Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Anne of the Thousand Days: Director's Note

Anne of the Thousand Days presents some special challenges to its cast, crew, and audiences. It catalogs the span of an entire relationship - all 1,000 of its days - in the span of a few hours of moments. It requires the audience to meet and get to know the many other names and faces involved in Anne and Henry's lives, from first meeting to final (and permanent) end. The play also presents its highly stylized (and fictionalized) story through two unreliable narrators as they attempt to justify the ending of their lives together. Heavy stuff.

From the very beginning, I hoped to stage this play in a way that put a unique focus on the performativity of memory. So many people go in and out of the lives of these two characters during their story - and when they outlive their place in the narrative, where do they go? In this production, the small cast ensures that the faces and bodies of Anne and Henry's memories are remade and recycled into the next wave of moments. Faces become familiar, but interchangeable, as the dynamics of the play's relationships blur and change along with them. 

In the end, I hope the cast, crew, and audiences of this play are left with a sense of how memory - how we remember, and how we are remembered, the impermanence of people, places, and moments - can be embraced and experienced as a performance in its own right.

Melinda Marks

Anne of the Thousand Days: A Word from the Artistic Directors

Dragon’s 2nd Stages Program is one of the biggest factors that attracted Max and myself to take up the role of Co-Artistic Directors at the Dragon. Giving local artists opportunities to produce their passion projects in the Bay area, where options can be limited, really makes our job so worthwhile. 

Melinda Marks left quite a lasting impression with her robust pitch of Maxwell Anderson's play Anne of the Thousand Days. We could tell that Melinda had done her homework and that Anderson's text really had struck an artistic chord with her. The story of King Henry VIII and his courting of Anne Boleyn and the founding of The Church of England has always been a personal fascination, and with the today’s Me Too movement, the themes of gender power dynamics resonate even louder. Melinda’s approach to this production not only serves the story spectacularly, but also pays forward the opportunity she got in producing this show by creating roles for brilliant actors who may not otherwise get to play any roles quite like these. You're in for quite a treat! 

Alika & Max Koknar

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Anne of the Thousand Days: Meet the Designers

Melinda Marks (Director) is a longtime Bay Area actor and director, and the co-founder and casting director of San Jose production company Play on Words. This is her first time directing at Dragon, after having previously been Stage Manager for Shoggoths on the Veldt earlier this season. Melinda holds an MA in Theater Arts from San Jose State and an MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University. She was last seen onstage in Shakespeare in Love (Palo Alto Players), and in Teatro Visions' world premiere of Departera. In the spring, Melinda will be directing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at the Pear Theatre in Mountain View.

Nathanael Card (Lighting Designer), Wizard of the Theatre Arts, is proud to take the form of lighting designer for Dragon on this production. His past lighting designs include: Hickorydickory, Shoggoths on the Veldt, The Revolutionists, Three Days of Rain, and Cirque Exotique du Monde at Dragon. In addition to lighting, he designed sets as well for his last four shows at Dragon, and often crews as an electrician with Stanford University School of Music, Smuin Ballet, Berkeley Rep.

Arcadia Conrad (Stage Intimacy Workshop Facilitator) is an actor, director, playwright and theatre educator. She is currently an intimacy director in training and program director of Cupertino Actors Theatre at Cupertino High School, a contributor with Play on Words, and teaches writing with the San Jose Writing Project. A reading of her latest play, Script Doctor, was recently presented at The Dragon Theatre's Monday Night Playspace. 

Nita Lambert (Stage Manager) is pleased to be stage managing again, after a 17-year break. Favorite acting roles include Mistress Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Mariah in Twelfth Night, both at Silicon Valley Shakespeare, as well as multiple characters in many productions of Northside Theatre Company's annual A Christmas Carol. In real life, her favorite roles include wife, mom, stepmom and grandma. She also enjoys directing choral music. Nita would like to thank her fabulous husband and daughter for their love and support.

Marley Teter (Costume Construction)

Michael Weiland (Sound Designer) has previously appeared in Shoggoths in the Veldt and Equivocation at the Dragon Theatre. Other appearances are Geeks vs Zombies at the Pear Theater, The Legend of Georgia McBride  at Los Altos Stage Company, Boom! at Minilights, and Rocky Horror at City Lights Theater Company. Michael is also a company member at Play On Words San Jose, a staged reading company for new works by local authors, playwrights, and poets.

