Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Digi-show: A night of digi-shorts by Duane Ferguson, 5/19 @ 8pm ($5)

Duane Chivon Ferguson is an actor, writer, director, producer, editor, shooter, singer and poet. He was born in Harlem, New York and raised in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He first developed his creativity performing in plays at his alma mater, Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York. He also performed on various stages in New York and did repertory work with The Positive Youth Troupe and The Citykids Foundation. On camera, Duane has hosted various episodes of magazine shows and has appeared in numerous independent shorts. He is currently a member of Wide Eyed Productions in NYC. His life is all about the chase....whether it be after the dream, the fantastic, or the joy of being surrounded by his friends and family. He dedicates all of his efforts to his lovely daughter, Soul.

"Even the Score" (2006) 
Starring Richard LaRochelle, Leslie Shim, Chris Cole, Skid Maher and Nedra McClyde 
What would you do if your partner is unfaithful? Would you forgive and forget ... or would you move on? What if your partner offers you the opportunity to sleep with someone else to "make up" for their infidelity? "Even the Score" tells the story of a young couple that is face with that very scenario and the choices that ultimately seal the fate of the relationship. Official selection for the Los Angeles DV Film Festival, The Brooklyn IndieHouse and The New York Short Film Festival. 

"El Día de Las Flores" (2011) 
Starring Amaurys Rodriguez and Jessica Courtemanche 
A poem about love and getting over it. Official selection for the CortoCircuito Short Film Festival. 

"For The Leaping Tongues of Fire Womyn" (2011) 
Starring Carmen Mojica and Amuarys Rodriguez 
This poem, written by Carmen Mojica, explores the threshold where womynhood is tested to it's absolute limit. This video is a co-production between These Waters Run Deep and BabaSoul, Ent? 

"I Am: Keep Your Hood Up" (2012) 
A short video piece made in response to all the acts of profiling that have lead to the untimely deaths of any and all members of the global race. Dedicated to Trayvon Martin.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Mike Aguirre's "Somewhere in this Favor'd Land" - 5/19 @ 6pm

Mike Aguirre is a graduate from Indiana University with a B.A. in Theatre and English.  A suburban Chicago native, Mike has worked with the Windy City Players, First Folio, Steppenwolf, The Wilma Theater (Philadelphia), and the Hexagon Theatre (South Africa).  Since arriving in New York, he’s worked with The Pearl Theatre (City Center), Wide Eyed Productions, has taken classes and worked with Anne Phelan, John Grabowski, and Chelsea Rep and Lab, and is a company member with Rising Sun.
  • Your play Somewhere in this Favor’d Land will be performed as a part of our Dark Nights series this week at the Richmond Shepard Theatre. Can you tell us about what inspired it?
I’ve always wanted to write an homage to baseball.  I’ve always wanted to write an homage to Wilder’s Our Town.  I think the play is a combination of the two (but don’t let those two subjects turn you away from the show!)  At its heart is a story about change in America and how change shapes a conservative town, a father and son.
  • You are part of Wide Eyed’s very first Apprentice Playwrights Program. Can you tell us a little bit about what the process has been like?
At the beginning of the process, I wrote a very different play that… I just didn’t think it worked for many reasons, so it’s had more changes that I can account for since the early stages of the idea.  But that’s been the beauty of the process with Wide Eyed.  I started in the theatre as an actor, and any actor will tell you that you never get it right at the first rehearsal.  It takes days, weeks, months.  You grow with a character even during performances, and I am learning that the same is true with writing a script.  Half the battle is getting it down on paper.  Then it goes through so many steps listening to actors and directors interpret your work, seeing what moments are good and more importantly, what moments need to be thrown away.  I remember reading an article about John Guare where he says that playwriting is a ‘blood sport’.  You have to be brutal with what stays and what goes, what moments are honest and what are contrived.  I’m very new to playwriting and it’s something I’m still learning how to do.  Tim Butterfield, the Artistic Director of Wide Eyed and the director for the play, is an expert leading a writer through the process, so it’s been a challenging but fulfilling one, and I’m grateful that there are programs like Wide Eyed’s Apprenticeship which invest the necessary time it takes in developing a script.
  • When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? What made you start writing plays?
I hate admitting this, but I think I had this grand idea of writing plays that I could act in after I was tired of auditioning and auditioning, begging people to put me in their shows.  It was selfish, at first.  But once I began studying the structure, taking classes, having discussions with other professionals and learning to appreciate this rich tradition of story-telling, I fell in love with it.
  • Who or what has been your biggest influence as a writer? What inspires you to get to the page?
Seeing any productions are the biggest influence: seeing what’s out there, what creative things are being done, and what I can do to add to it always gets my mind going and gets me motivated. Also, my parents used to tell my brother and I stories when we were very young.  They would make them up on the spot at bedtime, and they would always leave a cliffhanger of an ending for the following night.  Their story-telling and creativity probably had the biggest impact on pursuing a life in the arts.
  • In terms of your creative process, do you have a particular ritual when it comes to writing? If so, can you share it with us?
A glass of wine or a few beers always help. I also don’t own a computer, so I suppose part of the ritual is stealing my girlfriend’s laptop to do some writing (Thanks, Ali)!
  • Can you tell us about any other projects you’re working on right now?
A one-act I wrote entitled Almost a Fantasy has been accepted into the NY Fringe Festival this summer.  It’s being produced by Chelsea Rep and Lab and Rumination Theatre, and it’ll be very exciting to get back into a rehearsal room this summer.  It opens in August.  Hope everyone can come see it!

