Friday, April 19, 2013

Jeeves in Bloom Poetry Contest!

Jeeves to the rescue,
Just in time-
I sure wish he was
A butler of mine.
- Vera L.

When Aunt Dahlia comes a calling,
When the "Bertie!" hits the air,
Jeeves has to go a looking,
For a Wooster behind his chair.
- Maureen V.

Summertime is a time for fun-
It keeps Jeeves and the players on the run.
- James R.

Wooster, Shire, Sauce?
But not quite a toss.
- B. B.

Matt Daniels has such style
In everthing he does-
Gown, tux, or gloves-
He's adaptable and versatile,
But when it comes to Jeeves,
His current starring rage,
He's such ablaze on the MCT stage,
The audience BELIEVES!
- Diane B.

Jeeves is the master
Wonderful and Competent
Saves the day again.
- G. C. (a haiku)

The gardens are blooming at Brinkley Court,
Jeeves is in line for
Miss Froggie's sortie.
- Anon.

Warm the sun,
Buzz the bees,
Let's all hide
Behind the trees.
Help Jeeves!

In the gardens of Brinkley Court
Gussie Fink-Nottle is quite a sport.
Jeeves intervenes
And it is quite a scene.

Bertie bumbles all;
Too busy and bemuse.
Jeeves juggles all,
Juxtaposed to always amuse.
- Linda S.

Dahlia's deep in debt,
Travers' stomach's upset,
Gussie's love life's bereft,
and Maddie quotes Juliet.
While Bertie's a drip
Only Jeeves is equipped
with the saving script
by the last curtain's set.
- Fred K.

You may be fun,
You may be jolly,
But Jeeves and Wooster
Are the cat's pajamas, by golly!
- Joe M.

There once was a pip named Myrtle,
Who dreamed of owning a turtle.
She pleaded with mum
To purchase her chum
But couldn't 'cause her demeanor doth curdle.
- Jen M.

Laughter grows in Brinkley Garden
And my verse - I beg his pardon
For I love his Jeeving
Thus I spend these acts of grieving,
At this time I take my leaving .
- Tom F.

Stardust's the thing
That offers eternal spring.
- Anon.

Bertie insists on having his way.
Then Jeeves reliably saves the day!
- Wade K.

Your erudition blooms
Through decades of rooms.
Smoking jackets and brooms
But, alas, you cannot hide
Your intellect large
In any backyard!
- K. H.

The springy showers are ever so sprinkley
As ere they hover so lovingly o'er Brinkley.
- Anon.

Matinee patrons one and all
Tiny women, none are tall
With umbrellas spring and fall
Better here than a shopping mall.
- N. C.

Does Jeeves make you giggle?
Is Bertie too silly?
A brand new wig 'll
Be charming and frilly
And make your toes wiggle.
- J. W.

Let the night's garden
Possess its secrets
Until all is resollved.
Sanity returns
And all realize
That Jeeves is in bloom.
- R. F.

Kudos and cheers for C. Michael Wright
For drama and stories, heavy and light
Exactly the thing for a Saturday night
With Michael the Broadway Theatre Center spright.
- Patricia S.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Opening Weekend Stats!

Some stats for opening!

113: Stage manager Judy Martel has with JEEVES opened her 113th production at MCT.
1,500: The weight in pounds of the grand drape deck chief Kat Danielson hoists and lowers three times a performance.
16 1/2: The number of flowers Madeline has on her person in the evening scenes.
10: The number of coats of paint on the fountain.
23: The number of times chef Anatole (Norman Moses) says his own name.
68+: The number of props Jeeves (Matt Daniels) handles throughout the performance.
103: The number of cues Judy calls during the performance.

More to come!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fight Captain and Deputy

Friends, Revealed: AEA Deputy Mr. Moses and Fight Captain Matty, surrounded by their loyal crew.

Any production which employs members of Actors' Equity Association, the union for American actors and stage managers, elects a deputy at the beginning of a rehearsal process in order to assure that union regulations are followed by the theatre and production process.  Jeeves' deputy is Norman.

Any production which has choreographed stage violence (stage combat) is well-served by having a fight captain, who is in charge of running all of the incidents of violence (fights) to make certain they are safe and tell the story the director and fight choreographer wish to tell.  Jeeves' fight captain is Matt Daniels.

The day after our fight choreographer, Jim Fletcher, staged the violence, Matt took a look as we ran each event.  It'll be his duty to make certain the fights are consistent when we reach the stage and to run those we need to run during a fight call prior to each performance.

It's above and beyond, the work both these gentlemen are doing.  In honor, Tami made Matt a badge (pictured on his hat) which said "Fight Captain."  Kat made Norman a Deputy star.

Then Tami challenged Matt to show up for his task in tights and a cape.  "Uniform," she declared.  "Just saying."

Challenge accepted, Matt appeared in the get-up you see above.

Off we go to tech rehearsal.  See y'all soon in the theatre!  (By the way, it looks beautiful.  Just on time for spring.)

