Mar 122014
 

By Cristina Colmena

It’s complicated.

Life is not a fairy tale, that’s why love is not always a happy ending. The play shows three different couples and their struggle to be happy even when they don’t know how. Sometimes it seems so complicated that you even prefer to keep a distance, and stay

DSC_1210alone instead of taking the risk of falling in love. On the other hand sometimes what should be a happy couple is just only a fake, where people feel even more lonely and scared than living alone. Love and loneliness seems to be the two sides of the same emptiness. Desire and troubles. No clue about how to do it well.

Love and the difficulties of communication between people is something that appears always in my short stories. I started to write this play in New York as a challenge to explore the possibilities of theatre to show how tricky this love thing is. I think that a stage is a kind of  lab jar where you can observe human behavior dealing with issues like loneliness, fear and dissatisfaction. Theatre also allows you to look into  how the dialogue sometimes can become an obstacle instead of a bridge to connect with the other.

SONY DSC

Most of the time everyone of us live in our own bubble, unable to understand other realities. That isolation is a kind of protection but also a wall that separates you from the person who sleeps besides you.

I always use a sour and sweet humor and also a surrealistic look about everyday life. I think that everyone experiences some kind of estrangement  about reality that open spaces for reflection about what we call normal. Mixing laughs and feelings of awkwardness make you realize how absurd is life. And love.

 

Happily Ever After opens on Thursday, March 13, 2014

At Mead Theatre Lab at FLASHPOINT

916 G Street, NW, Washington DC 20001

TICKETS ONLINE

 

 

 

Jan 182014
 

Hanna NOTE FROM ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER

Welcome to the opening of DIONYSIA: Celebration of Greek Culture at the beautiful theatre in the George Washington National Memorial.  This is our second in a series of international cultural festivals following in the footsteps of last year’s award-winning performances of Hopa Tropa Kukerica! - celebrating Bulgarian Culture.  Thanks to the gracious support and friendship of the City of Alexandria and the Commission of the Arts as well as partnerships, with the George Washington Masonic Memorial, Embassy of Greece, artists and many friends who help us to continue our big celebrations of cultures of the world, our international cultural dialog goes on.  The Ambassador Theater’s 5th season is rolling on!  During the past 4 years, we have produced 9 main stage productions in addition to various “Bare Bones” and Staged Readings, New Work Series, Literary Café programs, play-reading workshops, summer camps, Studio Classes and outreach programs.  All of our programs have introduced our audiences to the cultures of several countries across multiple continents (Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Macedonia, and Poland). We have worked with over 100 actors, artists, authors, translators, directors and designers, in addition to over a thousand students and interns from various DC Metro schools and colleges. We have even taken students abroad to perform at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw for the First Lady of Poland.  Our productions have been seen by over 6,000 spectators in many venues around the area.  We are fortunate to have developed valued friendships and partnerships with the diplomatic representatives from where our productions originate.  Most recently, we received the MD Theatre Guide 2012 Award for Hopa Tropa Kukerica!, as well as the 2013 Helen Hayes Canadian Partnership Award.   I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our Board of Directors, artists, designers, partners, friends, and, most of all, our audience for helping us to fulfill our mission to continue facilitating international cultural dialogue.

We have a thrilling season ahead of us as we celebrate our 5th year.  As part of Celebration of Greek Culture, we will present Dyskolos at a new venue in Anacostia’s Arts Center January 30 – February 2, 2014.  Later in the spring, we will celebrate World Theater Day March 27, 2014, and present plays from Austria and Canada in partnership with the Embassy of Austria and Canada in March and June.  Finally, we are thrilled to announce that this year we have started offering season subscriptions – get yours today and make sure that you don’t miss a single adventure with Ambassador Theater!  And now I would like to invite you to this very special performance full of Greek dance, comedy with masks and slapstick. Let this Greek festival, full of lovely entertainment begin! Thank you so much for your continued support. We hope to see you soon as we venture forward throughout this exciting 5th season. Enjoy the show! Hanna Bondarewska

 