Liz Magee's "The Attendant" - 5/18 @ 6pm

Liz Magee recently received a BA in Theatre Arts with concentrations in Performance and Writing for the Stage from Marymount Manhattan College. Her short play, If You See Something, Say Something won Manhattan Rep’s Fall One-Act Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival. While at Marymount, she was head writer of the sketch group “Comedy Schmomedy,” received the award for ‘Best TV Script’ for her spec script of Modern Family, and was the recipient of the Gold Key for Academic Excellence for Writing for the Stage.
  • Your play The Attendant will be performed as a part of our Dark Nights series this week at the Richmond Shepard Theatre (Thursday, May 18 @ 6pm - see Facebook). Can you tell us about what inspired it?
A few years ago, while still a student at Marymount Manhattan College, I had written the beginnings of a play that took place strictly within a bathroom at a high school. I wasn’t happy with what became of that piece — with the exception of the I-still-find-clever title “Stalling”. But I remained intrigued with the concept of setting a play within a restroom of sorts. At the moment, I find I am prone to first establishing a consistent setting — usually a confined space — and then I begin to explore potential characters and circumstances that the particular space calls for. 
  • You are part of Wide Eyed’s very first Apprentice Playwrights Program. Can you tell us a little bit about what the process has been like?
This program has given me the greatest gift a young, distracted writer could ask for: DEADLINES.  Throughout the past few months, we would meet to workshop our work, which meant I needed to bring in something to workshop. In addition to this, the community that formed has been invaluable to me. Not only is it always exciting to work with new people, but to have feedback sessions with new WRITERS was terribly exciting for me. I must admit, I have learned a great deal from each writer involved and without this program, The Attendant might have still been on the to do list. Thanks Tim!
  • I’m under the impression that you have worked before with Michael Kinnan, your director for this staged reading of The Attendant. Can you tell us a little about that working relationship?
Oh, where do I begin? Well, Michael and I both attended Marymount, where we participated in a Playwright / Director / Actor workshop. I was assigned a group of actors and a director to specifically write a piece for, that director being Michael. You could say we just ‘clicked’. A natural symbiotic relationship was born and is still developing. We continue to serve as a source of support and encouragement for one another as well as a source of critique and challenge. We are constantly learning from each other while growing into these roles of director and playwright through our frequent collaborations. Plus, we both love Mad Men 
  • You were kind enough to answer some questions earlier on your creative process as your monologue, Jeans, was being performed in our recent production of A Girl Wrote It. Now that the show is over, do you have any additional thoughts on that piece?
This was a particularly scary experience for me at first. I had written Jeans during a ‘free write’ session during a playwriting class over a year ago. Meaning, it was written with no intention of being performed. I submitted the piece on a whim and I am so glad I did! It has been an immensely encouraging experience to have such talented ladies (Carly Knight under the direction of Kristin Skye Hoffmann) bring life to a piece that may have otherwise been neglected. There were many layers of humor and intimacy that I hadn’t even recognized within the piece until these gals got their hands on it. 
  • Can you tell us about any additional projects you’re working on right now?
Hm. I suppose it’s time to start writing a new play, eh? I will say that my next play is likely to be another female-centric piece. This is not because I am especially fanatic about women’s issues, but I entered college as an actress, where the female to male ratio was 5:1. I dream of a future where there is more material for a scene study class of mostly women besides that scene between Claire and Catherine in Proof. Gotta represent.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Doug Williams's "Now I am a Wrecking Ball" - 5/17 @ 6pm

