Announcing 2018 New Year/New Play Selection!

2018 marks the fifth year of our New Year New Play Development Project. Each year we dedicate the first Sunday Salon to new work generated by local playwrights, and this year we are very happy to announce that we have selected, Choices People Make, by Jessica Andrewartha!

  • WHEN: February 11, 2018
  • WHERE: APL Downstairs Studio, Lake Forest Park, WA
  • SCHEDULE:
    4:00pm: Arrivals. Mingling and food/drinks.
    5:15-5:30pm: Reading begins, to be followed by discussion.
    10:00pm: End time is a best guess. Leave when you need to; we allow the discussion to run its course.

this is our 20th Salon in a quarterly series that began in March 2013. For Sunday Salons, APL casts actors not only from within the ensemble but also from the broader Puget Sound community to read new, classic and/or provocative plays we want to engage as thinking artists but aren’t likely to produce. Anyone interested in the play or its context can join us. Each Salon is a unique, dynamic assembly of artists, intellectuals, provocateurs, friends, and family. We read, drink, eat, and — with minimal moderation — let discussion go where it will.

The program is supported, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.

Choices 2018

THE PLAY: Dr. Rosamund Tamayo and her research partner Dr. Harold Cooper have created one of history’s greatest scientific breakthroughs. Her name is Athena. Now Dr. Roz and Athena are showing up at Roz’s mother’s door with a problem. It turns out that just because Athena and her body are bleeding edge technology doesn’t mean they’re not subject to the same questions women have been grappling with for centuries.

THE PLAYWRIGHT: Jessica Andrewartha is a Seattle based writer whose short plays have been produced in Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and London. Her full length plays Enter Starlighter, and W.H.I.P. have both received staged readings at Theatre Battery, her play Where Do We Start? was read at Seattle Playwrights Circle, and her play Ready to Start was read at Southern Methodist University. Jessica is an alumnus of SMU and a member of the Dramatists Guild.

For more details, and to keep up with related news (such as casting), follow the event on our Facebook Group

We hope to see you there!

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Watch footage from C+P’s premiere

Excited about Crime + Punishment’s Seattle opening January 5? Us, too!

Want a sneak peek? Check out this great footage from last month’s world premiere!

Tickets are selling strong. Buy your tickets today!

Please also consider donating to our end-of-year giving campaign. Because we’re the lucky beneficiaries of a giving match challenge, every dollar you give will be stretched: donations received between now and December 31 will be matched 1.5:1, and donations received January 1-15 will be matched 1:1. Donate today!

Special thanks to Margaretta Campagna for her stellar camera and editing work!

Ohio

Reflections on APL’s World Premiere Tour of Crime + Punishment
by Artistic Associate Tyler J. Polumsky

 

“I went back to Ohio… But my city was gone…”

 

Entrance to The Balch Street Theatre, home of New World Performance Laboratory (Akron OH) | Photo: Joseph Lavy

Entrance to The Balch Street Theatre, home of New World Performance Laboratory (Akron OH) | Photo: Joseph Lavy

Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders sang that way back in October 1982, on a B side, in lament for her hometown – Akron – and the changes that had turned the serene beauty of her childhood home into something unrecognizable.

Three and a half decades on, I also went [back] to Ohio, but my city was not gone. I went [back] to Ohio, but my family was not gone. No, no. My city was found, my family was there with me, and it just kept growing. For me, nothing was unrecognizable. It was, in fact, as if it was just waiting to be discovered.

There in Akron, you see, just west of downtown, is a little place on Balch Street.* Maybe a little run down. Maybe a little dusty. More than perfect for a theatre company to have as its own home.

A home is a vital thing for making our art. Not to be scoffed at. And this home is far more than most companies I know have.

“Ay… oh… way to go…”

Tyler Polumsky as Raskolnikov in the world premiere of Crime + Punishment | Balch Street Theatre, Akron OH | Photo: Margaretta Campagna

Enter New World Performance Lab.

