Friday, September 25, 2015

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Welcome to the Unique Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre, Ed, with your uniquely titled; "imprinity theatre company".
Ellie and I are over-the-hill-happy to hand the keys to a marvelously multi-talented Ed Gyles, Jr.   We can't wait to see what you have in store for the Sacramento area theatre community.
The last couple of weeks has been pretty interesting.
I interviewed for a position at work, and for some reason I was nervous and brain-farted a question I should have answered easily. I didn’t get the position. And yet, I’m happy.
Earlier this week, I got up out of bed, and my back was cramping in a way that kept me from fully straightening my spine. I made it through work, aches and all. Yup, still happy.
Even though I’ve kept my promise and posted every day this month to Facebook, someone still lobbed an Air Supply grenade at me. Happy... happy... happy!
Because of my new project.
(Don’t worry; I’ll explain it what it is soon. Very, very soon.)
I love theatre. Acting, directing, teaching, all of it. After last year’s surgery, I returned to the stage back in May. I also taught three character voice workshops over the summer, and the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive.
However, I’ve only been in two plays since STC’s FRANKENSTEIN nearly four years ago. In the last few months, a couple of theatre people I’ve worked with in the past came into my workplace, and they didn’t seem to recognize me. To spare them embarrassment, I didn’t say anything. But it made me realize that I’ve been losing touch with our theatre community. (Thank goodness Kirk remembered me. I think Josh remembers me too, but we work together, so that doesn’t really count.)
Also, I haven’t been able to do any improvisation for more than a year. One of my goals has been to return to ComedySportz, physically able to do anything required by the games and show format. A few weeks ago, I attempted a low-impact aerobic workout with well-cushioned sneakers, but I couldn’t make it all the way through because of my back. My vertebrae felt as if they were banging into each other, just doing simple footwork.
I don’t know when -- or if -- I'll be able to return to CSz. That really bums me out.
So here I am, missing improv, wanting to direct again, and coming off the high of successful workshops, knowing I won't be teaching again until sometime next year. What's a guy to do?
And now, as promised, the explanation. Cue drum roll…
Long story short, I had a great conversation with Tom Kelly, and he chose to hand me the creative reins of the Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre. We talked about what our collective visions were for the space. Then I did a lot of prep work, reading, and creative speculation for this project. I designed a logo, registered a website, created a Facebook page, and made a Twitter account. I may have even squeed a little bit. Maybe.
For those of you who made it this far down the post, let me thank you for being among the first to read this sentence:
"Ed Gyles Jr. is the founder and Artistic Director of Imprinity Theatre Company."
Yes, I have my own company now. This is something I've wanted for a very long time.
In case you're wondering, the Thistle Dew is still the Thistle Dew. We still plan on serving dessert at intermission. Come on, that's tradition. This is really Imprinity Theatre Company at the Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre.
What is Imprinity all about?
Well, that's the part that took the longest to figure out. I wanted to create a unique vision for the company, offering something different for Sacramento audiences to see, and not be in direct competition with nearby theaters and comedy improv groups.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of details that still need to be worked out, and I don't have the answers to a lot of questions at this time. (In fact, just assume the answer to your question is “I don’t know yet. Check back later.”) But here's my vision for Imprinity in a nutshell:
A group of performers comes together as an acting ensemble for an entire season. Using a bare stage as a canvas, the ensemble portrays a wide variety of characters throughout the season, with a focus on honest relationships. Some shows will be scripted plays -- royalty-free classics by the likes of Chekhov and Shakespeare -- while others will be fully improvised one-acts and, eventually, two-act plays.
I want to put together an ensemble of strong, talented, brave actors who are willing to learn and support each other, no matter what. I want audiences to come back again and again, knowing that it will be this same group of awesome actors doing something completely different each time. I want to give every company member the opportunity to return for future seasons, welcoming and mentoring new members as they learn and grow with each other.
Ambitious? You bet. But I’m putting together a training plan, and I know there are actors out there ready for a challenge. Also, did you notice the parts that said "royalty-free" and "bare stage?" Instead of trying to make money back to offset royalties, costume and set expenses, I want everyone who performs onstage to get a cut of that evening's box office receipts.
I'm fully aware that this project may fizzle out or explode in a glorious fireball of shattered dreams and apple pie. But then again, it might last a few years or a decade, or become a legendary thespianic utopia sung about by future generations of Imprinity-inspired bards.
All I know for sure is that I'm already excited and nervous about the auditions that haven't been scheduled yet. (I imagine they'll happen sometime between October and January, but don't quote me on that.)
So yeah, that's what's been on my mind for the last couple of weeks.
Am I still happy? Let me check…
Yes. Yes, I am.