Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In the past few weeks New York has witness a lot: a hurricane, a snowstorm, and a little something called Hotel Suite.

As of this past Sunday, Rising Sun Performance Company completed our most ambitious project yet. Hotel Suite was a site specific theatre piece performed at Hostelling International at 103rd and Amsterdam in the Upper West Side. With most of experimental theatre and Rising Sun's pieces occurring in lower Manhattan, we ventured uptown to find the perfect venue for our project: three full length productions sharing a single hotel room. Our endeavor was no easy task, and it took support from an amazing network of people to make this happen. Here's a few of the factors that went into this project and the folks who made the pieces fall in place.

1. Dramatists Play Service- This company owns the rights to Bug, a show that Akia has wanted to direct for several years. Finally, this past year Dramatists issued Rising Sun the rights to be the first off-off-Broadway company in NYC to produce BUG.

2. Our Company- We have an amazing company this year. Everyone from the Rising Sun staff, the actors, the interns, and our other key support members are what made Hotel Suite deliver a set of awesome shows to the NY theatre community.

3. Our Donors- This project was ambitious in several ways, one of which was finances. We are a small grassroots theatre company with little in the way for budget. Our indie gogo campaign raised over $5000 to be our most successful fundraising campaign ever!

4. Hostelling International- Location, location, location. This was one of our biggest hurdles in producing Hotel Suite: finding a location that fit our needs willing to host us for over a month. Hostelling International gladly took us in, promoted and supported the show, and let us completely rent out a performance space and dressing area for a month. Believe me in NYC that is extremely rare!

5. Our Playwrights- Yes, yes, Tracy Letts and Sam Shepard are amazing, but what about the six playwrights who wrote the one acts featured in Room 128? These guys were chosen from tons of entries for one act plays set in hotel rooms. The entire company was involved in the selection process, and our final product was a diverse set of plays ranging from seductive donuts and raging Elizabethans to a not so happy ex-wife and a kooky clown and bellhop. 

6. The New York Theatre Community- Rising Sun is supported by a huge network of theatre groups including but not limited to: Horse Trade Theatre Group, NY Innovative Theatre Awards, The Field, Fractured Atlas, NYFA, and Materials For The Arts. 

SO...thanks to all of these people we did it! We did cancel a few shows, but we were able to add a couple additional performances for those patrons who missed the show due to Sandy. 

Finally...here is the list of donors!!! Thanks to everyone for making this dream a reality!

Anonymous X 10,  Aaron Balaster, Alison Berry, Andrea  Alton, Andrea Wachter, Anna Gorman, Ashleigh Herndon, Becky Rygg,  Bill Sharp, Billy Stephens, Blake Matzen, Charissa Jones, Colin Lewellyn, Dana Martin, Darsell Brittingham, Deborah Wolfson, Denie Roche, Dennis & Donna DeSimone, Dennis M Moore, Diana Byrne, Donna, Donnetta Grays, EJ Assi, Elena Naskova, Elizabeth Burke,  Emily Elam, Giovanna Fasolino, Henri Socha, Holli Handlogten, Hubley, Jacquelyn Rocha, Jamie Cummings Jason Le Master, Jason Tyne-Zimmerman, Jchoos, Jeffrey Keenan, Jena McRae, Jessica Bhargava, Jim and Barb Aguirre, John K. Hart, Jorel VanOs, Josh Hyman, Josh M Roche, Karen Libman ,  Karron Karr, Kate Foster,  Kathryn Grant, Katy Grimes, Kelley Evans,  Kristen Gonzalez, Kristin Konopka, Larry Gevirtz, Laurel Ryan, Lauren Stockner, Leal Vona,  Lory A Henning, Marian Welch-Evans, Mark Cornell, Mary Hawkins,  MaryAnn DeSimone, Maryellen Burns, Matthew Cornell, Matthew DeCoster, Meg Carstens, Megan R Becker, Meri Minatel, Mia Anderson,  Michael J Richards, Michael Jaros, Michael Walker, Michele Mossay, Mimi  Jefferson, Miriam Goldberg, Nina Psihoules, Paul Fengler, Rachel Klein,  Rich Weksberg, Robin Dennis, Ruth Williams Hennessy, Sahadev  Poudel, Salli Squitieri, Sarah Norris,  Sarah Whicker , Scott Eddlemon, Selina Troesch, Sharone Halevy,  Shay Gines, Shoshana Freisinger, Stacy Alley,Stephanie Plaitin ,Stephanie Pruett, Steve & Cynthia Collier, Susan Bell, Susan Russell, Susan Tarran, Tahra Millan, Tim Butterfield, Toni Rafferty, Tzipora Kaplan, Amanda Berry, Una Osato, Veronica,  Vincent DiGeronimo, Zhubin Parang

