Bright Invention completed its third and final Improv Invasion performance this spring on the set of Anna at EgoPo Theater, Monday April 3rd.
For the series, the ensemble created a new "two-act" long form in which they asked the audience for the title to a play that might be performed on the host set, but which did not contain any words from the title of the actual play in production there. Then, Bright Invention performed a continuous 20-minute improvisation, with up to six actors coming and going, based on the title the audience suggested. After a brief interval, the audience was asked if they wanted to see a second act which was a "prequel" or a "sequel" to the second act. After the audience voted, the ensemble performed a 20-minute second act.
"Our goal for next season is to create a long-term relationship with a single Philadelphia theater," said Bright Invention Artistic Director Benjamin Lloyd. "That way we can develop the kind of familiarity we seek with a new audience, and provide an exciting new program for the host venue."
Other ideas include inviting cast members from host productions to "play in" with the ensemble, offering late shows after the actual show comes down either Friday or Saturday night, and offering improv workshops at host venues.
Stay tuned for more Bright Invention updates!
Celeste Walker is a writer/performer - an actor with a BFA from Kutztown University & MFA in Acting from The Actor’s Studio Drama School at the New School University in New York. She is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio and a member of Actors Equity. Her theatre Roles include: Melissa in LOVE LETTERS, Maria Callas in MASTERCLASS and Frankie in FRANKIE & JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE. She's an Adjunct Professor of Integrated Studies at Arcadia University and Montgomery County Community College.
Her show Colette: Reloaded is appearing this weekend at White Pines. Colette Reloaded tells the story of a 60-year-old woman’s examination of her life filled with loves, losses, goals, and obstacles and questionable choices. Why is she still trying to battle 40-year-old demons? Is Colette (her twin) really evil? Is she the embodiment of wrong turns or is she the strength that allows the woman to face her fears, take risks and learn from all that she has experienced?
We asked Celeste about here show . . .
Where did you get the idea that gave rise to your show?
I was encouraged, by a friend, a fellow actor, to re-visit a Fringe Show that I wrote, produced, directed and performed in 2003. At that time I was terrified to write, direct AND act solo, so I changed the piece from a solo to a two-person one-act. My friend, Bob Weick, read the script and told me it should be a solo show and that I should play three characters. I took on the challenge with the help of my long-time friend and director Marshall Mays. Following an initial re-write of the script, we spent the summer of 2016 fine-tuning, editing and rehearsing the play. I mounted the production the A-Space, a tiny co-op gallery space in West Philly for the Fringe in September. The response was positive and encouraging. The original idea, came from the struggle that I have had in my past trying to reconcile the two sides of my personality that have lead me to make questionable choices in my past and how those choices lead to my personal and artistic growth.
What is it about White Pines that made you submit your show to the series Cold Hard Love?
I read the description of the series, knew that my piece needed an outlet and thought the the subject matter would fit in with the premise. I also know that Benjamin Lloyd has an excellent reputation in the Philadelphia Theatre Community.
Do you have a funny love story to share?
All of my love stories are funny . . . Okay, here's one. On my first date with a guy I met on Match.com, I got up to use the restroom and wrestled with the idea to sneak out of the restaurant. The date wasn't going as planned. My Catholic guilt got the better of me and I returned to the table. Luckily for my date, upon my return, I asked the magic question. I asked about his children. His one-word answers turned into proud daddy stories and the deer-in-the headlights look on his face softened. We were married two years later.
Give our audience a teaser for your show . . .
Listen for a reference to The West Wing!
Share a rehearsal tidbit: has something funny/surprising occurred as you have been preparing for Cold Hard Love?
With all theatre, whatever can go wrong, does go wrong. But we love the work anyway.
Michael London is an accomplished recording artist, guitarist, singer, and entertainer. He has released 3 CDs of uplifting, original music and his fourth, "One Whole Heart, Rumi In Song" is coming in 2015, inspired by the deeply moving, transcendental poetry of Rumi, the 13th century Persian Sufi mystic. Rumi, the great 13th century Sufi poet, offers us an opportunity to deepen our capacity to love and be loved. His ecstatic poems reveal and make tangible our connection with the self, humanity and the divine.
We sat down with Michael to discuss his upcoming concert at White Pines . . .
What has been your inspiration for this concert?
