The Freehold Forum E-Newsletter
     JUNE 2009
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In This Issue
Marc Kenison
Pia VanHanen
Elizabeth Heffron and Annie Ready Benefit
Freehold's Dinner & Auction
Freehold Faculty Performances
Freehold Student and Alum Shows
Dear Freehold Community,

Sun Summer has arrived ... and we are very happy about that here at Freehold.

We are also VERY happy to announce a great line-up for our June e-newsletter which includes:

*A personal interview with Marc Kenison - learn more about his "dare to suck" perspective
*Find out why Pia VanHanen described her improv experience this quarter as making her feel "free"
*Updates on Freehold's upcoming Dinner & Auction:  Soiree at the Palace
*Faculty and Alum News plus what some of our faculty are looking forward to this summer.

Here's wishing for a sensational summer for us all!



Kate Gavigan
PR Manager
Freehold Theatre
(206) 323-7499 x14

Interview with Marc Kenison

MarcKenisonMarc Kenison studied ballet and modern dance at Juilliard. He danced with the prestigious José Limón Company for six years, performing in Sarajevo, El Salvador, and for President Clinton. He earned an MFA in acting from the University of Washington and co-founded Washington Ensemble Theatre (WET), which raised the bar for Fringe Theater in Seattle.  Since 2006, Marc has been performing burlesque and his highly acclaimed performances as Waxie Moon have been seen at numerous Seattle venues including The Triple Door, the Pink Door, and On the Boards. Marc will be teaching "Creating Cabaret" at Freehold this summer. 
Photo above by John Ullman.

Marc, you have an extensive background in ballet and modern dance.  What
drew you to those?

Ever since I was young (the 3rd grade), I knew I wanted to be a professional dancer. I started with disco lessons...yes, I'm that old.  That was the only way to entice young men to dance at that time....this was all pre-Baryshnikov. I enrolled at the local dance studio, stayed with it, eventually took tap, jazz and ballet. I
thought I was going to be a ballet dancer, and went to The Interlochen Arts Academy to further my studies. It was there that I was introduced to modern dance and was immediately drawn to the individually expressive and dramatic possibilities of the form. I knew that is what I would do, and eventually went to Juilliard. There I was able to dance an extensive modern dance repertoire, including works by Anna Sokolow, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham and Jose Limon.

Continued ...

Expect the Unexected:  Experiences from the Spring Improvisation Class
by Pia VanHanen

(photo from Winter 08 Improv Class)
Improv class this spring with Matt Smith was a mind opening and thought provoking experience!

I am a person with a very structured mind and tend to intellectually analyze things to create meaning and order so that I can effectively categorize my life experiences and attach appropriate level of meaning to everything.  I work in the fast paced world of business as an executive for an emerging technology company in town. We early stage folks take pride in being creative and overachieving and a bit crazy - we thrive on building things and creating order out of chaos, and stay stimulated by having each day be filled with a different set of exciting challenges. From that perspective, letting yourself go and experience the moment is actually a somewhat familiar feeling.

Continued ...












MONDAY, JUNE 22, 2009

7:30 P.M.








Palm treeSummer Fun

We thought we'd ask some of our faculty what THEY are looking forward to this summer.

Finally moving into my new digs!--Annette Toutonghi

Eating lots of salted caramel "Molly Moon" ice cream. One just opened in my neighborhood. Yum! --Marc Kenison

I'm looking forward to a re-mount of my play "How to be Cool" this July and August, and to sunny days that come more than three in a row.
--John Longenbaugh

I am looking forward to Lullaby Carriage in Magnuson Park. September 18, 19 in Magnuson Park.  For more info,
--Cathy Madden

Hope you all are having a great start to your summer!

Upcoming Freehold Auction
Soiree at the Palace
Dinner & Auction

Monday, June 15, 2009

at Tom Douglas' Palace Ballroom
Tickets will NOT be available at the door!

Amazing items galore
...just received a $150.00 gift certificate to El Gaucho
in addition to other cool donations!

or contact Kate at or (206) 323-7499
if you want to purchase a table for the event!

Thanks for your support!