Douglas Williams is a Silver Award Winner from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. His plays include The Death and Life of Uncle Gene, Shitheads, and Now I am a Wrecking Ball, which is being developed with the support of Wide Eyed Productions. His play P.E. was published in the March issue of The Inciting Incident. He lives in Brooklyn with his girlfriend, Sarah. 
  • Your play Now I am a Wrecking Ball will be performed as a part of our Dark Nights series this week at the Richmond Shepard Theatre (Thursday, May 17 @ 6pm - see Facebook). Can you tell us about what inspired it? 
I think it’s interesting when people get to be a part of documenting someone’s life, especially an artist--the way they can sort of glorify everything they did. There is a great documentary about Stanley Kubrick called A Life In Pictures. It’s basically three hours of everyone discussing and dissecting his genius. I love Stanley Kubrick's work and I do think he was a genius, but while he was filming The Shining he was a real jerk to Shelley Duval. They have footage of it. Years later, in this documentary about Kubrick, Shelley Duval goes into how it was just a part of his process, how it was just a part of who he was a director. She totally lets him off the hook. I think that kind of thing happens pretty often in these sort of retrospective programs. So I wanted to look at that. Sort of glorifying someone who wasn’t that great of a person.
  • You are part of Wide Eyed’s very first Apprentice Playwrights Program. Can you tell us a little bit about what the process has been like? 
It’s been great. It’s the first writers group I’ve been a part of and I’m really so proud of the work everyone’s been doing. It’s pushed me to finish this play, I don’t think it would have gotten written otherwise so I’ll always be thankful for that. If anything, I think the program is too short. I wish I could continue on with this group for another year or so. 
  • When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? What made you start writing plays? 
Well I grew up making films so I never really thought of myself as solely a writer, I just wrote screenplays so that I could film them. When I was at Temple, I took this incredible class with Ed Sobel called American Playwrights. We read plays like True West and Topdog / Underdog. I remember realizing how dangerous theatre can be, in a way that film wasn't for me at the time. I wrote a play that semester that was really bad, but that was sort of how it started. 
  • Who or what has been your biggest influence as a writer? What inspires you to get to the page? 
There are lots of people who inspire me and not all of them are writers. The things that inspire me directly are my friends, my family, my girlfriend, things that happen to me, things I see. Writing is fun because it makes you pay more attention to things. You can see something and store it away. It’s not like, “Oh I am now being inspired;” it’s a lot more fun than that. 
  • In terms of your creative process, do you have a particular ritual when it comes to writing? If so, can you share it with us? 
Not really. I try to write at least two pages everyday and when I get that free time always fluctuates. I like to write at night. During the day I feel like I should be outside or paying bills or cleaning my apartment. At night everything kind of calms down, I can sit down and focus a little more. 
  • Can you tell us about any other projects you’re working on right now? 
I'm working on a one-act called The They Committee for the theatre company I grew up with. The Stonington Players do this one-act festival every year, and I always try to write one for it. It's fun because they like big casts because they have so many people eager to be a part of the festival--it gives me a chance to write in a different style. I'm also working on two other full lengths at the moment. After this reading I'm planning on stepping away from the project for a little while and then coming back to it with fresh eyes in a few weeks. It's been a long process but there is still a lot of work I plan on putting into the play. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"High Plains" by Brian Watkins - 5/16 at 8PM ($15)

Part of Wide Eyed's "Dark Night" series at the Richmond Shepard Theatre

SYNOPSIS: Set on the dark and expansive Colorado Plains, this one-man confession tells the story of Jake, a young drifter, who is haunted by a cruel childhood secret that has finally caught up with him.

REVIEWS: FOUR STARS! "Watkins is a gorgeous writer...from the moment the lights go up, you somehow know you're in for a sad and sordid treat." -TimeOutNY

"Like a modern-day campfire ghost story... Watkins has written a disturbing, thought-provoking tale with an ending that is guaranteed to inspire debate and reflection. There's no reason to miss out on such an effective evening of theatre."