NWPL is the kind of company you would expect to find in Europe. They are a well-established company. They have been cultivating and culturing their own audience for 25 years. Most of the core ensemble members have been working together for decades. They have their own space. They make art. They do not seem to care much for many of the fancy follies that theatre companies in big metros break themselves on. They have their own terms and direction, and it is Art. They are an intellectual and spiritual pillar of a community. Ten minutes with any of them is enough to make that clear.

Imagine designers who can take a pile of urban waste and turn it into minimalist stagecraft confection. Imagine a board op who prefers to run the light board manually because “The operator needs to be following and working with the actors, live, as a partner, on any given night.” Imagine actors who will let themselves be eaten alive by mosquitos before they will stop their training. The kind of folks who would jump on an actual boat with a pocket full of change, third class, en route to Europe, with dreams of working with Jerzy Grotowski unannounced — not only doing it but going on to become among his closest collaborators.

Imagine leaders who throw the doors open for you so you can premiere your show, who share their wine and guest rooms at home when it’s time to rest, and who put coffee on the next morning so you can get back to it.

 “Ay, oh, way to go…”

So here, naturally, we from Akropolis Performance Lab, tired and road weary, jolly as ever, in this old community hall, in a beautiful and versatile space, surrounded by some excellent brothers and sisters in art, dug right in and premiered our adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime + Punishment to an audience hungry for theatre built on sweat, blood, and dynamic creativity rather than popped out of a can.

Tyler J. Polumksy as Raskolnikov | Crime + Punishment (92017-18) | Balch Street Theatre, Akron OH | Photo: Margaretta Campagna

Tyler J. Polumksy as Raskolnikov in the world premiere of Crime + Punishment | Balch Street Theatre, Akron OH | Photo: Margaretta Campagna

in the world premiere of Crime + Punishment

in the world premiere of Crime + Punishment

It went well. How could it have gone otherwise, really, in such an inspired place, among inspired people?

APL and NWPL felt to me like long-lost siblings. This surprised me even though I knew APL’s co-founders were founding members of NWPL before moving to Seattle. The reunion of such things is profound, marked by joy and a mutual curiosity peppered with excitement.

We know ourselves by knowing each other, it seems.

And when you have an audience that has been cultivated, educated, and prepped for all of your experiments — an open audience, hungry for the resonating thought and questions your work will provoke — well, that is when theatre is really ready to happen.

And it did.

“…All my favorite places…”

Shortly before we went, a friend joked to me that going to Ohio to tour a show would be like going to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where I had spent 10 years with the Ilkholm Theatre. I understood the dig: it’s not New York. Very clever.

“…My city had been pulled down… reduced to parking spaces…”

The thing is, he was right. He just wasn’t right in the way he intended.

“…I was stunned and amazed…”

What I found [back] in Ohio — what I have found in my artistic home with APL and recognized as equally potent in NWPL — is a little thing called inspiration (a little, ilkhom, if you are up on your Uzbek). The main ingredient for true Art. Actual artists who are busy being humans … not people just busy trying to be “Artists.” A space that is begging for a life and roaring back in unexpected places. A theatre that functions as a human institution rather than merely a civic or historical one.

So, yeah — a little like going [back] to Tashkent.

And why shouldn’t a place like this be found in America’s heartland? All roads lead to Ohio. Check a map. Follow any national election. Read the history. Ohio is at the center — “The Heart of It All!” as the state slogan goes.

What a setting! Deep in the heart of the American Beast, at a historically dire and dark time, APL was making some bone-biting theatre. Right there in Ohio.

I went back to Ohio, and my city was right there.

I went back to Ohio, and my family was right there with me, and growing.

And I’ll go back to Ohio, my pretty countryside.

“Ay… Oh… Way to go… OHIO”

* Built in 1929 as Akron’s Jewish Center, this once thriving building was essentially deserted by 1985. Over the next 25 years it changed hands several times but amid the recession and other complications became more and more run down until, in 2011, Akron Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer published an article calling it a “wreck.” Shortly thereafter, the City of Akron forged an agreement with New World Performance Lab and the Center for Applied Theatre & Active Culture to take over the theatre portion of the building. Since then, NWPL/CATAC have been cleaning up and caring for the space, pursuing strategic repairs, and fostering a new, vibrant community of artists and audiences.