Freehold Faculty Performances

Daemond Arrindell. Every Wednesday night at Spitfire Grill in Belltown, The Seattle Poetry Slam hosts a spoken word extravaganza. 8 p.m., $5 cover, 21 & over ID required, go to

Gin Hammond
received an Artist Trust grant to help her further develop the original solo work, Returning the Bones. In order to be maximize the story, artistry, and overall potential of the play so that it would be ready to present at venues worldwide, Gin knew she needed the help of a director.  She's thrilled to announce that she'll be working with Carol Roscoe, a local professional director and actor whose work she greatly admires.  (Photo at left:  Gin in Returning the Bones)


John Jacobsen's 
national cable show, Artists Toolbox, which interviews artists such as actor Tom Skerritt, director Hal Prince, architect Tom Kundig, musician Yo-Yo Ma, and writers Reeve Lindberg and Isabelle Allende, airs starting in June.

John Longenbaugh
will be remounting his play How to be Cool this July and August.

Troy Mink
is performing in Open Circle's Carlotta's All New Late Night Live TV Wing Ding, running the third Friday and Saturday nights of each month at 11pm, through the end of July.  For more information,

Billie Wildrick will be performing Das Barbequ at ACT in August.  For more info,

Matt Wolfe
will be in Catch me if You Can at the Fifth Avenue Theatre running July 23 - August 14 (for more information:

NextToNormalBrian Yorkey's play Next to Normal is on Broadway!  For more information, 

BIG congratulations
goes out to Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt for winning the Tony Award for Best Original Score (music by Tom Kitt; lyrics by Brian Yorkey) for NEXT TO NORMAL!

Freehold Student and Alum News

Here are some upcoming performances/work by some of Freehold's current students and alums.  Want to be included in this list?  Email Kate at with your upcoming shows.

MEISNER FINAL CLASS SHOWCASE:  Thursday, June 25th in the evening (time will be forthcoming) at Freehold in the Black Box Theatre.  Freehold's Meisner Showcase is always a great night of theatre.  See the results of the hard work our Meisner students have been in all year.  FREE!  Questions, call us at Freehold:  (206) 323-7499.

Monica Chilton will be in the ensemble for Snoqualmie Falls Forest Theater's production of Oklahoma! this summer.  Performances are Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3:00 p.m.  For more info,

Eileen Dey is hosting Seattle Cold Readers, 3rd Thursdays at the Alibi Room in Pike Place Market 8-9:30pm.  Where the acting and writing talent are hot!  $6
admission.  Featuring 4 new scripts submitted by local writers and performed as cold reads by professional actors.  The audience votes on the best performance of the evening.  For more info,

David Friedt, Joy Easley, Kirsten McCory, Michelle Flowers and Xan Scott will be in a Sound and Fury Production of MacBeth, running June 12-June 27th @ Theater 47- Magnuson Park.  For more info,

Bradley Goodwill and Carolyn Monroe are in The Tempest at Seattle Shakespeare Company.  For more info,

Phillip Mitchell will be performing in Twilight Zone at Theatre Schmeater.  For more info,

Jesse Putnam performing in Four Strange Loves an original play produced by The Seattle Playwrights' Collective. Shows are at Do North Theatre (17517-C 15th Ave NE, Shoreline). Performances June 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14.

Andy Tribolini will be part of Backwards Ensemble Theatre Company's night entitled Virgin Playwrights - 7/12 6-9pm.  For more info,

Jeff Woodbridge (directing) and Jesse Putnam (playwright) have a play going up entitled The Masters with cast members Kim Fitzharris, Will Hardyman and others at Odd Duck in August with a reading and fundraiser on June 19th.  The June 19th reading and fundraiser will be at Odd Duck Studio (1214 10th Avenue) at 7 PM. For more information on the play go to,

KenisoncontinuedInterview with Marc Kenison (continued)

What was your experience performing with the Jose Limon Company?

I loved touring the world. I feel so fortunate to have danced in so many amazing places, including Sarajevo, El Salvador, Russia, Japan and The White House. I also loved dancing Jose Limon's masterwork, "The Moors Pavane". It is his telling of the Othello legend, with four characters, in a court dance. I danced the role of the Iago figure. The most challenging aspect about being in that company, was not
dancing enough truly contemporary repertoire. A part of me really wanted to be dancing edgier, downtown, performance-art type, contemporary dance. Eventually I left to work with Tere O' Connor, a great dance theater creator. He was working with text at that time, which is what led me to acting. I also got tired of being non-vocal in my art.

The Stranger described Waxie Moon as saying that she has "several
personae, from '70s mustache-and-jeans stripper to cross-gender fan
dancer-but the dominant character is a pathetic diva."  How would you
describe her?

He/she is a gender bending queer lady boylesque performance art solo stripping sensation!

