Anna’s Summer Adventure

Our summer intern, Anna, is with us for 10 weeks, and this week marks her halfway point! Needless to say, we’re a little sad that it’s going by so quickly.  To cheer ourselves up, we asked Anna a few questions about herself.  Answers below!

AC: Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, but moved around a bit (Malaysia, New Mexico) and ended up in Southern California to go to school.

(Ladies and Gentlemen, she acts too!)

(Ladies and Gentlemen, she acts too!)

AC: How did you get involved with theater?

When I was younger, I remember attending rehearsals with my dad. He was very involved in community theatre where we lived in Greenville, SC and was in quite a few shows. The first show I remember was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He played Reuben and of course had quite the Southern drawl.  I was a pretty shy kid so I never really interacted with anyone. I just liked to sit back and watch. Even as a kid, I can recall that my favorite part about live theater was watching all of the pieces come together. For weeks the actors would learn their lines and blocking while the sets were being constructed and the costumes sewn together. Then one day everything magically came together and everyone is singing “Any Dream Will Do”.

AC: Tell us a little bit about things you do and adventures you like to take.

My kind of adventures include road trips, traveling, cliff jumping, kayaking, thrift shopping, and going to see lots of live theatre like the Hollywood Fringe. My independent nature tends to seek adventure everywhere and there is so much to learn. One of my biggest adventures occurred in Sydney, when I left my university for a year to study theatre there. This experience changed my life and I am so grateful for the opportunity. My current adventure involves writing reviews for the Fringe Festival while working at Antaeus while I figure out what’s next. 

AC: What’s your background in theatre?

I grew up attending community theater rehearsals with my dad and I think the spark just grew from there. I love learning everything there is to know about theatre. I have experience in stage management, directing, producing design, and acting. I love being challenged to try new things and I see myself as a “filler.” This is a term that I came up with to describe my willingness to do anything that is needed for a successful production, even if that means I have to do outside research and learn a new task.  I honestly never thought I could make a career out of theatre, but there are so many opportunities.

AC: How did you discover Antaeus?

I walked by Antaeus last year while attending a Hollywood Fringe show actually. I was headed towards J.E.T. Studios and saw a crowd of people lined up so I thought this was for the show I was seeing. To my dismay, I was a few doors down from where I was meant to be, but this led to a new discovery. After a bit of research and the recommendation from the Theatre @ Boston Court and my friend Dennis Baker, I decided to apply for their LA Arts County Internship position.

BCAC: Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing at Antaeus this summer.

As the production intern at Antaeus, I will be stage managing part two of the season’s Classic Fest as well as some other office and production work. I am looking forward to sitting in on classes and play readings to see how the company’s process works. I have already had the privilege of spying in on a Cross-Gartered Bard class and it’s amazing what happens with Shakespeare does a little gender twist. Their artistic collaboration with classic texts and modern storytelling techniques are very inspirational and enlightening.  I am also in love with the company’s library and can’t wait to spend a lot of time in it.

AC: How has the internship been going so far?

Having to stage manage four productions at once is not the easiest task, but I have enjoyed getting to know so many talented people. There are always things happening at Antaeus, from classes, to readings and rehearsals and it has been fun observing. I have learned a lot about initiating project with fellow enthusiasts in order to get a show up.

AC: What is your favorite thing about Antaeus?

I have loved watching the process that Antaeus takes to produce projects. It is very much a collaborative and lengthy once, but each show is rooted in the passion of the company. First a play proposal goes through a First Read where the play’s initiator rounds up a group to sit and read the play and discuss it. If a project has good reviews it then moves onto ClassicsFest for a staged reading of the show. Each stage allows for a better understanding of the play among the whole company for better or for worse.

AC: What is your favorite play, and why?

This is a multi-faceted question because there are so many different types of “favorite”.