Brian Watkins previously worked with Wide Eyed on The Prarie Plays in 2010.  He recently completed a very exciting new play about American business called GENERAL STORE, which he is thrilled to say will be part of the 2012 Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, where they will be developing and presenting the piece in June. His play MY DAUGHTER KEEPS OUR HAMMER is currently in development with b. swibel presents and Playing Pretend Productions, with plans for a production in New York for 2013. Brian is also working on a feature film in development with b. swibel presents, as well as a commission with Aruba Productions that will go into rehearsals this fall.

Amy Gijsbers van Wijk's "Second Skin" - 5/16 @ 6pm

Amy Gijsbers van Wijk is entering her junior year at the Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College (CUNY). She was born and raised in Houston, TX before moving to New York City on the artistic-pilgrimage, and for college. She is majoring in Theatrical Authorship Studies, a self-designed interdisciplinary program (of playwriting, drama history, and theatre training) and being mentored by Erin Courtney and Mary Beth Easley. Second Skin is her first full-length play, but will surely not be her last. Her previous works include Blasphemy, and The Bystander Effect, which were performed in aWe Creative Group’s “24 HourPlayFun,” a twenty-four hour playwriting/acting event. She has also co-written a musical performed at Macaulay, Error 404!, about two students who get trapped in the Internet. Check out her blog, Diary of a Young Playwright.

• Your play Second Skin will be performed as a part of our Dark Nights series this week at the Richmond Shepard Theatre (Wednesday, May 16th at 6pm - see Facebook). Can you tell us about what inspired it?

The origin of my idea kind of rids the play of its mystery, but. . .(pausing for mystery) I was hanging out with some friends, and a newly-introduced friend-of-a-friend asked me, “If I was in one of your plays, what would my name be?” That’s where I got the name of the main male role, Marc. He said, “What would my story be?” and the main plot of the play, of a plastic surgeon who performs reconstructive surgery on his wife after she has a car accident, just popped into my head.

• You are part of Wide Eyed’s very first Apprentice Playwrights Program. Can you tell us a little bit about what the process has been like?

The process was a lot of fun! So, we [myself and the other interns] were chosen through an interview and selection process: writing sample, resume, and interview. Then, we met up at the end of January with ideas for a play, and kept meeting at various levels of progress: an outline, the first five pages, the first fifteen, and so on every three weeks until we finished.

On a more detailed level, our meetings would last about three hours, and as we had more pages to turn in they’d last almost all of an afternoon, into an evening. We’d read through each new part, having each one of us read the characters and stage directions. Then, we would go through this really nice feedback process: first, what we liked about the play. Then, did the playwright have any questions for the others? Then, did the others have any questions for the playwright? It was a great process. Tim, the Artistic Director, had it organized so nicely.

After it was written, we had a reading process with a bunch of actors from Wide Eyed and the New School and Brooklyn College, and various other connections. From that, we asked actors to be involved, and Tim helped us find directors or we could ask someone we knew. Then, the rehearsal process was more up to us. [Wide Eyed's resident playwright] Laura Maria Censabella did, however, read each of our scripts and/or see our readings, and give us feedback as well.

All in all, it was a great process.

• When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? What made you start writing plays?

I’d done writing variously since I was in middle school. I didn’t realize I could be a writer (I’d just won an award) until the end of middle school, and I spent the following three years trying to write short stories and poems – more poems than anything.

When I was a freshman, Macaulay Honors College collaborated with aWe Creative Group for one of the “24 Hour PlayFun” events, and I wrote a play overnight (a ten minute play). That was when I realized I could write a play, because I never had finished one before then, and that I also loved the theatrical process. I kept writing plays after that, and I still am. It’s both the form that challenges me the most and I feel the most comfortable in – fiction always felt like walking uphill, 18 miles in the snow; and while I love poetry, and do still write it and find my work highly influenced by poetry and poetic style, I never had the desire to pursue it seriously. Playwriting combined my interest in acting and theatre, which I had participated in growing up, and my love of making up stories and characters in my head.

• Who or what has been your biggest influence as a writer? What inspires you to get to the page?

It’s hard to pinpoint a single influence, because I feel that as a writer I’m extremely susceptible to everything around me as a source. Sometimes I just hear lines, or think lines, to myself (usually when I’m walking or talking to people), or sometimes I’ll hear someone deliver a story or line and I’ll copy it down. I eavesdrop a lot, that’s inspiring. Or if I’m people-watching, I try to think, “What makes those people interesting? What do they remind me of? Who could I make them” and go from there. I also think it might be the fear that not-writing makes me not-a-writer that’s partially inspiring.