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hello Blogging World!

This a new thing for me, although I once did have a live journal back in high school (circa the pre-facebook, pre-twitter, my space was coolest thing ever era). Now there are people who have made "social media" into a career. Yes. I kid you not. Celebrities and musicians are hiring people to manage their online appearance and networking (who knows- that twitter feed you follow for your favorite celebrity may be carefully managed by a technology savvy 20 something). All this aside- let's talk about Rising Sun and what is going on in our little (big) world.

We are currently in production for our massive undertaking of a theatrical adventure we like to call "Hotel Suite." Hotel Suite is a compilation of Sam Shepard's Fool For Love, Tracy Lett's Bug, a series of brand new one act plays, and our new adventure into the darker synapses of the mind Living Statues. All of these pieces will be performed in a rotating repertory in a non-traditional hotel space (location to be announce VERY soon please check our social media pages for more updates). Our audiences will be very small (around 30 people per show) and will be in a very intimate space with the actors. Now this might not be the Sleep No More style show where your husband may get pulled into a closet by a very sexy woman while you are lost in a ballroom forest- but we hope to create a new experience for the audience and actor  by putting drugs, sex, murder and government conspiracies only a few feet away with no magical proscenium picture window.

We are all very excited for this project. Last night at a bar someone asked me my favorite type of theatre. My answer was "meaningful." Because truthfully that is what all theatre actors strive for (we aren't in it for the fame or money- trust me)- making art that affects the audience. We want to make you think, make you sweat, shift uncomfortably in your seat, laugh so hard you forget about everything back in the real world, and leave the theatre with a new idea. So in the search for meaningful theatre- I see a lot of promise in this project. So audience- fill those seats and let us change your perspective- maybe for just a minute- and help us do what we love!

Now on to the social media fun stuff:
1. Hotel Suite is a costly endeavor so we are currently running an indie go-go campaign to help support our efforts! Please take a few minutes to watch or awesome video featuring our company members and the talents of song writer Michael Burns (also a company member). While visiting the video feel free to drop us $5 towards or project!

2. Visit our show's facebook page for photos, updates, and ticket links! Tell your friends!

3. And visit the Rising Sun Website to learn more about the company, the company members, past, present and future projects!



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Alfresco Theatre

Hi guys!  Sam C. here.  (Crazy that we have TWO Sams in RSP now.  The more, the merrier, I say!)

I wanted to bring up a summer treat that I have been taking advantage of lately - alfresco theatre.  We are halfway through summer and the humidity has settled into our pores.  Sometimes it takes a swift kick in the bootie shorts to even exit an air conditioned building.  (You know I'm right.)  But I urge you, theatre-lovers to push yourself to see some outdoor theatre before summer is over.  Single tear.

Outdoor shows flood NYC public parks (and parking lots) during the warmer months.  As we know, the Public Theater hosts Shakespeare in the Park and people line up at the crack of dawn for tickets.  But you don't have to sleep in Central Park in order to score some outdoor theatre deliciousness.  No, friends.  In the past two weeks, I ventured out of doors to see not one, but two Shakespeare plays, and neither of them were at the Delacorte. 

