Month: July 2011

Dear Vandals, You’re Just Annoying

Dear Person or People who thought it would be fun to decapitate our solar powered porch lights:

Congratulations. You got our attention. While, in the scheme of things, it’s annoying and no more, the big question is why? You chose only to damage the solar powered lights and left all the easy to steal minilights that take power where they were.

Do you work for a utility company?  Are you a vampire who finds benefiting from the sun?  Do you hate silicon? 

Yep.  We’ll keep finding solar torches and putting them up.  We like light on our porh so people don’t fall.  We like using natural resources to pay for it.

Since you obviously like breaking things, why not help us strike our sets?  We could always use volunteers.  Or join PCW and let them train you do destroy with style and flair.  You’ll be happier and people can see! 

Divided Among Themselves is Coming & It’s Coming Along

‘Divided Among Themselves’ is a play we’re developing with local Playwright Hank Kimmel.  The show is about 4 Sisters who must divided their father’s estate in one hour and how that effects their family dynamics.

Auditions are scheduled, we have some actors coming, Hank is making edits.

The show is really a cool show. 

It first appeared on the Academy’s doorstep through Working Title Playwrights and the fabulous Jill Patrick.  The show has evolved since then, but it could really be the kind of show in which, as long as the actors say all their lines in the right order (and you’d be surprised at how often this does not happen), it will be great! 

The characters are great!  The eldest is Clark, a successful real estate developer who has seen most of her fortune disappear in a middle east land deal.  The main character is Samantha, a rabbi who strives to heal the world, but has material concerns.  Next is Johnna, a tennis pro with money and other problems.

Finally there is Alex, who has left New York all together for a less material and more spiritual life in the hinterlands. 

They all re-unite to solve their father’s estate: the apartment (rent controlled), the doll house, the money, the Grandfather clock to haunted their lives.  If they don’t solve it, all the money reverts to a Union attorney. 

It’s just a really cool concept with great characters and dialogue! 

The show runs the last two weekends in September and the first two weekends in October.  Stay tuned for more details!

Our Senior Ensemble is gearing up for shows for the Fall!  Here’s a sampler of how good ‘A Rose Between Our Teeth’ really is! 

Shows are highly affordable and can be subsidized for certain groups! 

Mail academytheatre at mindspring dot com and get your friends to learn whats so funny about getting older!

Notes from the Story of God Director!

What Daniel Carter Brown was thinking about as he & KG created ‘The Story of God’, which runs July 23, 28, & 30 at 10 PM at the Academy!

Daniel Writes:

I describe what Give Us Brains! does as “long-form sketch comedy,” a term I’m claiming to have coined.  Little about what we do is improv-based; everything is fully scripted.  Vignettes around a theme are written individually, then combined into a contiguous whole with the help of a framing device or two.  Ultimately, it’s a normal comedic play, but without strict adherence to continuity.  We aren’t the first to do this; I’d argue that Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s work fall into the same genre, among others.

I wrote the Adam, Version 26 sketch a while ago, and it has been previously performed by It’s Good For You!, a Chicago comedy group.  I knew that it, and its characters of God, Gabriel, Michael, and Wally could be the framework for a show parodying Bible stories.  The next step was choosing which stories to include. 

I focused on stories I’ve always found absurd or funny.  Ones with lingering questions.  Why would Samson just tell Delilah the secret to his strength after she’s proven to be so untrustworthy?  What the heck is Jonah’s problem?  How much danger was there for God, really, in people building the Tower of Babel?  So I wrote a show that answers these questions.  Along the way, I’ve answered a few others: If the only way to get an STD is through intercourse, how did the first person contract the herp?  Why do we urinate from our life-creating organs?  What causes a tornado?  After all, what is the purpose of religion, if not to answer the unanswerable questions?

I knew I wanted to end with Revelation, but didn’t know what exactly I could do with it.  So I gave it a re-read.  It turned out I didn’t have to do much.  It’s pretty hilarious as is.  I just needed people commenting as it went on, illustrating what’s funny and why.  The final product speaks for itself.

By the time I’d written the sketches, God had to become a character who would logically take all the actions she does.  Zach Weiner’s webcomic (smbc.com) about theodicy illustrates the problem of reconciling an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent God with the fact that there’s suffering in the world.  In other words, if God knows everything, can do anything, and wants what’s best for all of us, why wouldn’t He stop bad things from happening?  The comic uses a stool for the illustration, explaining that shortening any leg solves the problem.  My rendition of God is short in all three legs.  She doesn’t understand everything about the world she’s created, nor does she know everything about every person on earth; she has the power to do most anything, but it’s hard work and there’s a laziness factor; and she’s highly self-interested.  This character seems to solve many of the “problems” of the Bible.  Am I saying God’s like this?  No.  But I am saying that a God we create who is everything we would want a God to be doesn’t necessarily make sense.

Is this show offensive?  Certainly to some.  There are parts I’m almost uncomfortable with myself.  I hope we did enough in the publicity phase to ward off those who would storm out mid-show.  I believe God has an excellent sense of humor, and would not disapprove.  If I’m wrong, may He strike me dead.

If I’m dead, you all probably shouldn’t do this show any more.

Thanks for checking us out, 

Daniel Carter Brown Speaks on Savannah Disputation!

It’s difficult to find a play about religion that treats the subject with as much honesty, fairness, and intelligence as The Savannah Disputation.  After working on it for months, I continue to have more questions than answers about this play, about its stance on faith, and about faith itself.  This, I believe, is the point.  I don’t think anyone can leave this play without questions about their own faith, or lack thereof.  I also think that people of any faith can find confirmations of their beliefs within the play.  But it’s not out of vagueness—the playwright’s “cop-out” as Mary would put it—it is, in fact, masterful playwrighting.

When intellectual thought is applied to Christian faith, many beliefs instilled in Sunday schools and youth groups must be questioned.  There are inescapable contradictions.  How can God have a detailed plan for our lives, yet be influenced by prayer?  If the Bible is the infallible Word of God, why are there mistakes?  Why did Jesus overturn some earlier teachings?  And most commonly, how can we accept both a literal interpretation of the Bible and reconcile it with scientific evidence to the contrary?  These questions lead many away from faith, and characters of this type are found all over literature.  Christians who haven’t put much thought into their faith are similarly common.  Father Murphy is a refreshing departure.  He accepts the problems with common theology, and further embraces his faith, allowing for the possibility that he’s wrong, but taking the best path he knows.

The point of this play isn’t obvious.  Is it pro-faith or anti-faith?  I could defend either.  I believe it’s more complicated.  What this play is against is faith without understanding; unfounded or unmotivated faith.  This play celebrates faith that is informed, diligent, active, and earnest.  Each character leaves with an understanding of what they must sacrifice to hold onto the faith they claim. 

I thank you for taking your valuable time to come see this performance.  I hope that you are rewarded, and that this play succeeds in making you laugh, feel, and most importantly think. 

Daniel Carter Brown

Scottish Sunday

Hello everyone! Due to a sudden desire to show solidarity for the Highlands and their culture, we have decided to make the Sunday matinee performance a Scottish Sunday! Those wearing kilts will receive one dollar off of their ticket price. Come one, come all, and most importantly, come Celtic!

ATTENTION: SCHEDULE CHANGE

Hello everyone! The matinee show on Sunday has been moved to 4:30 due to some actor scheduling conflicts. Sorry about any inconvenience that this might cause!