(We wish this were her production of The Tempest. Goth Shakes)

(We wish this were her production of The Tempest. Goth Shakes)

My favorite play that I have performed in was Shakespeare’s The Tempest. This particular production was a devising project that used Shakespeare’s text as a foundation for the show. We incorporated acrobatics, puppetry, original music, but kept the original language and toured to local high schools. I was not the biggest fan of the script at the beginning of the process, but the more we dove into the text, the more I came to love it. I also appreciated the ensemble atmosphere of the rehearsal space and left inspired to create new works.

The Children at the Theatre @ Boston Court was the most beautiful production I have ever been a part of. It was so intricately designed. Every technical element pointed to something different in the story, whether it was the car door masking fridge or the storm sound effects reflecting that of a drowning steel object, everything had purpose. I’m not going to lie, even I didn’t understand half of it until about 4 weeks into the show, but I am so glad I was able to be a part of this wonderful team.

I was fortunate to attend a Sport for Jove production, Macbeth, while I was in Sydney and that is by far the best production I have ever seen. This company performs site specific theatre all around the city, producing phenomenal works performed by talented actors. This particular production was set during World War II on a farm. The war scenes took place in the farm’s barn and the audience was seated on hay barrels in the middle of the fight! We then followed Macbeth back to his home and sat on his porch listening to the family and neighbors unravel all that happened. I had never been engulfed in story until this show.

 The Cagebirds by David Campton was my favorite piece to direct. It is a avant-garde piece reflecting what happens when someone questions the majority. I placed the six main women in a locked room with a barred window set in the 50s. Each was obsessed with some womanly chore and planted on a stool. As the women became agitated by new ideas they caused havoc in the room ultimately leading to a murder. I don’t want to be a director that continues to recycle the same show over and over again, but I would love the opportunity to direct it again, especially now that I have more experience.

Buried Child by Sam Shepard, Miss Julie by Strindberg and Gross Und Klein by Botho Strauss are also on my favorites list.

Anna headshotAnna Hodgson is The Antaeus Company’s LA Arts Commission 2013 Summer Intern. She recently graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a B.A. in Theater Arts.

The Antaean Brain: An Assistant Director’s POV

The company of Mrs. Warren's Profession at Antaeus. Photo by G. Wade

The company of Mrs. Warren’s Profession at Antaeus. Photo by G. Wade

I’m not really sure the first time that Antaeus came into my consciousness, but the company has been one that I’ve wanted to work with for a while: especially because of the urging of some of my mentors, who have all been involved in one way or another. I participated in an Antaeus “down and dirty reading” of James Joyce’s The Dead, a collaboration between the Antaeans and the USC cast of the production that I worked on in college. Now that I’m involved with Antaeus in an official capacity, I have the opportunity to see just how this unique company is able to keep the pulse of classical theater alive in Los Angeles.

MWP_031small

Seeing Double? Bill Brochtrup & Arye Gross share the role of Praed. Photo by G. Wade

One of the things that Antaeus is known for is their use of partner casting; double casting each role and performing with rotating casts through the run of each of their productions. As I watch the rehearsal process unfold, there are several things about the rehearsal process that are illuminated. First, I’ve always been told that no one will hand you anything in life. That seems a broad generalization but there is a piece of truth in it for #MrsWP (the production’s Twitter handle). If an actor is not prepared to work (which, astoundingly, every single actor in this cast always is), the other actor is able to jump in and work. This pushes the rehearsal process along much faster than it normally might. Second, the opportunity to watch the play run its course and then to step into it and experience the journey for yourself is a chance usually only afforded to understudies. Now, it is one afforded to each member of every Antaeus production. The chance for self-reflection is paramount in any rehearsal process and the Antaeans take full advantage.

