A Twist of Water

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The first shock to the system

Posted by Erica Weiss on February 10, 2011

It’s been a while! We’ve been a little busy.

Last night was our final evening in the rehearsal space at Northshore Baptist Church in Andersonville (THANK YOU, NORTHSHORE BAPTISIT CHURCH!). Tonight, we move into our performance space at Theater Wit and onto Stephen H Carmody’s beautiful set. The myriad technical elements, so integral to this show, like lights, and music, and projections, now come into the process. It is no longer our little band of 7 (a four-person cast, our stage manager, our assistant stage manager, our assistant director, and myself). It’s time to expand our family – and how appropriate for this play.

For the past three weeks, we’ve been working with the bare minimum in furniture. Folding chairs, a piano bench that stands in for a teacher’s desk, and an invisible kitchen table. The show has very few props, but we’ve been miming a bottle of orange juice, a bottle of gin, a laptop, etc. The cast has been using their own cell phones, and their own coats. The rehearsal room is barely more than half the width and depth of our actual stage. The set has a long curved platform with stairs and a cut-out wall with a door, and we’ve done all our rehearsals at one level on a dirty (it’s been a little snowy out here in Chicago) floor with tape to indicate the most approximate of approximate playing areas on the ground. Bringing the show to its feet, adding all these new physical elements, is a shock to the system.

The smaller shock, though, the one that makes you understand that this show is really happening and here-we-go… In rehearsal, Rita Vreeland (our amazing stage manager), starts and ends each act with the words: “And, we’re in black-out. And, lights.” But starting this week, the lights will go up and down without a word, bookending the play as a piece of theatre, ready for an audience to experience in the dark. It’s a small thing, but it’s what gives me goosebumps.

It’s been a joy and a challenge so far. Bring on the curveballs and obstacles and opportunities! Bring on the transition! Shock our systems.

Here we go…

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Braving the cold with Scenic Designer Stephen H Carmody

Posted by A Twist of Water on January 8, 2011

Stephen H Carmody, Scenic Designer for A Twist of Water, adds his first post to the blog. Enjoy!
I love Chicago.

I hate the cold.

Chicago’s cold taunts and bites.  It frustrates and persists.  It surprises and is forever constant causing delays, fevers, headaches, wet socks, numb fingers, and reasons to never leave the cozy comforts of your bed.

But we do leave our beds.  And yes, it is uncomfortable and yes, no one smiles when waiting for the bus, but no, I don’t hate Chicago.

I don’t know why.  If you look at it logically, based on the information I gave at the top of the blog, I should hate Chicago 9 months out the year.  That is 75% of the time!  I had to figure that out with a calculator, which leads me to my next point.   I’m the scenic designer for A Twist of Water.  I look at things aesthetically and rarely do I convert fractions.  And as much as I think I should hate Chicago and its awful cold, my affection towards its weather condition is a major contradiction.   Chicago winter is beautiful and I’m able to deal and adapt to difficult situations out of a genuine love for the city.   (Allusion??? I think so.)

When researching for this show, I came across a picture that represented the text of the show and my feelings towards Chicago’s winter.  The picture is freezing, the lake is ice, the air is crisp, the trees are bare, and there is a twist in the water.  Literally, there is.  That was it.  I knew what I wanted to make the space and how I wanted the audience to feel.  Thank you google!

Scenic Design "Inspiration Photo"

I’m very excited about this show and more than happy to put on a double layer of clothes to face the cold and work on this project.

Stay warm, and I hope to see you at A Twist of Water and around Chicago!

-Stephen

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32 Sweet Degrees in Hell

Posted by caitlinmparrish on December 11, 2010

Some noxious rumors have been floating around. Some hateful piece of filth has been goin’ around telling my friends that I’ve moved to Los Angeles, OF ALL PLACES. And for what purpose? To write for film and television. Like a whore.

They are not so much rumors and they are factual accounts of what’s taken place. My bad. However! There’s a silver lining on both the Chicago snow clouds and Los Angeles smog banks, and it’s this:

February 2011 will mark the world premiere (and fancy Equity) production of my new play A Twist of Water.

Thoroughly. Baller.

A little more than a year ago my artistic wife Erica Weiss and I set out to write a surreal comedy about a plucky ten year-old girl intent on punching the world’s homophobia in the face. What emerged was a realistic drama about a man raising his adopted daughter alone in the wake of his husband’s death.

(To those members of my family who bet me I couldn’t write a comedy: Your certified traveller’s cheques for $1 will be postmarked and mailed once Miley Cyrus pays a sizable loan back to me.)

And now, a scant year and change after that first execrable draft, that second tolerable draft, a third enjoyable draft, several public readings, and a whole lotta luck, my new play is being given a full production by Chicago’s Route 66 Theatre Company.

I must discuss the rarity of such an occurrence.

New plays do not receive equity productions. They just don’t. Unless you’re Kris Diaz or Tanya Saracho or some other unbelievably attractive and talented motherfucker I don’t get to be. So, that I’m receiving one is strange and bewildering, an event on par with the Chicago Bears leading their division (BEAR DOWN).

But such is the magic of Chicago, a place where Patrick Kane can shut down the city with a final, ass-beating hockey goal. A place where DIY storefronts can flourish for twenty years without a moment’s creative compromise. And, on this 75 degree day in Los Angeles, I would like to thank the currently freezing Chi-town, for just being great. Thanks, Chicago. You’re great. Also, Route 66. You are great.

And now begins the collaborative process! WHOO! To help express my feelings, here’s a clip of a son of Chicago and a son of Louisville. Enjoy.

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