|The Freehold Forum E-Newsletter
Dear Freehold Community,
We are saying a fond adieu to summer and looking forward to the treats of fall and there are many for us here at Freehold ... our Annual Fall Open House on September 15th in the evening, a panoply of classes and much more. Check out some more things to look forward to in this issue including:
*Althea Hukari's hilarious reflections on life at Freehold in the early Pasqualini-Smith era as well as her excitement teaching her Play Reading Group and Intro to Acting classes
*MJ Sieber's insights into how "everything is changing"
*Norman Bell's thoughts on preparing for his SUBPRIME show
*Freehold Faculty and Students' upcoming shows
*Freehold News and Upcoming Events - two great upcoming events - Freehold's Annual Fall Open House and the New Play Lab's Showcase.
We are adjusting our e-newsletter schedule so that you will now be receiving our e-newsletter quarterly to correspond with our fall, winter, spring, and summer class schedule. In an effort to stay in touch, we will also be sending a hard copy of some of the not-to-be missed articles to our larger Freehold Community.
"Delicious autumn! My very soul
is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth
seeking the successive autumns." - George Eliot
Here's wishing you all a "Delicious autumn!"
(206) 323-7499 x14
|Interview with Althea Hukari
Hukari is a passionate
and experienced teaching artist. She was Freehold's original Head of the Intro
to Acting Series, and has worked regionally as an actor, director, and
performance coach. Althea holds a BA from Oberlin College, and studied with Klauniada,
Pasqualini-Smith, and at the University of Washington's Professional Actors Training Program.
Her 1998 solo show, My Own Private Masha,
secured her an Artist Grant from the Seattle Arts Commission for a full length
work. Her next play, The Orchard,
secured her an Oregon Literary Fellowship, a coveted spot in Mead Hunter's
Portland Center Stage sponsored PlayGroup, the first-ever Fresh Northwest New
Work Award from Coho Theatre, and was featured in the 2009 Portland Fertile
Ground Festival of New Work. Althea has been living, teaching, writing and
directing plays in her home town of Hood River, Oregon for the last ten years and is excited to
return to teach at Freehold and Cornish College for the Arts this fall.
Althea, we are excited to have you
teaching at Freehold again. Can you share your history with teaching at
Freehold and what you're excited
about in returning to teach here?
I studied w/
Robin at the old Pasqualini-Smith Studio in 1987 before coming on board at
Freehold as their very first hired acting teacher back in the day. I was Head
of the Intro Series at Freehold-- where I pioneered the Scene Study/ Text,
Personalization, and Rehearsal & Performance classes as well as co-teaching
The Shakespeare Intensive and offering classes in Eastern-European-style clown
work and writing -- until I moved to Oregon in 2000. I
attended the University of Washington's Professional Actors Training Program, but did not
graduate with my class-which included current illustrious Freehold cohorts
Annette Totounghi and Dan Tierney. (Nothing they say about me is true...) I am
excited to be returning to the theatre town I know best, and to see my colleagues
working and teaching and creating in that town. Life is long and art can be
hard -- especially given the vagaries of late capitalism. I am joyful that Freehold
has weathered the latest storms and is still here to offer guidance and opportunity
to theatre artists at all levels of craft.
Everything is Changing by MJ Sieber
has been a working artist in Seattle since graduation from Cornish College of the Arts in 2001 with a degree in Original Works.
Since that time he has appeared as an actor on the stages of Seattle Rep,
Intiman, ACT Theatre, Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Co, Book-It,
The Empty Space, Village Theatre, Wooden O, Theatre Schmeater, and Strawberry
Theatre Workshop where he just finished playing John Merrick in The Elephant Man and has directed The Water Engine and The Lady Day. He is a Founding Member of
New Century Theatre Company and appeared in their inaugural production of The Adding Machine. He also created the
web series Ask An Actor and The Barry Reinhardt Show. This summer he directed
his first feature film 'haven't seen a soul in years'.
If I were to be locked in a theatre for the rest of my
natural life and exposed to play after play after play with only brief
interludes to relieve myself and eat I would still have seen more film and
television than theatre. The truth is that while I love theatre
and have devoted half of my life to it what caught my eye first was film.
Film is what sparked a nerve in me to start acting.
