Monday, April 30, 2012

A Midsummer Nights Dream 1

It is my pleasure to announce that A Midsummer Nights Dream is officially underway! We had a successful and hilarious first read through! As one can imagine coordinating 23+ people's schedule is very difficult. We had two different days tentatively scheduled for the read through which did not work. So Sarah randomly picked a day and booked the space. Magically it was the only day most people were able to make. The day was April 23rd...Shakespeare's Birthday! Someone is definitely looking over our production. This is a story that HAS to be told RIGHT NOW with THIS group of people. And can I just say, we have an extremely talented cast! There was already a tremendous amount of warmth and generosity in the room as we read through the script. Andrew and I could barely contain ourselves as we listened to the characters come to life. It was a bit spooky at first, looking around the room and seeing the group as a whole. Sarah and I know everyone from different parts of our lives and suddenly we are all here, together, in one room working on one project. It is truly beautiful how theatre can bring people together like this. 




Wednesday April 25, was Chillicothe Day. Andrew, Jess (Hyppolyta), Kayleigh (Peaseblossom) and I ventured out to Chillicothe to pass out our press release and start getting the word out. We started at my apartment for brunch.

"My heart is true as steel" - Helena to Demetrius

Then we were off! We first visited our new home. Camp Wokanda. Last time we were there, it was nearly dark. Can I just say, the space is even more gorgeous in the daylight! We are so lucky to have this beautiful space to play in and to be working the generous Peoria Park District.

view from the stage

We then visited some vintage stores on our way into Chilli (and found some awesome costume pieces) and walked the main road once in Chillicothe.

As we made our way we came to find out the Chillicothe Independent, the local newspaper, had run a story on us already!

The Great Work has truly begun!

Now we have some hard work to do ourselves to keep this momentum up. But I know we will keep pushing each other along in this journey.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Great Works Begins Theatre Troupe is Born!

Hello Folks!  This is the first post regarding my newest project: An outdoor production of A Midsummer Nights Dream / possibly the start of Peoria's own Shakespeare Festival. Myself, Sarah Tilford, and Andrew Rhodenbaugh are co-producing/co-directing/co-designing and acting in the production too....yikes! Andrew is playing Lysander, Sarah; Helena and I am playing Puck. The three of us founded The Great Work Begins Theatre Troupe which is producing this show as well as several others over the course of the summer/early fall.

This production is something that has been in the works since we closed Angels in America back in November 2011. Our Angels group jived so well with each other and wanted to take advantage of the limited time we had left together. I am so excited that it is finally a reality. The way in which the three of us came together to start this was nothing short of magical and seemed to go from theory to reality in a day. It was beautiful. Before we knew it, we had a space, a script,  a press release (see below), a name for our company, list of contacts AND a cast of 21 people...INCLUDING a stage manager and props master! Whoa! Not bad for a grassroots budding theatre troupe in Peoria!

How we came across our space was a walk in the park...literally. Brenton (Demetrius) and I  went for a walk at Forrest Park Nature Preserve and on a whim stopped into their office to talk about the possibility of producing the play there. They not only agreed but also referred us to Camp Wokanda which had a more secluded space that could accommodate more people. We visited it and fell in love.

We are working with the Peoria Park District who has been so very supportive of all our crazy ideas so far. We DID have to submit an audition video to secure the space. Here is Sarah performing her monologue from Midsummer!

Needless to say, we passed the audition!

Today, Andrew and I pounded the pavement in Peoria Heights handing out our press release to local businesses. So far we have had positive responses and even had our press release posted on a Peoria website see it HERE

Here is our actual press release! 

The Great Work Begins, a new Peoria-area theatre troupe, will present an early June production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream to be performed at Camp Wokanda in Chillicothe.

This all-ages show is scheduled for the first weekend in June, with two shows on Saturday, June 2 and one show on Sunday, June 3. Admission is free and donations can be made to the Peoria Park District before each performance.