Nov 142013
 

ElizaFalkwebIt is Friday November 8, one week before the premiere of Protest, the team’s first rehearsal at Flashpoint Theatre.  The set is ready. Audience members will be up for a surprise, as their seats scattered around small round tables are now part of the stage transformed into an intimate cafe. Two small platforms, one on each side of the cafe, are designated as stage spaces for actors only. They mirror each other, each furnished in the likeness of Stanek’s home study – writing tables with old-fashioned typewriters, crystal brandy carafes and glasses, magnolias in vases – cozy and affluent. Set designer, Jonathan Rushbrook is in attendance to make any necessary adjustments, if needed. So is Zachary Dalton, lighting Designer and Jim Vincent, Stage Manager.

Following warm up exercises with the actors, Director, Gail Hump

hries Mardirosian starts the rehearsal. Beautiful music, written especially for the production by Jerzy Sapieyevski, opens the performance. It has become an intrinsic part of how the story of Protest is told, giving it additional expression and force. Ivan Zizek (Stanek) and his double Hanna Bondarewska (Stankova) enter and each walks towards their stage. Michael Crowley (Ferdinand Vanek) and his alter ego, Sissel Bakken (Ferdinanda Vankova) enter shortly after. And so the extraordinary performance begins. Protestsmaller

In the break, I asked the Director about her thinking behind the innovative idea to introduce female counterparts for Stanek and Vanek. Gail Humphries explained that her concept originated in a feminist perspective which called for introduction of female presence to balance out the all male energy. She also wanted to provide alter egos for Vanek and Stanek and thus making the characters more rounded and powerful, and through this to increase the impact of Havel’s ‘voice’. Gail added that there was an additional advantage in her approach that would benefit the audience. The play’s complex and at times condensed text gets to be broken down and repeated which makes it more accommodating for the spectators.

I mentioned to Ms Humphries that her concept whilst fascinating and bold seemed to be very challenging, especially for the actors. Watching the rehearsed performance reminded me of a carefully crocheted ornamental piece of silk throw, which demanded perfect smoothness as even a slightest irregularity would spoil its beauty. Gail concurred and compared her version of Protest to a musical piece which cannot afford even single bad harmony and agrees that it was a demanding and at the same time searching experience for the actors.

Watching part two of the rehearsal I am in awe of the originality and force of the performance with female actresses mirroring and occasionally challenging the males, lines being echoed, actors moving across the stage, swapping partners as if in a dance. The actors, directed by Ms Humphries, are going through the lines, repeating if necessary; adjusting tones and phrases; perfecting synchronicity, eye contact, pauses and movements – witnessing all this makes me understand how difficult the parts are to master. The rehearsal indeed resembles a piece of a wonderful and very elaborate work, which despite of being almost completed, still requires final adjustments before achieving perfection.

I cannot wait to see this original and powerful piece of theatre in all of its perfect harmony and encourage all of you to come and see it!

To Read More by Eliza Anna Falk

To Get Tickets

 

WHERE:

Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint

916 G Street NW, Washington DC

WHEN: November 19 – December 15, 2013

November 19, 2013 Preview at 8 pm

No performances during the week of Thanksgiving: Nov. 27 – 30

Opening November 20, 2013 at 8 pm

Press Night: Saturday Nov. 23 at 8:00 pm

Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8:00 pm

Matinees: Saturday and Sundays at 2:00 pm

TICKETS: $20 – $40

On line: http://www.aticc.org/home/box-office

For mature audiences

Jun 202013
 
Sissel Bakken, Matthew Ingraham, Hanna Bondarewska, Christopher Henley and Rachel Silvert

It was so very thrilling to be able to observe today’s rehearsal of Act 3, especially as it was the first time that I was able to see the play that I know so well being enacted, and Hanna’s vision of the play being brought to life.  My immersion into the play and the connection with the characters were instant as the actors, Matthew playing George and Christopher impersonating Thomas, have by now become the protagonists. Watching them perfecting their powerful performances under the direction of Hanna, and with the help of Rachel, made me realize how far the team have come. They are half way through the rehearsals, and will shortly move the trials onto the actual stage at Flashpoint. At this stage the focus of their work is on re-working selected scenes in search of that ideal combination of words, movement, expression and interaction, which would bring about the ideal effect in a most powerful way possible. Cannot wait to see future rehearsals with all three characters present….

