find their lives transformed, their souls reflected, and the patterns of their lives revealed in this extraordinary celebration of ordinary life. As they discover each other through storytelling and deceptively simple games, hearts are won and lost, destinies shaped, and tiny triumphs and tragedies take on epic proportions.

 

The BLUEBARN Theatre is pleased to announce open auditions for I and You.

Auditions will be held at the BLUEBARN located at 1106 S. 10th St.  (10th & Pacific Streets.)

Sunday, August 5th from 2-4 p.m.  Monday, August 6th from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Callbacks will be scheduled if necessary

I and You runs January 31st through February 24th, 2019.  Rehearsals begin January 7th, 2019

Company members needed:

Two actors (15-25), Open Ethnicity* to play

ANTHONY (17) – He is neat, poised, mature for his age. African-American. He’s an “a” student, a team player, a nice guy. He’s not really great around girls. He takes his homework very seriously. When he likes something (jazz music) he is all in. Throughout the whole play he looks at Caroline like he’s trying to figure her out. Like he really needs to know who she is.

CAROLINE (17) She is in comfy clothing, she does not expect company, she is sick but mainly just looks a little weak and frumpy. She doesn’t go out. She is cynical, over it, does not let a stray “feeling” near the surface. White.

*Casting Note

The race of each character can be altered. The only essentiality is that the characters not be the same race.

Auditions will consist of prepared sides, and cold readings from the script.

A prepared excerpt from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself is most welcome, though not required.

To request a copy of the script, sides, or to schedule an audition contact Barry at: bcarman@bluebarn.org

ABOUT I and You:

One afternoon, Anthony arrives unexpectedly at classmate Caroline’s door bearing a beat-up copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and an urgent assignment from their English teacher. As these two let down their guards and share their secrets, they unlock a much deeper mystery that has brought them together. I and You is an ode to youth, life, love, and the strange beauty of human connectedness.

ABOUT THE BLUEBARN THEATRE                            

The BLUEBARN Theatre has been bringing professionally-produced plays to area audiences since 1989. Since its inception, BLUEBARN has produced over 100 plays and has established itself as Omaha’s professional contemporary theatre company.  Striving to bring artistically significant scripts and professional production values to Omaha and the surrounding region, BLUEBARN is known for high-quality entertainment and the fearless pursuit of stories that challenge both theatre artists and patrons.

Regional Premiere, ‘Silent Sky’, is Next Show for Blue Barn

BLUEBARN Theatre Presents Regional Premiere of Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson

The BLUEBARN Theatre is proud to continue Season 28 with the historical drama, Silent Sky, by Lauren Gunderson.

BLUEBARN Producing Artistic Director Susan C. Toberer directs with set design by Martin Scott Marchitto, lighting design by Darrin Golden, costume design by Lindsay Pape, sound design by Craig Marsh, and properties design by Amy Reiner.

Shows run March 23-April 15; Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm, Sun, April 2 at 2pm, and Sun, April 9 at 2pm and 6pm.

Single tickets for Silent Sky are $30 for adults and $25 for students, seniors (65+), TAG Members, and groups of 10 or more.

Silent Sky is generously sponsored by Giger Foundation, First National Bank, Mutual of Omaha, and Valmont Industries.

About Silent Sky

A new play about Henrietta Swan Leavitt and the real women “computers” working at Harvard Observatory at the dawn of modern astronomy.  In this exquisite blend of science, history, family ties, and fragile love, a passionate young woman must map her own passage through a society unaccustomed to strong women in a man’s world.  A celestial romance and true story of discovery.

About the Stars of Silent Sky

Silent Sky showcases some of Omaha’s finest actresses:  Haley Haas (The Dresser, BLUEBARN Theatre) as Henrietta Leavitt, Sarah Carlson-Brown (Gnit, BLUEBARN Theatre) as her sister, Margaret, and Judy Radcliff (Our Town, BLUEBARN Theatre) as the wise Williamina.  Pamela Chase makes her BLUEBARN debut as the suffragette, Annie, as well as guest actor Christopher Joel Onken in the role of Peter Shaw.

About the BLUEBARN Theatre

The BLUEBARN Theatre has been bringing professionally-produced plays to area audiences since 1989. Since its inception, BLUEBARN has produced over 100 plays and has established itself as Omaha’s professional contemporary theatre company. Striving to bring artistically significant scripts and professional production values to Omaha and the surrounding region, BLUEBARN is known for high-quality entertainment and the fearless pursuit of stories that challenge both theatre artists and patrons.

About the Playwright, Lauren Gunderson

Lauren M. Gunderson is the most produced living playwright in America of 2016, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Company.  She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.  Her work has been commissioned, produced, and developed at companies across the U.S. including South Cost Rep (Emile, Silent Sky), The Kennedy Center (The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog!), The O’Neill, The Denver Center, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, Synchronicity, Olney Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire, and more.  She co-authored Miss Bennett:  Christmas at Pemberley with Margot Melcon.  Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You, Exit Pursued By a Bear, The Taming, and Toil and Trouble), Dramatists (Silent Sky, Bauer, Miss Bennett) and Samuel French (Emilie).  Her picture book, Dr. Wonderful:  Blast Off to the Moon will be released from Two Lions/Amazon in May.