• In terms of your creative process, do you have a particular ritual when it comes to writing? If so, can you share it with us?

As a college student, my writing mantra tends to be, “Write when you should be doing something else,” or “Write when you can.” I had a New Year’s Resolution to write everyday . . . I haven’t been doing too well at that.

I do like to start writing by hand for the first draft, but I find that I do it less in playwriting because I’m often writing in a rushed moment, or towards a page count.

• Can you tell us about any other projects you’re working on right now?

I started working on a play as part of a playwriting course I’m taking with Benjamin Gassman, and that’s developed into something I’m kind of in love with at the moment. It’s called Broken Eggs: a play. I also may be writing another musical as part of Macaulay’s SING! event, where students team up on the campuses and write, direct, and perform a thirty-minute musical, but that won’t be until September or October.

Wide Eyed's "Dark Night" Series continues...

"A Girl Wrote It" has closed after a wonderful run, but Wide Eyed will continue to bring you excellent performances through May 20! Check out what we have upcoming....

All performances at the
Richmond Shepard Theatre, Manhattan

Wed. May 16, 8:00 pm
"High Plains" by Brian Watkins

Brian Watkins brings his critically-acclaimed one-man play "High Plains" back to the Wide Eyed Stage! Starring Sean McIntyre.


Thu. May 17, 8:00 pm
"Grunts" by Jerrod Bogard and Sky Seals

Come get a first look at a reading/ performance of 5 new songs from the new rock musical by Bogard and Seals, the masterminds behind Wide Eyed hits "Goldilocks and the Three Polar Bears" and "Jack and the Soy Beanstalk."

Fri. May 18, 8:00 pm
"Filibustero" by Andrew Harriss and
"Gilgamesh" by Charlie Bethel

This double bill of one-man shows promises to intrigue!
In "Filibustero," Andrew Harriss plays all the characters of a 2003 congressional filibuster, and its affects on America ....
Charlie Bethel's acclaimed "Gilgamesh" has riveted Fringe Festival audiences across the US. "Cross into the underworld with the king who did not want to die and learn the Big Secret of the Gods."
Sat. May 19, 8:00 pm
Short Films of Duane Ferguson

Wide Eyed Company member and film director Duane Ferguson presents an evening of his short films.

Apprentice Playwright readings:

The Wide Eyed Productions interns have been working hard at honing their plays for final readings in the Richmond Shepard space this week. See below for the schedule:

Amy Gijsbers van Wijk - Wed. May 16, 6:00 pm
Doug Williams - Thu. May 17, 6:00 pm
Liz Magee - Fri. May 18, 6:00 pm
Mike Aguirre - Sat. May 19, 6:00 pm

Monday, May 14, 2012

Raffle: Win a Wide Eyed Vacation Getaway!

Win a 5-star stay in Mazatlan, Mexico!

 After our first winner had such an amazing time, we are just crazy enough to raffle off another amazing stay in this beautiful Mexican resort!!!

 This is a 7-day, 6-night stay in the Master Suite at a 5-star resort,
the beautiful Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay in Mazatlan.

Master Suites are an expansive 973 square feet. Beyond a kitchenette, private bedroom and bath, a living room opens to a private terrace with ocean view. Each Master Suite is appointed in a style of sophistication and taste. The master suite sleeps up to 6 people comfortably.

Situated on 20 waterfront acres, Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort and Spa is a luxury beach resort in exclusive Nuevo Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. Edged by a long crescent bay, our gorgeous Mazatlan resort overlooks the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean and an exclusive sand beach. Enjoy spectacular golf courses, fishing charters, shopping and nightlife.

*does not include airfare 

*resort is not all inclusive 
*Winner is responsible for any food, beverages and entertainment charges. 
*Must be used within 1 year of winning date

*Winners will be contacted via email and/or phone.

Raffle Tickets:
1 ticket for $20
6 tickets for $100
Drawing will be held on June 15th
You do not have to be present to win

This is a fundraiser for Wide Eyed Productions. *ALL* proceeds will benefit Wide Eyed Productions in their pursuit to continue to create risk-taking, relevant theater in New York City.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Time Out New York's Wild Card pick of the week!

Wild Card pick of the week!

