Categotry Archives: performance

Descriptions and information about all the performances the piece sees, and processes of making them happen.

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Cast lists for Vivat Regina and Base Instruments at Arisia 2017!

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Categories: base instruments, performance, vivat regina, Tags: ,

We have finalized our casts for our shows at Arisia 2017, Mrs. Hawking parts 2 and 3, Vivat Regina and Base Instruments!

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Vivat Regina by Phoebe Roberts

Mrs. Victoria Hawking: Cari Keebaugh
Miss Mary Stone: Circe Rowan
Mr. Nathaniel Hawking: Jeremiah O’Sullivan
Mrs. Johanna Braun: Joye Thaller
Mrs. Clara Hawking: Sara Smith
Officer Arthur Swann: Matthew Kamm
Frau Kirsten Gerhard: Kitty Drexel
Herr Christoph Austerlitz: Andrew Prentice
Ensemble: Sara Dion, Travis Ellis

Base Instruments by Phoebe Roberts

Mrs. Victoria Hawking: Cari Keebaugh
Miss Mary Stone: Circe Rowan
Mr. Nathaniel Hawking: Jeremiah O’Sullivan
Mrs. Clara Hawking: Sara Smith
Sergeant Arthur Swann: Matthew Kamm
Mr. Justin Hawking: Eric Cheung
Miss Elena Zakharova: Arielle Kaplan
Henry Cavil, Lord Seacourse: Andrew Prentice
Mr. Kyril Chernovsky: Isaiah Plovnick
Miss Yulia Sherba: Ava Maag
Ensemble: Sara Dion, Travis Ellis

And of course, our amazing crew:

Technical Director, Set Designer: Bernie Gabin
Costume Designer, Wardrobe Mistress: Jennifer Giorno
Violence Designer: Arielle Kaplan
Additional Sound Design: Neil Marsh

As always, I am honored when collaborators have a good enough time working with us that they want to come back, and we have a large number of actors who are gracing us with their talents again. It’s so great to have the chance to watch them build their performances over multiple arcs, and she how they interpret that character’s continuing journey.

I’m also really excited about our new collaborators! As I’ve mentioned, my longtime friend and theater partner Frances Kimpel has moved on, but I’m delighted to welcome Cari Keebaugh to the role. Additionally, a fellow committee member from the Watch City Steampunk Festival, Isaiah Plovnick, will be taking on his first role with us.

It’s a wonderful group, and I can’t wait to see how they continue the Mrs. Hawking story as an ensemble.

But in addition to this cast, we’re looking for a few additional crew members. If anyone is interested in being our stage manager, we could very much use the help. We wouldn’t need you for every rehearsal, and though it would be great to start having you when the actors get off-book, but the only time absolutely necessary is tech week and the shows, starting January 8th going through Arisia weekend, the 13th through 15th. There is a small stipend available, plus free admission to the Arisia convention. If you’re interested in joining Team Hawking, send us an email at mrshawkingweb@gmail.com!

Vivat Regina and Base Instruments by Phoebe Roberts will be performed January 13th-15th at the Boston Westin Waterfront Hotel as part of Arisia 2017.

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Challenges of staging Base Instruments

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This fall we’re going to be going into rehearsals for Base Instruments, the third installment of the Hawking series. I’m extremely excited. Not only is Base Instruments the first true mystery of the series, in my opinion, each installment is better than the last, and so this most recent one is the best story yet. I can’t wait to bring that our audiences at Arisia 2017 next winter. But in moving on to this show, we’re definitely inviting new challenges in the staging process!

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First of all, Base Instruments is longer than either of the previous stories. It’s a result of having built up a cast of recurring characters, including not just our three heroes, but also the return of Clara Hawking and Arthur Swann, on top of all the new cast. That will require more rehearsal time, and a different use of our performance time slot. Do we need an intermission this time, for example? But the advantage is that now we can tell multiple story threads at once, switching between the various journeys. It’s actually easier on the cast to have entire scenes to execute their costume changes and other transitions.

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There’s also some new design and technical demands. We’re lucky in that we can reuse much of the set and costuming that we’ve put together up to this point, but Base Instruments needs a few new properties in addition. With the Victorian convention of changing for dinner, most of our new characters need a day and an evening look. Here’s hoping I can pull together enough gowns and tuxedo jackets! The great challenge will be in the scenic department— the scene where Mary and Mrs. Hawking investigate the scene of the crime takes place in a dressing room devastated by a fire. We’re still figuring out what the best way to convey that onstage is. Ideally we’ll come across something representational that can be quick and easy to switch on and offstage, but that will take some creativity and engineering to put together.