Blue Barn Holding Auditions for Regional Premiere, ‘Silent Sky’

The BLUEBARN Theatre is pleased to announce open auditions for the regional premiere of Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson. Auditions will be held on Saturday, December 3 and December 10 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Auditions will be held at the BLUEBARN located at 1106 S. 10th St. (10th & Pacific Streets.)

Performances for Silent Sky run March 23 – April 15, 2017 with rehearsals scheduled to begin February, 2017. Susan Clement-Toberer directs. Please contact Randall T. Stevens for more information at rstevens@bluebarn.org.

Available Roles

Henrietta Leavitt – 30s, brilliant, meticulous

Margaret Leavitt – 30s, handsome, creative, Henrietta’s sister

Peter Shaw – 30s, head astronomers apprentice

Annie Cannon – 40s, leader of the female commuters, terse, sure

Willamina Fleming – 50s, smart and fun, Scottish

About Silent Sky

A new play about Henrietta Swan Leavitt and the real women “computers” working at Harvard Observatory at the dawn of modern astronomy. In this exquisite blend of science, history, family ties, and fragile love, a passionate young woman must map her own passage through a society unaccustomed to strong women in a man’s world. A celestial romance and true story of discovery.

About the BLUEBARN Theatre

The BLUEBARN Theatre has been bringing professionally-produced plays to area audiences since 1989. Since its inception, BLUEBARN has produced over 100 plays and has established itself as Omaha’s professional contemporary theatre company. Striving to bring artistically significant scripts and professional production values to Omaha and the surrounding region, BLUEBARN is known for high-quality entertainment and the fearless pursuit of stories that challenge both theatre artists and patrons.

Blue Barn Announces Season 28: Identity

BLUEBARN THEATRE introduces Season 28: Identity

The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui by Bertolt Brecht (September 22 – October 16, 2016)

Described by Brecht as ‘a gangster play that would recall certain events familiar to us all’, Arturo Ui is a witty and savage satire of the rise of Hitler – recast by Brecht into a fictional, small-time Chicago gangster’s takeover of the city’s greengrocery trade in the 1930s. The satirical allegory combines Brecht’s Epic style of theatre with black comedy and overt moralism. Using a wide range of parody and spoof – from Al Capone to Shakespeare’s Richard III and Goethe’s Faust-Brecht’s compelling parable continues to have relevance wherever totalitarianism appears today.

The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged) by Austin Taylor and Austin Tichenor (November 25-December 19, 2016)

Welcome to the Annual Holiday Variety Show and Christmas Pageant at St. Everybody’s Non-Denominational Universalist Church, where all faiths are welcome because we’ll believe anything. But there’s a problem: none of the acts scheduled to perform have arrived, so three members are pressed into service to perform the entire Variety Show and Christmas Pageant by themselves. An irreverent yet heartwarming trip through the holidays, The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged) is festive and funny as these Three Wise Guys send up and celebrate our favorite holiday traditions.

Hir by Taylor Mac (February 2-26, 2017)

Somewhere in the suburbs, Isaac has returned from the wars to help take care of his ailing father, only to discover a household in revolt. The insurgent: his mom. Liberated from an oppressive marriage, with Isaac’s newly out transgender sibling as her ally, she’s on a crusade to dismantle the patriarchy. But in Taylor Mac’s sly, subversive comedy, annihilating the past doesn’t always free you from it.

Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson (March 23-April 15, 2017)

A new play about Henrietta Swan Leavitt and the real women “computers” working at Harvard Observatory at the dawn of modern astronomy. In this exquisite blend of science, history, family ties, and fragile love, a passionate young woman must map her own passage through a society unaccustomed to strong women in a man’s world. A celestial romance and true story of discovery.

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert–The Musical by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott (May 19-July 1, 2017)

Based on the smash-hit movie, Priscilla is the heartwarming, uplifting adventure of three friends, Tick, Bernadette, and Adam, a glamorous Sydney-based performing trio who agree to take their show to the middle of the Australian outback. They hop aboard a battered old bus “Priscilla,” searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of.

Featuring a hit parade of dancefloor favorites including “It’s Raining Men,” “I Will Survive,” “Hot Stuff,” “Finally,” “Boogie Wonderland,” “Go West,” “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and “I Love The Nightlife,” this wildly fresh and funny musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS!

OUT OF THE BLUE, a Special Event series:  WALK THE NIGHT: Blue Barn’s immersive theatre event returns for its third installment, with a unique adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Five missing person’s cases (4 decades old, 1 recent); forbidden loves, swallowed by the unknown; secrets answered within a nomadic, mid-night festival. Location to be announced.

About The BLUEBARN Theatre

The BLUEBARN Theatre has been bringing professionally-produced plays to area audiences since 1989. Since its inception, BLUEBARN has produced over 100 plays and has established itself as Omaha’s professional contemporary theatre company. Striving to bring artistically significant scripts and professional production values to Omaha and the surrounding region, BLUEBARN is known for high-quality entertainment and the fearless pursuit of stories that challenge both theatre artists and patrons.