Monday, October 17, 2005


"Open Stage Variety Show opens"

"Open Stage Variety Show opens"
by Rob Calvert
Antioch Record, October 14, 2005

The Open Stage Variety Show, brainchild of student Vanessa the Curator, opened for its first show Friday night. Essentially a talent show in which any form of written, visual, or performance art is free to take the stage, the Open Stage Variety Show was created to include more kinds of art than similar events at Antioch.

"I like to think of it as a kind of open mic night, only better, because with an open mic you just have literature or poetry and maybe some music. But this is music, dance- which is why we want it in the theatre, more open space for dance- we're probably going to have video showings, theatre, improv, anything that can happen on stage," Vanessa said.

The Variety Show began low key with people conversing in the aisles, occasionally getting up for a drink or snack at the entrance. A resident DJ known as Earthdog provided music. Everything was very relaxed in preparation for the show.

Once the show got started it included poetry readings, singing, as well as skits and live theatre from Antioch students as well as faculty and visitors.

Katie McDermott read two poems, "That Marilyn Appeal" and "Aurelin and Thalo". Josh Amses read an untitled prose piece. Theatre professor Louise Smith sang two original songs and read a prose piece she wrote to a song by Laurie Anderson. Emma Woodruff played two unfinished songs. Vee Levene and Jill Summerville did a structured improv sketch, "Bus Stop", which they will also do at the next show to include audience participation due to the sketch's controversial nature. Katrina Molnar did a modern dance about codependency.

"This is the first in the series so it's going to be pretty casual, there's not a lot of performers. It's been advertised, but not as much as it could be. I wanted to start it out small to see how it works because this is a new thing in this community. Cabaret Horace has been kind of a big thing in the past but this is a little bit different. Tonight [was] really just to test out the format of it and respond to it," Vanessa said.

Vanessa says she was inspired to start the Open Stage after co-opping at Dixon Place, a non-profit performance space in downtown Manhattan. There she ran the stage and house for many shows, sometimes single-handedly, learning what it takes to run nights of shows in a theatre.

"[It was] an idea I've had for years. But before, I didn't know where to start, I couldn't visualize it," Vanessa said.

"Previously my theatre experience and education has focused either on the creative- writing, performing, directing- or on tech and stage [management] for individual shows. But with Dixon Place I gained more experience setting up shows, dealing with the audience, things like that," Vanessa said.

If the variety show successfully takes shape into the Antioch community, Vanessa says, it will provide artists of all kinds a chance to express and perform their work for a live audience as well as a good Friday night's entertainment.

The Open Stage Variety Show has four more performances: October 21, November 4 and 18, and December 12. Each show is on a Friday at 8pm at the Antioch Theatre's Experimental Stage.

the full online half of the interview

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