On May 8th, Terry Nolen had the rare opportunity to interview Tony and Pulitzer prize winning lyricist and composer Stephen Sondheim at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington. Prior to the interview, select Arden supporters were invited to an exclusive ‘meet and greet’ reception with Mr. Sondheim. The interview precedes the Arden’s production of A Little Night Music, which marks the 12th Sondheim musical to be produced on our stages.
In anticipation of the upcoming 25th anniversary Granfalloon, Co-Chairs June and Steve Wolfson hosted a fabulous Preview Party in their home on April 24th. The evening included delicious wine and dinner and a special performance from Alex Keiper who will appear in our upcoming production of A Little Night Music. Guests included Granfalloon sponsors, Host Committee and this year’s honorees – past presidents of the Arden’s Board of Directors.
Join us on Friday, June 7th to celebrate the Arden’s 25th anniversary!
By Sally Ollove
Producer for The Writers’ Room
The Writers’ Room, the Arden’s playwright residency, includes over 50 audience members as Inside The Writers’ Room passholders. These individuals have the opportunity to observe the process of developing a new play at the Arden. We’ll post blog entries about their special events so you can have a taste of what happens Inside The Writers’ Room.
Last night, we started with a little bit of orientation in the Arden Lobby before moving to the Arden’s Nancy Hirsig Rehearsal Hall. After some light refreshments, passholders introduced themselves and told us what brought them “Inside The Writers’ Room.” There were a number of great responses from young writers looking to see what a future in playwriting might hold to passholders from last year eager to see how a new writer and cast will impact the experience, to jealous audience members from Women in Jep who wanted to join “the cool kids” this season.
Then Ed Sobel gave an overview of the impetus behind the program and introduced Rachel Bonds who answered questions from passholders about her background and life as a writer. Rachel admitted that all her plays seem to end up addressing questions of grief, no matter what her intentions are at the start. You’ll find out whether this holds true for her Writers’ Room play at our table read next week!
For our production of Pinocchio, we are partnering with Philadelphia Stories, Jr., a local literary magazine for writers 18 years and younger. From now through June 30, you can enter our Pinocchio Writing and Art Contest!
- See the Arden’s production of Pinocchio, on stage from April 13-June 23, 2013, about a wicked wooden boy who trades his schoolbooks for candy and plays hooky at the amusement park. His rebellion has serious consequences, but he is able to redeem himself by saving his father Gepetto from the whale.
- Reimagine Pinocchio’s story through an original poem, short story, or work of art. Your original work can consider questions such as: What is your character made of? Where does your character live? What does he look like? What lies does your character tell and why does your character tell them? What act of bravery must your character do to earn forgiveness? Have fun with these questions, or feel free to make up your own ideas!
- Submit: Children in grades K-12 can send their contest entries by June 30, 2013 to the ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM. Please complete all fields and add the words “PINOCCHIO CONTEST” to your title or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Stories must be no longer than 1000 words. Poems should be no more than 36 lines. Photos of any kind of appropriate artwork will be considered.
- The editors of Philadelphia Stories Jr. will pick 9 finalists, 3 from each grade category (K-4, 5-8, 9-12). The finalists will be published in the online edition of the Fall/Winter 2013-14 issues of Philadelphia Stories Jr. and on the Arden Blog.
- 3 Grand Prizes: Readers can visit the Facebook pages for the Arden Theatre Company and Philadelphia Stories Jr. to vote for their favorites. One winner from each grade category will be named on September 1 and notified via email. Each winner will receive a $50 cash prize, a one-day workshop at the Arden Drama School, a Pinocchio T-shirt, and publication in the print issue of Fall/Winter 2013-14 issue ofPhiladelphia Stories Jr.
- All 9 Finalists will win 4 tickets to the first show of the Arden’s 2013/14 Children’s Theatre season!
By Christopher Haig
Props Master at the Arden Theatre Company
Throughout the Arden’s production of Pinocchio, everyday objects found around a construction site are used by the actors to tell the story. These common tools and work place materials transform into magical objects transporting our audience into the world of the play by tapping into their imaginations.
At the beginning of the rehearsal process, director Matt Decker and his cast were given a room full of tools, building materials, ladders, drop cloths and scaffolding. As they developed each character and moment in the play, these items found new life and became all manner of imaginative props.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Cricket – voiced and manipulated by actor Doug Hara
To create the cricket, we cut two 10” long blocks of wood and wrapped them in sandpaper. These are known as sand blocks and are used for smoothing drywall or other rough surfaces. We cut out a notch for Doug’s fingers and he uses his pointer fingers as antenna. By simply rubbing the two pieces together he creates the sound and motion of a cricket’s legs rubbing together.