The Third Breast–Work in Progress

During the break I had a moment to talk with the team and ask them about their impressions of where they were at and the process of getting there.

Matthew and Christopher talked about the process of bringing ‘The Third Breast,’ written in socialist Poland of 1970s, to its American 21st century context. They mentioned the importance of working on the English text with its translator, Sylwia Daneel, adjusting lines to make them ‘flow’, and at the same time getting to know the characters, internalizing the soul of the play and memorizing parts. Differences between the European style of directing and acting (more prescribed and structured) and the American one (more freelance and actor-centered), and the constructive ways of dealing with them, were also raised. The actors emphasized the importance of each rehearsal, as well as informal team meetings, in dealing with the issues as they arise, and in building up their awareness, knowledge and confidence both on individual and professional level.

Hanna focused on the importance of group development strategies, which have been in place since the team’s creation. She said that the cast and crew had decided to set up their own ‘commune’ as a vehicle to identify with the play, but more importantly, to get to know each other better and feel more comfortable as a group. Each common activity, be it meditation, energy work, music, dance, movement or ritual inspired by Native American traditions, has created a new level of unity, deeper realization of importance of nature, peace and harmony, and has brought new insights into the play and its characters. The ‘commune’ is very much looking forward to their trip to Mount Jackson planned for the end of June which will allow them the opportunity to consolidate the work they have done to-date, on both professional and personal levels.

To see what they have accomplished, Get your ticket now

Jun 022013
 
Hanna Bondarewska, Christopher Henley and Matthew Ingraham

Hanna Bondarewska, Christopher Henley and Matthew Ingraham

As we work to create the commune within Iredynski’s The Third Breast, the team has been discussing what our perfect communes would look like.  It is interesting how each one of us has such distinct visions of what the ideal way of living should be.  And yet, somehow, they seem as though they could fit together.  Below are some of the thoughts each of us have expressed during rehearsals so far.  We invite you to read them, and ask yourself: what would your perfect commune look like?

Sissel (“Eva”)

I can’t imagine living in a place cut off from the world.  However, my perfect world would be one no financial worries.  No violence.  A place where I could live doing what I love, and everyone around me could also do what they love; It should be a good mix of interests and passions.  Where I could be outside when I want to be and exercise regularly.  I would want to be able to travel, to teach and share with others.  I want to connect with people who are passionate in life and about what they do.  I want to be able to read and have interesting discussions.  It would be nice to have a place both near the ocean and close to a city.

Christopher (“Thomas”)

The really really striking thing about the world today is how global society has become, and how the character of individual places has been compromised in a really unfortunate way.  When I first moved to New York  in the early 1980s, I felt like, oh wow, I’m here like 15 years too late, I’ve missed all of the excitement.  But now, everything is chains where there used to be blocks and blocks of independent clothing stores and record stores.  The whole neighborhood is gone. All the places that really made me think about what made New York really exciting then.  Now looking back it’s like, 1983 was the golden age.  Culture was so much more shared, unified.  Now I have no idea who these magazine covers are and why I’m supposed to know them.

            An other element of communes that I would find very attractive is nudity, or not wearing much clothes.  That’s one of those restrictions that just doesn’t make sense.  What it it, 91 degrees today? And we’re all very, very dressed.  It’s just very freeing.  It’s this taboo that you’re allowed to break on stage, but you can’t just walking up and down the street.

Mathew Ingraham (“George”)

I believe in a place that is corrupted and organic.  A place that is self sustaining and free of deception and lies.  A place where I can live with all of my friends and family and we are all kind and loving towards each other.  A place where we can all do what we love.  I would be able to perform and read and write.  I can have a safe environment where I can have and raise my children.  An environment where everyone is supported and encouraged to do what they love and follow their hearts.  A place where there are rolling fields with vineyards and farms.  There would be lots of hours running and lots of puppies.  The horses would run through the rolling fields and everyday would be beautiful.  When it rained it would be a warm nourished rain that revitalized the earth.  Everyday would be a celebration of life.   It would be a place where you could learn and share knowledge with multiple creative out

Hanna (Director)

Above all, I believe in peace, love and happiness; passion for life.  We would start each morning with exercises to open people up and feel the good energy from nature.  In my commune, everyone would respect each other, listen to each other, love.  There would be no jealousy or envy (which is really what creates all the war and misunderstanding in the world).  We would use different cultures to help people understand each other better and thereby accept each other’s differences.