This is the debut production for The Great Work Begins, a troupe comprised of three friends and fellow Bradley Alumni who came together performing in productions at Bradley's Hartman Center for the performing arts and Cornstock Theatre's Winter Playhouse. We are excited to offer a new chance for Peoria-area families and individuals to experience live theatre and cannot wait to perform it at such a beautiful outdoor space at Camp Wokanda. Theatre brought us together and we hope our production of A Midsummer Night's Dream will inspire others to take advantage of all the arts, the theatre and the great work that this area has to offer. 

Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is a magical, family-friendly comedy that Shakespeare newcomers and fans alike will love and laugh along with. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon, lost in the dream unfolding onstage.

For further information please contact us at:

We will be paying for all show costs out of pocket and would be grateful to accept donations or sponsors. Any amount of support would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

The Great Work Begins
Theatre troupe

So, there it is folks! The start of an exciting and busy couple of months. I can not wait to see what more great things are going to unfold. I thank my lucky stars everyday that I have Sarah and Andrew in my life and that they are just as passionate and driven as I to put this production. I could not have gotten this far with out them. 

We have big plans for The Great Work Begins Theatre Troupe. We want to bring a new alternative and collaborative form of theatre to the Peoria area that bridges the gap between Bradley, ICC, and the Community theatre groups. Once you see our cast list, I think you will agree that we succeeded. We are working to incorporate all the arts into one great work of art. 

Indeed...the Great Work has Begun!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Natalie's Inspiring Quotes part 1

Hello! For those who do not know ...or can't tell, I am a HUGE quote person. I have decided to compile a list of quotes that inspire me. A lot have to do with art and creation, but there are some that deal with life and love and other themes as well. I hope they can move you as they have moved and helped me.....and please, if there are quotes that speak to you, share them with me! I would love to have more in my collection! And who knows what is going to spark some inspiration!

So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." ~Morrie
When waging war on the battlefield of creation vs. destruction, the warrior often finds that there are those in his or her company whose patience and rigor falters in the face of a seemingly indefatigable foe. but for every hundred of those fallen disgraced soldiers, there are one or two true brothers and sisters who will fight at our side until the end of time; and it is them that we honor and adore....i heard a good quote recently that went something like "the darkest shadows follow those who carry the brightest light." be buoyant, sister-clown. eyes open, mouth wide, eyebrows up! ~ Drew Gilbert

Life is about living to create and do; about making the world a better place as you go throughout it. Happiness, therefore, is a by-product, and is not something to be pursued. Do what you are meant to do with your life, and happiness will come.~ George Bernard Shaw

It has not been definitively proved that the language of words is the best possible language. And it seems that on the stage, which is above all a space to fill and a place where something happens, the language of words may have to give way before a language of signs whose objective aspect is the one that has the most immediate impact upon us. ~ANTONIN ARTAUD

 The genius of clowning is transforming the little, everyday annoyances, not only overcoming, but actually transforming them into something strange and terrific. It is the power to extract mirth out of nothing and less than nothing. ~Grock

The clown has great importance as part of the search for what is laughable and ridiculous in man. We should put the emphasis on the rediscovery of our own individual clown, the one that has grown-up within us and which society does not allow us to express. Jacques Lecoq

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being. ~ Oscar Wilde

Let the world feel the full weight of who you are ~ Steve Snyder 

Words were the decoration on the skirts of action. ~ Meyerhold. 

I have spent the day mixing greens and yellows with blades of grass, threads from my shirt, and sticks, and how I am beginning to feel I have found my own uniqueness in my own art. ~Van Gogh

Keep growing quietly and seriously throughout your whole development; you cannot disturb it more rudely than by looking outward and expecting from outside replies to questions that only your inmost feeling in your most hushed hur can perhaps answer. ~Rilke

"When we are on stage, we are in the here and now."

"The eye is the window of your soul."

"Love art in yourself and not yourself in art."

"Bring yourself to the part of taking
hold of a role, as if it were your own life. Speak for your character in your own person. When you sense this real kinship to your part, your newly created being will become soul of your soul, flesh of your flesh."

to be continued....