Congratulations to our very own Chad and Lisa Siebert on the birth of their son Nicolas Steven Siebert
Congratulations to our own Steve Emily and Jodi Papproth......and welcome to Cormac Alton Emily
Review: Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter
By Cherise Fantus Sat, Jul 2, 2011
Colorado Springs Independent
“The other characters offer a deeper understanding into human suffering. As each of them is also going through varying personal issues, they are able to help Jenny on her path to rediscovering herself. They also add some comic relief, which is extremely important to a story that could easily have become unbearably heavy. Moments of deep emotion and sorrow are complemented nicely by moments of absolute absurdity.”
To read the entire review, click the link below.
Marine seeks wholeness amid the sum of her broken parts
July 7, 2011
“It's rare to see the female military perspective ever explored on film or stage. That the Springs Ensemble Theatre's intimate production is being presented in Colorado Springs, home to the Air Force Academy, Fort Carson and other military installations, only enhances its impact on an audience that's seeing a surge in maimed veterans in numbers not equaled since the Civil War. And that makes gender ultimately irrelevant to a story that is simply, deeply, human.”
Click the link below to read the rest of the review:
company finds new home, despite odds
10, 2011 3:30 PM
Gazette Article: http://www.gazette.com/entertainment/mikemiller-112656-springsensembletheatre-%22thesmellofthekill%22.html
House-hunting is a
drag, especially when you’re looking for something cheap, in good shape,
centrally located and with good parking and enough room to accommodate an
audience of 40 or more.
“Two, count ’em, two bathrooms,” said Mike Miller, a member of the Springs
Ensemble Theatre, as he opened the door to the company’s new 2,400-square-foot
storefront at Cache La Poudre Street and Union Avenue. He looked around the
sprawling room that will be the lobby when the company opens “The Smell of the
Kill” on March 3. “We can do anything we want with this place.”
The upstart company, founded in 2009, had been working in Watch This Space, a
multiuse performance hall created by artist-performer Tom McElroy. When McElroy
didn’t renew the lease at the end of 2010, SET was sent packing.
“There’s no way to do it economically, unless you’re open every day,” McElroy
said. “Or at least have something every weekend. … If we did our stuff and
something like SET, we needed another organization to come in.”
The problem — “a huge, huge problem,” said Susan Edmondson, executive director
of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation — is the lack of halls here for midsize and
small arts companies. She should know: The foundation provides grants to
regional arts groups.
“In older cities, East Coast cities are filled with old buildings that are
ideal for artists to do their things,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of those
places to do that in here.”
Performing companies like the Springs Ensemble Theatre, Star Bar Players and
Ormao Dance Company, the last of which is homeless right now, have special
requirements: Perhaps most important, rehearsals and performance runs require a
theater for weeks, not just a night.
Miller looked at more than a dozen locations for Springs Ensemble Theatre. “One
told me that we had to strike the set every night,” said Miller, shaking his
The space needs work, and Miller will likely do a lot of it, including painting
the walls in the theater proper, putting in a door from the green room to the
front of the house and painting lobby walls, currently a dirty yellow.
The company intends to open the as-yet-unnamed space to other companies. Just
who and when is yet to be decided.
“It’s almost like the start of the company,” said co-founder Chad Siebert. “We
just don’t have all the answers yet.”
Gazette Article- 9/30/10
A woman's tough choice: Keep the breast or stay alive, asks SET play by T.D. MOBLEY-MARTINEZ
“So the humor keeps us going when it gets a little heavy and the seriousness of the piece keeps us grounded.” Let’s start with the word “breasts.”
Then go on to more colorful monikers like milk trucks, dirty pillows, headlights, poppers, the twins and Winnebagos. Sweater kittens, too. And tits, tatas and boobs.
Don’t worry. Wincing is allowed, maybe even required for the full impact of playwright Jackie Rosenfeld’s challenging “Keepingabreast.”
The play, which includes revealing imagery and, of course, certain words, opens today. It’s the final offering of Springs Ensemble Theatre’s challenging first season.
“This will be thrilling, but put people off because it’s too much in their faces,” says director Susan Dawn Carson, a respected director as well an actress with a Broadway pedigree. “It’s an interesting journey.”
