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Thomas Putnam
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One of my favorite aspects of working with HG is the chance to work with kids. I used to be a teacher and I loved it. Loved working with the kids, that is; didn't care much for all the paper work. This Monday begins our Winter Theatre Arts Camp at Mansfield University. Two weeks; two high energy concentrated weeks of working with nearly 60 kids to create something new. We've been doing this now for a number of years. Kids keep coming back. And it's not just due to producing a show with which they are familiar. This year we're... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2015 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
I find myself reduced to using cliches when thinking about this being our 25th Season: Who could have imagined...? What are the odds...? I never would have believed it... As many of you know, however, these years have been anything but cliched. Very little in all these seasons has been predictable or ordinary or simple or sterotypical. Perhaps one of the great glories of being a part of this grass-roots group is that one never knows what to expect. (Sorry, another cliche.) When I think back to those early years (oh, geez, can I get away from cliches?) I really... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
Some of these pianos are just too beautiful to paint. So we're not going to paint all of them. The wood and design on some are really amazing. I do love the festive feel of the painted pianos that we've seen from other cities that have had a Play Me--I'm Yours program, but there is nothing more beautiful than creation out of wood. There are two pianos that we've collected that are simply not worth trying to fix/tune. One has a beautiful exterior so we're going to take out the innerds and turn it into a prop piano...if it's light... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
It's not often that I have the back I have for the production of SPAMALOT. I have two interns, both of whom have a lot of experience on stage and with music, and an assistant who worked side-by-side with me last summer. Maia Stam choreographed All Shook Up last summer. She's also directing the three summer theatre arts camps this summer. She's had lots of years of dance. Lots of experience with teaching. Has high expectations, and knows how to get results. She just spent five months in Africa, and has one year of college at Gaucher left. She's also... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
Have you seen the film? Lots of big names in the cast. True story. One of the questions asked by a character--and lived out by the context--is "Is a piece of art worth a life?" These guys were asked the question in regards to saving art that Nazi's were destroying. They all said yes. A few of them proved it. Yikes. I've wrestled with the question "Would you be willing to give your life for another person?" or the traditional Christian question "Would you be willing to sacrifice your life for Christ?" but...for a piece of art? This was a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
I must first admit that until recently I had never watched a Monty Python movie. I had never watched any moment of the tv show. I did have some understanding of the phenomenon since Ryan Dalton and I had performed one of the "skits" for a few of our Fezziwig Christmas celebrations. I thought the skit was funny....at least we had fun doing it. So when Herb Johnson urged--pushed--me to watch the Holy Grail in order to decide to produce the corresponding musical Spamalot this year, I reluctantly agreed. I saw the movie with him and a number of our... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
I had forgotten why I was fascinated by Tennessee Williams when I was a young adult, but I was reminded on Thursday night when I saw A Streetcar Named Desire on Thursday night. Peter Zinn's production from New York flooded me with memories of my days when I wrote all my term and research papers on the characters of Williams. The main character is beautifully written and would be any actress's dream. This woman--I don't have the program write in front of me so I'm sorry that I can't remember her name--really ripped into this part. The character is tragic... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
We've had our first rehearsal. Acstually, it was a gathering of most of the cast and the main purpose was for the costumers to get measurements. (This is going to be one heck of a show to costume!) We also had a read-through of the whole show. I'm not crazy about first rehearsals. I'm always concerned about wasting people's time and the first rehearsal just seems to be a formality or something we should do. It does offer an opportunity for people to get to see who is playing who and to get to know them a bit and hear... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
One little ad in a trade paper: Pianos Wanted. We will haul. With that the phone calls began. The plan was to obtain a few pianos to put out on the sidewalks of Wellsboro during our weeklong summer fringe festival of the arts. The pianos are available to anyone who would like to sit down and tickle the ivories...and ebonies. We got the idea from Stratford Ontario where we visit yearly for the Shakespeare Festival. And we got calls. Lots of them. It became quickly clear that "we will haul" were the magic words. A surprising number of people in... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
On Monday night we had a end-of-season rehearsal with the Young Men and Young Women Choirs. Our trip was over. Our spring concert was over. Everyone was relaxed and easy and comfortable and warm. Some of the guys dressed up in formal attire for the occasion. Almost everyone was there. We talked some about next year, singing at the Little League World Series, the autumn concert on October 12, hosting a German Choir in September, and the trip in 2015...and that it's our 20th Season. And then we sang. Katie and I had pulled out some pieces that the choirs... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
We had a wonderful time last night at Steadman Theatre with the Festival Chorus and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. Wow. I was so proud of these kids in grades 5-8 who sang really well and were very attentive to the whole experience. The more they/we get to know the piece the more fun it is. Peggy Dettwiler has been great. I don't think the community fully appreciates the treasure we have. She gets incredible results from this community and university chorus. One of the things I most appreciate about her at the moment is the really affirming way she has... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
I think I'm in love. Well, I know I'm in love with choral music. And I know I'm in love with really good choirs and directors who know how to make really good chors. So this weekend it's like Valentine's Day or maybe a really hot honeymoon, or passionate Shakespearean sonnets. Carmina Burana is really cool choral music. And the MU Festival Choir is a really good choir, and Dr. Peggy Dettwiler really knows how to make a good choir. So, the HG Children's Choir is singing about 40 measures in this production. We mainly do it so the kids... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