Daniel Bess & Rebecca Mozo in rehearsal. Photo by G. Wade

Daniel Bess & Rebecca Mozo in rehearsal. Photo by G. Wade

We’re deep into rehearsals for #MrsWP and I’m sort of starting to figure out what I’m doing here. It’s an interesting position to be coming into an established group of people who all have a very similar vocabulary and working method, or “Antaean brain” as I like to call it. This being my first production experience out of college, it’s interesting to segue from an academic/education atmosphere to one that is strictly professional with all attention focused towards the show that will open in a month and a half. What I’ve come to realize over the last few weeks working with Antaeus and the lovely #MrsWP-ers is that this experience is not for me to learn how to negotiate the waters of a Shaw play, however rough and rugged they are, but rather to learn how to translate the vocabularies of fifteen different people into something that I am able to understand and work with, a skill that will be one of the most valuable I will ever learn.

The vernacular of laughter: Director Robin Larsen with Dramaturg Christopher Breyer. Photo by G. Wade

The vocabulary of laughter: Director Robin Larsen. Photo by G. Wade

When you work on a production in college, the performances are really the last thing that’s worried about. It’s about process; it’s about learning. It’s about learning different ways into different pieces and exploring different working methods so that one may ultimately figure out how the hell to make headway in what may seem like an impenetrable work. The one thing that is different is the vocabulary. At USC, everyone works with the same vocabulary, normally the one of the director. If I were to walk into a certain rehearsal and mention that an actor should maintain the fixed point or cultivate a curiosity about their secondary activity, there would be no confusion. Coming to Antaeus, I’m learning how to translate the vocabularies of everyone in the room into my own working vernacular and communicate effectively on several different wavelengths. I’m slowly realizing that this is not a skill to take for granted.

Kaufer_ZachZach Kaufer is our fantastic assistant director on the Spring 2013 production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession.  Zach was very pleased to learn we don’t  “partner cast” our production team. Tickets are now on sale: www.antaeus.org

On an Antaean Summer

It seemed as if we were waiting FOREVER for our LA Country Arts Intern to arrive this summer… and now, after a metaphorical blink of the eye, she only has one week left.  To commemorate the start of the “No More Holly” countdown, Holly Abel shares a few thoughts on her summer with us.

“Internship” is a scary word around college campuses. To most of my friends, the word seemed to represent one of two things: either it was something you were desperately seeking for the upcoming summer, or it was something you had the summer before that was, generally, a horrible experience.

So when I was hired to work as an intern at the Antaeus this summer through the LA Arts Commission, I was simultaneously exhilarated and terrified. Out of my thirty job applications for the summer (yes—literally), it was the one I had wanted the most—but as I was boarding my plane from Minnesota to California in early June, all I could think about were the horror stories that I had heard from my friends at school.  The long, underpaid hours they had been forced to work at their internships…the summers spent doing nothing but hauling ridiculously heavy objects around theatres in the heat and humidity…the contempt with which their supervisors regarded them: the lowest person on the totem pole, the gofer, the INTERN.

As you may imagine, though, this story has a happy ending. On the first day of my Antaeus internship, I was tossed into a Macbeth rehearsal, very quickly learned my way around the theatre, and attempted to memorize fifty-plus new names and faces. It was exhausting and overwhelming—but in a totally and completely awesome way.

As my summer’s gone on, I’ve divided my time assisting the lovely PSMs during rehearsals for Macbeth and A2’s Shakespeare’s King Phycus, and have also spent time working on various projects around the office (have you returned your library books yet!?). I’ve learned more about theatre, and more about myself as an artist, than I ever could have even imagined learning in just a few short weeks. I’m preparing to graduate next June, and thanks to my Antaeus internship, I’ve totally changed the path that I want to go down post-graduation—which is, much like my Antaeus internship was at the beginning of the summer, simultaneously very scary and very exciting. There’s only so much that working in college theatre can teach you, and the Antaeus is very quickly filling in the gaps in my knowledge.

Sadly, my summer at the Antaeus will be ending next week, but I’m eagerly anticipating heading back to Minnesota, spreading the knowledge I’ve garnered this summer to the handful of other Carleton theatre majors, and bragging to all of my friends that my summer internship was way better than any of theirs.

LA County Arts Commission summer intern, Holly Abel, reflects on her summer internship at the Antaeus.