Smith Street Stage recently closed Twelfth Night in Carroll Park, conveniently close to the F train and Shakespeare In The Parking Lot just opened Merry Wives of Windsor down on the Lower East Side.  Both productions had shining moments and less stellar ones, but due to the nature of alfresco theatre, the pitfalls didn't bother me much because of some glorious aspects of most outdoor theatre...

Alfresco theatre:

*is often FREE!!!!  How's that for a recession special, folks?  Due to the open nature of parks and outdoor spaces, companies can't/don't want to charge their patrons.  Yes, they often ask for donations, but it's your choice to donate (and you SHOULD, as we actors are poor and so we can keep providing said free theatre to you)

*allows you to bring a PICNIC!  Who doesn't love picnics?  I was prepared with guacamole, chips, sandwiches, fruit salad, sparkling water....but I was definitely eyeing the provisions of other audience members

*is completely UNSTUFFY.  Sprawl out on a mat, sit cross-legged on the grass, even perch on a free folding chair or bench.  Seating options abound.  Also, sometimes, we're running late due to trains, etc. and we can't get into a theatre because we aren't allowed and/or we don't want to be rude.  But with outdoor theatre, audience members can come and go as they please.  Kids will run around in the background; a jogger ran through the performance of Twelfth Night I saw.  Much of the fun of outdoor theatre is the environment and the randomness that can occur during each show. 

*it's about COMMUNITY outreach.  What better way to advertise a company than to provide free theatre that is available to all ages and classes because it pops up in a public park?  Most companies have a mailing list sign-up on hand, which is a smart way to go.  And if you attend a show one summer and enjoy it, chances are you'll show up the next summer and bring friends!  Bonus - outdoor theatre inspires a new generation of artists and audience members (toddlers LOVE theatre).

So go forth, dears!  Grab a blanket or a beach chair, pack a picnic basket (I might steal yours - I don't have one and I WANT one), gather some loved ones or head out solo and find some outdoor theatre near you! 

Off to find a red-checkered tablecloth....

Sam C.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A note from Ensemble Member Stephon

There was just some thoughts that I needed to get off of chest and out there for the world to see. Here I go:

In the last two years I have realized that life is not fair. You do not always get want and if you want something you must be prepared to fall many times in order to get it. What has been bought to my attention about theater and why I do what it is that I do is because I want to tell a story. I want continue adding on to a history that formulated centuries ago when actors stood on stage in the greek theatres and created something so ground breaking that society could not live without it today.
To see people on stage baring their souls in such an honest creative fashion is one of the most rewarding gifts that an actor has and that he can show an audience. In order for this to happen he/she must realize that they are not perfect and the sooner you accept that the better chances you have in enjoying the process of your work.
I believe in most plays every character is searching for love or acceptance from another person which is kind of the reason why some of us act in the first place.The trouble is when you go through life constantly trying to seek approval from others you lose yourself in the process. I can not quote Biff's monologue from Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" but Biff struggled with this situation until finally he had a break down break and spewed of his feelings to Willy. Biff was a man bleeding inside and all he ever wanted was his father to love and accept him for who he is.
The lesson I hope you all take from this long post is that you are who you are. Enjoy what it is that you do, love yourself, and carry an umbrella because it rains nay sayers who critize and scrutinize what it is that you do everyday. The umbrella is to keep you dry and protect you from that. You know who you are, you know what you want, you know how much it will take to get what you want, and if your scared; that is the first step being an adult.
If you have not already purchased your tickets for Rising Sun Performance Company's  "Henry's Wives", and/or "Crapshoot" I recommend that you all get on that ASAP. We  need your support to keep it going, and we promise that it will be money well spent. We will not disappoint you.

I am off to work, so everyone enjoy your day.
Stephon Pettway