Television is what helped me understand how a basic story is told.
As a professional actor I can say from experience that there are very few
people who have success in both film and theatre. It takes a great
deal of time and loyalty to make even a small mark in either of them.
I believe that this is largely due to the fact that most actors feel that
the only way they can get work is to audition (a process which is debilitating
for many people). Mounting an entire theatrical production can
cost tens of thousands of dollars - on the lower end - and making a film can
easily bankrupt you before you've even shot one scene. No wonder
actors feel helpless when it comes to finding and creating work.
Fantastic ClassesClass Registration is now open.
Step I: Intro to Acting with Dan Tierney and Althea Hukari*late summer class
Step II: Acting with Text with Dan Tierney
Accelerated Intro to Acting with George Lewis
Step III: Basic Scene Study with CT Doescher
Advanced Rehearsal and Performance with Annette Toutonghi
Alexander Technique Intensive* with Cathy Madden
Auditioning with Kate Godman
The Artist's Way Workshop with Gin Hammond and Kate Gavigan
Intro to Viral Video Making with MJ Sieber
Personal Clown with George Lewis
Improvisation with Matt Smith
Basic Light and Sound for Non-Designers with Jake Perrine
Playwriting I with Paul Mullin
Play Reading with Althea Hukari
Shakespeare with Amy Thone
Stage Combat with Geof Alm
Voice with Gin Hammond
Voice Over with Gin Hammond
Meisner Progression with Robin Lynn Smith
or call us at (206) 323-7499
UPCOMING FREEHOLD EVENTS
ANNUAL FALL OPEN HOUSE
5:30 - 7:30 pm @ Freehold -FREE
*Meet our fantastic faculty
*Hear about our fall classes
*Enjoy some tasty pizza and beer & chat with other
See previews of a few of our classes
George Lewis on Personal Clown
Dan Tierney on Intro to Acting
Gin Hammond on Voice
MJ Sieber on Intro to Viral Video Making
as well as a chance to ask questions of
Annette Toutonghi and Kate Godman
More info: (206) 323-7499
NEW PLAY LAB
Sample Fresh New Plays at Freehold
September 17, 18 and 19@ 8:00 pm
And September 19th @ 3:00 pm
at Freehold, 2222 2nd Avenue, Suite 200
FREE - Donations Accepted
Solo Performer Learns to Ask for Help
By Norman Bell
"What the hell was I thinking?"
That's the thought that's been surfacing a lot lately as
I've been coming into the final stretch of writing, rehearsing and producing my first full-length solo show, SUBPRIME!:
Inside the Heart of the Mortgage Meltdown.
I can't remember, but maybe at some point along the way the
following thought went through my head: "I know what I'll do! I'll hole myself
up in my room for six months and write and re-write a full-length show about
the subprime mortgage industry! And then, rather than handing it off to other
people to perform, I'll do it all myself! 12 characters! Forty text-heavy pages!
8,000-plus words! 70-plus minutes onstage! Slide projections! A rap number!"
2010 Studio Series
Don't wait to begin your musings about Studio Series 2010 ...
Ever since Freehold's inception in 1991, we
have held that that an important part of our educational mission is to encourage
Freehold's theatre artists to further their work by taking it into the
performance arena. Towards that end we created what has become this, one of our
most popular programs: in last year's Series, over 70 current and former
students and faculty members participated in the creation and performance of 17 pieces presented across four weeks of performances. The audience numbers
greatly surpassed our expectations: over 350 people saw the shows, and
their feedback was GREAT! (picture on right, Brynna Jourden in The Magnificent Quidley at 2009 Studio Series).
This year, Freehold Faculty Members Gin
Hammond, and George Lewis will produce the Studio Series. As with last year,
the performances will take place in our Belltown Theater. Freehold will provide
- at no cost to the participants (except for a small mentor fee) - performance
space, technical support (lights, sound system, and a stage manager), and
publicity for the event. Each piece will have three performances. In the past
projects in the Series have included: plays, scenes, monologues, original
pieces, movement/dance pieces, vocal pieces, marionette shows, clown pieces,
and improvisation. In short, anything with dramatic relevance that fits the
This year the
performances will take place in the four weekends of February 2010, opening on
the 5th and closing on the 27th.The process is by
application, and applications will be available online September
7, 2009. For
each project, a Letter of Intent outlining
the general idea for the piece must be submitted no later than October 9, 2009.
