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Welcome to the Arden Theatre Company blog, where we share behind-the-scenes stories and current happenings with you. You will hear from the Arden staff as well as actors and other visiting artists, and we hope to hear from you, too. If you have an idea for a topic, please post a comment about it. We can't wait to hear what you think!

By Tara Demmy, Arden Professional Apprentice

The American Society for Theatre Research (ASTR) is a U.S.-based professional organization that fosters scholarship on worldwide theatre and performance, both historical and contemporary. It had its annual conference Seattle this year (Nov 18-21), and I attended representing Arden Theatre Company.

My undergraduate senior thesis was accepted into the working group: “Bodies at Play” which explored the performative dimensions of “bodies at play,” which were defined as physical and / or imaginary “corporeal scenarios” where the mind and body engage in “play”. There were papers that analyzed the play involved with Live Action Role Play, Stunt Running, and dressing as Superheroes for comic book conventions. One paper explored the process our bodies go through when smell is incorporated into theatrical performances, arguing that it make us more present and more connected to the “liveness” of performance.

My paper was titled “American Bouffon: Historical Deconstruction and Experimental Performance.”  It explored the differentiated bodies of Jacques Lecoq’s bouffon and what needs to change about this French satirical style in order to effectively perform it in the United States.

We ended the working group by discussing how we “play” in our everyday lives and why this concept of play (which translates into freeing yourself artistically and taking risks) is so important for the American theatre. I really learned that by understanding performance as it occurs in our everyday lives, we will be better able to connect to the type of art that is presented on the stage.

I came to this conference from a totally different point of view, being a part of a regional theatre instead of a university (most who attend ASTR are either PhD students or college professors). I talked with many participants at the conference who praised the Arden’s work and said that they wished they had worked in a theatre before pursuing graduate education because practice enriches research (especially in the theatre). Research is super important, but if that research is not applied to the actual theatre produced, then it is not used to its full potential.  The APA program is an amazing practice- based program for understanding all that goes into running a successful theatre company and this conference was a brilliant example of how I was able to utilize the new perspective and experiences I have gained from the APA program.

In reflecting, I am so glad I attended this conference. It gave me new ideas on how to organize research and the many topics that theatre research can cover. I attended sessions on multi-cultural theatre, feminist theatre, and research strategies.  I received advice from many well-known scholars who were eager to share their professional journeys with someone who just graduated college. I was proud to have Arden Theatre Company on my name tag and was able to speak of our season with some Philadelphia local professors. I hope to return to Seattle and see more theatre on the west coast; it’s a whole new exciting theatre community to explore!

In The Borrowers, the tiny Clock family re-uses everyday  items from the “human beans” that live above their tiny home. Ever wonder what you could make out of things around your house that could be thrown away?

Well, we’re teaming up with Keep Philadelphia Beautiful for a special community event promoting reuse and resourcefulness. After a discussion about recycling and minimizing waste, there will be a series of guided activities where participants can make their own action-figure hat hooks, CD ornaments, or T-Shirt tote bags. Some of these items will be displayed in the lobby of our theatre during the run of the show!

Here are the dates and locations for the upcoming Become a Borrower events!

Thursday 12/2/10 • 6:00pm-8:00pm
Narberth Community Library

80 Windsor Avenue
Narberth, PA 19072

Saturday 12/4/10 10:00am-Noon
Cherry Hill Public Library

1100 Kings Highway North
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Sunday 12/5/10 1:00pm-3:00pm
Arden Theatre Company

40 N. 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Please bring any or all of the following items: T-shirts, CD/DVD’s, Books, Water Bottles, Coffee Cans, Small Loose Hardware (Nails/Screws/etc.), Tennis Balls, Ice-Cube Trays, Cardboard Drink Carriers, Old Action Figures, Cassette Tapes and Wine Corks.

For questions regarding “Become a Borrower” please contact Byran Kerr: bkerr@ardentheatre.org.

We hope to see you there!

Creating the big world for the 5 inch tall Clock family in The Borrowers takes a whole team!

We’re collecting video and photos of our behind the scenes action to share with you.

For part of the play, the Clocks live in a boot. How many people would it take to carry something that big? Find out in this short video of our amazing production team had to carrying the boot across 2nd Street in Old City, from our scene shop to our Haas Stage.

Here’s the boot inside the theatre. Can you see Kate and Thomas inside?

Here is The Borrowers costume designer Rosemarie with Scott, Delanté and Bi from the cast. They are looking at the costume sketches, which are colorful drawings of each outfit worn by everyone in the play.

This is a photo of the set model by Lewis, the scenic designer. This miniature version of the set has moving pieces, so you can see what will change on stage during different scenes.

We’ll update this blog post when we have other fun pictures and videos to share! Do you have questions about the play, set, costumes and more?

Leave a question in the comments here and we’ll post the answer!

Would you like up-to-the-minute information? Like our page on Facebook.

By Marykate Purcell

Ghost-Writer is a play that is full of drama and comedy. The leading lady, discount Megan Bellwoar (Myra Babbage), prescription is a very good actress who has a deep connection with her character. She was very good at staying in character at all times. The leading man, Douglas Rees (Franklin Woolsey), had a lot of power in his voice when he spoke. He did an amazing job! I really like how he portrayed his character. And last, Patricia Hodges (Vivian Woolsey), had such a funny character! She did an amazing job. Patricia’s character had something about her that made her so unique and funny, even in the sad parts of the play. I really liked her performance. All three actors did a great job. The set was very nice. It was simple and interesting. The actors used the space very well.

Ghost-Writer is the story of a writer, his typist, and his wife. The writer is very quiet and doesn’t take the time to see his wife. One night the writer and his typist are finishing a book when, in the middle of his sentence, he falls to the ground dead. The rest of the story is through his typists’ eyes. Ghost-Writer was very well written. This three person play runs until November 7, 2010.

Although I think it is a good play, it did feel long to me. There wasn’t a whole lot going on. However, what was going on was interesting and emotional. There were some sad parts, some happy, and some funny. I would recommend seeing the Ghost-Writer and I would enjoy seeing it again myself. Check out Arden Theater Company in Philadelphia and on line at www.ardentheatre.org for more information.

Thank you to the Arden Theater for the allowing me the opportunity to review Ghost-Writer.

©2009 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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