I have a vivid memory of sitting at a musical rehearsal in college, looking around, taking a deep breath and thinking, “This is all I want to do. I want to do theatre and work with kids. That’s all I want.” Little did 21-year-old Alicia know that all she wanted was actually really hard to achieve and would include so many detours. She also didn’t know that once she technically achieved her goal that the work would make her so busy. So busy in fact, that she would forget that at one point in time this was is all she had wanted. But every now and then I have a moment where I think, “Man. 21 year old Alicia would be thrilled to bits right now.” I’m so grateful that 2019 was full of those moments, creatively speaking. Here’s a review of the projects this year that would have made college Alicia proud.
The Boys in the Band, Studio Playhouse
The Boys in the Band was my first theatre project of the year and easily one of my favorites. I had a brilliant director, a stunning and loveable cast, a gorgeous set, and profound and historically significant source material. Of course it was going to be good. I looked forward to every rehearsal and despite yelling, “This FREAKING show!” while dealing with my almost two pages of preset, it was one of the best creative experiences I’ve had this year, and possibly in my career.
How It Really Happens, Philly Fringe 2019
My friend Tim and Tess (TSquared! Get it?!) started a production company and invited me on as stage/production manager for their inaugural production, How It Really Happens. Stage managing an original work was a brand new experience for me. It required me flexing different stage management muscles, learning from mistakes, and excelling in tech and production. I feel like I am more prepared for the next Fringe while also being proud of the work that was done there. Our goal is to take the (re-branded and updated) version of the play to Edinburgh Fringe in August 2020, so stay tuned*.
*Psssst…you can stay tuned either by checking in on my Projects&Promotions page or by following TSquared directly. Updates will be on their website as well Instagram (@therealtsquared)
A Doll’s House, Part 2, Summit Playhouse
A Doll’s House, Part 2 was special to me for many reasons, one of them being that this was the first time in awhile where I was in a play that had substance. Anyone who has seen or read Hnath’s work can attest to the fact that he does not write vapid, baseline characters. They all have depth, nuance, and are self-contradictory in a beautifully human way. Emmy was certainly no exception. I loved playing her. Being entrusted with this piece was a rewarding challenge that I’m so grateful to have been a part of.
Unidentified Stages Inaugural Evening of 10 Minute Plays, South Orange Performing Arts Center
When working with TSquared, I really felt that I was lucky to work with a company that had been founded by my friends. Imagine how lucky I felt when I got to work with TWO companies that had been founded by friends. If asked about Unidentified Stages* founder, Alicia Wheavers, I always sing her praises. So, naturally when she invited me and some other friends to participate in a reading of 10 minute plays, I agreed. I was in a reading called A Simple Game with Death by Gary Earl Ross, in which I played, Death. I wound up really enjoying playing a role that I would not normally be cast in and it was fascinating to experience the difference between a play on the page vs being played out. I truly enjoyed being a part of it and I look forward to working with them again.
*Psssst…you can check in on my Projects&Promotions page for the next reading or follow them directly on Facebook or Instagram (@unidentifiedstages)
Over My Dead Body (Auditions), Studio Playhouse
Final Product Coming Soon!
Over My Dead Body is my first time directing a main stage production at Studio Playhouse. I’ve been very excited to get started with this process. In the beginning of December we held open auditions. After a lot of pouring over the puzzle, I finally have a cast! I’ll be announcing the cast soon, I know you’re DYING to see it (drum snare).
Whatever your career may be, sometimes you take on projects for mundane reasons. Whether it be networking, resume boosting, or staying relevant, not all projects have a deeper significance. Looking back at my theatre projects from this year, every one was meaningful in one way or another. Considering that all I wanted in college was to “do theatre”…well, I think I’m doing pretty OK. Junior year Alicia would be elated.