Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pay What You Can Preview

Tonight is our Pay What You Can Preview for Theresa Rebeck's play Bad Dates featuring Equity actress Laura Jane Bailey. The idea is simple - show up between 7:30 and 8pm at Dragon Theatre tonight with some cash or a checkbook. Pay whatever price you can afford - maybe that is $5 maybe that is $25, maybe that's some amount in between. See the show. This is a great way to see a show on a budget, maybe on a night that's better for you too. We love offering them - it's kind of a "final dress" with an audience for us and it's a way to offer a discount to our patrons. And look how fun Laura Jane is:

A timely article came out today with a slightly different perspective, and I think it's worth a read. Does your company do a "pay what you can" preview? What's your experience been?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday!

Today we celebrate the 100th birthday of Thomas Lanier Williams - you probably know him as Tennessee Williams though. He was born on this day 100 years ago in Columbus, Mississippi.

A brilliant writer who had a troubled adolescence, many of these earlier experiences informed his works. His father was abusive. His mother was often hysterical and overprotective. His older sister, Rose, was mentally ill, diagnosed with schizophrenia, and when she made claims that her father made sexual advances toward her, was lobotomized.

You can see echoes of Rose in The Glass Menagerie, his breakout play. Set in St. Louis (where the Williams family lived while Tennessee was in high school and college), it tells the tale of the Wingfield family, specifically the attempted set-up of fragile daughter, Laura, by her fading Southern belle mother Amanda. Tennessee has called the play a semi-autobiographical tale of himself, his mother, and his sister. The play was a success and moved to Broadway in 1945 where it won the NYC Critics Circle Award.

Williams then moved on to his second play, and arguably his greatest work - A Streetcar Named Desire. Tennessee won his second NYC Critics Circle Award and his first Pulitzer. The show was such a success that it, along with most of the cast, were transferred to a film version. It features the now famous and widely acknowledged master performance by Marlon Brando. It's also easy to argue that the fragile Blanche is another echo of his sister Rose and Brando's bullying abusive Stanley is an echo of Williams' father.

With Streetcar, Williams made himself financially secure, and established himself as one of the great American writers. He met and fell in love with Frank Merlo, who he remained with until Frank's early demise from lung cancer in 1961. Williams had battled depression for most of his life and the loss of his partner combined with an addiction to drugs sent him into a downward spiral. Tennessee passed away in 1983 after choking on the lid of an eyedrop bottle. He is buried in St. Louis.

His legacy, however, lives on in his writing. He continues to be one of the most produced playwrights in America and is certainly one of the greatest. Dragon will produce A Streetcar Named Desire this summer in his honor.

Some quotes from Tennessee Williams.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Looking For Something to Do This Weekend?

Since Dragon is dark till its next show, you're probably looking for something to do. I mean, you DO sit at home ticking off the minutes until you get to see the next Dragon show right? (Humor me, say yes, even if it's to your computer screen.)

One of Dragon's board members, Monica Cappuccini, is currently performing in the City Lights production of Equus. Yes, THAT Equus, the one where Harry Potter, I mean David Radcliffe, was naked on stage. Equus was written by Peter Shaffer, the author of the excellent Amadeus. Equus is a disturbing, thoughtful, powerful piece of theatre that you should definitely catch. It runs March 17 - April 17 so make some time to see some theatre and support one of Dragon's own!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

More Than Just Theatre

One thing we're proud of here at Dragon is that one of our core goals is to provide opportunities. Everyone needs a little help sometimes - maybe you're new to town and want to get "in" to the community, maybe you're an artist with an idea, maybe you're just wanting a cool place to throw a birthday party for your kid. Dragon really works to support the community.

And it's not always about the theatre.

Recently you might have noticed a new sign up in the front window.

Backstage Coworking is a new effort that we're helping out with. The idea is simple - many of us work from home and, let's face it, if you're like me eventually you need to get out and, you know, interact with real actual people face to face or run the risk of being an unshowered unsocialized hermit. (It's not just me, right? Right??) At Backstage Coworking you can rent desk space with free WiFi and coffee and come work in the Dragon studio for the day. And you can meet other like-minded people and be a part of a community. Pretty cool. This notion has taken off in a number of tech-friendly areas in the U.S. and we're proud to offer such a service in downtown Palo Alto at Dragon Theatre. Dave, the leader of this initiative, has really worked to make it social too. There are a number of planned open days and happy hours and whatnot. It's pretty cool. If you go to their website you can see all the options, plus their calendar of events.

Like I learned from watching PBS - sharing is caring!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Welcome: Kim Wadycki

Hello Dragon Fans! My name is Kim and I'm officially Dragon's new Marketing and Development Associate. I'll be spearheading the Dragon marketing and advertising campaigns, as well as assisting with the annual fundraiser event and corporate and individual donors. In short, I'm gonna be a busy little bee and am LOVING it.