We have another opening night tonight. Well, sort of an opening night..."and it obsessed us." We've had a few days to let it all settle and marinate and wrap around and...let's see what other metaphors we can come up with. Yesterday I wrote about Michael's need to tell the story....his story that he's been living with for decades and now must tell. Maya Angelou wrote: There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you." This is Michael's situation. Maggie tells a story about when she was 16. Rose tells a story that happened just a few hours... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
I'm still climbing around in Michael Evan's skin. I think this fellow must tell this story of the summer of 1936.Why is this narrator, Michael, compelled to talk to the audience? Why Michael arrives at this point in his life...years after that eventful summer. Perhaps, he's trying to put together what it was about this moment in '36 where his family cracked open, where these un-asked-for and maybe indefinable forces came through, and where the whole world changed foreever. Perhaps this fellow comes to an empty page--like a writer--and says "There's this moment in my life which I just can't... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
The morning after. The morning after a profoundly moving weekend. One of the items on my bucket list is being in a play with an extended run. I would love to be in a show that runs for say, oh, six months. 6-8 performances each week. It would, of course, have to be a show that I loved. I could, for instance, easily live with the Librarian from Underneath the Lintel for six months. I think I might be able to live in Michael's skin from I Do! I Do! for a long time. Yes, also, to Salieri in Amadeus.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
We open tonight. At one point in the play Michael simply says, “God.” I think that's what I'm saying today...”God.” I can't seem to go beyond that...if that's even possible. One of Uncle Jack's stories in the play relates to a festival in Africa that he has experienced for 25 years: “Then the incantation...that expresses our gratitude and that also acts as a rhythm or percussion for the ritual dance. And then, when the thanksgiving is over, the dance continues. And the interesting thing is that it grows naturally into a secular celebration; so that almost imperceptibly the religious ceremony... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
Tomorrow night we invite the public to enter the Mundy home. My kids used to get really frustrated with me because I didn't want to have guests in the house if it wasn't cleaned up with everything in order and in its place. So there was always a lot of frantic cleaning before someone would arrive. A few years ago we produced a lovely play called He Held Me Grand by James Still. One of the characters, a very old man courting a very old woman, talks to a young man about courting and he encourages the young man to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
Dancing At Lughnasa is a study about family. How it works, how it doesn't work. The Mundy Family is real. They love, they laugh, the bicker and sometimes they yell. Becoming a part of this family for the last 2 months has made me think on what makes a family, and what breaks a family and what heals a family. Almost 110 years ago, on April 10th 1904, my great grandfather stepped onto a boat in Queenstown and sailed for the United States. His destination, Philadelphia via Ellis Island NYC. John Bowes left behind three siblings and both of his... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
Once more I'm amazed at how quickly the process of creating a play flies by. One week from tonight we open Dancing at Lughnasa. incredible. (Time flies when you're having fun?) We still have lots to do: paint the backdrop and the stones on the foundation of the house, and the boards on the floor of the kitchen and the garden area; as well as gather some remaining props, and refocus some l ights as well as gel them; and get the new chairs unloaded when they arrive--hopefully before the opening of the show--and placed on the risers; and proofread... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
When I was first casted for Lughnasa, it was not yet determined whether I’d be playing Michael Evans, the narrator whose memories the play is based on, or Gerry, his impulsive, yet charming father. After reading the script and becoming more familiar with both characters, I initially felt more connected with Michael. I suppose this was because, like Michael, I am also undergoing many deep self-reflections of my own life, of what has occurred and what is to come. Graduating from college in less than two months has such thoughts constantly flowing through my mind: How did I get here?... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
Getting involved in Dancing at Lughnasa, the whole process really, has been quite an experience for me. I am not an overly social person so this has been a challenge, a learning experience of sorts, as my musings may reflect. Since, in preparation for a play, a cast becomes much like a family, I’ve had experiences that one might have in any family situation. Kate is the eldest of the five Mundy sisters. In my biological family I am the youngest of three. Kate is very pushy and controlling, stepping on the toes of her loved ones and never offering... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
Laughing at Lughnasa.... One of my favorite, favorite things about rehearsing a play is the amount of laughter that occurs. The play does not have to be funny for this to happen thanks to the many "bloopers" that are inevitable any time you have people trying to recall words that aren't their own and make them their own. If only we had video cameras rolling to capture these bloopers we could share the laughs with everybody (though at some point of exhaustion after rehearsing for maybe a wee bit too long what we find funny is probably not that funny... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
Wondering why the title of the last blog didn't fit with the body of the blog which was posted yesterday? Yeah, me too. I had this wonderful blog written about the fascination I'm finding in playing a grown man who is looking back at one summer in his childhood viewing his father who is played by a man much younger than me. I think the blog probably didn't get posted because the bloggod felt it was too confusing. But now I can't find the thing to try to make it less confusing, and so the new title—which I kind of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog
Wherein Coleen Evert responds to questions posed by Barbara Biddison, and adds a few additional observations. In DANCING AT LUGHNASA, Coleen plays Chris, the youngest of the 5 sisters. What's it like to be one of five Mundy sisters? I love being one of five Mundy sisters! I have never worked with a cast that "clicked" so quickly. Maybe because it's a smaller cast? This is only the third show I have auditioned for. I wasn't going to audition for this one, but then Mary Ginn encouraged me to do so and I did. I knew nothing about the script... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at Hamilton-Gibson Blog