You the [ONE] Man?

June 12th, 2013 by Cathy Plourde

On why one actor, and why professional:

Having written and directed plays for several years for activism with youth audiences, I know how challenging it is to pull together a cast. My plan was to follow the model I had work out with The Thin Line (a one woman 30 minute production on coping with eating disorders, 1999).  One actor to pay, one actor to schedule.

Nearly every production, I recognized, would be presented to captive (not incarcerated, however) audiences for assemblies, orientations, awareness weeks.  They would have been told the topic of the presentation, and they would be certain before they arrived in the auditorium (if they were lucky) or the gymnasium (very likely) that it would suck. In every audience there are victims and survivors, and I did not want to set them up for an hour of humiliation in which the topic could be ridiculed, diminished, or trivialized.   The actor has a tall order—teens are not known for polite theatre behaviors, especially when sitting on bleachers or in the back of large auditoriums—and he has to “win” in 10 seconds or less.  A task, I felt, best suited to a professional!

What’s in a (video excerpt of) a play?

June 11th, 2013 by Cathy Plourde

In theatre, less is more.  You the Man features:

One actor.

Black t-shirt, black jeans for costume.

A nearly bare stage–table, stool, a couple of small props, flip chart.

Lights on the stage, and in the house.

This minimalist set up not only makes for ease in touring, it give audiences a chance to project an individual understanding of the characters, their situations, their ages.  But this description gives very little information of what the play is actually like.

Yes, if it were on video PERHAPS we could reach many more people.

And:

No, there is not going to be a video version of the play.

Why? Because the ability of theatre to break through the noise of the hours of screen time youth as well as adults have every day is inherent in it being LIVE THEATRE.

But, this being the 21st Century, it’s pretty much required to have some sort of media version of one’s program or work.

And, having tried NUMEROUS times to capture the essence of the production on the ever-requsested video of the production, the transfer from one medium to the other is not simple (or inexpensive!).

So, for the purposes of having a video for use in promoting and presenting the program, the students in Mr. David Beane’s video production class at the Portland Arts & Technology High School worked with both the actors Lloyd Watts and Brian Chamberlain to capture ‘essence’ of the play.  We’ve got a typo to fix, but ignore that for now and check out their work!

YouTube Preview Image

http://youtu.be/5BVmi58k2WY