Support APL this Giving Tuesday!

LOGO_GivingTuesday

We at Akropolis Performance Lab have a lot to be thankful for, and YOU are a big part of that! You attend our productions and Salons, share and comment on our blog and social media posts, submit plays for our annual New Play Salon, and so much more. You truly inspire us to keep pushing toward new heights in our work.

On November 28, APL will be one of more than 30,000 organizations participating in #GivingTuesday, a global movement dedicated to celebrating and encouraging philanthropic giving during the holiday season.

This year’s Giving Tuesday also marks the launch of our crowdfunding campaign for Crime + Punishmentthe third and final phase of fundraising efforts for this project. Our goal is to raise $6,000 between now and January 15.

Crime + Punishment, APL’s original adaptation of Dostoevsky’s finest novel, has been nearly two years in development. We are so excited to finally share it with you and look forward to seeing you at one of our shows in Akron or Seattle!

Please help us achieve this final goal by making a donation to our Crime + Punishment campaign now.

And while you’re thinking about us, please also help spread the word about our #GivingTuesday campaign by liking us on Facebook and following us on Instagram.

More information about Crime + Punishment and purchasing tickets is here.

 

Working as an APL Ensemble Actor

People regularly question me about what it’s like to be an Akropolis actor.  We talk about ourselves as an actor-centered, process-drive ensemble committed to long-form rehearsal, so what does that look like in practical terms? Aside from the value we place on physical and vocal training, how do we approach the creative process in the rehearsal studio, and what expectations do we have for our actors that differ from those of an actor engaged in the typical process of putting up a show in 4 or 5 weeks. As we near the opening of Crime + Punishment after more than 550 group rehearsal hours I thought it would be an interesting opportunity to share those expectations with you. I’d love to receive your responses and answer any questions.

Working as an APL Ensemble Actor

12.01.16 Devising Duklida 4

December 2016 rehearsal of Crime + Punishment (Joseph Lavy, Matt Sherrill, Tyler Polumsky, Emily Jo Testa, Annie Paladino)

Working as an APL ensemble actor means:

  1. Embracing APL’s signature aesthetic, which:
    1. asserts that the theatrical life of an APL production arises from the tension created between formal discipline and inter-personal immediacy
    2. demands levels of specificity and concepts of spontaneity which may at times seem at odds with dominant contemporary acting approaches
  2. Engaging each rehearsal as a generative artist, making propositions through prepared actions, etudes, improvisations for theatrical material from which the performance text will be created
  3. Recognizing that every proposition—however formal, realistic, or abstract—must be built on a foundation of impulses and points-of-contact with stimuli from external sources (living partners, objects, memories and associations projected outside of the self)
  4. Proposing performative material that is precise, repeatable and iterative
  5. Adapting one’s proposition to changing circumstances (montage with other actors, inclusion of music and/or text, addition of objects, changes of space) without abandoning or destroying the proposition’s originating stream-of-life
  6. Incorporating, retaining, and justifying adjustments made to the proposition in collaboration with the director and any acting partners
  7. Remaining receptive and sensitive to new meanings as they emerge, and embodying them in subsequent iterations
  8. Developing alternate propositions for a subject or scene when inspired or requested, rather than radically changing or abandoning an existing proposition without discussion or collaboration with the director and acting partners
  9. Elaborating with one’s artistic partners the overall performance text composed of acting scores with compound dramaturgical levels:
    1. The original truth, associations and details of the initial propositions
    2. Specificity of form and points-of-contact with acting partners
    3. A living give-and-take with acting partners, which respects and maintains the established physical structure
    4. Precise execution which ensures clear communication of intended information to the spectator
  10. Using one’s acting score as the means to provoke and respond to one’s acting partners and spectators, not simply as a form of choreography or an illustration of a text
  11. Respecting the established details of the final performance text as elaborated through the rehearsal process, and not introducing significant deviations from their score in a moment of on-stage inspiration or improvisation in performance conditions. Once a production is in performance, new propositions are first to be explored and validated in collaboration with the director and other actors under rehearsal conditions before being introduced before an audience

 

Crime + Punishment Ticket Sales are Open!

