Posts Tagged Jaya Robillard

AIRNESS BRINGS ROCK GLORY TO SAINT PAUL

Air guitar crosses into theatre with an epic feel-good comedy at Park Square

Three people all doing air guitar moves.

Neal Skoy, Julia Valen and Michael Terrell Brown are ready to rock out in Airness.

Saint Paul, MN. April 11, 2022: For its first full production since March of 2020, Park Square Theatre offers a breath of fresh air with an uplifting story about air guitar enthusiasts. AIRNESS, by Chelsea Marcantel, directed by Angela Timberman will be staged on Park Square’s Proscenium Stage, May 11 – June 5, 2022. (link to photos)

A righteous and smile-inducing comedy, AIRNESS begins as newcomer Nina enters her first air guitar competition. She thinks winning will be easy, but as she befriends a group of charismatic fanatics all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers that there’s more to the art form than playing pretend; it’s about forging friendships, finding yourself in your favorite songs, and performing with raw joy. 

“Have you ever tried to find something you really want and then you accidentally find what you really need instead?” ask director Angela Timberman. “That’s what this play is about.” With samples of favorite rock anthems threaded throughout, including hits by Queen, the Ramones, Pat Benetar and many more, AIRNESS is an exuberant reminder that everything we need to rock is already inside us.

“An all-out comedy that’s fricking funny, hella heartfelt, and badass brilliant.” — DC Metro

A  group from Park Square fell in love with the play when it premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville in 2017. The original January 2021 production was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so it is with a roar of rock catharsis that AIRNESS at last makes its shredding, stage ascension. 

“I love how AIRNESS doesn’t take itself too seriously,” says Park Square Artistic Associate, Ellen Fenster. “It’s even better after the pandemic, it’s the breath of freshness which we all need right now, and yet, it really resonates today in terms of trying to ‘figure out how the skin I’m in connects to others.’ It portrays a place, physically and emotionally, where the characters really feel seen, when they are usually not seen in that way. It celebrates the human capacity for strange and unique passions, things people find to make meaning in their lives, connect with others, and find a place of belonging. Who knew air guitar was such a serious business?”

The play’s title comes from the three judging criteria of competitive air guitar: technical merit, stage presence and airness. “The last criteria is the most difficult to define yet often the most decisive of all,” according to the US Air Guitar Association’s website. “Airness is defined as the extent to which a performance transcends the imitation of a real guitar and becomes an art form in and of itself.” Minneapolis hosted the U.S. Air Guitar Championships in 2012, but anyone looking to get involved in 2022 will have to travel as the nearest competitions (at time of writing) are in Cleveland and Nashville. So put on your coolest power outfit, grab your best friend or a new crush, and head to Park Square to rock out with a play for everyone whose inner rock-god is waiting to break free.

The cast for AIRNESS includes Shae Palic* (Astrid “CANNIBAL QUEEN” Anderson), Daniel Petzold* (Mark “FACEBENDER” Lender), Neal Skoy (Ed “SHREDDY EDDY” Leary), Michael Terrell Brown (Gabe “GOLDEN THUNDER” Partridge), Julia Valen (Nina O’Neal), and understudies Berto Borroto and Maggie Cramer.

The production team for AIRNESS includes Angela Timberman* (Director), Dorian Brooke (Assistant Director), MJ Leffler (Set Designer), Ash M. Kaun (Costume Designer), Eric M. C. Gonzalez (Sound Designer), Alex Clark (Lighting Designer), Christopher Heilman (Props Designer), Jess Rau (Wig Designer), Kathy Maxwell (Projection Designer), Leslie Ritenour (Assistant Projection Designer), Ashley Raper* (Stage Manager), and Jaya Robillard (Assistant Stage Manager).

*Member, Actors Equity Association

TICKET PRICES: Previews: $27-$37. Regular Run: $40-$55. Discounts are available for students and educators, seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale by phone at 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #pstAirness

COVID-19 vaccinations or negative test results as well as masks are required at all performances. 

PHOTOS by Richard Fleischman Photography on the Park Square website HERE, or in Google Drive HERE.

PARK SQUARE’S FIRST TAKE ON JANE AUSTEN IS A FROLICSOME GAME OF GENDER POLITICS

BUT TRUE LOVE DOES WIN IN THE END

Neal Beckman, Sara Richardson, China Brickey and Kiara Jackson in Pride and Prejudice. Photo by Richard Fleischman.

