Monday, March 3, 2014

The Importance of 2nd Stages

Jason Collins and Michael Sam have been in the news lately, not because they're great athletes, which they are, but because they've recently come out as gay. This got me to thinking about the play, Take Me Out, which will run in our 2nd Stages series later this summer, and that got me to thinking about why I'm personally so excited about this new effort by Dragon Productions Theatre.

This new series will give local theatre makers the opportunity to fully produce their passion projects with the support of an established theatre company.  Making dreams a reality by sharing our experience and support – that’s the purpose of the 2nd Stages series. 

Meredith Hagedorn, Founder and Executive Artistic director has this to say about 2nd Stages:

“I founded Dragon Productions as an actress wanting to create more theatre opportunities. I had performed on many stages across the country, but I didn’t know the first thing about producing theatre when I began. I did, however, know my passion projects, and I was determined to make my dreams come true. This series is for those artists, who, like me, want to see their passion theatre project come to life, but who might not have the opportunity, the money, or the know-how to make it happen. If we can give others the same opportunities then I’ll feel as if all our hard work has really been worthwhile.  What good is a dream if you can’t share it with others? That is all I want to do with Dragon’s 2nd Stages program.”

For me, though, 2nd Stages is an opportunity to tell a different set of stories. Stories that, for whatever reason, aren't a good fit with Dragon's Main Season. Stories that might be a little more controversial, a little more difficult to watch, or new works that are still growing. Stories that some local artist feels incredibly strongly about and hasn't been able to produce it elsewhere. 

For the inaugural season we’ve chosen the following four productions for the 2nd Stages series at Dragon Productions: 
Some Girl(s)
 by Neil LaBute

produced and directed by Jeffrey Lo

March 7 - March 16, 2014

Picture this: you’re an up and coming writer with a blossoming career and a beautiful fiancĂ©e who loves you dearly. What would you do in this situation? In this dark comedy by Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, The Shape of Things) you’d have a life crisis and go on a cross-country tour to visit your ex-girlfriends. LaBute’s play is a portrait of an artist who steps back to look at past mistakes—and figure out what to do with the scars that still linger.

Kim says: This show excites me because LaBute is a challenging, nasty man. The show is incredibly funny in a "I can't believe s/he just SAID that" kind of way. It's also an excellent showcase for some very talented actors, with meaty parts for a group of women. 

The Birthday Party 
by Harold Pinter

produced and directed by Jenny Hollingworth
June 6 - June 15, 2014

Highly controversial when it opened in 1958 and now considered a classic, The Birthday Party is one of Pinter’s least subtle plays. Set in a seaside boarding house, it is part black comedy and part whodunit, with the central action literally happening in the dark. Like all great literature, it asks timeless questions: How can we be sure that anyone is who he says he is? Is it ever possible to pin down the truth of the past? And can we ever escape our deepest fears?

Kim says: The Birthday Party is one of those plays I was familiar with but had never read. I've never been a huge Pinter fan (sorry Pinterites), but I tore through the script in one sitting because it was such a compelling read. I can't wait to see this story play out on stage. 

Take Me Out
 by Richard Greenberg

produced by Dale Albright
July 11 - July 20, 2014

Darren has it all. He’s one of the biggest baseball stars on the planet. Millions of adoring fans. Endorsements. And then he decides to come out of the closet. This winner of the 2003 Tony Award for Best New Play and Pulitzer Prize finalist tackles homophobia and racism amidst America’s most traditional pastime.

Kim says: I was so excited when I heard Dragon was going to produce this. There are a number of technical challenges to doing this show, but the script is so incredibly powerful. It's kind of depressing to realize that this show opened in 2003 and 11 years later is still very relevant to current events. 

Arc:hive presents: A Moment (Un)Bound: Or, The Unreal Past

an original new work produced by Lessa Bouchard

September 19 - September 28, 2014

A new work exploring the tension between what we hold onto and what we let go of: how do we know which is which? The emerging whimsical text and themes are inspired by the notes and clippings left behind in the books donated to Friends of the Library in Palo Alto. More details about the team building this production and workshop performances can be found online at

Kim says: Lessa, Susie, and Evan premiered a few minutes of this piece at Dragon's Sneak Peek in 2013 and I was just fascinated. It's part theatre, part performance art, embraces technology, and is entirely whimsical. I've been enjoying watching the evolution of this piece and can't wait to see the "finished" product later this year. 

That's why *I* am excited about 2nd Stages. How about you? Got anything on the above list that you're excited to come see? If you're an aspiring producer, we'll have information sometime mid-2014 about applying for 2nd Stages 2015 so keep posted for more details on how to get YOUR passion project produced! 

--Kim Wadycki, Managing Director

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