Here's a few little bits about me.

Q: Where are you from? Here? A transplant?

A: I grew up in St. Louis, MO. Went to college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I got a bachelor's in political science. Moved back to St. Louis after working at the HR/Operations manager of the university's public computer labs for a bit. Got married to an amazing guy that I met in college. We moved to California about 4 years ago when my husband got his geek dream job.

Q: What's your theatrical background? Actor? Director? Techie? Fan?

A: Techie. I'm generally a stage manager (I did Private Eyes earlier this season in fact) but I've done props design and am pretty fluent with sound and light boards.

Q: What's your favorite part of doing a live show?

A: I absolutely love listening to the audience response. That instant feedback is really interesting and gratifying. It's always nice to know that the work your doing is being appreciated.

Q: Why Dragon?

A: I approached Dragon to be a volunteer/intern in the fall of 2010 because I liked their season programming. I've done a lot of Shakespeare over the past decade, and while I do love it, I wanted to do something a little more indy and a little more contemporary. I interviewed with Meredith Hagedorn (the founder/executive director) and Lessa Bouchard to see if Dragon and I would be a good fit for each other and I had a blast at the interview. I came home and told my husband that I wanted to work with these women. And I've been really impressed with the professionalism and artistic excellence since getting involved.

Q: Anything else the Dragon readers should know about you?

A: I love the 80s. I'm currently a contributing writer to Culture Brats which is so much fun. If it's weird and/or cheesy I probably like it. I also want a dog, really really REALLY badly. I hope to start graduate studies this fall working toward a Master's in Non-profit Management.

So that's me!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Welcome: Emily Ota

Today we're introducing Emily, the new Dragon Rentals Coordinator.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I'm from Menlo Park, CA born and raised.

Q: What's your theatrical background?

A: I started theatre when I was a freshman in high school. I attended Menlo-Atherton High School, and joined the Drama I class my first semester. I began as a techie, then for the winter show was cast in my first role ever as Diana in "Lend Me A Tenor". From there, I received several supporting and lead roles, such as Helga, in "Night Watch" (which went up at the Dragon Theatre!), and Titania in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (Menlo-Atherton). My junior year, I joined up with Peninsula Youth Theatre and was Ms. Darbus in their 2008 production of "High School Musical". In 2009, I worked for Palo Alto Players, and was an ensemble member in "The King and I" with Kerie Derner (Anna) and Don Masuda (the King). Also that year, I performed as Madame Thenardier in PYT's Les Miserables. Currently, I am a 2nd year student at the Foothill Theatre Conservatory, graduating from the program this June.

Q: Are you working on anything now?

A: I am currently in the show "Working, The Musical" with Foothill Music Theatre, which closes on March 6th. And I am also in Foothill Theatre Conservatory's "One-Acts: American Hypnopompic" which goes up March 17th-20th.

Q: Why Dragon?

A: I think that Dragon is a wonderful asset to the theatre community. I know when I was in high school, Meredith welcomed my theatre troupe (The Vagabond Players, which put on a couple of shows here) with open arms, and encouraged us to explore what it was like to put on your own show. Plus, I love small theatre companies and what they stand for: supporting the arts, and bringing entertainment to an intimate setting.

Q: What's the most exciting/fulfilling part of being the rentals coordinator?

A: I think the best thing about my job is being an active part of bringing more theatre to the community. With my job, I am ensuring that the theatre is being used whether its for the Dragon's seasonal shows, or for classes, etc. Just knowing that people are still so passionate about sharing their talents by putting on a show, or teaching people in an acting class is wonderful.

Welcome to the Dragon Family Emily!


We may not have been blogging much but we sure have been busy at Dragon lately. While we're waiting for our next show, Bad Dates, to open, we've been doing lots of work, partly because our super fabulous staffer, Lessa Bouchard, has decided to leave Dragon as the marketing and rental and intern coordinator to pursue other things. If you're subscribed to our newsletter you got the scoop from Lessa in her own words. (If you're not getting our email newsletter, go here to sign up! You'll be missing out on deals and news and stuff if you're not signed up.) Because Lessa's so amazing it's actually going to take several people to carry on her work.

Tomorrow we will introduce Emily Ota, Dragon's new Rentals Coordinator. She's the woman to talk to if you want to book the space for your own show, corporate event, movie night, birthday party, whatever else you can think of.

On Wednesday we will introduce Dragon's new Marketing and Development guru - that's me.

If you know Lessa and see her around, tell her how much we'll miss having her around - but she's not TOTALLY gone as she is directing our third show of the season, Tongue of a Bird.