I was immediately struck by the ecstatic poems of Rumi. It spoke to me and uplifted me, speaking to real issues and choices I face in living a joyful life of beauty and purpose. At the time I started creating songs around the poems I was listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye, who just swept me away with his beautiful soulful vocalizations. I asked myself, “How would Marvin Gaye sing Rumi!”, and this vocal and compositional style began to emerge.
What is it about White Pines that made you submit your show to the series Cold Hard Love?
Finding a way to come from love in my relationships with people, work and music is a lifelong challenge and I’m struck by both the challenges and the way my heart gets full when I come from that place. Rumi said, “A thousand half-loves, must be forsaken, so take one whole heart home”. So finding love also means not listening to weaker thoughts.
Anything in particular you'd like to draw our audience's attention to in your music?
Listen to “The Reed” (video below). Check out the interplay between the musicians and the way we use Rumi’s words to create a flow that transports us. This give and take is an essential quality to this music that is both based on wisdom from centuries ago and is also of the moment.
How have rehearsals been going?
Kenny, Jim and I have a natural rapport with each other and listen intently while we also tune into our own Muses. We also all love Rumi, so I appreciate that they tune into and honor the words, even though I am the one singing them, responding musically, but also spiritually. So our prep for the show is in getting into a state of mind where flow is possible and we are ready to engage with each other, the audience and the poetry.
MIchael London, Ken Ulansey and Jim Hamilton will be performing at White Pines Friday March 17th at 8:00 pm. You can order tickets here by clicking here.
December 15, 2016 - White Pines Productions is excited to announce a series of performances by some of Philadelphia’s finest performing artists, examining love, heartbreak, romance and relationships.
Benjamin Lloyd, the Executive Director of White Pines, says, “These shows were selected from a competitive pool of submissions and reflect both established talent like playwright Michael Hollinger, and up-and-comers like Alexandra Tatarsky. After our series Bright Nights which celebrated the talent of our ensemble Bright Invention, Cold Hard Love is a series for guest artists. With this series White Pines reinforces its place as an intimate venue where innovative shows happen.”
Jessika Brust of the musical group The Hourglass, said “Andre DiMuzio and I are delighted to be putting together our first ever Hourglass feature show! To play our songs of long distance partnership in an intimate venue like White Pines is an amazing opportunity. As connectivity is increasing and the world is shrinking, how do we stay rooted in our art, balanced as individuals, and still ride the wave of our rapidly evolving world? We can't wait to explore these questions with audiences at White Pines.”
The series runs from January 28th – March 25th. The lineup is as follows:
· January 27th & 28th: Michael Hollinger, TRIPTYCH: Three short plays on love and sex, (theater). Directed by Benjamin Lloyd. Four lovers form three couples in two apartments and one hotel room. Let the games begin . . .
· February 4th: Bright Invention Dinner Theater (improv). Three courses of fine dining, and three courses of spontaneous theater!
· February 10th – 11th: Josh McIlvain, SLIDESHOW (solo show). Real slides. A fictional family saga. An old-fashioned slideshow becomes a theatrical experience.
· February 17th: Grayce Hoffman, Game. Set. Match. (theater). Join “Girl” and her Tinder “Men” on a crazy adventure as the newly single 20-something sifts through one cheesy pickup line after another to find out what it means to “love” someone in today’s world.
· February 24th – 25th: The Hourglass (Jessika Brust & Andre DiMuzio), Over Land, Over Seas (cabaret). Two international performing musicians, two individual's stories of relationships made and lost while following a career in the arts.
· March 4th: Bright Invention Dinner Theater (improv). Three courses of fine dining, and three courses of spontaneous theater!
· March 10th: Alexandra Tatarsky, Americana Psychobabble (solo show). A tragicomic evening of song, movement, and monologue investigating the American psyche through the metaphor of heartbreak, the despair of feeling abandoned and betrayed by the American dream.
· March 17th: TBA
· March 24th – 25th: Celeste Walker, Colette Reloaded, (cabaret). Directed by Marshall May. The story of a 60-year-old woman’s examination of her life filled with loves, losses, goals, obstacles and questionable choices.
Most shows will perform more than once over their weekend. Please see the Cold Hard Love page on the White Pines site for more information about the shows.
All shows will be performed at:
The White Pines Place
7908 High School Road
Elkins Park PA 19027
Tickets are between $10 and $20, general admission.
For more information: 877-674-8338, or email@example.com