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Lastly, there’s the question of how to block the climax. Unlike the previous two installments, Base Instruments does not have an “action climax,” but instead a scene where the heroes reenact the crime in order to solve it. It’s an information-heavy scene, without some of the flashy action of the highest points of the previous pieces that involved showy fight choreography. The challenge there is to block the reenactment in such a way as to convey the urgency of all the pieces of the puzzle falling into place, so that the audience is on the edge of their seat to finally reach the solution. It is a scene that might benefit from some higher theatricality, which is not always the typical style of our shows. But figuring out exactly how to make it look right, exciting but not over the top, and consistent with the tone of the rest of the show, could have some awesome results.

I’m really excited to get going. I love that the stories have only gotten stronger as they’ve gone on, and that we have the opportunity to bring the third part to life. Wish us luck navigating our way through!

Vivat Regina and Base Instruments by Phoebe Roberts will be performed January 13th-15th at the Boston Westin Waterfront Hotel as part of Arisia 2017.

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Welcoming Cari Keebaugh to the role of Mrs. Hawking

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Categories: performance, Tags: , ,

In our previous four production cycles of the Mrs. Hawking plays, our eponymous lead has been played by Frances Kimpel, the talented actor and artist who was one of the founding members of the Chameleon’s Dish Theatre. Frances is an old and dear friend of mine who I have worked with on many projects since our days in the Hold Thy Peace Shakespearean theater group at Brandeis University. My admiration for her as an actor is so much that she was one of the original inspirations for how the character of Mrs. Hawking looked and moved.

Frances Kimpel as Mrs. Hawking

Frances Kimpel as Mrs. Hawking

This summer, however, Frances, along with our beloved stage manager Eboracum Richter-Dahl, has moved across the country to Washington state, meaning they can no longer perform their previous roles. But sad as I am to lose the chance to work with such great friends and collaborators, the show must go on. Which means I had to search for another person who could perform this unique and challenging central role. It’s not a choice I could make lightly, as the whole productions rest on the charisma, believability, and fascination of this character. I had to find somebody right.

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It’s been my very good fortune that I had the chance to meet the very talented Cari Keebaugh and find she was interested in auditioning. She was introduced to me in person by Circe Rowan, who plays the role of Mary, but I actually first encountered her in The Post Meridian Radio Players’ The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, adapted for performance by another Hawking collaborator Tegan Kehoe. Not only is that one of my all-time favorite stories, which helped inspire my love of Victorian literature and storytelling, but Cari performed the title dual roles. Her performance as a gender-flipped interpretation of the counterparts showcased her versatility and expression, as well as raised familiar issues of a woman being trapped by the conventions of her Victorian world.

As much as I’ll miss Frances, I’m really excited to work with Cari and see what she brings to the role. It’s going to be a transition for me in my vision of the character, but I think that’s a good thing. One of the brilliant features of theater is its potential for endless reinterpretations. If these stories are truly strong, they should welcome that variety. And if the character of Mrs. Hawking, possibly the proudest and most important creation of my life, can stand up to the interpretations of many actors, then I know I’ll have made something with true staying power.

So please join me in welcome Cari to Team Hawking! I can’t wait to see her bring our hero to life.

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Video recording of Mrs. Hawking production!

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Categories: base instruments, mrs. hawking, performance, Tags: ,

I am very proud to present the video recording of the fully produced Mrs. Hawking, the first installment of our series!

Mrs Hawking from sydweinstein on Vimeo.

This recording captures the Arisia 2016 performance on the main stage at the Westin Waterfront Boston. We were very lucky to have videographer Syd Weinstein and his crew run the cameras during our run, and he has edited together a dynamic, focused recording. What I love about it is that it captures many of the finer details of our story that might not be so clear onstage. I think it’s a great representation of all the hard work and craft coming together to tell this unique story.

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I’m also glad to have this because, since Mrs. Hawking has seen four runs over the last two years, it’s going to be retired from production for the time being. This will enable us to free up the time and resources to produce the subsequent installments. Having this recording will still allow people to experience it even though it’s no going to be performed in the near future.

That’s especially great for the upcoming June 10th staged reading of part three, Base Instruments. Watching the video will enable the audience to get up to speed with all the spectacle of the full production before experiencing the further story. So, for those of you who missed the performances at previous shows, or for those who’d like a closer look at all the nuances of the production, please check out this awesome video.

The staged reading of Base Instruments by Phoebe Roberts will go up on June 10th at 8PM at with the Bare Bones reading series, brought to you by Theatre@First.

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Accomplished at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016!

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We have successfully put up Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016!

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I am so grateful to everyone who helped make these shows a reality, from our talented cast, to our hardworking crew, to our wonderful audiences who gave us such great feedback. A special shoutout goes to Bob Perry and the rest of the crew organizing the Steampunk Festival, who was so welcoming and secured the accomodations for our shows.

What is next for our stories will be coming soon. The next Hawking event is the June 10th staged reading of part three, Base Instruments, with the Bare Bones reading series produced by Somerville’s Theatre@First. Join us at 8pm to hear the first publication exhibition of our third installment’s script!

