Friday, June 01, 2007

West Coast Premiere in the Final Frontier

Spent 3 glorious days in Anchorage, Alaska with Sandy Harper, Artistic Director for Cyranos Theatre along with the cast/crew of The Perfect Prayer's third production (second professional production). ...and, in general, the community of Anchorage.

It was an overwhelmingly wonderful experience.

Hadia- Jamie Pauley
Mother-Vivian Kinnaird
Father-Marius Panzarella
Adam-Anthony Oliva

(from l-r: marius panzarella,vivian kinnaird,erick haydn,anthony oliva,jamie pauley)

Throughout the rehearsal process (and some prior), I was in contact with Erick Haydn (director). I made myself available for any glaring mistakes in structure in the script and to, possibly, answer any dramaturgical needs. Beyond that, I wanted to see how the script was handled and perceived in another director's hands.

At some point during the rehearsal process, Sandy contacted me and said they were having very little luck connecting with the Islamic community in Anchorage. I felt somewhat helpless as I wasn't sure i'd be able to connect either.

This seemed very familiar to me: During the very first production, trying to connect with the Islamic community in my own town proved rather challenging... and that was just for promotional purposes. Cyranos was looking to connect to have someone on hand, to instruct and guide for the Arabic, and movements in prayer...and just, overall...a consultant to say, "That's right. That's wrong." Etc...

Upon my arrival, I was happy to learn that they had indeed found someone in the community...simply through life's magic of serendipty. Or. God's will. However you want to see it.
This was eye-opening for me, to see the connections that were made in the process of getting this play prepared for its run. Friendships were/are growing from the cooperation and desire to maintain integrity of/for the show, the culture, and the accidental goal of this script...universality.

This is the third production i've seen of this script.

The first item up for discussion between Haydn and myself was casting. After he held auditions,he spoke to me about his choices... the one problem I had was Vivian. In the beginning, prior to seeing the show, i had an objection to this.
(It is a pet-peeve of mine that quite often arab characters are cast using african-american actors. PLUS this play takes place in the south and being black in the south has a lot of different weight on it) but Erick reassured me she good... and that it wouldn't be an issue.

He was right.
*sigh* You live, you learn, you...yeah.

Moving on, though..
For the second time in a row, a director has decided to ignore my lack of blackouts for the scene breaks. For those who have seen the show, dialogue of scenes and changes overlap so that lines of conversations from a previous scene seem to connect to the next.
This is a major tool used in the script, constantly. The play should not stop except for intermission and the end. Erick chose which scenes he wanted to utilize the overlap for and simply did blackouts bewteen scene changes for the rest. GRANTED, sound design was excellent and the music playing during the scene changes was pretty good. But. I felt the rhythm for the show was definitely interrupted...
The hard thing to figure out here is how do these breaks affect the story. Or. Do they affect the story.

The talkbacks were excellent. 3 talkbacks. 2 full-houses that stayed. The last night was also packed but people dripped out during the talkback.
Great questions all the way around and a lot of appreciation for the opportunity to learn and be entertained.
Edu-tainment lives on.

Two great reviews here and here.


Blogger Rudy Wellsand said...


I'll bet it's fun to be in a play.
Is THAT your Destiny, to be an Actor/Actress? Then, WHERE do you GO from here?


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5:43 PM  
Blogger stacey said...

you are obviously a busy bee, as usual. now, how do i convince you that you ARE the girl in those photos??? i hate to have to break it to you, but you are an attractive woman. i hope all is super with you!

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1-No need to mention “by Mother “more than four times the word “P”

2-Daughter should be cover head and hands for salat, not only head.

3-Adam came with his robe “chest and legs exposed “for salat, even men when they pray they have to cover some of parts their bodies

4-Why daughter do not agree with Adam to convert to Islam,
Saying NO. NO

5-Pizza should have no traces of pork or its product, even with the removal of pepperoni “fat still there “.

6-Father and his half explanation regarding five prayers, the way he said it “Mockery”

7-Too many “kiss “in the scene, think of young kids who may attend the play.

8-No need to mention Hajj and death in the same sentence, more than four times“

9-Why the father always wishes death, when his daughter disagree with him, Islam asked people not to say that.

10-When mother slapped here daughter and the daughter said “is hitting mention in the Quran people disagree?
No one in the scene said any thing, left it opens.

11-The mother always says I pray in my own way?? “Islam has specific and defined way for prayer, and then you can
Complement other prayers with salat if desired.\

****The thing bother me the most to write ANY part of the Quran on papers might be thrown into the trash “The Play AD”, also the Name OF ALLAH written on that paper too.

If the ICCAA needs to support this play these changes need to take place.

1:08 PM  

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