A Girl Wrote It has been selected as Time Out New York's "Wild Card" pick of the week! There's only one weekend to see this special show, so be sure to get your advance tickets here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Just Two Weeks Left! Come See "A Girl Wrote It"

"Treat yourself to this night of talented writers and amazing performances!" - Lulu Arbid
Photo Credits: Rebecca Hengstenberg

  Playing now through May 13

At the Richmond Shepard Theatre, Manhattan

Thu - Sat at 8:00 pm, Sundays at 3:00 pm

Dark Nights!

Even if the show isn't running, we have some fantastic performances going up in Richmond Shepard. Check out our calendar for artists that will be bringing their own acts to the Richmond Shepard stage during the run of A Girl Wrote It!

Support us!

Can't make the show but still want to support your friends at Wide Eyed? Make a tax-deductible donation through Fractured Atlas Here. "Just $10" can help Wide Eyed continue to bring risk-taking, relevant theatre to New York stages!
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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Girl Wrote It: Brian Hanscom, Director

Brian Hanscom is a Maine-born theatre artist and is the Producing Director for Stone Sloop Productions (whose inaugural production, tenderpits, ran at The Theatre Under St. Marks in September 2011). New York credits: Hablo, Diablo (92 St. Y); Cowboy Mouth (Michael Chekhov Theatre Company). Regional credits: Mischief Makers (The Contemporary Stage Company); Almost, Maine (The Arundel Barn Playhouse); 365 Days, 24 Hour Festival (Trustus Theatre). Brian was the Associate Director on Little Rock at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, and the Assistant Director for Don Marguiles’ Shipwrecked! (Primary Stages), Chasing Manet with Tina Howe, and the world premiere of Walter Mosely’s Fall of Heaven (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park). He has also served as a teaching artist at Bentley College.  Other credits: Of Mice and Men, A Midsummer Nights Dream (The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey), Hamlet (The National Theater Conservatory), and Red Herring (The Lewiston Public Theatre). His collaboration as the dramaturg and assistant director with P3/East on the new play Flight premiered at the Connelly Theatre in New York. 

  • For our production of A Girl Wrote It, you are directing Bekah Brunstetter’s Yes. Can you tell us a little bit about what your process with this piece has been like?

I read the play and thought to myself: I may have had the exact conversation that is at the heart of the play... And maybe more than once... So, I knew the people in the play and then we just went about trying to get these two people, seemingly at odds at first, to find their common ground.

  • When did you know that you wanted to be involved in the theatre? How did you get started? What inspired you to direct? 

I guess theater was something I always had a great love for and directing married all of it's best parts together so it became a natural path. 

  • Who or what do you consider to have been your biggest creative influences to date? Why?

Seeing amazing plays and every mentor, director and actor who has been willing to talk about and think out loud about what they do and how they approach theater. And of course, the great Darren Nichols whose visual daring is an inspiration to artists everywhere. 

  • What kind of writing do you find that you are most drawn to as a director? 

Any writing that speaks uniquely and eloquently about the messy little creatures that we are. That takes a lot of different forms in the shapes of stories, but I like to see people grow and change. That may be just a long way of saying that I like what I like and that's interesting people. 

  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Care to share with us? 

I'm gathering the stories of police officers and their families from all over Maine (which is where I'm from originally) and they will become part of a stage production over the next year.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Girl Wrote It: Sky Seals, Actor

Sky Seals is a co-founder of Wide Eyed Productions. Company credits: The Medea (Jason), Much Ado About Nothing (Don Pedro), Jack and the Soy Beanstalk (Minstrel / Composer), Henry VI (Part III) (King Edward), and Goldilocks and the Three Polar Bears (Minstrel / Composer).  Sky has also directed, stage-managed, designed, composed and production-managed for Wide Eyed in its five seasons.  Sky appeared Off-Broadway in the Algonquin Theater’s Sessions: The Musical in the role of Dylan for the production’s entire 14-month run, and toured with Theaterworks’ The Mystery of King Tut last spring.  Sky’s score for Jack and the Soy Beanstalk has been published by Samuel French’s "Bakers Plays."  Sky is also exactly one-half of the acoustic comedy duo Neil and Sky, and has scored the web series White Liars. Currently seeking representation (and a sandwich). 

  • You’re performing in HeatherLynn MacDonald’s Early Michigan as part of our production of A Girl Wrote It. Can you tell us some of your thoughts about the piece? How do you feel the show is going? 