Also, we’ll be discussing our plans for future productions, as well as releasing some video recordings of previous ones, debuting for the first time on this website. More to come later this week!

The staged reading of Base Instruments by Phoebe Roberts will go up on June 10th at 8PM at with the Bare Bones reading series, brought to you by Theatre@First.

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Times and location for Watch City ’16 shows!

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We now officially have times and a location for our performances at the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016!

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Our performance venue this time is going to be in the auditorium in Waltham’s Government Center at 119 School Street. It’s just a few blocks away from Waltham Common, where the outdoor portion of the Festival will be held.

Our shows Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina will be held in the afternoon and evening the day of the Festival. Mrs. Hawking will be performed at Government Center as a 2PM matinee, while Vivat Regina will be our evening show in the same place at 6PM.

The shows run about one hour each, and admission is completely free of charge! Catch one or catch both, we would love to see you all there. :-)

Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina will be performed on May 7th at 119 School Street, Waltham, MA at 2PM and 6PM as part of the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016 in Waltham, MA.

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The colors of Vivat Regina

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I’ve always loved the potential for storytelling in the choices one makes in costume design. In Mrs. Hawking, we used a series of oppositional color pairings to make statements about the characters and their circumstances. In Vivat Regina at Arisia 2016, with the help of costume designer Jennifer Giorno, we devised a new palette to support the new story.

For the leads, they maintained the color schemes they were introduced with in the original. Between her stealth suit and her widow’s weeds, Mrs. Hawking’s color is black. Nathaniel’s splash of color is his familiar red cravat. And Mary, with her maid’s apron and skirt and ballgown, sets the tone for the rest of the play with her blue.

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For Vivat Regina, we stuck to a cool, blue-based color palette. Unlike in the previous piece, where high class was indicated by red, we had everyone in the opening ballroom scene in shades of blue. Mary is getting better at blending in, but her obviously lighter shade indicates that she’s not really one of them.

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Arthur is of course in a traditional police blue. As a police officer, he will always appear in blue, just as Mary does, which forges a subtle visual connection between them.

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For Mrs. Braun, she appears in a dark violet that serves as a subtle hint to the character’s true identity. It’s a blend of the blue of our palette and the red that previously was saved for the upper classes, and this color in particular has traditionally been reserved for the highest ranking members of society in a number of cultures.

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For Clara, we wanted something eye-catching and just a little bit daring, so we went with green. It’s a step away from blue, but different enough from any other character to always catch the eye. It tells us that Clara has no trouble fitting into her society, but she can’t help but stand out.

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The green even crosses over to Nathaniel in the scene in the embassy. Though his eveningwear included a silver vest and cravat in part one, for part two we decided we wanted him to pick up Clara’s color. It shows them unified as a team.

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Finally, the one other coloring shakeup comes in the form of Mrs. Hawking’s dishabille. Her robe is her typical black, but when she’s not dressing for anyone else, some white enters her wardrobe. We’ve never seen her in anything but black before, so even this one small change is eye-catching. Still, her colorless presence keeps her stark against the rest of the cast.

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Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina will be performed on May 7th as part of the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016 in Waltham, MA.

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Cast for Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina at Watch City Steampunk Festival ’16

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Categories: mrs. hawking, performance, vivat regina, Tags: ,

We now have casts set down for our upcoming performances of Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina at the Watch City Steampunk Festival of 2016!

2016 WCSF logo with Day

This will be our second time performing both of our first two shows in sequence, after a successful turnout this past January at Arisia 2016. We are very blessed to have much of our last cast returning to their roles, but we are also excited to welcome some newcomers to round out our shows.

In part I, Mrs. Hawking

Mrs. Victoria Hawking – Frances Kimpel
Miss Mary Stone – Circe Rowan
Mr. Nathaniel Hawking – Jeremiah O’Sullivan
Mrs. Celeste Fairmont – Amanda Hurley
Lord Cedric Brockton – Francis Hauert
Sir Walter Grainger – Jordan Greeley
Mr. John Colchester – Andrew Prentice
Miss Grace Monroe – Sara Dion
Ensemble – Radha Shukla, Joye Thaller

And for part II, Vivat Regina

Mrs. Victoria Hawking – Frances Kimpel
Miss Mary Stone – Circe Rowan
Mr. Nathaniel Hawking – Jeremiah O’Sullivan
Mrs. Johanna Braun – Joye Thaller
Mrs. Clara Hawking – Sara Smith
Constable Arthur Swann – Eric Cheung
Frau Kirsten Gerhard – Kitty Drexler
Ensemble – Sara Dion, Travis Ellis, Radha Shukla

We are so excited to work with this group, both those actors who have proven themselves with excellent performances as their characters in the past, and those who came out to join our ensemble for the first time.

Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina will be performed on May 7th as part of the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016 in Waltham, MA.

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The Team Hawking promise

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As anyone who does theater knows, the process is a serious undertaking, with a significant investment of time and resources asked of anyone who chooses to be involved. With all the things that can go wrong and the wildcard personalities it can involve, it can be tough to find a production that you can trust to work responsibly AND be fun to take part in.

But know that if you’re considering being part of a Mrs. Hawking play, we’re dedicated to making sure we conduct ourselves in a manner we can be proud of. So if you’re on the team, you can expect a level of competence and respect for your abilities and contributions in order to thank you for lending them.

Here is the Team Hawking promise:

– A focused, professional, and enjoyable process

When you’re part of the Hawking crew, you can count on the process being run responsibly and effectively. We know what we’re doing, and everyone will be there with the intention of making the best possible piece of work we can with focus, dedication, and planning. There will be no scrambling at the last minute, and even when unexpected difficulties arise, we will handle them with determination and grace. At the same time, we’re going to enjoy ourselves, never becoming so serious that we forget we do this for fun and personal enrichment. We’re here to put on a good show while making the process as smooth and pleasant as possible.

– Respect for your time

We know that your agreeing to be part of the shows is a great expression of confidence and a generous offering of your time and effort. We will do everything in our power to show respect for that gift. You will be scheduled for rehearsals in as efficient a manner as possible, and when you are at rehearsals, we will make sure to work productively while we have you. We will never waste your time due to poor planning nor taking your presence for granted.

– Respect for your contributions as an artist

If you’re on the team, it means we have enormous respect for your abilities as a performer. Because of that, it’s important that you feel you are an active, valued part of the process of creating the story. You can feel free to offer your thoughts, and though the director has the final say, your input is welcome as a collaborator. Also, we want you to feel comfortable, so if something about your blocking or performance is causing a problem for you, we’ll make every effort to work out a way that works for both you and the needs of the show.

– The resources needed for the best show possible

Theater has many moving parts that must work together to make the show great. Our crew is made up of talented, responsible individuals who do their best to see that all the required resources are in place to show our work to the best possible advantage. If issues arise, which they often do despite even the best of efforts, they will be managed with cool heads dedicated to seeing the task through to the best possible ending.

– Appropriate gratitude

Your hard work, talent, and dedication will not be taken for granted as part of the Hawking crew. We will take the time to make our acknowledgement and respect clear, and the actors we select will receive a small gift at the end of the process. It’s a token to tangibly represent how truly appreciative we are of those people who help make our shows great.

– A product you can be proud of

We aren’t messing around here. Make no mistake, we want these shows to come out good. We want every aspect, from the script to the performances to the sets to the sound to the costuming to the fight choreography, to be the best it possibly can be. And we’re willing to work until it is. Trust me. You’ll be proud of having been a part of it.

Does that sound good to you? If so, sign up to audition for our upcoming performances this May!

Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina will be performed on May 7th as part of the Watch City Steampunk Festival 2016 in Waltham, MA.

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Auditions for Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina at WCSF ’16

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2016 WCSF logo with Day

Calling for actors to join an ensemble for performances in serialized theater in repertory.

Mrs. Hawking and Vivat Regina by Phoebe Roberts are the first two in a series of Victorian-themed plays that have been performed in repertory over the course of 2015 into this year. This is a continuing series with a troupe of actors, so there is opportunity for reprising the role or taking on new roles at a later date in an additional run, though no commitment is required beyond this May 2016 production.

There will also a small monetary honorarium paid to selected actors upon completion of the show’s run.

We are looking for the following types for lead and supporting roles:

Women, late twenties to early forties, German accent.
Women, late twenties to early thirties, English accent.
Men, late twenties to late forties, English accent.
Nonspeaking ensemble roles of any gender and age.

PERFORMANCE INFORMATION
Weekend of May 7th-8th
As part of the Watch City Steampunk Festival, Waltham, MA

REHEARSAL INFORMATION
Rehearsals begin in late March-early April leading up to the performance dates in May, depending on the play or plays in which you are cast. Rehearsals will happen mostly in the Porter Square area of Cambridge, with some in the Brandeis/downtown Waltham area, depending on cast convenience.

AUDITION INFORMATION
Auditions will be held on two separate dates at different locations:

Wednesday, March 2nd from 7-9PM
At the Watertown Public Library in the Raya Sterns Trustees room
123 Main Street, Watertown, Massachusetts 02472

Thursday, March 3rd from 7-10PM
At the Democracy Center in the Rosa Parks Room
45 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Auditions will consist of reading from sides from the script. English and/or German accents required.

Please make an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, but to guarantee your slot please send an email to mrshawkingweb@gmail.com with your headshot and resume to reserve a time.

If you would like to audition but are unable to make these appointed times, please e-mail anyway and arrange alternate accomodations.

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