On Saturday, Our Town officially opened after three previews and a (great!!) student matinee. A lot of wonderful friends were in the audience – incredibly loyal patrons of the theatre since its founding, people from local businesses and the press, and many artists and friends that have tread the Rubicon boards over the past fifteen years. At the curtain call, we brought Micheline Sakharoff, one of the theatre’s dearest benefactors, on stage. Micheline recently donated a generous sum to the theatre in the name of the women artists that have contributed to the arts at Rubicon. She presented our director, Jenny Sullivan, with an award for her prolific work at the Rubicon. Our Town is just the latest in a long line of beautiful productions Jenny has helmed here at the theatre. I worked with her myself in 2010’s production of Doubt – I can attest to her fabulousness! The opening night party was at City Hall. I had never been inside before. The building is BEAUTIFUL!! How special to have the government building of the city be its own work of art.
Here’s Dillon and I cutting the cake at the party. Continuing with the marriage theme. We even smashed cake in each other’s faces!
Now it’s on with the show – no more rehearsals or changes, just a new audience each day! My favorite part. The cast bonds more each day. Anne Guynn is a fabulous cookie baker. Tony Perry keeps bringing DELICIOUS grapes for me to snack on…somehow this is all food related?
I finally found myself with some time to write, now that it’s Monday and our day off. We just finished a big week in the theatre – our first time on the stage with all the tech elements. I think that I speak for everyone when I say how amazed I am that it went so smoothly! Usually it’s a difficult process, because you have to add all the lighting, sound, props, and costumes, and adjust to being on the stage, and begin refining the play as a whole through runs. It’s a lot to accomplish! But everyone involved with the show is completely on point, and we grew a lot in the past six days.
Last night we did our first run through of the play with all of the elements in place. It went off without a hitch. I’m so relieved and excited, because we have an audience in just a couple of days. Usually I would be very anxious and a little jumpy, but I feel very confident about this production. I’m so proud of the whole company and the true dedication they bring each and every day. All of that skill and concentration paid off – we had a great run through. Like our director, Jenny Sullivan, told us at the end of the night, now we get to do the fun work of refining and fine-tuning small bits here and there. In my experience, that’s what separates the good from the great in theatre…the productions that pay attention to detail and those that don’t. I can’t wait to see how our work evolves in the next few days.
Are any of you coming to the previews? I love preview audiences. They are so game and so supportive. I can’t tell you how much preview audiences shape a production. You are the last piece to the puzzle! We can’t really see what those last finishing touches are until we have you in the seats, laughing and crying along with us. After all, this whole thing is for you. Once we know how the journey of the play is affecting you, then we can really make it the best it can be.
February 27, 2013 12:21 am.
Finally some time to myself. Roommates wandering in and out, but oh well.
The set (as you can see from the picture) is such a brilliant piece to work with. As the audience sits, they become, literally, part of the world of Our Town. Dressing rooms have also been assigned (they, meaning the ubiquitous Rubicon staff, had to clean out a storage space backstage that is frequently used to house a band if present or unused tech supplies, just to make more room for everyone to have a dressing room), and I am piled into a “man cave” with 3 other guys. It is, indeed, the place to be backstage. Plenty of laughs on break, even if we get in a tad of trouble because we are too rowdy. Hee Hee!
I really do feel bad, but it is hard not to be cheerful, as there is so much to be cheerful about backstage. Great people with incredible talent and sharp wits grouped together has the inevitable result of at least a few smiles popping up here and there. Work on stage continues at a steady pace, and lines and blocking are getting a lot sharper in my mind. An actual set is a far cry from blue tape. Go figure. I cannot wait to see the set filled with people.
Class time! I must depart. Best wishes, all!
Dillon Francis (George Gibbs) and Lauren Patten (Emily Webb)
February 26, 2013, 1:00 am. Goleta.
George Gibbs here. Finishing up a paper, and getting ready to see the set of Our Town for the first time tomorrow. Trepidation as I re-enter my full up school schedule, but cannot wait for rehearsal tomorrow night (6:00-11:00pm.; not for the faint of heart). Thus far, blue tape on a linoleum floor had been our only designation for boundaries. Guesses had to be made as to where everything is, where it was, how tall it was, where the audience could see, etcetera. Tomorrow, we space it out for the first time! Exciting. More guess work will be involved, and long night, but I could not think of a better way to spend an evening.
Unfortunately due to school schedule (currently tangled in UCSB), I will have to miss the “meet and greet,” where actors say hi to the Rubicon staff, and everyone meets up and good food is enjoyed. I will make it in time for rehearsal, and that is what counts. It is also one of the few times I get an opportunity to watch my fellow actors. The experience, diversity, and incredible talent of my costars blows me away. Their tenable characters are unrivaled, and bring the whole experience full circle. They provide a great example for me to follow as I attempt to improve my craft. You will just have to see it to believe it.
Eyelids drooping. Need sleep. George Gibbs, signing off.
A first look at the set of Our Town! Taken from the balcony by one of our cast members, Jen Ridgway. That’s me in the center there with Remi Sandri, our Doc Gibbs. Pretty amazing, no?!!
Our Town – Your Theatre
In less than two months – March 6th, to be exact – the audience will settle into their seats, the lights will come up on a nearly bare stage, and Rubicon Theatre’s production of Our Town will begin. As the centerpiece of the theatre’s 15th Anniversary Season, Our Town/Your Theatre, this Great American Classic embodies everything Artistic Directors Jim O’Neil and Karyl Lynn Burns have been celebrating on stage through fifteen years of productions: a love of their community, an exploration of the dynamics of family and relationships, and a reverence for the extraordinary occurrences of ordinary life.
Set in Grover’s Corners, a fictional quintessential American town at the beginning of the 20th century, Our Town takes us on a journey through the experiences of birth, love, marriage, death and daily life. Through the lives of two families, the Gibbs and the Webbs, we are struck to the bone by the incredibly powerful and poetic nature of the circle of life. Thornton Wilder was awarded the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Our Town, which is now one of the most produced plays in America. Most of you probably read it, or starred in it, during high school. Right?
It’s my honor to play Emily Webb in this production. Our Town will be my fifth production at Rubicon – over the past five years, I’ve tread the boards in The Diary of Anne Frank, Bus Stop, Fiddler on the Roof, and Doubt. Now, I get to say some of the most beautiful words ever written in American literature, and be on stage with some of my dearest friends in the world. I can barely contain my excitement!
And, on top of all that, I get to share my experience with you here! THE OFFICIAL OUR TOWN BLOG! Once the show begins its rehearsal process, I’ll be posting here often with an inside look into each step of the production – from the first rehearsal until the final performance. I’ll even include some behind-the-scenes pictures and stories. The lovely Dillon Francis, who will be playing George Gibbs, will join me in this adventure as well. So stay tuned…there is much more to come!
– Lauren Patten