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Pulse Check

September 26, 2010

A couple of very cool things happened in the last week, and it is my pleasure to share them with you.

First, on Wednesday, Baltimore’s City Paper issued its annual “Best of Baltimore” edition, and it had me and some close Baltimore friends anxiously refreshing the homepage at midnight about every 4 seconds to see if they’d update to the new issue. Since I was with the company the entire last season which qualified for this round of awards, I had an enormous amount of interest. Finally, they did, and I was not disappointed.  Single Carrot Theatre, the ensemble theatre company that I co-founded in Baltimore won it’s 5th and 6th “Best of” awards, all raked in within the first three years of our existence.

“Best Ensemble” 2010
I’m speechless. Is there a better honor for a company whose creation was founded upon the idea of an ‘everyone pull equal weight’ system? Every member does administrative work, every member creates art. The benefits, we constantly argue, of having an ensemble over casting fresh for each production, are comraderie, trust, risk, and chemistry. As much as actors would like to think that they are completely and totally removed from personal-life-influence when they step onto a stage, I’ll bet the majority of them are relieved, if not ecstatic, when they get the opportunity to work with one or two (or a group) of actors they’ve worked with previously. Familiarity can go along way in facilitating creativity, and imagine how wonderful it would be if you could walk into every first rehearsal with that feeling already underway. That’s what it’s like at Single Carrot.

From City Paper:
“Giti Jabaily can do a great young girl—at least, she did in Single Carrot Theatre’s Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake). She offered a differently damaged young woman in Eurydice last fall. The petite actress also nailed a life-hardened thirtysomething Russian woman in Playing Dead, and joined her company in abandoning words entirely for Illuminoctem. But that’s just how this ensemble works. If you really appreciated Nathan Fulton’s keyed-up Valia in Playing Dead or Jessica Garrett gamely affecting an American non-accent for her turn as a TV news reporter in Tragedy: A Tragedy, do note: The next time you see them, they may completely reinvent their approach. They simply appear to enjoy finding out just how far they can push themselves.”

I’m humbled.

“Best Local Theatre Company” Reader’s Poll 2010 (Repeat!)
And yet, this is a whole lot more humbling. It’s one thing to get praise from the arts writers at an alternative weekly newspapers. They’ve seen the best that the city has to offer, and even though you’ll swear them up and down for a mediocre review or a twisted perspective on a show you’re sure you see differently, by virtue of being the eye of the city, they know what’s good and what aint. But when the people of Baltimore, those no-nonsense, charming arts-lovers with hearts of gold and brains full of DIY dreams, when THEY decide you’re the best in the city at what you do, you’ve got to just get on your knees and say thanks. Maybe we’ve got an advantage because we’re a little more generation Y than our fellow companies, making it easier for us to run viral campaigns asking for votes. And maybe our bootstraps, grassroots, underground garage theater is just more fun to vote for than one with a $7 million annual budget. But either way, when the votes were tallied, Baltimore theatergoers made their voices heard loud and clear. The type of theater they like most for the second year in a row, is the theater that we made at Single Carrot. Rock on, Carrots. I love you all.

And, with the news from Baltimore came local Asolo news as well. Our understudy castings for the repertory season were assigned. Getting an understudy casting, while somewhat exciting and a bit nerve-inducing, is a lot like getting a hug when you go in for the kiss. You’re happy to be there. But, yeah, you know.

My assignments are to understudy both Juror #2 and Juror #3 in Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose. I’m looking forward to it. All the men in my class are understudying one, if not two of the jurors in the show, and we all had a pretty good idea that since there were so many big male roles that we’d all end up in that show. #2 is timid, easily persuaded, and doesn’t really understand why he feels any certain way. #3 on the other hand, is somewhat of the antagonist of the action. He’s stubborn, defiant, and annoyed, especially when people don’t listen to him. So, it should be a nice exercise to watch and develop completely opposite roles.

And, I’m also understudying the character of Liron in The Innocents by Steven Drukman. Other students congratulated me heartily, saying it was a lead. But, I can’t say I know what to report. This production will be a premiere, and the play itself is very new. Asolo Repertory did a semi-staged reading of it last year for their UNPLUGGED series, it seems, and the reception was fantastic, so Asolo added it to their season this year. I asked an administrator at Asolo to send me the script earlier in the year, but she must have forgotten, so I’m only half ashamed to say I’ve never read it. We get our scripts next week. I think, if I can get all the stories straight, that this is an excellent role, but probably a touch outside my age range. Not surprising. We’re safety nets, not carbon copies of the principle actors.

And thus ends an excellent week. For the record, I’ll also point out that I’ve gotten an A on every paper, test, quiz or assignment that we’ve received so far. You won’t hear me report about grades often, as I’m sure you all care about them just about a sliver less than my shorts do. But, hey, I mean, this whole ‘all A’s’ thing probably has never happened before, and probably won’t last, and will most definitely continue.

Onward and upward.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 26, 2010 9:52 pm

    Liron is in his twenties. I don’t remember his exact age… It’s going to be a challenging and fantastic understudy assignment.

  2. September 27, 2010 1:44 am

    That’s awesome news. Someone mentioned that they thought he was more of a middle-aged guy. They must have had it confused. I’m very excited to learn more.

  3. September 27, 2010 11:33 am

    yayyyyy – love it … thanks for keeping us posted !

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