Anne of the Thousand Days: Meet the Cast

Lisa Burton (Norfolk / Servant / Singer) is happy to be back on the Dragon stage and working with such a talented ensemble of artists.  She has previously appeared at Dragon Theatre swashbuckling in Shoggoths on The Veldt, rapping in The Making of The Star Wars Holiday Special, ring leading in Cirque Exotique du Monde, and organizing junk in The Charitable Sisterhood of The Second Trinity Victory Church.  Other credits include the comedies Exit The Body and Rumors (Santa Clara Players), The Millionth Production of The Christmas Carol (The Pear) as well as the podcast Church Biz available on Spotify.  Lisa is deeply grateful to her awesome, supportive family: Drew, Andrew, Zoe and Bolt as well as her best friend and partner in crime, Ashley.
Helena G. Clarkson (Cardinal Wolsey / Madge / Thomas Wyatt, Singer) is happy to back onstage at Dragon.  She was last seen here as the Female Chorus in Libation Bearers and Ginger in Becky’s New Car. She has performed at many of the local bay area theaters including Foothill Musical Theater, Tabard, Santa Clara Players, and the Pear. Helena received a BA from Santa Clara University in 2007 (double major in Theater and English), after she completed two AA’s at Foothill College (Theater Arts and Human Performance). Helena would like to thank her son for supporting her every endeavor and everyone here for supporting live theater!!

April Culver (Thomas Boleyn / Elizabeth Boleyn / Thomas More / Bailiff) Recent performances include: The Grapes of Wrath (Rose of Sharon) at Los Altos Stage Company, Shakespeare in Love (Viola) at Palo Alto Players, King Lear (Cordelia / Fool)  B8 Theatre, In the Next Room (Mrs. Givings, SFBATCC Nomination), A View from the Bridge(Catherine) and Uncle Vanya (Sonya) for Pear Theatre, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helena), As You Like It (Celia), and Hamlet (Rosencrantz) at Silicon Valley Shakespeare. She thanks her friends and family for their love, humor, and support. 

Ivette Deltoro (Anne Boleyn) is happy to be working on her first show at Dragon Productions. Past credits include: Spending the End of the World on Ok Cupid at The Pear Theatre (ensemble), Silicon Valley Shakespeare's Hamlet (ensemble/dance), and Epic Immersive’s Matthew Briar and the Age of Resurrection (Isabela Martinez). Ivette also works with City Lights Theater Company where she originated the role of Clara Krieger in the world premiere of Truce: A Christmas Wish from the Great War, and was a TBA nominee for her role as Caroline in Lauren Gunderson’s I and You. She is a graduate of the Foothill Theater Conservatory and serves as the Casting Assistant and Patron Experience Manager at City Lights Theater Company. 

Tonya Duncan (Mary Boleyn, Percy, Cromwell, Jane Seymour) is thrilled to make her Dragon debut! Past roles include: Club Secretary in Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club (Silicon Valley Shakespeare), Texas in Cabaret (City Lights Theatre Company), and Anne in Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (City Lights Theatre Company). When not in the theatre, Tonya can be found playing with her puppies, pestering her boyfriend, and procrastinating by watching all the bad horror movies Netflix has to offer.

Ronald Feichtmeir (Norris / Fisher / Courier / Servant) is pleased to return again, and work with the nice folks at the Dragon Theatre. Recent credits at the Dragon include Medford Pumbleshire in Shoggoths on the Veldt, Dr. Singer in Cirque Exotique du Monde, and personal favorite of his, Estragon in Waiting for Godot. Ronald is a Bay Area Native, a graduate of Los Altos High School, Foothill College and University of California Santa Cruz. He loves theatre and films.

Keenan Flagg (Smeaton / Musician / Servant, Loughton / Kingston) is ecstatic to finally be working at Dragon Productions Theatre Company. His recent credits include the Porter in Silicon Valley Shakespeare’s production of Macbeth; and the Loud Stone in Eurydice at City Lights Theater Company. When not on stage, Keenan works as a voice and writer with Play On Words.

Peter Ray Juarez (Henry VIII) is very thankful to be making his return to the Dragon Productions Theatre Company where he last appeared as Evan in U.S. Drag. Selected credits: Duncan in Leading Ladies at Hillbarn Theatre, Henry in Northanger Abbey at The Pear Theatre, Tom Snout in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Betty/Edward in Cloud 9 at The Western Stage, and Wintergreen in Catch 22 at Los Altos Stage Company. He earned an MA in Theatre Arts from San Jose State University and holds a BA in Theatre Arts from California State University, Chico. He would like to thank Haley and his friends and family for their love and support.