Tag Archives: watch city steampunk festival ’15

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Touches of steampunk

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The art design of a production is an important means to establish a show’s feel and personality. Mrs. Hawking is a steampunk superhero play, so we want that slick, high-action, slightly stylized feel from all our artistic choices. Those range from big things, like what the set looks like and how the actors move and speak, to small things, what individual props we choose to use.

I wasn’t totally happy with the gun we used in our first production. It was your basic cowboy-style six-shooter toy that I gave a coat of paint to make it look a little more realistic. So for this one I did more research and purchased one that I thought would make a little more of an impact, and looked a lot more steampunk.

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It has an unusually long barrel, in addition to the cool scrollwork design in the brass finish. It definitely doesn’t look like an ordinary gun in a strictly realistic Victorian story. In that way it’s similar to another weapon prop we use, the Bowie knife that serves as the utility blade Mrs. Hawking was left by the Colonel. In person, the knife seems almost absurdly huge. But interestingly, while on the stage, it seems exactly the right size.

In theater, the action exists at a remove from the audience, who is sitting many feet away from everything that happens. There’s no benefit of a camera lens that can pull in close and show you details if necessary. That means that things often have to be a little bit bigger, a little bit more broadly drawn, in order for them to read to the audience. Touches that are bigger, more ornate, more exaggerated have a better chance of getting the message across.

That, I find, is a great way for us to utilize the steampunk aesthetic. It isn’t only for adding character and texture to our play. Because hallmarks of steampunk include more ornateness and exaggeration, it also helps broadcast ideas and meanings to the audience across the distance.

Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM at the Center for Digital Arts at 274 Moody Street, Waltham as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.

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We’re up on the schedule at the Watch City Steampunk Festival!

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The Watch City Steampunk Festival has now posted its complete schedule of events!  

The Festival takes place from the evening of Friday, May 8th to the evening of Saturday, May 9th. The opening night kickoff on Friday will consist of two parties! The first one at Global Thrift on Moody Street in Waltham, from 7PM to 9PM, where you can purchase items to make yourself a proper steampunk costume. The second one is at the Center for Digital Arts, also on Moody Street, from 8PM to 10PM while light refreshments are served while you wander through a steampunk art exhibit. You may even have a chance to glimpse the set for Mrs. Hawking up close and in person, as it will already be in our CDA performance space. 

Saturday, May 9th is the full day of free steampunk events! The complete schedule of events is now available from viewing, jam-packed with interesting art, performance, music, and exhibition. There is also a list of vendors who will be selling their various steampunk-related crafts, wares, and art pieces on Waltham Common. And of course, Mrs. Hawking is proud to be featured among them! As you can see, there will be two chances to see us, one at 2PM and one at 6PM in the Center for Digital Arts. As our new trailer for the show demonstrates, you won’t want to miss it.

So as if our grand adventure weren’t enough to draw you to the Festival, the myriad of other excellent events for adults and families, steampunks and casual fans, will make for an excellent time. Come for the badass Victorian lady Batman, stay for the rest of the steampunk music, art, and performance!

Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM at the Center for Digital Arts at 274 Moody Street, Waltham as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.

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Reviewers wanted for Mrs. Hawking at WCSF!

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Are you the kind of person who thinks deeply about media, forms opinions, and wants to talk about them?

Do you write for a publication or platform that could provide a forum for an arts and culture review?

Do you have a space to reach people of the artistic, social, or most particularly, nerdy persuasion?

I’ve always believe that art should stand up to critique and analysis, and thoughtful examinations can generate interest and investment in a piece. So for our upcoming production of Mrs. Hawking at the Watch City Steampunk Festival, we’re putting out a call for anyone who would be interested in seeing the show and writing a review. 

We’re fortunate in that we have one reviewer having already agreed to come, but it would be great to have more perspectives and more voices out there. If we do well in your eyes, outside voices talking about us could be a great help, and if we don’t, it will be very useful information to know where we need to improve. Let us know you’ll be coming, and we’ll reserve you a seat. And afterward, let us know where we can find your writeup, so we can see how we did. 

So if you or anyone you know has a platform for the arts, steampunk, or general geekery, please come on out and give us the chance to impress you!

Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM at the Center for Digital Arts at 274 Moody Street, Waltham as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.

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Reimagining a production the second time around

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Theater is an interesting, possibly unique art form in that because you produce it live, every time you mount a new production you have the option to change things about it. You can use new actors, new costumes, new blocking, new interpretation of the characters, all of which can make the end product feel like a different story. I tend to encourage people, especially when they’re putting on classic plays that people have seen many times, to put a new and different spin on things to excite the audience. Otherwise, what’s the point of doing yet another Hamlet, Earnest, or Streetcar when we’ve seen it a hundred times?

It makes an interesting question while putting together this next production of Mrs. Hawking. This is a new play that I’m trying to get out in the public conscious, rather than a well-known classic. I’m still working to create an image of what the story and characters are in people’s minds. That means I’m inclined to portray it according to the vision of it I’m hoping to establish. I’m not sure it’s ready to dilute its identity while still in its infancy out in the world.