Friday, April 5, 2013

An Interview with Matt Koester

A graduate of UW-Milwaukee, Matt Koester makes his MCT debut as Gussie Fink-Nottle in JEEVES IN BLOOM.
Tell us a bit about your character, Gussie Fink-Nottle:
Gussie Fink-Nottle is a schoolmate of Bertie and lives in a small town of Linconshire because he just can't handle the city life of London. He also has a pond in his yard where he can study newts. That's right. Newts. Gussie's character is described in great detail even before he sets foot on stage. He is described by Bertie as a freak of nature with horned rimmed specs and face like a fish. He is a noted newt lover who has devoted his entire life to studying the amphibians. On top of that, he can't utter a single word to the girl he loves because of his extreme shyness. When it comes right down to it though, Gussie is such a sweetheart and a character you just want to root for.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of performing in such a comedic play?
Nothing beats the joy of making people laugh. The ultimate goal of this play is to have people come to the theater and for two hours forget all about their problems and issues, get sucked into the reality of the play and just laugh. It's the best feeling ever. It's been a difficult process for me, but comedies usually are. I have to learn to just be honest and truthful and let the comedy come organically from the true and honest moments that happen on stage. I also have to learn just to have fun, cause if I'm having fun, than the audience will too.

Anything fun you’d like to share with readers about JEEVES IN BLOOM, rehearsals, etc?
4 words. Best Snack Table Ever.

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?
Attending UW-Milwaukee was such an amazing experience because I was able to work my way in to the professional theater world with the close ties that UWM has with the community. One of those ties was Milwaukee Shakespeare. In my second semester, I was able to get an audition for the company and landed a small role in AS YOU LIKE IT. I had such an awesome time working with all these wonderful actors and learned more about the ins and outs of acting in that rehearsal process than I did in my first two semesters at UWM. I wouldn't have given that experience up for the world.

What do you like about being a theatre artist in Milwaukee?
I read an article in on the top ten theater towns in the US. Milwaukee was on the list. I think it was number 7. Being back after a 5 year hiatus from the Milwaukee community makes me understand exactly why this great city made the list. During the entire time away from the Milwaukee theater scene, I realized just how special and unique it really is. I missed it. The talent that Milwaukee has is unprecedented and support that it gets from its patrons is amazing. It's so great to be back in an environment that is so very helpful and appreciative of good theater.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Marcella Kearns as Aunt Dahlia

Marcella Kearns returns to MCT as Dahlia Travers, after appearing in MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS and last season's Old Time Radio Drama broadcast in collaboration with WPR.
Tell us a bit about your character, Dahlia Travers

Dahlia is Bertie Wooster's favorite aunt-- one with whom he actually enjoys spending time.  I think the feeling is mutual.  She occupies her time not only in overseeing the household at Brinkley Court, her husband Tom's country home, but also in running a "women's weekly" called Milady's Boudoir.  

What are some of the benefits and challenges of performing in such a comedic play?

The benefits are many.  Professionally, in light of one of the biggest challenges-- trying to find the precision and lightness that comedic work requires-- I'm feeling really lucky to have some of the sharpest comedians I know in the room, both behind the table and on the stage.  I learn every day from them.  Personally, it's bliss to laugh so much every day.  

Anything fun you’d like to share with readers about JEEVES IN BLOOM, rehearsals, etc?

Check out the blog posts!  More to come... 

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today? 

My favorite moments in theatre are those that are accidently metatheatrical-- those moments in which the audience and artist experience intersect inadvertently, almost magically.  It's an incredible feeling, that moment in which we might not actually say it, but everyone in the room acknowledges that we're all in a theatre experiencing that intersection.  For example, I was at a performance of Twelfth Night at the Globe in London, and just as Feste began to sing his song about how the rain "it raineth every day," the skies broke open and rained on the audience.  His delivery and shrug became an apology for London, and thousands of us fell out laughing.  At another performance in Vienna during the Mad Cow Disease scare in the 1990s, a time in which the continent wasn't importing British beef, a character who has the line "But I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit" got a standing ovation.  It's the moment in which someone in the audience sneezes, and a character says, "Bless you."  It acknowledges the audience in a particular place and time as co-creators of that theatrical experience. 
Marcella Kearns and Tom Klubertanz in Moonlight and Magnolias

What do you like about being a theatre artist in Milwaukee?

I'm a mid-size city kind of girl, and I like to travel-- I would get restless basing myself in a megalopolis.  Milwaukee has a very hardworking arts community which contributes probably more than we know to local economic prosperity, so it's possible to wear a few hats here and pursue a living in the industry.  That's great and one of the reasons why I chose to live here (I'm not a native).  Even better for me as a nomad in spirit, it's a good home base.  It's an attractive, livable place with access to other markets.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ask Jeeves

L-R: Chris Klopatek as Bertie and Matt Daniels as
Jeeves in JEEVES INTERVENES (2010)
Matt Daniels returns to MCT to reprise his role as Jeeves after our 2010 production of JEEVES INTERVENES. He also appeared in MCT's A THOUSAND CLOWNS and AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. We asked him a few questions about  playing Jeeves again.
You’re reprising the role of Jeeves after appearing in JEEVES INTERVENES in 2010. What’s it like to revisit a character that you’ve already played, but in a new context?

