Do we have a treat for you guys this beautiful Friday morning. For our very first guest blog, one of the stars of On Borrowed Time has graciously agreed to share some thoughts with us. She is a veteran of the stage and I think we can all agree that she has the most beautiful coat of the entire cast of 'On Borrowed Time'. I'm talking, of course, of the "grande dame of theatrical animals," (according to her bio) canine star Snickers, who plays the role of 'Betty' in 'On Borrowed Time'. Thanks to her and to her handler, Brian Michael Hoffman, for sharing her thoughts.
Betty (played by Snickers)
Woof Grr Arf "Betty:"
(arf arf woof dog boy Brian)
Snausage awoo Two River ON BORROWED HOWL woof-woof Bill's Pups awooo arf Emcee!
Sniff sniff woof bark grrrrr arf Two River long walk sniff sniff!
Howl woof arf bark bow-wow interweb dot facebark com twitt-grrr.
Bark arf arf woof, Red Bank!!!!
From the Desk of "Betty:"
(as translated by Snickers' handler, Brian Michael Hoffman)
Another opening, another show!
What a treat (and I don't mean the Snausage-y kind!) to be a part of Two River Theater Company's ON BORROWED TIME, and, as the grand dame of William Berloni Theatrical Animals, to be directed by another legend of the stage, Mr. Joel Grey.
I always love the rehearsal process: meeting my new pack...I mean fellow actors and truly playing with the text like a new squeak toy until I really feel comfortable with my blocking and listening to my fellow actors who throw lines back and forth like my favorite red ball.
Then we get to the technical rehearsals where I meet all sorts of new friends who have built the amazing new world that I get to run around in. They all dress in black, but are very friendly and always seem to want to take time out of their day to rub my belly! Fine by me! They're all very protective of me around the huge tree we have onstage: I think they think I want to "water" it like I do other trees here in Red Bank (helping you keep your city green, I say!), but I know better...it doesn't smell alive...and I don't think that's just because of Mr. Brink!
Although my stage time is limited, I know I play a very important role in the play and I love listening to the beginning of the second half of the show (after my Intermission walk, of course!) when Aunt Demetria tells everyone that "Betty" has died. Everyone "awws!"
My favorite part, though, has to be opening night and this one was no different! My scene went very well! Oakes, the small human child I work with is very serious onstage but when we get offstage, he always looks for my tickle spot and scratches me behind my ear! I like him so much, I even share my treats with him sometimes!
After my scene on opening night, my work was done and Brian did the "heavy lifting" at the opening night party: he carried me around making sure all the "big dogs" had a chance to meet me! He told everyone about me being a rescue, my history with Bill Berloni and my adventures on the yellow brick road and, sadly, did an excellent job of keeping me away from all the opening night goodies. (And he did all of that after getting shot onstage! It happens every night but he always comes back to my private dressing room. I still haven't figured that out...maybe he's a zombie?)
Anyway, everyone was so excited to meet me and get my "paw-tograph" at the reception. I was happy to greet the pupparazzi and all of my fans, including my friend Bernadette Peters! She's so beautiful and kind...and a wonderful friend to all rescue animals, like me! She and my owner and trainer Bill both know that rescues are the best: we've sometimes come from some pretty bad situations and, when we get our forever home, we are getting our second chance!!! Mine just happens to be behind the footlights! Who'd a thunk it?
Now that we've gotten thru opening, I'm settling into our normal show schedule. It's a pleasure to be here at Two River and I love the show....but I'm also enjoying the extra time during the day to sniff all of your great smells while exploring this great town!
Hey, remember August 20th? I do. It was my very first day here at Two River, and it was the very first day of rehearsal of 'On Borrowed Time'. My first official act as Literary Manager here was to go to the meet and greet (which, if you're not familiar, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like - everyone working on a show has a chance to introduce themselves, and then you mingle. Although since this is all usually done over a large spread of bagels, I think the name should officially be changed to 'meet, greet, and eat.')
Theater is magical in a number of ways, which would take over this blog if I attempted to list them all. But one of the most fundamentally amazing is the fact that something exists now that didn't a little over a month ago. On August 20th, a group of people met each other, many for the first time, and read through a script. And right now, if you go to our theater and sit in a seat, the lights will go up on a full and delightful world. In and around a house in the Midwest in 1938, a grandfather and his grandson will joke and bond, a community will face a conundrum they have never faced before, and death will get stuck in an apple tree. Through Joel Grey's beautifully realized production, you will feel like you know these people, and you will miss them when you go home for the night. And on August 19th, that world didn't exist. Isn't there something just so cool about that?
In my last post, I showed you a little glimpse into the creation of the show's tree. Now, I can show you a little bit of the actual show! It's but a snippet, but take a look. And if you like what you see, come see the show. I know it's a cliche to say that you'll laugh and cry, but you'll probably laugh and cry. I know I did.
Oh, and if you've seen the show already, please let us know what you think in the comments! Even if your comment is "I loved the show, but that Literary Manager sobbing down the row from me was a little distracting."
Big things have been growing here at Two River. Our current production, On Borrowed Time, centers largely around the happenings in a certain apple tree. Kids climb it, apples are picked from it, and, memorably, Death gets trapped in its boughs (if you want to know how that all goes down, you'll have to come see the show!) To create this, set designer and our production team really... branched out*, shall we say . I'm biased, but the tree they created is really quite something. Big and beautiful, it's the kind of tree that cries out to be climbed, that Literary Managers want to sneak onto during the day to read plays in (not that I know of any Literary Managers who have contemplated such a thing, I swear!). And of course, since it's a set piece, it's entirely durable, build to withstand eight shows a week of people enacting touching and hilarious human drama all over it.
Watching the tree go from a design on a page to the glorious thing you can see on the stage has been amazing. And though I can't quite share with you all the delight of watching parts of the tree travel across the parking lot like it was a large and slow-moving commuter, I can share this video that we've made showing some of the tree's construction. Watch, delight, and then come see the tree in action!
*I know, I know, that's terrible. I'm groaning too.
Hello Currents readers! Allow me to introduce myself - I'm Anika Chapin, and I'm the Literary Manager here at Two River Theater. I'm new (this my third week!), and we thought that as I get to know the theater, I would write this here blog so that its readers could do it along with me. First though, let me tell you a little bit about myself. I've been a theater fan almost all my life, having been brought to my first show when I was six months old (my dad, a theater lover himself, brought me. Apparently I was transfixed by the lights going up on the stage, and I've been hooked ever since). I've had many different jobs within theater, including assistant director, casting director, and, for an interesting spell of time, company manager on an Australian tour of 'Cats' that traveled around Asia (and yes, that yielded many good stories). I'm also a writer, contributing pieces to the New York Times among other spots, and maintaining my own theater blog, called Bloggledygook. I also have my MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University. Well, I WILL have, once I finish that pesky thesis. Here at the theater I'll mainly be in charge of finding new plays and musicals to develop, as well as various other tasks. I could not be more excited about being here, and I look forward to sharing the world of Two River with you. So stay tuned for posts about theater and how its made, about what's on our mind and in our community, and about the magical parking spot of Two River (that'll make sense soon, I promise).