Park Square Theatre rings in the winter holidays with its first ever production of a Jane Austen novel with the regional premiere of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (Nov 15 – Dec 22, 2019) adapted from the classic by Kate Hamill (SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, LITTLE WOMEN) and directed by Lisa Channer in her Park Square debut. This clever comedy offers a decidedly progressive take on the trials of Lizzy, Mr. Darcy, and the whole Bennet clan, with a few dance breaks thrown in for good measure.

“I love it because of the emphasis on the actor and the emphasis on theatricality,” says Park Square Theatre Artistic Director, Flordelino Lagundino. “Many of the actors play multiple roles and there is a sense of joy and abandon. Like the original Austen, it also gets to the depths of what it means to really fight for love and family.”

Many consider Austen to be one of the early feminist writers. To fully mine the gender politics of Austen’s most famous story, Hamill has constructed the role doubling in such a way that some characters have to be played by an actor of the opposite gender. Neal Beckman, for example, plays both Mr. Bingley and Bennet sister Mary, while McKenna Kelly-Eiding, who delighted audiences as Sherlock Holmes in KEN LUDWIG’S BASKERVILLE, plays the bumbling Mr. Collins and the dastardly Wickham.

Hamill also plays on the idea of the “perfect match,” by constructing the action like a game and or military strategy. “As I was writing, I started thinking about when you meet someone and you fall in love or something happens that changes your life beyond your control, and I wanted a way to make that more tangible. So, I thought bells are things you can’t ignore—church bells, wedding bells, alarm bells, door bells—they let us know something has changed, and I wanted to incorporate those in the script. So, every time something happens beyond the character’s control, something happens with a bell.”

Channer sets this decidedly frolicsome world as a play within a play. The entire proscenium stage will be open to the back wall with no side curtains, allowing the audience to see the actors preparing “offstage” for their next time in the “ring” which serves as the playing space.

The cast includes Sara Richardson* (Jane, Miss De Bourgh), China Brickey* (Lizzy), Kiara Jackson* (Lydia), Paul Rutledge (Mr. Darcy), McKenna Kelly-Eiding (Mr. Collins, Wickham), Neal Beckman (Mr. Bingley, Mary), Alex Galick* (Charlotte, Mr. Bennet), George Keller* (Mrs. Bennet).

The Production team includes:  Ruth Coughlin Lencowski (Vocal Coach), Annie Katsura Rollins (Scenic Designer), Sonya Berlovitz (Costume Design), Dan Dukich (Sound Designer), Karin Olsen (Lighting Designer), Josephine Everett (Properties Designer), Scott Stafford (Choreographer) Tim Komatsu (Park Square Theatre Dramaturgy Fellow), Rachael Rhoades (Advance Stage Manager), Megan Fae Dougherty (Production Stage Manager) Jaya Robillard (Assistant Stage Manager), Rane Oganowski (Wardrobe) Charlotte Deranek (Sound Board Operator)  *Member, Actors Equity Association

Ticket prices: Previews: $27-$37. Regular Run: $40-$60. Discounts are available for students, seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square Ticket Office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTAusten   SEASON TICKETS are on sale now.  Subscription package prices begin at $66.

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Previews: Nov 15 – 21, 2019

Opening Night: Nov 22, 2019

Regular Run: Nov 22 – Dec 22, 2019

Tickets: Previews: $20-$37; Regular Run: $25-$65

PARK SQUARE THEATRE, 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul

Ticket office: 651.291.7005 or parksquaretheatre.org

 

Antigone is a classic tragedy for a modern audience

ANTIGONE IS A CLASSIC TRAGEDY FOR A MODERN AUDIENCE

Second production features an all-women cast

Saint Paul, Minn., December 18, 2018 – Park Square Theatre announces the second production of ANTIGONE adapted and directed by MJ Kedrowski. The play is adapted in modern language from the Greek tragedy by Sophocles and brought to life by an all-woman ensemble of actors who work with Kedrowski to devise the script and action. “I’ve always been drawn to classic Greek theatre,” said Kedrowski. “The dramatic stakes are so high, and the lessons are so rooted in the human experience.” ANTIGONE plays on Park Square Theatre’s Andy Boss Thrust Stage from February 1 to March 3, 2019, including a series of ten nearly sold out student matinees.