Application due date is October 23, 2009. You
can contact George or Gin with any questions.
So: please join us. Put together a project and
apply, or volunteer to help run the performances. And bring your family and
friends when you come and see some of the amazing work that is coming out of
the classroom and onto the stage at Freehold
-- George Lewis, Founding Member of Freehold, Freehold Faculty Member
|Freehold Faculty Performances|
Every Wednesday night at Spitfire Grill in Belltown, The Seattle Poetry Slam hosts a spoken word extravaganza. 8 p.m., $5 cover, 21 & over IC required, go to http://www.seattlepoetryslam.org
Marya Sea Kaminski is directing Kevin Kerr's play about the pandemic flu titled UNITY (1918) at
Cornish and an orginal play with Intiman's Rough Eagles in October.
is in Sana'a Yemen doing a radio drama project for youth until early September. The project has youth writing and performing radio dramas that help better their
society and adddress issues pertinent to youth. There will be a live broadcast
on August 20th and then a teacher training workshop for two weeks.
is directing Lady Day at Emersons Bar and Grill
for Strawberry Theatre Workshop
(opening Sept. 11th at the Erickson Theatre), http://www.strawshop.org/
and will be acting in If You
Give a Mouse a Cookie
for Seattle Children's Theatre, more info: http://www.sct.org
is performing in Das Barbequ
at ACT from July 31 to September 6 (see picture above). For more info, http://www.acttheatre.org/Kate Wisniewski
will be performing at INTIMAN in September in Abe Lincoln in Illinois
playing Elizabeth Edwards. The play
runs Oct. 2-Nov. 19. For more information, http://intiman.org/2009Season
play Next to Normal
is on Broadway!
For more information, http://www.nytix.com/Blog/2009/02/next-to-normal-to-play-broadway.html
goes out to Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt for their Broadway Tony Award Winning play NEXT TO NORMAL which won 3 Tony Awards including Best Score and Best Leading Actress in a Musical!!!
Freehold Website Donations Update
generosity of the Freehold community we have made our matching donation goal of
Look out for our new website
launching later this fall.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
with your upcoming shows and links
perform in Artattack Theater Ensemble's production of That Other Person, one
of three one-act plays by David Lindsay-Abaire presented together Oct. 16 -
Nov. 7. Info at www.artattacktheatre.com
Kristin attended the American Conservatory Theater's 2009 Summer Congress
Classical Intensive and begins her three quarter Meisner training this fall at Freehold.
Norman Bell will be performing in SUBPRIME!: Inside the Heart of the Mortgage Meltdown premiering September 11, 12, 18, and 19. For more information, www.subprimetheplay.org Directed by Gin Hammond. SUBPRIME! is loosely based on Bell's actual experiences working for a subprime mortgage company in 2005. (picture on left, Norman performing an excerpt of SUBPRIME for the 2009 Studio Series). SUBPRIME! on KUOW: Norman was interviewed about SUBPRIME! by KUOW's Jeremy
Richards. To listen, tune in to 94.9 FM Saturday, September 5 between 12-1pm. Or
download the podcast after Sept. 5 here: http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.kuow.org/kuowpresents/
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, http://www.seattlecoldreaders.com
Krista Erickson will be performing in The Producers at Seattle Musical Theatre running from September 18 - October 4. For more information, http://seattlemusicaltheatre.org/
Sean Gormley will be appearing in The Good Thief by Conor McPherson, directed by John Keating, at The Players Loft Theatre in Manhattan as part of the
1st Irish Theatre Festival. Tell your NY friends!
Show runs Sept 10 - Oct 4. More info and tickets:
An hour, an actor, a harsh tale told quietly
- NY Times
Ann Hittenberger just finished performing in Top Girls with Sound Theater at
Stone Soup. She will be teaching 5th-8th graders this summer at Bainbrige Performing Arts Theater School Production of 1000
Arabian Nights and is artistic director for Kitsap Forest Theater Youth Theater
Camp. She will also appear in The Producers at BPA October 9-25 directed by Teresa
Thuman. Lee Ann will also be directing Peter Pan at BPA which opens
Thiessen begins her 11th season of Playback Theatre October
9, 2009 and
every second Friday through May 14th at Traditions Café in Olympia. Sara thanks Freehold instructor Matt Smith for the
training that got her started on her improv journey over a decade ago.
info go to: www.heartsparkle.org/
Interview with Althea Hukari (continued)
What drew you to your passion for acting?