However, the circumstances of this production are a bit different than the original. We have about half the cast played by new actors, who will necessarily have different capabilities, weaknesses, and affects. In some cases it will be necessary to amend things for that, and it only makes sense to take advantage of different talents. For example, Circe Rowan, our Mary this time around, has a remarkable knowledge and facility for accents, and her ability makes it possible to give Mary a very distinct and accurate working-class lilt.

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Of course, when something needs to change, because it’s my play, I have the right to change anything I need to about it in order to make it work. As written, Sir Walter Grainger has a Yorkshire brogue, specified by the words he uses that are particular to that dialect. However, this time around our Sir Walter is played by Jordan Greeley, and he may feel like he can do a better job with a different accent. In that case, maybe it makes sense to change the script to suit that. As long as the spirit of the piece is captured— that he has a particular country accent, and Mrs. Hawking can determine it by his linguistic quirks —it doesn’t really matter what the particulars are. Flexibility may serve the performance best, and it’s one of the advantages of doing living theater.

We’ll be feeling out what the best choices are as we go. Of course the biggest priority is making sure we make the best production we can. A second run is a chance to bring things to an even higher level of polish, and maybe even correct some mistakes along the way.

Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM at the Center for Digital Arts at 274 Moody Street, Waltham as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.

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Cast list for Mrs. Hawking at the Watch City Steampunk Festival ’15!

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We have assembled our cast list for the encore production of Mrs. Hawking at the Watch City Steampunk Festival in Waltham this May!

Cast

Mrs. Victoria Hawking – Frances Kimpel
Miss Mary Stone – Circe Rowan
Mr. Nathaniel Hawking – Jeremiah O’Sullivan
Mrs. Celeste Fairmont – Sarah Jenkins
Lord Cedric Brockton – Francis Hauert
Sir Walter Grainger – Jordan Greeley
Mr. John Colchester – Brian Dorfman
Miss Grace Monroe – Jennifer Giorno
Ensemble – Andrew Prentice, Morgan Ong

Crew

Director – Phoebe Roberts
Stage Manager – Eboracum Richter-Dahl
Technical Director – Bernie Gabin
Costume Designer – Jennifer Giorno
Sound Designer – Neil Marsh
Makeup Artist – Indigo Darling
Violence Designer – Arielle Kaplan

As you can see, it’s a mix of old and new hands from our previous production. While we are sorry to see so many of our talented original cast depart, I’m extremely excited to work with the fabulous new people we’ve found. I look forward to seeing what new and different dimensions they will bring out of the play, and the freshness that their personal intepretations will bring.

So be sure to join at the Watch City Steampunk Festival this May to see how things shape up!

Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM at the Center for Digital Arts at 274 Moody Street, Waltham as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.

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REMINDERS – Auditions for Mrs. Hawking; Like a Loss staged reading

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Two reminders, dear Hawks! 

 

Auditions for the encore performance of Mrs. Hawking at the Watch City Steampunk Festival are TONIGHT and TOMORROW NIGHT, March 23rd and 24th, at the Watertown Public Library from 7PM to 9PM. Signups are preferred, so e-mail us at mrshawkingweb@gmail.com to reserve a timeslot, but walk-ins are also welcome.

 



 

Also our staged reading of Like a Loss will be going up this Thursday night as part of Bare Bones 16: At War!

Like a Loss, the ten minute play featuring Colonel Reginald Prescott Hawking, will be read as the opener for The Wheel, written by Zinnie Harris and directed by Jess Viator, at 8pm on March 26th at 6 William Street, Somerville, MA

“Faithful batman Henry Chapman does not often pry into the personal matters of his employer, the decorated Colonel Reginald Prescott Hawking. But when some of his master’s burdens seem to grow too great, Chapman attempts to understand why Colonel Hawking has chosen to endure conditions as they are.

As those familiar with the Mrs. Hawking play series know, one of its most intriguing mysteries is the figure of the Colonel, the late husband of our hero about whom she still harbors so much resentment and complicated feeling. In this ten-minute play, set seventeen years before Mrs. Hawking and Mary ever meet, we at last get to meet this much-discussed man, and gain some insight into the nature of his strange, tragic marriage to our hero.”

Hope to see you are both or either of these!

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Our performance space at the Watch City Steampunk Festival

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We now have a performance space settled for our production at the Watch City Steampunk Festival!

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The Festival will be centered around Waltham Commons and the nearby blocks of Moody Street, which make up an important center of activity in town. Our shows will be going up at the Center for Digital Arts, the education institution at 274 Moody devoted to 3D animation, audio production, filmmaking, graphic design, photography, and web development. We will have use of the sizable back room, which is used for the development of all manner of visual art projects.

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This space is very different than the one we performed in at Arisia 2015. Each one, due to its design, had its own advantages and disadvantages. Arisia takes place in the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel, which meant we were given a function hall with a raised stage meant to be disassembled when not in use. The elevation above the audience was good for the sight lines, but made entrances and exits more difficult because of the need for the step up. Also, we were inflexibly limited by the dimensions of that stage, which at twelve by sixteen feet were pretty damn tight. Our fairly sizable set took up a chunk of that, meaning the action had to stay very compact, making the moments like the fight scene a challenge.