It's interesting... This is my first time revisiting a character in a different play, though I have reprised roles in different productions of the same play. This time, since Tami and I had worked out a lot of who Jeeves is, and how he operates, it made it easy for me to just slip right in to the play. The challenges have come in working with a new Bertie (Chase is great, but we had to rediscover a lot of the schtick that Kloppy [Chris Klopatek] and I had created last time, in addition to finding some new stuff. Plus I had forgotten how many props I have to handle. It's a lot.

Any new challenges or unexpected surprises come up this time around? 

There are always challenges when approaching a new text, and for me the challenge is
L-R: Matt Daniels as Albert and
Thomas Kindler as Nick in
the same as it was the last time: finding the smoothness and the grace in Jeeves while there is such chaos all around.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of performing in such a comedic play?

Benefits: We are constantly making each other laugh.
Challenges: We are constantly making each other laugh. 

Matt Daniels as Phileas Fogg
IN 80 DAYS (2009)
Anything fun you’d like to share with readers about JEEVES IN BLOOM, rehearsals, etc? 

Keep a handkerchief count. 

What do you like about being a theatre artist in Milwaukee? 

I love the intimacy that we have - its such a small community that a lot of the work of ensemble building is done before we enter the room. Even if we haven't all worked together in this combination before, we've likely worked with one or another at some point and that makes it fun.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An interview with Norman Moses

A veteran of the Milwaukee theatre scene for over 30 years, Norman Moses returns to MCT after performing as multiple roles in AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, Graham in TALKING HEADS, Gabe in DINNER WITH FRIENDS and Nick in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF among many others.

You play two roles in JEEVES IN BLOOM, Tom Travers and Chef Anatole. Tell us a little
about your characters. What is it like playing two roles?

Tom Travers is the owner of Brinkley Court, a rather lavish estate in England. He is married to Dahlia Travers, who’s nephew, Bertie Wooster, is the source of much of his personal distress (and his acute dyspepsia). Chef Anatole is the French, personal chef for the Travers household whose tempestuous temperament is almost as renowned as his amazing culinary achievements. These two roles were written to be performed by one actor, so it does present some unique challenges. The British and French dialects became a big focus of my initial preparation. I recently met with a native speaking French teacher at the Alliance Fran├žaise and recorded him reading my Anatole lines, to hear an authentic dialect. I have found this to be an extremely effective tool in getting an accurate sound. The key for me is to say the lines enough times so that I don’t have to think about the dialect, and it just flows naturally. At the same time I focus on the character and the story telling. I also try to develop physicality for each of the characters, and then build upon that to tell the story of each character as determined by the plot and dialogue.

What are some of the benefits and challenges of performing in such a comedic play?

Of course, the benefits are getting laughs. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you lay a line out there and it lands perfectly making the audience laugh spontaneously.
L-R: Norman Moses, Matt Daniels and Chris Klopatek
On the other hand, when you toss a line out and it lands like pennies in the mud, there’s nothing worse. The last words of Edmund Keen, the great British Tragedian of the 19th century, are alleged to have been “Dying is easy, comedy is hard,” and truer words were never spoken. There’s an old saying that you need to ask for the cup of tea and not ask for the laugh. If you play the scene and make the characters needs clear and just play the action and not some shtick, then that is when comedy is most satisfying. Having said that, shtick can be fun on occasion, too. Not that I ever stoop to such things.

What are some of your favorite moments in theatre that made you who you are today?

One of the greatest experiences in comedy I have ever had was doing BEYOND THE FRINGE
L-R: Montgomery Davis, Norman Moses, Colin Cabot
and Bill Leach in BEYOND THE FRINGE
with the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre back in the 80's. Mostly, it was due to getting the privilege of watching Bill Leach and Monty Davis in rehearsal and performance. They taught me so much about comedy and character in that production. I was fairly fresh out of graduate school and thought I knew an awful lot about a lot of things. Oh, how wrong I was. They were both so good at letting the language work for them. They weren’t beyond a bit of shtick or two, but they knew when, where and how to use it. Their timing was impeccable, and I studied them intensely. I have missed them both terribly since they have passed. There aren’t many comic actors of their caliber around these days. I have tried my best to emulate them, and every once in a while I feel like I am getting close to what they were able to achieve. Not often, but every now and then.

What do you like about being a theatre artist in Milwaukee?

We are probably the nicest group of actors you’ll ever want to meet. There is very little of the fierce competition that one sees in other towns. We all want to work, but if we don’t get the job, we go out and support the other actor who got it. It’s pretty unique and rare, and I think it makes one a better performer, knowing there is this community of like-minded people rooting one on.

Thanks Norman! We can't wait to see you as Tom & Chef Anatole, April 11-28!