Snow – thrown by actor Anthony Lawton
In keeping with the construction zone concept, we needed to create a version of snow that would be readily available on a job site. We figured out that sawdust in some form would do the trick. The hard part was making sawdust that had small enough pieces to look like snow but not so fine that it would get caught in the actors’ noses or mouths as they spoke. After some R&D, the scenic department shaved some pine wood in nice size pieces that the prop department then sifted over a trash can in a regular kitchen strainer. This allowed most of the fine particles to sift out; leaving us with nice snow-sized sawdust I’ve termed “snowdust”.
Pinocchio’s Growing Nose – manipulated by actor David Raphaely
To create Pinocchio’s growing nose as he tells lies, we used a roll of wallpaper border. This is the strip of wallpaper that goes around the top of a room or above a chair rail. After Pinocchio tells a lie, the border roll is held in front of the actor’s face making it look like his nose has grown 12 inches. When Pinocchio tells a second lie, another actor pulls the end of the roll extending the paper out. After the third lie, it gets extended again until it is sticking out a good 5 feet! Pinocchio finally tells the truth and the actor tilts his head back allowing the extended wallpaper to fall back into the roll as if the nose were shrinking. This is a fun project kids can make at home too. Get a long roll of paper (wrapping paper or butcher paper) and cut to 10” wide. Roll it up and you’ve got a nose, pull the end out and watch it grow!
Check out these and all the other imaginative uses of construction site objects to tell the magical story of Pinocchio onstage at the Arden through June 23rd.
On April 13, we had a wonderful opening night for our Arden Children’s Theatre production of Pinocchio!
Special thanks to our opening night sponsors: 12th Street Catering, The Center for Art in Wood, Harmelin Media, Hatboro Beverages, PixeΙation Photography, and Philadelphia Stories, Jr. Thank you also to our Production Sponsor Comcast | NBC 10 | Sprout.
Here are photos from the evening, including photos from our “Create Your Own Disguise” Photobooth. You can also find the Photobooth pictures on the Arden’s Facebook Page.
To my wife Ni’Teesha
By Zachery Sminkey
We sat and watched A Raisin in the Sun
Ruth announced what they fear is we’ll marry
At first I’m glad that now those times are done
More I think, the more my thoughts get dreary.
I hold my loves black hand in my white palm
I suppose what they had feared has come true
Since those that see us most times are calm
Does this mean that racism is now through?
People do not strike, scream, stare but they glance
Not overt they do it so we can’t see
They’ll be called racist they can’t take that chance
Mom even told Ni’ in secret don’t wed me.
Some may still fight us; this is not their life
Ni’Teesha, you will always be my wife
(Response to Harlem by Langston Hughes)
What happens to a dream deferred?
Can I describe with simply words
The intangible loss that must occur
When aspiration is demurred?
Does it become an orphaned child,
Unsung and shy–seen but unheard,
Or does it seek another’s wiles,
And take off, flitting, like a bird?
Does it disperse like urban soot,
Settling as grime on stagnant waters,
Or does it languish, underfoot,
Like petals, flora’s fallen daughters?
Does it burn and rise from the ash anew,
Or evaporate with morning’s dew?
Does it waft and fade like dimming light,
Or go, screaming, into the night?
But all comparisons aside,
Why must we have our dreams denied?
By Karem Mathiang
A poem from Momma’s perspective about her plant.
I’ve always wanted a garden, but I guess that’s asking for too much.
So instead I bought a seed, and it reminded me of how someone once told me that if you gave a plant a name it’ll learn to respond. And I don’t know if that’s true and I don’t really care if it is because my mother would always say that everyone needs something to believe in.
So I wonder if I told my plant to grow, would it resemble the picture that is painted in my dreams. Will it bare the weight of the crumbling world around me .
Will it stand tall on days when I forget what ambition looks like. Will it remind me that it doesn’t matter how thick the soil is, as long as you know where your roots are…
Or, will it ever actually grow?
If I called it Walter, will it remind me of the man that I’ve lost, if I wished hard enough will it grow large enough to shatter the floors of heaven so Walter Lee can climb down and touch the stars that he couldn’t reach when he was alive will it ever be more than a dream deferred.
Maybe this plant will make up for all the lost moments…or maybe, maybe I’m asking for too much again.