Sunday, August 3, 2014

Meet the cast and crew of Seminar: Mishka Navarre-Huff

On this, the day of our closing performance, we would like to feature the woman who made us all look so good. Mishka is one of the area's busiest costume designers. Earlier this year, she had TWO shows she designed running at the same time in two different COUNTIES.

Mishka had some of her artwork published in a college literary magazine which is the closest she has ever come to being a ‘published author.’ 

“I was really excited because I didn’t know I had been chosen to be represented until the magazine was published,” she said. 

Mishka, who brags that she has never been subjected to a painful seminar, is lucky enough to be doing exactly what she always wanted to do: designing costumes (although she will gladly accept designing work that pays a whole lot more). She does say that barring that, she would love to just be a painter for a living. In fact, her dream project would be “a big art commission which gets me exposure and recognition as an artist.”

Mishka’s favorite writers are John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath; East of Eden; Of Mice and Men) for his use of imagery, John Irving (The World According to Garp; The Cider House Rules; A Prayer for Owen Meany) and Tom Robbins (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues; ‎Still Life with Woodpecker; ‎Jitterbug Perfume) for their interesting quirky characters and humor, and Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits; ‎City of the Beasts; ‎Paula Frías Allende; ‎Eva Luna) for her beautiful stories and characters with a female perspective.

She is sometimes recognized for, of all things, her dancing.  “People seem to think I am good dancer. I seem to be pretty visible at events where there is dancing involved. I get recognized as "that good dancer". I have also done professional belly dancing and sometimes get recognized from that.”  

Tell me one thing about you that people would find surprising.
“Despite my diminutive size at 5'1" I am a pretty lethal swords-woman/fencer and could take your eye out from 5 feet away ;-) Yarr harr!”

Seminar closes today, August 3, 2014. Closing performance begins at 2 p.m.
Trinity Lutheran
8t & James

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Meet the cast and crew of Seminar: Charles Waxberg

 Charles Waxberg serves a variety of purposes in our Theatre 9/12 community: his is our mighty leader aka Artistic Director, he heads our Wednesday Actor Development workshop - doling out super smart advice, great big hugs and invaluable guidance, and he also served as Acting Coach for our latest production, Seminar.

We grilled Charles and his answers were simple and direct and humble and gracious; exactly what we expected them to be.

1.       Have you ever written anything that you had published/presented? What was it? How was that experience for you?

My book on script analysis (The Actor's Script: Script Analysis for Performers) was published in '98.  It's currently in its 14th printing.  When asked if this was the first book I wrote, I answered "it's my last."

2.       Have you ever taken a workshop/seminar/master class and had it turn into a nightmare? What did you learn?

I learned that ego is the most destructive thing to art and talent.

3.       Who were/are your favorite writers?

My favorite writers are playwrights: Edward Albee (The Zoo Story; ‎The Sandbox; The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?), Harold Pinter (The Birthday Party; ‎Betrayal; ‎The Homecoming), George Bernard Shaw (Pygmalion; Mrs. Warren's Profession; ‎Arms and The Man), and Tennessee Williams (The Glass Menagerie; A Streetcar Named Desire; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) to name a few.

4.       If you could have any career, what would it be?

I have been blessed to make my entire adult living in theatre--acting, teaching, directing, writing--and if I could not live in art, you'd have to bury me.

5.       Dream project?

To own a theatre and school with free tuition and housing for actors.  Alas...the inconsequential question of money.

6.       Why might people know who you are? If you are recognized on the street, what is it usually for?

In restaurants, servers often think I'm Anthony Bourdain (of Kitchen Confidential fame) and I'm treated VERY nicely.

7.       Tell me one thing about you that people would find surprising.

That I'm a terrorist behind the wheel of a car. (I avoid driving...)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Meet the cast and crew of Seminar: Paul O'Connell

Paul O'Connell is Theatre9/12's Producing Director and he served as Director for Seminar.
Directing a bunch of actors to not only convincingly play writers but to create this life in the harshly intimate realities of a very small theatre completely surrounded by audience certainly proved a challenge and Paul, through patience, guidance and an actor meltdown or two, met that challenge with a lot of humor and just a little bit of good old fashioned snark.

We put Paul through the "yes, you MUST participate in the questionnaire - I know you're the boss and please don't fire me" ringer and his answers certainly explained his reticence at answering the questions in the first place.

Have you ever written anything that you had published/presented? What was it? How was that experience for you?

I had a poem published by the National Poetry Society about 20 years ago.  Felt reaffirming and prompted me to keep writing.   Became more of a recreational endeavor than a professional pursuit.  Still love to write for my own enjoyment and creative expression.

Who were/are your favorite writers? Why?

Many writers interest me, both fiction and non-fiction.  Great stories from the Nineteenth Century Russian greats,  great mysteries from many, many writers, great poetry from Shakespeare and Emily Dickinson among many others, great children's fabulists, playwrights from all ages, philosophers and scientists who expose the mind's discoveries in a way that makes sense to my curious mind.  The one thing common to all of them is their ability to engage my imagination and bring insight to my understanding. 

If you could have any career, what would it be?

I've always had the career I wanted.  Life to me is a big adventure from beginning to end.  Wherever I am, whatever I am doing is where I am supposed to be at the time.  I find my universe to be a friendly environment if I stay open to its possibilities offered.
I have had many changes in direction on my path through life, some self chosen, others thrust upon me; but I always landed on my feet and pursued what I wanted at the time.

Dream project?

My dream project would be to write and direct a major film exploring multiple points of view and the differences of people from around the world.  Told through the young eyes of a child who doesn't understand why people don't get along. The film finds its resolution in honest non-judgmental communication and mutual respect, awaiting visitors from another world.  After all, we earthlings all put on our pants one leg at a time.  We just wear different pants.  ET beings may not even have legs.

Tell me one thing about you that people would find surprising.

Most people might be surprised to know that I began my career paths, of which there have been a few, first as a Benedictine Monk for six years an "ice age ago"; and that despite my curmudgeon appearance, I'm a nice guy who is attracted to interesting people who are honest, forthright, caring of others and have a sense of humor.  Life is too short to spend much time with people who for the most part only talk about themselves, their work, or worse yet other people. 
Conversation for me is like human "preening" similar to our monkey ancestors' behavior.  Only we are not cleaning one another’s fur, but engaging in familial give and take with other humans.
Our new form of so called technologically advanced communication like Facebook, tweets, blogs, email; all full of personal announcements, takes up far too much time and has little substantive result.  It's not very personal, nor similar in any way to "preening," it's more like cyber bulletin boards. 
Necessary to be sure, but hardly communication and not very interesting.