I enrolled in The Academy of Burlesque's Burlesque 101 Class, taught by Miss  Indigo Blue. I had gotten burnt out on producing ... I am a Co-founder of The Washington Ensemble Theatre ... and decided to try something new and fun. I was hooked. I have continued to create and develop the character of "Waxie" and explore the art form of strip-tease. It has been a good merging of my acting and dance skills. The multiplicity of the personae has really emerged based on what
inspires each striptease act. I perform everything for Glam-Rock to Classic Glamour Burlesque. I think Waxie is always larger than life (something like Life x's 5) and a celebration and embodiment of "freedom of expression".

What excites you about this upcoming Creating Cabaret class? (i.e. what
are you hoping students will come away with?)

I just really love teaching and always enjoy being in a studio teaching environment. I also really try to cultivate a "try anything" and "dare to suck" type of atmosphere. I am looking forward to seeing what types of students the class
description attracts. I hope there will be a real diversity in interests and areas of expertise represented (actors, singers, dancers, circus artists, burlesque performers, etc...)

I hope each student will create a finely tuned cabaret act that they can bring into the burgeoning burlesque and cabaret scene of Seattle - an act that is sophisticated, original, theatrical, entertaining and a full expression of their individuality and creativity .... and have fun.

What are your goals or dreams for your characters or your career?

My own Sitcom and Broadway show. I think TV and Broadway could both use a bit more gender complexity, glitter, glamour and male nudity.

For more information on Marc's upcoming "Creating Cabaret" class, go to and go to "training" or call us at (206) 323-7499.

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PiacontinuedExpect the Unexected:  Experiences from the Spring Improvisation Class by Pia VanHanen (continued)

I have always had a strong calling to connect with the creative flow, the spirit and the pulse of the Universe. I want to be aware enough as a human being to have multiple filters through which to observe the world and its people, as the differences are what brings so much beauty to our mutual existence. My personal philosophy in life is to learn as much as I can, and never stop the process of exposing yourself to things that you know nothing about. Our life on this Earth is a short blink of an eye, and there is so much to experience for us who suffer from anxiety about mortality! Therefore, I made an honorary promise to myself many years ago to dedicate one evening per week to experiencing  and learning something new. It was only logical that my path lead me to the Freehold Theatre.

As I have come to realize with each class I have participated in so far, none of the premeditated 'what does this mean' structured analysis could have been applied to what I experienced in the Improv class. I arrived with absolutely no expectations - nothing to prove, nothing to gain, nothing to lose. It is actually very refreshing to just 'be', and not attach any value to who I am or what I do or what I say. That is quite different from the fully controlled and quite perfected experience of my every day work life.

I arrived ready to learn and experience the best of it all: Other people and their spirits. It is an honor to be in a group of different people who come from all paths of life and to experience their gift first hand. The whole world of acting was, and to a big point still is, totally foreign to me. Like the Improv class experience showed me, it is truly about the honesty of being and connecting in the moment - sincerely, fully, passionately, and quietly. If there is anything I value in life, it is the very experience of connecting and feeling the energy around us. To create markers in time, to experience emotions which I can recall for the rest of my life - not big ones, but little ones. And to all of a sudden wake up to a realization of an exhilarating and unexpected moment of seeing that little glimpse of Universal love which pulsates all around us. That's the frosting of the cake called The Meaning of Life, or in this case; The Meaning of The Improv Class.

I had one of those moments in my second-to-last Improv class. We were on the home stretch already, had spent a couple of fun filled months together, and were eager to be free for the summer. I thanked myself for having put forth the effort to commit to a class - it is a big commitment in the midst of a busy career and home life. I was simply enjoying the sense of accomplishment - I of course had once again attached value to what the class would mean to me and my life, and what skills I had developed. And there it was, a flashing moment of eternal truth: I realized that I hadn't actually become any better acting student or an improviser. Instead, the class had made me a much more aware as a person in my own life, not on any stage but with my 24/7 existence everywhere. I felt FREE! Something much greater than an achievement of a goal had inspired inside. One of those small yet limitless realizations that you don't expect or search for.

I feel very blessed to have experienced something fun and inspiring which has made my early path in the craft of Improv and acting a welcome refuge - for the rest of my life, I dare to think!

Interested in a daytime Improv Class?  Matt Smith will be teaching an Improvisation Intensive at Freehold this July, Monday through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 pm.  For more information or to register, go to or call us at (206) 323-7499.

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Freehold's Mission

Freehold engages artists of all levels in training and experimentation so that they may become more innovative and heartfelt in generating theatre that has a lasting impact on the community we serve.