When I first read Early Michigan, I was immediately struck by the challenges it would pose to the actors. There's a lot of surface dialogue that erupts because of hidden tensions, and that always interests me as an actor and an audience member. The subtlety of the script made me say, "This piece will need Wide Eyed's best actors to bring it life." I decided to audition anyway. Working on the script in auditions and rehearsals with some of the smartest actors and directors I've known has been an incredible pleasure and challenge. We delved into the intricacies of the piece right away, right after our first table read, and it was a bit daunting at first. We realized how many layers and options these characters had, and there were an infinite number of ways to bring them to fruition. Luckily, Paul did a perfect job of casting people who could find themselves in these characters, and vice versa. Not that I've ever gone through what my character is going through, but the person I am is very similar to the person Serge is, and I can imagine behaving in many of the same ways he does in this situation. Except for the turning down sex. That's just weird. 

  • When did you know that you wanted to be an actor? How did you get started? 

My parents always told me that I was on a stage, performing, when I was 2 weeks old. They owned their own theater company in Steamboat Springs, CO, and were in the middle of rehearsing one of my fathers plays when I was born. I slept in a trunk full of blankets while they rehearsed every day. One day, I was sitting in my little rocker chair, and they were playing The Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" while working on the set, and everyone noticed that I was bouncing and rocking exactly to the beat of the song. I suppose that was my very first performance. Since then I've always been drawn to make-believe. I had terrible stage fright after my first film The Powwow Highway when I was 7 years old, but that was overcome when I decided to audition for a choir solo in 7th grade and was rewarded with thunderous applause. I was hooked after I knew that I wouldn't totally embarrass myself. Now I try to do that intentionally. 

  • Who or what do you consider to have been your biggest creative influences to date? Why? 

My biggest creative influences have to be my parents, of course. They were both actors and directors, my father a writer, and my mother a costumer. Growing up poor wasn't easy, but they always placed much more importance on art, creativity, and happiness than working at something you didn't care about. They are intensely talented people, and the bar they set is high indeed. Neither of them were really musicians, so as far as music (which is my other artistic passion), I've had to seek out as many creative influences as I can. I'm ALWAYS (no, all times) seeking musical inspiration from any and every kind of style. I've studied opera and musical theater, and sing in an acoustic comedy duo, and someday hope to start a soul-funk band. 

  • What is your favorite part of the creative process before you perform for an audience? Do you have a particular pre-show ritual that you engage in before curtain? If so, can you share it with us? 

When I prepare for a show, it's very important for me to become comfortable in the theater. People make fun of me, but I tend to move in and make the dressing room and stage my home. I'll frequently show up long before everyone else and just walk every inch of the stage, lay down, sit in every chair, sing little songs to the ghosts of the theater. You know, act like a crazy person. But to me, if you can make it seem like the stage is your home, you'll successfully trick the audience into thinking they're seeing something real, and that's what leads them to have insights into themselves and humanity in general. I also like to sing German art songs to warm up my voice. 

  • In addition to being an actor, you are also serving on the company’s Board of Directors.  Can you tell us a little bit about what’s going on behind the curtain right now that you’re excited about? 

First of all, being on the Board of Directors for Wide Eyed Productions is one of the hardest and most rewarding things in my life. Seeing this company grow from a troupe of actors performing The Medea on a football field in New Jersey, to performing Henry VI (Part III) at the E. 13th Street Theater (home of the Classic Stage Company), as well as producing original works and giving voices to emerging female playwrights...I still feel like we're just getting started on our quest to become a company of well-rounded entertainment manufacturers. And the fact that I get to work this hard with all of my best friends is an added bonus. The Board is definitely aiming high in the coming years, and I'm inspired and challenged by how ambitious we all still are.  

  • Are you working on any additional projects at the moment? Care to share with us? 

During the run of A Girl Wrote It, I am in charge of booking what we call our Dark Night Series. We never like to see the space that we're renting not being used, so we started booking extra shows on our off nights, and late nights after our own productions. This is one of the ways that we give back and help create a strong theatrical community in New York City, by offering this space to others FOR FREE to do with as they will. We have a door split policy, we staff their events, sell concessions, and get to experience a vast array of performances that may not have happened if we hadn't offered this opportunity. If you have an event, reading, show, performance, film, birthday party or bar mitzvah you've been trying to plan, but just couldn't me at  

Also, Neil and Sky are hosting an Open Mic on Cinco de Mayo (May 5), Saturday night, at 11pm after the performance of A Girl Wrote It. Come take part!