Rachel (Stage Manager)

            It would definitely be located up in the mountains, surrounded by trees and valleys, rivers and clean, fresh air.  We would be self sufficient, energy-wise.  Wind and water generators, possibly bio fuel.   There could be a communal farm.  it would be a completely democratic and egalitarian society.  One person, one vote.  I think I would create a place where people could enter and exit on will. for example they could work outside the commune and still live in the community.  In that vein, the Moshav model in Israel is appealing to me.

Do you want to find out what we came up with?  Come and see it, get your ticket now!

 

 

Jun 012013
 

Friday, May 24, 2013

ThirdBreastcast (449x144)

Here we are, sitting on the sofa watching the movie, “Dinner with Andre,” and we are all so connected, listening to two different perceptions of the world and humanity. Where are we all going? Are we really turning into automatons which live in a habitual kind of way? Who we are is defined by our actions. Are we all driven by money? All those questions come to mind.

We take a break and give each other a massage. This helps us to feel closer, safer and we all feel a moment of true sharing, true giving without expectations, without needing money.   Money which turned us into robots who work to survive, pay bills, do specific tasks and fulfill our habitual way of living. Do we want to escape from that?  Do we truly feel happy?  Oh boy, are we truly dying as a civilization? Are we able to truly use our senses and truly see, feel, smell and taste what life is really about? Even as the characters in the movie ask these questions, so do we. How can we find the answers?

And now that we have finished the movie, a bit tired after a long day of working, rehearsing, digging through Iredyński’s words on paper, trying to understand the characters’ motivations, where are we? There are so many thoughts that come to mind, so many feelings that are hard to describe. I just want to live…but what does that truly mean? What would a truly idealistic world, one that I would love to live in, look like? What could I do to make this world actually come to be?

My first instinct tells me to just simply love and appreciate what I have, take a big breath and enjoy life, every moment of it. I have always wanted to love and be loved, but is this really possible?  I do not want to be pessimistic; Rather, I choose to believe in goodness and to be optimistic. I’d rather see the sun on a stormy day trying hard to break through. I’d rather live with a smile on my face in the most tragic moments and try to send most of my love to everywhere around me, I’d rather see people smile than in pain. I’d rather see the beauty in the world. But how that can be possible in the face of all the tragedies around the world?

The simplest thing would be to shut down the internet, TV, radio and go into the bushes and live in harmony with nature. But is nature truly safe? This beautiful nature can destroy all living creatures through tremendous hurricanes, tornadoes that can completely wipe out all villages and everything in their way. So, is it possible to live in true harmony with nature? Or maybe we should again come back to simplicity in life, as Taoism and other spiritual and religious faiths suggest, and accept what every day brings. We really only have the power to change our own behavior, and so we cannot change the whole world….unless we change the world through the way in which we live ,and add to this world what we give. That’s the key, isn’t it’?

Mar 052013
 

ScottSedar_painting_collage

To date, Scott Sedar has been associated with the Ambassador Theatre       mainly as an actor.  His participation in the production of Literary Cafe: In The Realm of Women, due to open on 7 March at the Embassy of Austria, has introduced another talent of his, that of a painter. Trained at University of Denver and taught by artists such as David Holt and Gerald Wartofsky, he says that the reason why he does what he does is that he finds himself to be attracted to his surroundings. He says “I like to linger and discern the many details that inform my eye. In a very real sense, my attention to the person or object allows me to dance upon its surface and occasionally  immerse myself in my subject, as I draw”.
Scott’s works have been displayed at Gaslight Theatre, Denver, CO; Gala Hispanic Theatre, Washington DC;  Bethesda Gallery Cafe, Bethesda MD amongst other venues, and published in numerous magazines. Scott’s introduction to his work and his studio, as well as images of his drawings, watercolours, portraits and jewelry can be found on his website www.sedarts.com.