Wow, that might
be one for my head-shrinker... I am a passionate observer of the world. Acting
was the first thing I discovered that seemed to make use of all of me-- my
heart and soul and intellect and voice and body and senses and memory-- my love
of the spoken word and the hidden truth - and my sense that we are here to
somehow be of service to one another. Well, you asked. Acting helped me make
use of what I know about what it is to be a human being living in this world.
You're going to be teaching a Play Reading
Group here at Freehold. How would you describe this class and what inspired you
to want to teach it?
Read Out Loud. Really, that's it. That's what the class is about. Plays are
built to be shared, to be heard, not experienced silently on the page like a
novel. Scripts are like blue-prints for the 3-D theatre experience. But that's
the rub-- a lot of people are intimidated by trying to read blue-prints. Don't
you need some special training to do that? And the dirty little secret of most
theatre people is that even we DO NOT READ ENOUGH PLAYS. It is the rare theatre
artist who can truthfully claim otherwise. So I started this class to invite
people of all stripes and level of skill to sit down in a comfy place with good
light and great scripts and read out loud together. I give hints for decoding
the blue-print, I provide some context for the plays we read, and I facilitate
discussion about them after wards. The class goes together (love those student
group rates!)to see at least one of the plays performed live on stage.
Sometimes we have a local playwright join us for a Q&A about a work of
theirs we've read in group. The Play Reading Group offers would be actors,
directors and playwrights a way to become more familiar with the form and
audience members a chance to peak behind the curtain.
In your bio, you note that you studied at
the Pasqualini-Smith Studio (the studio Robin Lynn Smith co-founded prior to
her work at Freehold). What stands out
to you thinking back to that time working with Tony Pasqualini and Robin Lynn
1) Commitment. 2) Commitment. 3) Commitment. But seriously, folks... When I
first met Robin Lynn Smith, I thought here is a woman on fire. And on fire for
all the right reasons-- which is the rarest thing. She spoke to the deepest part
of my theatrical longings-- diving without hesitation beneath the cloudy surface.
She made me think it was possible for an ordinary mortal like me to serve the
theatre. I will always be grateful to her for that. The second thing I remember
is that funky old space on Eastlake. It smelled of
reptiles which some guy kept in the basement. We used the back door onto the
fire escape as "The Door", if you know what I mean, The Door which is always
magically locked and cannot be opened by the person outside The Door during
improvs. I was working with Dan Morris on the opening scene from Seahorse, in
which just such a locked door is key. Robin kept coaching me to "stay with the
truth of the moment, do not let him in until he MAKES you let him in." (She
might not have known about my stubborn Finnish heritage.) Finally, after who
know how many minutes of Dan standing on the fire escape (soaking wet, if you
know the scene), pleading and screaming and howling for me to let him in, we
hear from an unknown upstairs neighbor, "FOR GOD'S SAKE, LET HIM IN!" Lastly, I
would feel remiss if I did not mention that watching Tony Pasqualini in rehearsal
and on stage was an education in itself. He was - and no doubt still is, he
lives and works in LA now-- courageous and smart and available and always, always
willing and ready to go THERE - whether getting THERE meant trudging another
furlong down the path he was currently exploring, or turning on a dime and going
180 degrees towards someplace brand new. Remarkable.
When you think about the work you do as an
actor, director and performance coach, what excites or energizes you?
I am still
thrilled by the chance to be of use. I think art is essential to our lives as
human beings. This world is full of distractions that can lead us to forget who
we are, to lose touch with our human-being-ness. Years ago, during rehearsals
for (the Freehold sponsored production of) Uncle Vanya, our
director, Russian-born Leonid Anismov told us that "the purpose of theatre is
the education of the human soul." That still rings true for me. My soul seeks
educating. And if I can pass something of value on to other souls, I want to do
Althea will be teaching our Play Reading Group and an Intro to
Acting class starting this fall quarter at Freehold. For more
information on these classes, call us at (206) 323-7499 or go to
Back to Top ...