The CDA, first of all, has the distinct advantage for me of being in Waltham. That will make it so much easier and cheaper to transport pieces to the space, as it’s a much shorter trip from where I live. There we will be on a lovely wood floor the ability to spread out the “stage space” if we need to. This makes the blocking considerably easier, and we’ll still have plenty of room for audience chairs. The room will hold fewer people than the functional hall in the hotel, but not by too much, and this time around we’ll have two shows. Likely we’ll be able to seat even more people in total! I would love to have an even bigger audience this time around.

At Arisia, they also provided large curtains to create wing space on either side, which proved surprisingly ample. This time around, however, I’m not sure if our space will be able to provide anything like that. If that’s the case, we’ll have to figure out a way to get them ourselves. That could get expensive, and though many expenses of the last production won’t need to be repeated this time around, I’m concerned it will be made up by new costs like having to get curtains.

The trick, as always, is to embrace the features and limitations of any space you’re in. We’ve done it once, and we’ll do it again. Particularly since this space is lovely in so many ways, and will make many aspects of productions so much easier. I’m excited to take advantage of them!

Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM at the Center for Digital Arts at 274 Moody Street, Waltham as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.

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Encore performance of Mrs. Hawking at the Watch City Steampunk Festival!

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It’s been in the works for quite a few weeks now, but I have received official confirmation! Mrs. Hawking will be seeing its next performance at the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival!

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This Festival first happened in Waltham, Massachusetts in 2011, as a tribute to the city’s historical ties to the industrial revolution. This makes it the perfect venue to host a story like Mrs. Hawking’s, which embodies the steampunk sentiment in its action-adventure reinterpretation of the style and culture of the Victorian era. We’re so excited to present our show directly to fans of the genre, and we think it’s going to make an even bigger stir than it did at Arisia.

The Festival will be happening in and around Waltham Commons, spilling over onto Moody Street, and daytime admission will be free! It will be full of steampunk related events and exhibitions, including musical groups, dance shows, lectures, and craft demonstrations, in addition to our fabulous play. It’s also looking like we will have two performances over the course of the day, so you will have two free-of-charge opportunities to see us!

Most of our original cast will be returning, though sadly a few of our wonderful actors will not be joining us for this encore performance. We will be holding auditions for these roles, which include some major and some minor, on March 22nd and 23rd from 7PM to 9PM at the Watertown Public Library in the Raya Stern Trustees Room. If you are interested in auditioning, please send an email to mrshawkingweb@gmail.com to reserve your slot. Walk-ins are welcome, but we’d love to know you’re coming.

We’re hoping to top what we accomplished with our debut performance, in terms of audience reach and representation of our play. So if you’d love to help out in any way, your assistance is greatly appreciated. Here’s to the next step in the telling of the Mrs. Hawking story!

Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM at the Center for Digital Arts at 274 Moody Street, Waltham as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.

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Auditions for Mrs. Hawking at Watch City Steampunk Festival ’15

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Would you like to be able to bring the characters of Mrs. Hawking to life? Well, come out to audition for our encore performance at the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival!

Mrs. Hawking debuted to success this past January at Arisia 2015, and will have an encore performance as part of the Festival in Waltham, MA on May 9th. We had an amazing cast, many of whom I am delighted to say will be reprising their roles, but sadly others among them are unavailable. That means we have a number of parts, both lead and supporting, that will have to be recast.

Auditions will be held at the Watertown Public Library in the Raya Sterns Trustees from 7-9PM on Monday, March 23rd and Tuesday, March 24th, by 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.

The roles we shall be needing to replace:

Mary Stone – Twenties, maid girl who becomes assistant to a lady’s society avenger. Goes from quiet, dutiful servant to bold, courageous crusader for justice for otherwise helpless ladies of London society. Working class British accent.

Nathaniel Hawking – Twenties/thirties, charismatic and successful gentleman nephew. Starts out as an unwitting patriarchal obstacle, becomes an able support to his aunt’s heroic labors. Educated British accent.

Celeste Fairmont – Thirties/forties, well-bred middle class society lady with a secret. Takes refuge in imperiousness to conceal how thrown she is by the threat to her impeccable reputation. Educated British accent.

Walter Grainger – Twenties and up, country squire with a temper. Used to being able to bull his way through problems, but is at a loss at how to manage being blackmailed. Yorkshire/coarse country British accent.

John Colchester – Twenties and up, lower-class London thug. The classic scary henchman to the traditional Victorian baddie. Cockney/coarse lower class British accent.

Auditions will consist of reading sides from the script. Please come prepared to use an English accent.

Rehearsals will begin in April until the performance date on May 9th. A small honorarium will be paid to actors upon completion of the production.

Come on out and show us your talent! Help us tell this exciting story!

Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts will be performed on Saturday, May 9th at 2PM and 6PM at the Center for Digital Arts at 247 Moody Street, Waltham as part of the 2015 Watch City Steampunk Festival.

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