To admire Scott’s talents reserve your ticket at our Literary Cafe at the Embassy of Austria March 7, 2013 at 7 pm!

 

Jan 282013
 
Ray Converse

Ray Converse

 

As we worked through these short plays this weekend, I became immersed with how a simple reinterpretation of a few words can completely change the direction.  After all, each one of these playlettes is very short.  I didn’t sleep terribly well last night as my subconscious wrestled with this.  It became clearest to me as we worked on The Atrocious Uncle.  Different answers to a few questions can change the performance direction altogether.  Is the aunt partially paralyzed because she is a stroke victim, or is the paralysis the result of the Uncle’s physical abuse?  Is the Uncle an ex-soldier bored with the absence of war?  Or is he the Communist ideologue waiting for the remarkable day of the New World, but that never comes?  Is there any humanity to the Uncle or is he just a thug?

Jan 192013
 

flickr_greenGoose Being part of the Little Theater of the Green Goose is a wonderful experience of the power of the silly! In every piece, we get to mock ourselves of the big and “holy” Western narratives, enjoy the immense pleasure to kick some mythical or biblical figure in the butt of and to violate all rules of good taste! Soooo liberating to knock it all down! (And yes, there is some sense to the nonsense…..)

Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński whom I never heard of before is a great discovery! He writes like an ape in the tree laughing at the human spectacle. Foolery is healthy and I wish there were more purging practices like that in society and in the theatre….

Karin aka the lightheaded tigress

RESERVE YOUR TICKETS ON LINE

 

 

Jan 132013
 

As I reread the Green Goose, I notice there are many literary references that seem unclear for someone like me who seems to have been short changed in education on the classics.  For any other cast members who may be as clueless as me, I offer this first cut of material from Wikipedia.

The account of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith is given in the deuterocanonical book of Judith, and is the subject of more than 114 paintings and sculptures. In the story, Judith, a beautiful widow, is able to enter the tent of Holofernes because of his desire for her. Holofernes was an Assyrian general who was about to destroy Judith’s home, the city of Bethulia, though the story is emphatic that no “defilement” takes place. Overcome with drink, he passes out and is decapitated by Judith; his head is taken away in a basket (often depicted as carried by an elderly female servant).

Orpheus (pron.: /ˈɔrfiːəs/ or /ˈɔrfjuːs/; Ancient Greek: Ὀρφεύς) was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music, his attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the underworld, and his death at the hands of those who could not hear his divine music. As an archetype of the inspired singer, Orpheus is one of the most significant figures in the reception of classical mythology in Western culture, portrayed or alluded to in countless forms of art and popular culture including poetry, opera, and painting.

Leda and the Swan is a story and subject in art from Greek mythology in which the god Zeus (AKA Jove) seduced, or raped, Leda in the form of a swan. According to later Greek mythology, Leda bore Helen and Polydeuces, children of Zeus, while at the same time bearing Castor and Clytemnestra, children of her husband Tyndareus, the King of Sparta. In the W.B. Yeats version, it is subtly suggested that Clytemnestra, although being the daughter of Tyndareus, has somehow been traumatised by what the swan has done to her mother (see below). According to many versions of the story, Zeus took the form of a swan and raped or seduced Leda on the same night she slept with her husband King Tyndareus. In some versions, she laid two eggs from which the children hatched. In other versions, Helen is a daughter of Nemesis, the goddess who personified the disaster that awaited those suffering from the pride of Hubris.

The subject was rarely seen in the large-scale sculpture of antiquity, although a representation of Leda in sculpture has been attributed in modern times to Timotheos; small-scale sculptures survive showing both reclining and standing poses, in cameos and engraved gems, rings, and terracotta oil lamps. Thanks to the literary renditions of Ovid and Fulgentius it was a well-known myth through the Middle Ages, but emerged more prominently as a classicizing theme, with erotic overtones, in the Italian Renaissance.