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Meet the Actor: Andrew Carr

Posted by on Feb 9, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Andrew Carr

As I sit here running lines (actor speak for memorizing the script) for Act II of Greater Tuna, I reflect on the three decades since I first stepped on a stage.

I caught the acting bug in 1979 as a freshman at St. Charles Preparatory School in Columbus, Ohio.  It was a special place: three shows a year, high production values, and a director, Doug Montgomery, who expected high professional standards from his student actors. Those years provided me with a strong foundation and discipline in the profession, but more importantly it instilled in me a love for working together with friends to create art.

That same sense of community was present as I worked towards my B.F.A. in Theatre at Ohio University. There was friendship, creativity, laughter, and a sense of purpose – not as a showcase for individual talents, but where actors, the production team, and audiences alike came together to learn more about themselves (the essence of theatre is, after all, to provide a “window to the world”).

I’m not exactly sure when it occurred, but sometime during my sixth or seventh year as a professional actor, I realized something was missing. The aspects I’d loved about those earlier days were gone (friendships, community, purpose, etc.), and were replaced by a sense of competitiveness, desperation, and a neurotic self-absorption within my fellow actors and myself that I found compromised my personal values. And, of course, I was completely broke even though I was working two jobs, one of them being “professional actor.” I’d simply wanted to act: to create real characters that honored the playwrights who created them within a community of actors who made their living working and growing together as artists and professional colleagues. Entities like that, I sadly found, were rare in the professional theatre world, and I had neither the knowledge, financial resources, nor the tenacity to create one from scratch. I walked away from my acting career in 1992, with the belief that if I were meant to do it again, the opportunity would make itself plainly known.

In the two decades since “retiring” from acting, I dabbled in the theatre from time-to-time, but also found a lot of fulfillment as a middle school teacher and, for the past eleven years, full-time parenting. But still, I must admit, I missed theatre.

Then last winter I spied a casting noticed for a play (Southern Hospitality) directed by Hjalmer Anderson. I knew Hjalmer only by name; he was one of a small group of local drama teachers with a “rock star” reputation whose name often came up in conversation with other student teachers while I was pursing my Master in Teaching degree at UW in the 1990s. I saw a few of his productions at Woodinville High School, and could feel that same sense of professionalism that had been fostered in me as a high school student. I was impressed, and here I make the disclaimer that impressing me is not easy; I can be very critical. So, when I saw that casting notice for Southern Hospitality last winter, I suspected that it might be that opportunity making “itself plainly known.” It was. To say I was grateful to have found, and been welcomed into, the community here at Woodinville Reparatory Theatre would be an understatement.  It certainly renewed my faith in the theatre.

I am not sure if community members fully realize what a gem they have in their midst, but I am hoping that this upcoming production of Greater Tuna will make it more clearly known to not only Woodinville residents, but those in all the surrounding communities. I know I can speak for Chazz, my fellow partner in crime – er, wigs & dresses – that we’ll be giving it our all over the next four weeks of rehearsals in what’s sure to be a one helluva funny production. It’s hard to say who’s going to have more fun: the audience or the two of us. I guess you’ll just have to come out and find out for yourself!

In the meantime, I’ll provide periodic updates here and give you an inside look at rehearsals, costume fittings, and whether or not Chazz and I are showing any signs of schizophrenia from attempting to portray ten characters (each) over the course of an hour-and-a-half!

 

WRT Note: Andrew Carr, one of the stars of our upcoming show Greater Tuna, has graciously agreed to do a little blogging for us during the rehearsal period.  Please look for more posts soon!

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Greater Tuna Starts Rehearsing for the Woodinville Rep!

Posted by on Feb 1, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Greater Tuna was written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard. It was the first play in a series of 4 comedies followed by A Tuna Christmas, Red, White and Tuna and Tuna Does Vegas.  Each play is set in the town of Tuna, Texas, the “third-smallest” town in the state..  All of the plays are characteristic that two men play the entire cast of over twenty eccentric characters of both genders and various ages. Greater Tuna debuted in Austin, Texas, in the fall of 1981, and had its off-Broadway premiere in 1982.

We have cast our production of Greater Tuna with two veteran actors to the Woodinville Rep stage and will be directed by the Rep’s artistic director, Hjalmer Anderson.

Our two actors are Chazz Kaskes and Andrew Carr.

Chazz Kaskes who will be playing Jaston’s list of characters and Andrew Carr was cast to play the Joe Sears list.

You may remember Chazz from his work in the Woodinville Rep’s production of Arthur Miller’s, The Odd Couple and Christopher Durang’s, The Actors Nightmare and Baby with the Bathwater.  In addition, Chazz appears regularly as a regular member of the professional improvisation company “Unexpected Productions”.

Andrew Carr came to the Woodinville Rep last season as he portrayed John Curtis the town sheriff  in our production of Southern Hospitality last season.

We have been in rehearsal for a week working on finding the voices of 20 different characters from the imaginary town of Tuna Texas.  There is a reason why Greater Tuna is a very popular title as we laugh all during rehearsal.  We are very excited and look forward in opening on March 8, 2013.

Stay Tuned for further updates from the director.

Artistic Director

Hjalmer Anderson

 

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Director’s Notes – Bold Grace

Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

My name is Steve and on behalf of the creative team (Ashley Schalow/playwright, Anna Richardson/Actress, Steve Cooper/director/designer) behind Bold Grace, the voyages of the pirate O’Malley, I want to tell you all how excited we are to be able to bring this show to Woodinville Rep.

Ashley wrote this show while still in college, and in April 2011 she entered it into Burien Little Theatre’s Bill and Peggy Hunt Playwrights Festival, consequently winning first place in the one act category.  The show was fully produced during the second half of the festival.

My involvement with the show started as soon as I saw the title.  I had read about the character of Grace O’Malley previously and also thought what a great subject for a play she would be.  As soon as I saw that BLT had picked a play about this woman, I lobbied pretty hard to direct it.   Grace is very fascinating character.

As originally written, the show was a long one act, clocking in at about 1 ½ hours.  However, there was something magical about watching Anna portray Grace O’Malley up there all by herself.  There is something about telling a story and connecting with an audience that has a very strong presence in Ashley’s script.  Once the festival was over, the three of us sat down and talked about ways to improve the script.  The play was split into two acts, some lines were changed and some subjects were fleshed out a bit more.  We ran this new version down in Auburn and again at BLT and audiences really loved it.

While I think the writing is very solid, I have to say that watching Anna Richardson play Grace is a sheer joy.  You can tell she also enjoys the script very much and loves to play Grace as much as we all love to watch her.

For my part, I love everything about this show.  I hope that you will all come out and watch a very talented actress work with a very good script about a wonderfully interesting true life historical woman.

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