Everything Is Changing by MJ Sieber (continued)
We are lucky enough to be living in a time when everything is
changing. The internet has only been used as a household mainstay
for 12 years or so. But this is more than enough time for it to
completely transform the way we view the world around us.
Specifically, what people all over the globe choose to
share. YouTube.com was created in 2005 and allowed everyone with a
camera to be heard by anyone that cared to listen. The result is
not always positive or even interesting to most people but I guarantee you that
for every YouTube video that is uploaded there is at least one other person on
earth that finds it appealing.
The rules are difficult to establish because the art is
moving too quickly for anyone in charge to follow it. I recently
made a movie for a budget of $6000. No one was paid, we had a bare
bones crew and not a single permit to shoot anywhere. We plan to
release it online as ten episodes. In doing this we get to have
complete control over our film and distribute it in whatever fashion we
choose. Granted we will probably not make a single dime from it,
but we are able to offer up our unique vision to the world, uncompromised for
anyone to take or leave.
Ultimately this is what the internet had done to
media. Before, we would tune into the evening news or turn on the
radio and wait to hear about traffic or weather. Now we are able
to take or leave any bit of information that is out there, and choose to do so
whenever we please. As artists this is our biggest tool.
If you want the public at large to see you in a show, reach out to them as
they sip their morning coffee and convince them that it is worth getting out of
the house. Use the web as an intermediary. The more
you produce, the better you will become at figuring out how to tell your
Robin asked me if I would be interested in teaching a class
about viral video making and I leapt at it. I was trained first as
an actor and later as a writer and director. After I graduated
from Cornish College of the Arts, I quickly became interested in creating things
for myself. It is a compulsion. Over the last four
years I have taught myself how to film, write, direct, edit, and distribute
videos online. I feel a great sense of pride for any little
project I am able to put into the ether for my friends and family across the
world to take or leave as they may. I often think of these no
budget videos as street theatre; many people will walk by without giving it a
second thought, but a few will stick around. They will laugh, be
moved or even leave inspired. The greatest gift one artist can
give another is inspiration.
MJ will be teaching Intro to Viral Video Making at Freehold this fall starting October 17th. For more information, call us at (206) 323-7499 or go to: http://www.freeholdtheatre.org/training/special.html#IntroViral
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|SUBPRIME: Solo Performer Learns to Ask for Help by Norman Bell (continued)
Honestly. What the hell was
I thinking? Well, I'm an only child. So
I guess I've got this tendency to want to do everything myself. But in the end, there was so much to do, I was
forced to do something I'm very good at doing: Asking for help. It was hard,
but I had no other choice. I simply could not do everything myself. And so I
asked. And boy did I get some help.
My director is Gin Hammond - Freehold voice teacher
extraordinaire and winner of the Helen Hayes Award for her work on the solo
show "The Syringa Tree". My lighting designer
is Reed Nakayama, who just did a superb job lighting Strawshop's "The Elephant
Man". And most recently, a friend and
talented illustrator Jason Bott agreed to illustrate the slides for my "Larry
the Loan" slide presentation (and if you're asking yourself "Who the heck is
'Larry the Loan?', well, you'll just have
to come to the show to find out.) In addition to this, my wonderful wife Zoe -
a talented writer and performer in her own right - has been one-hundred percent
supportive every step of the way.
As a solo performer, I guess there will always be a part of
me who will want to do it all myself.
But there's another growing part of me who's learning how to ask for
help and then receive it. Because what I'm learning is, even with a solo show,
there's plenty of room to give people the opportunity to use their talents to
help make a project the best it can be.
Norman Bell will be
talking about SUBPRIME! on KUOW Presents this Saturday, September 5
12-1pm. Tune in to 94.9 FM, or visit http://www.kuow.org/kuowpresents/
after Saturday and download the podcast.
SUBPRIME! premieres September 11, 12, 18 and 19, 8pm, at Voxbox. 1205 E
Pike Street. For more info, please visit:
http://subprimetheplay.blogspot.com/ To buy tickets, please visit:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/76878Back to Top ...