Venture into the lower depths of 19th-century St. Petersburg, where the mysteries of the Russian soul and intellect, crime and love are deeply, irrevocably entwined as we reveal the mind of a killer in his search for meaning and redemption. Did we mention there’s a hurdy gurdy?!

Find complete information about Crime + Punishment: a psychological account of a particular crime on our SHOW PAGE.

Tickets are now on sale for performances in Ohio and Washington. Reserve your seats today!

Nov 30 – Dec 2 | Akron OH – Balch Street Theatre
Jan 5 – 13 | Seattle WA – West of Lenin

 

Crime + Punishment will play at West of Lenin

If you’ve been watching for announcements about our upcoming production of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, please note our new venue:  West of Lenin!

We will perform Crime + Punishment: a psychological account of a certain crime at that outstanding Fremont venue January 5-13.

This production marks the first time since 2004 that APL has elected to produce a full-scale work in a traditional theatre space.

Our work has always been developed with sensitivity to the relationship between the performance art and the specific architecture it inhabits. We call our work “site responsive” – designed to interact organically and flexibly within each unique space used.

Over the years, we have produced in a Beacon Hill historical estate house, the Volunteer Park Water Tower, a church sanctuary in Ballard, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community lodge, and the basement of our own home. Although it’s been awhile, we also have produced in conventional theatre venues such as On the Boards Studio, Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC), Freehold and Seattle Chamber Theatre (when the Oddfellows Building was an arts space), Theatre4, and The Balch Street Theatre.

Wherever we perform, rest assured the artistic principles, vision, and commitment to austerity and intimacy that define our work as uniquely APL will continue to guide us without compromise.

Crime + Punishment: a psychological account of a certain crime, formerly referred to under the working title 730 Steps, is developing into a highly theatrical piece. A small, invitation-only rendering in July yielded great feedback for our fine tuning.

We can’t wait for you to experience the finished piece at West of Lenin’s beautiful theatre!

Ink us in for a date: January 5-13 at West of Lenin, 203 N 36th St, Seattle!

Ticket info coming soon.

Call for Submissions: New Plays

(L-R) Playwright Stacy Flood takes notes on the discussion about his new play, The Pleasure & Sorrow of Your Company, as fellow playwrights Olivia Pi-Sunyer and Ina Chang listen. | Photo: Zhenya Lavy

(L-R) Stacy Flood and fellow playwrights Olivia Pi-Sunyer and Ina Chang absorbing the group discussion of Flood’s “The Pleasure & Sorrow of Your Company.” | January 2015 Sunday Salon | Photo: Zhenya Lavy

APL invites submissions of new plays for a developmental reading at our New Year New Play Sunday Salon in February.

This call is for new plays that have not yet had a developmental reading. While we are most interested in a full-length piece, we are open to other synergies and ask current or former PNW playwrights (emerging or established) to submit their long- or short-form plays for consideration.

The play(s) will be read by local actors at our February 11 Sunday Salon, and the reading will be followed by lively, lightly moderated discussion among the artists and intellectuals attending. There will not be a rehearsal, but APL’s artistic directors will provide guidance to the actors for their preparation, as needed. We also will confer with the playwright both before and after the reading, provide limited dramaturgical assistance, and offer the playwright the opportunity to frame questions for the discussion.

This Salon will be an invited event focused on bringing an optimal mix of people into the space to focus on your play. Although we cannot offer a stipend or travel funds, we promise a rich and productive experience for the playwright. And, as with all APL Salons, the gathering includes great community, food, and drinks.

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT: Sunday, December 10, 2017.

