Spotlight on THE BIRD HOUSE

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In anticipation of this Thursday's reading of Diane Glancy's The Bird House, I thought you'd like to meet the creative team and cast of the play. Since a few of them have been featured in our blog in the past, I decided to ask them a few personal questions so we can get to know them a bit better. I also asked them to share their favorite summer pictures with us so you're really in for a treat. ;-D

Carlenne: What inspires you?
Diane: Travel- because I pick up voices / ideas / images when I'm on the road by myself.

C: If you weren't a theatre artist, what would you be? Do you have a second calling?
D: My second calling- a minister. Or a writer of sermons. I like to think about Christianity.

C: Fill in the blank: It's not theatre if it's not _________.
D: ... sparked by language.

In Santa Monica with Councilman Rosendahl and my wife Dawn before VCPA's presentation of Othello

Carlenne: What inspires you?
Stephan: A great idea!

C: If you weren't a theatre artist, what would you be? Do you have a second calling?
S: Theatre IS my second calling.

C: Fill in the blank: It's not theatre if it's not _________.
S: ... spontaneous.

Carlenne: What inspires you?
Bryan: The unknown.

There's an old saying: "Write what you know." Which always seemed to me to be terrible advice. If I know something, then I know how I feel about it, and what I think about it... So what's the fun in that? Where is the discovery? Shakespeare's greatest plays aren't set in England; they're set in classical Rome, in Denmark, in Italy, on strange islands... I'm inspired by my own curiosity about people, about history and about the great sweep of human experience. As a playwright, my plays were about the Dust Bowl, about World War I, about post-partum depression... I was always intrigued about finding a way into a foreign land or different time, about finding those areas of common humanity.

This is what I love about working with Native Voices. As one of the whitest guys on the planet (I am from Orange County) I get to work with theater artists who may have a different cultural experience than I do. But the plays often deal with universal themes (Where did we come from? Where do we go when we die? And exactly what is it that happens in between?). The way different characters attempt to solve these unsolvable dilemmas of life may vary, but the dilemmas are the same.

We are alike, but different. But alike.

This is what I find fascinating and wonderful about human beings, and it brings me back to the theater over and over again.

C: If you weren't a theatre artist, what would you be?
B: When I was in high school, I took some sort of aptitude test that was supposed to help you identify a career. What would I be? I filled in the bubbles and awaited anxiously. The answer: Park Ranger.

I think I would be a pretty good park ranger, actually. I'd take people around, tell them stories. Encourage them to look at the stars and check out the different kinds of plants and the landscape, feel its history, really see the world around them, and wonder at it all.

Now that I think about it, isn't that what a theater artist does?

C: Do you have a second calling in life?
B: Teaching.

I guess it's in my blood. My mother taught grade school in Colorado, and her aunt taught three generations of kids in Ness City, Kansas. Once she started teaching the grand-kids of her first class, she knew it was time to quit.

Some of the best times and some of the hardest times in my life have come in trying to communicate something of meaning to a group of people.

C: Fill in the blank: It's not theatre if it's not _________.
B: ... telling me a story.

Telling a story may sound easy. It's not. But man - when it happens, you feel it.
One Sunday morning, my wife and I were driving home from the grocery store. We were listening to a story from "This American Life" on the radio. When we got home, we couldn't get out of the car. We were too engrossed in the radio program. The frozen foods were melting but we didn't care. We sat for twenty minutes in a sweltering car because we had to know what happened next.

That's the power of story!

Carlenne: What inspires you?
Randy: Great collaborators, smart writing and laughter in the process.

C: If you weren't a theatre artist, what would you be? 
R: I have so many hats– this is like a trick question. I am a lover, a friend, a husband, a motivator, an administrator, a producer, a brother, a son, an uncle, a cousin and I love being with my dog.

C: Do you have a second calling in life?
R: Nope – this is what I am meant to do in life.

C: Fill in the blank: It's not theatre if it's not ______________. 
R: A live event, an intimate act, that provokes, celebrates and examines the paradoxes that make us human.

Carlenne: What inspires you? 
Ellen: Passionate people who love what they do, watching the underdog succeed. Do you know the short film, The Butterfly Circus? Nick Vujicic plays a man without arms or legs in a side show during the Depression. How he finds his own self-worth is a very inspiring story.

C: If you weren't a theatre artist, what would you be? Do you have a second calling in life?
E: Even before I was an actor, I was a singer. That’s the earliest calling I can remember… making up songs while I was swinging on the swings. If I hadn’t gone into the arts, I would most likely have become a counselor. I like helping people succeed, and in many ways, that’s also part of what I do now.

C: Fill in the blank: It's not theatre if it doesn’t ____________.
E: ... move you in some way.
In San Diego at Native Voices 2010 Playwrights Retreat
Carlenne: What inspires you?
Carla-Rae: I am inspired by my FAITH in One Who is bigger than me. It is through that FAITH that I am inspired to keep pressing toward the goal of being all I can be in everything I put my hand to do. I am inspired by using the gifts and talents I have been given to help others believe "if Carla-Rae can do it, than I can do it." Whatever their personal "It" is. I am inspired when I see others reach there goals and I'm inspired by the support I receive from family, friends, and fans. I am inspired by the simple beauty in the little and the big things of life. Of course, I could go on and on, but simply put I am inspired to be a blessing and to bring joy to those whom my life touches. Certainly, all of this inspiration is applied to my work as an actor.

C: If you weren't a theatre artist, what would you be? Do you have a second calling in life?
CR: It is interesting that you ask this question. Just the other day my husband and I were having a discussion. We were remembering taking an aptitude test in high school which was to determine what career direction we would take. Mine determined I would be in the Performing Arts or in some form of Social work. I have a heart for people, so if I wasn't acting, I would probably be spearheading some cause to help mankind.

C: Fill in the blank: It's not theatre if it's not ______________. 
FUN. Whether we are young or old, what we "do" has to bring enjoyment or "what's the point."

Be sure to make your reservations to see The Bird House, Thursday, October 7 at 7p. Click here for more info. We'll see you there!


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