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The ink is dry

The excitement is in the air!

Can you feel it!?

Yesterday we signed the contract with Salvage Vanguard, and now we can say without reservation that the show will go on.

February 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 10th.
It’s real.

There’s so much ephemeral shuffling of deck chairs in the production of any show that the touchstone moments, those moments of hard reality, become a little bit more heightened.

There should be something dreadfully prosaic about the simple legality of singing a rental contract. I have leased an apartment for a decade, resigning my latest lease just last Saturday, and never once have I been EXCITED about it. I was pretty relieved on signing my first lease in San Francisco.. but we were homeless at the time.

This is different.

It’s one thing to SAY you have a theatre company.
It’s one thing to get a group of talented people together and start hashing out a show.

It’s a whole different thing to really honestly have a space for it, and a time frame.

Maybe this it what it feels like for first time home buyers?
The commingled joy and terror of "It’s really ours and it’s perfect!", combined with a nagging "How in the WORLD are we going to pay for it!??!"

I’ll take it.

Do I have to mow the lawn for those two weeks?

Ghosts again…

In reminiscing about my beginnings, and high school theatre for me in general I recalled one of my very favorite things about that experience.

My introduction to the superstition of theatre. Superstition being one of the wonderful traits of all religions that have past their prime.

Of course Macbeth was explained to me almost immediately (Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on thee!). But it was the superstition particular to our school that has stuck with me all this time.

The auditorium at Salem High School was provided by the father of Mr. Seifert, mentioned in my previous post. Charles Seifert was the owner of the local Coca Cola bottling facility.

With his on manning the helm of the auditorium that he paid for the rumor spread that ‘Charley’ haunted the theatre and bedeviled the shows. He could only be placated by placing a six pack of Coke in the loft prior to dress rehearsal, and leaving it there throughout the run.

As a lover of ritual from way back this tickled me to no end.

As did the secondary ritual of beginning any celebration with a Loft Coke should you rank sufficiently to receive one.

We need more rituals in my theatre life…

Ghosts and Beginnings

Too often blogging is akin to a beer hall, everyone trying to shout the loudest, and prove they’re the smartest as they push for their own putsch. It’s really Talk Radio 2.0

Many times I’ve wished that blogging in all its messy glory were more the campfire that the tribe sat around at the end of the day and shared the day’s collective earned wisdom. Or their histories. Or simply their stories.

My impotent idealism aside this is one of those entries for me.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that for most of those theatre artists that are slogging it out for too few opportunities at too little pay with too little recognition that we began when we were young.

For my own part I began in the spring of my sophomore year of high school. The rumored show was Robin Hood, and MAN OH MAN did I want to be in Robin Hood. My idol Eric Vendt had just played the dentist in Little Shop that fall, and I desperately wanted to have that much fun on a stage.

They didn’t do Robin Hood, and Eric didn’t so the show they DID do, which was Alice in Wonderland.

I was the Mock Turtle. In fluorescent green plaid skater pants (oh 1990 is there anything you CAN’T do?).

I would be involved in 19 more shows all told over the next 2 years.

Spending most of my non-class waking life with these two people.

Travis Drama Teachers

Chuck Seifert and Kathleen Dacey changed my life.

Ms. Dacey ran the extra-curricular Actors Guild.
Mr. Seifert was the Drama Teacher.

Ms. Dacey taught me how to break down a show. She taught me the beginnings of Stanislavski. She refused to believe I couldn’t sing. She cast me as Bottom, as Fancourt in Charley’s Aunt, as Joe in Shadow Box, as Vandergelder in Hello Dolly. She taught me the meaning of commitment to the project.

Mr. Seifert, also my AP Lit teacher, introduced me to Chaucer and Moliere, MacBeth and Hamlet. He introduced me to McCandless and how to troubleshoot lights and a antique patch board. He taught me all the rough points of technical theatre.

And they both expected the world of me.

It was wonderful.

Too much in my educational career I had the standards for other kids placed on me. Almost all of which were too low. I never had to work for it. It made me cocky. It made me complacent. Excelling at school didn’t take any effort.

Neither Mr. Seifert nor Ms. Dacey really cared about all of that. They had spent enough time with me to know what I was capable of, and they’d be damned if they were going to settle for anything less than 110% of that effort. I wish every teacher had had the time to do that. I’d be a better person today.

Mr. Seifert passed away this past year, and Ms. Dacey will actually retire one of these years. But they set me on a path that I have followed for more than half my life now. I owe them for every single day.

So what about you?

Who are your ghosts?

What are your beginnings?

In the beginning…

To every story there is a beginning.

If it is a well told story you will never be told the minutiae of the beginnings, so in my efforts to tell a story well, I’m going to skip the boring parts.

Cambiare Productions was born of three people who share enough theatrical vision to work well together, and disagree enough to create a broader range of performance and installations than they would separately.

For my money the only reason to begin a company is to create work that otherwise wouldn’t be done. And the only reason to bring people on board is if they augment your vision in some way. Or if you augment theirs.

Cambiare was created out of the realization that as a group we could create very good theatre that other groups weren’t interested in taking a chance on. In this case the idea that we could take the performance/installation hybrids that Megan was immersing herself in and making a night of theatre out of them.

And so Cambiare Production and our first production, Transformations were hatched in the same stroke. We are not a repertory company. We’re not going to produce seasons (not just yet anyway). We’re going to produce projects that excite us. Projects that are in our bones that other companies won’t do with us.

We will continue working with other groups, Will and I with Gobotrick Theatre Company, and Megan freelancing as a lighting designer. But we look forward to creating our own space in this community making theatre that moves us, and telling stories the way we would like them to be told to us. Which is, as near as I can parse it, the golden rule of theatre.

In this corner of the internet we hope to bring you interviews with the impressive group of people Megan has brought together to create Transformations, and some insights into the process that goes into creating this amalgamation of storytelling techniques.

Two months from today Cambiare Productions will be delivered into the Austin community, I do hope that you’ll join us during this gestation period and celebrate with us on February 1st when this child springs forth.