“Richard Cook, who programmed this piece, was moved by MJ’s original production at Theatre Coup d’Etat in 2016 and thought it might be a perfect “cross-over” play that would engage both adults and school audiences,” said Michael-jon Pease, Park Square Theatre’s Executive Director. “His request to MJ was to see if the casting for the new production could be more racially diverse and inclusive to better align with our mission. After realizing the names they were coming up with all happened to be women, the idea of a cast of women and women-identifying actors emerged as a way to explore the feminist themes in the play and, as always, hire more diversely.”

“There are several times in the original Sophocles text when people tell Antigone ‘you are only a woman,’ in reference to something she can’t do,” says Kedrowski. “I tried to keep these moments to reflect on what the culture was back then and what the culture is now. My hope is that an audience of any kind, but particularly young people, will hear this and know that they can still fight for something they think is right. No matter what their gender.”

The story of ANTIGONE, the last in a trilogy by Sophocles, is rooted in civil disobedience, set in the aftermath of civil war. Oedipus’ two sons have killed each other in a fight for the crown of Thebes. Their uncle Creon becomes king and declares that Eteocles will receive holy burial while his brother Polynices is left unburied to rot at the gates of the city as a warning to other traitors. Their sister Antigone can’t accept this desecration. Knowing full well it will result in her own death, Antigone determines to bury Polynices, so his soul may rest.

Kedrowski was inspired by both a translation of the original Greek script and the 20th century version by Jean Anouilh. “I really love taking old works and using them as a baseline to create a new piece of theatre. Our script has many of the same characters and many of the same plot points, but we see people take a whole new path to get where they are going. And, unlike the original Greek script, where all the most dramatic action happens offstage and is told to us, we bring the action onstage for the audience to witness. We also include some of the character’s backstories to build more context and empathy for the emotions that are at play.”

The cast for ANTIGONE includes Lauren Diesch (Antigone), Laura Leffler (Creon), Kelly Nelson (Eteocles), Antonia Perez (Polynices), Vinecia Coleman (Haemon), Jamila Joiner (Ismene), Jamie Jachimiec (Eurydice) and an ensemble of Meredith Kind, Erin Farste, Teresa Mock and Kelly Huang.

The production team for ANTIGONE includes Sophie Peyton (Assistant Director), Jaya Robillard (Stage Manager), Kyia Britts (Lighting Designer), Morgan Groff (Costumer Designer), Sarah Modena (Sound Designer), Steve Modena (Sound Designer), Meredith Kind (Fight Choreographer), Kelly Nelson (Movement Coach), Lars Nisswandt (Silks Coach), Ruth Coughlin Lencowski (Vocal Coach), Lea Bruker (Sound Consultant), Hannah Holman (Producing Consultant), Natalia Petersen (Musician), Jo Kellen (Musician).

Ticket prices: Previews: $20-$37. Regular Run: $25-$60. Discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale at the Park Square ticket office, 20 W. Seventh Place, or by phone: 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday), or online at www.parksquaretheatre.org.   #PSTAntigone

 

CALENDAR INFORMATION

Previews: February 1 – 7, 2019

Opening Night: February 8, 2019

Regular Run: February 8 – March 3, 2019

Tickets: Previews: $20-$37; Regular Run: $25-$60

PARK SQUARE THEATRE, 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul

Ticket office: 651-291-7005 or www.parksquaretheatre.org

 Green: 7:30pm  Orange: 2:00pm

P – Preview
B – 99¢ Bargain Preview
D – Post-show Discussion
O – Opening Night
ASL –American Sign Language
AD – Audio Description
C – Open Captioning

PHOTOS Antigone photos by Petronella J Ytsma

UP NEXT ON PARK SQUARE’S PROSCENIUM STAGE:

Park Square Theatre Presents Girl Friday Production’s:

The Skin of our Teeth

By THORNTON WILDER

Directed by and designed by Joel Sass

Preview: February 7- 8, 2019

Opening Night: February 9, 2019

Regular Run: February 9 – March 3, 2019

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PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. Ticket Office: 651.291.7005. www.parksquaretheatre.org

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Tickets

The Park Square Ticket Office is open for phone calls Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5:00 pm.
Please call 651.291.7005.

For service other days of the week, please email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org.

Tickets can be purchased online at anytime.

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