NOTIFICATIONS: January 14, 2018. Please note that our selection committee  provides feedback to all playwrights about their submissions. We view this as a service to fellow artists in the future evolution of their work, regardless of whether it has been selected for our Salon. If you prefer not to receive any feedback from our selection committee, please indicate this on your cover sheet.

TO APPLY

  • Send PDF or DOC files to ensemble@akropolisperformancelab.com, and write “Submission: [Title]” in the subject line.
  • Along with the complete script, submit a cover sheet with your full contact information, short bio, brief synopsis of script, development history (as applicable), character breakdown, a brief statement of your hopes for how this reading might help further the play’s development, and indication of your feedback preference.
  • NO FEE.

PREVIOUS NEW PLAY DEVELOPMENT SALONS:

FANGS by Jim Moran | January 2014 Sunday Salon | Photo: Zhenya Lavy

FANGS by Jim Moran | Inaugural New Year New Play Salon | January 2014 | Photo: Zhenya Lavy

 

 

What a Great Audience!

Take Me: Pulkheria Floating | Emily Jo Testa

Take Me: Pulkheria Floating | Emily Jo Testa

Wow — we had a full house at Friday’s rendering of 730 Steps! Two lucky people even got to experience our work from the middle of the action, with seats in the playing space! We’re so grateful to everyone who came out to support this important part of our development process.

We were especially touched by the number of people who hung out with us well past 1:00 AM chatting not only about what they’d just seen but about their lives and things going on in the world in general.

Special thanks to Milena Hranac for her help getting us ready for the event and for running lights!

It was a wonderful evening. You have given us much to think about as we shape 730 Steps’ final form for performance.

If you attended and upon further reflection have new thoughts to share, feel free to send us an email. We welcome all of your feedback.

Watch this site for announcements about performance dates!

This project is sponsored, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.

Get a Sneak Peek at 730 Steps!

Devising Duklida: Joseph Lavy (R) provides feedback to ensemble members (clockwise from L) Emily Jo Testa, Tyler Polumsky, Matt Sherrill, and Annie Paladino during the devising process.

Devising Duklida: Joseph Lavy (R) provides feedback to ensemble members (clockwise from L) Emily Jo Testa, Tyler Polumsky, Matt Sherrill, and Annie Paladino during the devising process.

Please join us Friday, July 28, for a full rendering of our work-in-progress on 730 Steps.

 

This was the culmination of a year’s work, which began July 23, 2016, with a reading of the initial rehearsal script. As with any new-work, and especially with source material of the scope and complexity of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the generative phase of our development process has been richly rewarding. We now have a wealth of material to put in front of an audience for feedback.

What is a rendering?

Akropolis uses “rendering” as a particular term of art. On the one had, there is the common sense definition related to performance and the word rendition: representing or depicting something artistically; causing something to be; submitting something for inspection. However, in our work “rendering” always incorporates an older meaning that is less commonly used today: melting something down; extracting parts; or clarifying (as with butter). For APL, a rendering is always an opportunity through performance — whether for an audience of 100 or 1 — to present work for inspection for the express purpose of clarifying it, identifying parts to cut, rearrange, or reshape.

 

The July 28 rendering is an important part of 730 Steps’ development process. The feedback we receive will help us shape the final form of this massive production!

You can expect to see scene work developed to date, in continuous performance. Where there is material still to be devised for major plot points, we will represent that material in a more temporary performance manner. While the finished piece will incorporate music, we will not perform music as part of the rendering. Actors will be in costume. Major props and set pieces will be used, and there will be basic theatrical lighting. Audience will be seated on 3 sides of the action on padded chairs, and there will be risers for optimal viewing.

Plan for a 4 hour viewing. The rendering begins at 7:30 pm. You are welcome to arrive as early as 7:00 pm. Light refreshments will be provided.

This one-night event is free and open to the public. However, to comply with the wishes of our donated venue, we ask that you send us an email requesting an invitation. Seating is limited, and invitations will be sent out by email on a first-come, first-served basis.

We hope you will join the ensemble around the table afterwards to talk about your observations!

4Culture Logo
This project is sponsored, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.