Posted by Artistic Chair Traci Brant
What an incredible weekend of theatre! Chicago Street members traveled to Kokomo, Indiana this past weekend to attend the Indiana Community Theatre Association Festival where they presented a one-hour cutting of Joshua Rollin's American Rex. It's an incredible amount of work to travel a production, and then there's the complications of producing on an unfamiliar stage where you've never rehearsed. So, why do it? I ask myself this question every time we consider traveling a production. After this past weekend, it's once again clear.
To share new work.
It's a very risky proposition to present a new play for adjudication at a Festival, but it allows us to share something completely new and different with a whole new audience. We are showcasing an up-and-coming playwright's work with a broader audience beyond Northwest Indiana.
To challenge our artists.
At CST we are always striving to produce the highest quality theatre that we possibly can. Bringing a show to Festival allows us to revisit a work and refine the piece at a whole new level. We dive back into the production with a fresh perspective after audiences at CST have experienced the play. We can make improvements to our work and grow as artists. When we perform on that foreign stage, every actor and crew member is pushed to the limit as they strive to maintain focus and present the best possible show.
To learn from and be inspired by other theatre artists.
At Festival, every production is adjudicated by 2 theatre professionals. We take their feedback and suggestions on our work and apply it to future productions. We also learn from other theatre's presenting at the festival. New ideas emerge and we are inspired. It is a rare opportunity for state-wide networking and exchange of ideas.
To build and strengthen the CST ensemble.
More than anything, state festival provides an incomparable opportunity for camaraderie and teamwork among our member volunteers. We have time to interact with each other outside the rehearsal room. We have a chance to share meals together, attend plays, and celebrate. As we come to know each other better as individuals, we become a better team and that translates into a strong ensemble of artists working back home at Chicago Street.
We were also fortunate to have shared the Festival experience with another theatre from Northwest Indiana--Genesius Guild of Hammond. We are developing a unique artistic partnership with Genesius and in May the will co-present with CST the inaugural production in our Edith B. Wood Studio Theatre--A Picasso. The trip was a great opportunity to strengthen our artistic relationship and support another local theatre's work.
Finally I'd like to congratulate cast and crew of both American Rex and Genesius Guild's Moonlight and Magnolias for making Northwest Indiana proud. Genesius's production was honored with second place at the Festival. CST received a certificate for best ensemble. Actors Jim Henry, Dona Henry, and Jason Kaplan received "dual personality" certificates for appearing in both American Rex and Moonlight and Magnolias--which was an amazing feat that I truly don't even know how they accomplished!
Theatre, food, friends, and a good deal of celebrating made for a terrific weekend.