Mina is 28, single and happy enough with her body. Then she finds a marble-size lump in her breast. Chemotherapy fails to reduce it. And at the beginning of the play, her doctor (Chris Varano) tells Mina she has two weeks to choose: A mastectomy, which has the best chance of eradicating the cancer, or the lumpectomy, a procedure that will save her breast but possibly kill her.
“This should be an easy decision, shouldn’t it?” Mina (Sarah S. Shaver) asks the audience during the first act. “It’s the matter of my life, right?”
She embarks on a funny and profound odyssey in which she talks to a clerk in a porn shop, a nursing mother, a cancer survivor, a stripper and others (all played by four other cast members) about what breasts mean to them and by extension, to American culture in general.
“Jackie has this great quote,” says Shaver, laughing. “Breasts are these things we worship and obsess over, abuse and dress up and call funny names. They are these strange, crazy things to a lot of people.”
Shaver met Rosenfeld while they were pursuing graduate degrees in theater at Texas Tech University. She directed the first production, which she says was the result of hundreds of hours of work with Rosenfeld.
“The production I did is special to me and my heart, but this is not my production,” says Shaver, who also co-produces it with ensemble member Miriam Roth Ballard. “This is a new thing.
“It’s really exciting to see this company taking the same exact script and coming up with ideas that I never even considered in 2006.”
Shaver and the play came to Carson as a package deal. It turned out just fine. Carson likes the company — many of whom she’s previously worked with — and the play.
“I thought it was interesting. There are days in rehearsal process when it’s more of a breast cancer play and days it feels like a boob play. It’s fascinating how it intertwines.”
It’s not a scenario unfamiliar to the cast. In fact, Carson’s mother died of breast cancer.
“Early on in rehearsals the personal stories started coming up. ... It’s touched everyone in some fashion.
Glengary Glen Ross
CS Independent Article- 7/15/10
SET revives David Mamet's classic Glengarry Glen Ross by Sarah White
"It's been over 25 years since this was written, and I think America has gotten even more cynical about business corruption," Siebert says. "It's almost like a given, we expect companies to be corrupt — just look at Toyota and BP." It's a Thursday night in late June and seven men surround a poker table, cussing, drinking and blowing off steam.
It would be typical, even clichéd, were this scene not actually a play rehearsal. The seven are actors, developing their characters in a more dynamic way than by repetitively blocking scenes.
Such are the methods of Glengarry Glen Ross director Lisa Siebert, who's been obsessing over David Mamet's plays since high school. As one of the founding members of the newly formed Springs Ensemble Theatre, Siebert is part of the effort to bring more edgy and challenging plays to town.
And few major playwrights offer material as raw and gritty as does Mamet, whose dialogue is often called "Mamet Speak."
"It's very quick, interrupted, short phrases, lots of heavy profanity and once you get into it, it becomes a rhythm," she says.
Though set in Chicago, Glengarry Glen Ross offers a portrait familiar to virtually all Americans: that of the dog-eat-dog business world. Unlike the well-known film version of the play that came out in 1992 — which Siebert felt tried to elicit sympathy for the desperate real estate salesmen and contrive a happier ending — Siebert sticks with the original 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning play for SET's staging.
"Our version definitely is a colder, more sardonic version ... our play distances from the salesmen and looks at the big machine they're a part of," she says. "... We kind of tend to screw each other over for our own gain. It's just the way our economy is set up, and this play definitely exploits that."
Provided the current condition of the national economy and the greed-laden origins of its downturn, SET couldn't have picked a more appropriate time to revive such a script.
Gazette Article- 7/8/10
More angry men: ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ plays with language and men’s souls by BY T.D. MOBLEY-MARTINEZ
For director Lisa Siebert, “Glengarry Glen Ross” had a special resonance. Of course, she’d read playwright David Mamet’s ode to a dog-eat-dog office of real estate salesmen. Of course, she loved it. But it wasn’t until leaving college and working in law firms for about 15 years that she felt the full force of Mamet’s tough vision of the American workplace. The play is the penultimate offering of Springs Ensemble Theatre’s first season. “Glengarry Glen Ross,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1984, opens Thursday, July 15.
“I encountered, shall we say, some oppressive workplaces. So I guess I’m kind of drawn to pieces that kind of deal with the workplace — what it used to be, what we think it is and what it’s not. I think that has a special resonance now. A lot of people lost their benefits and any feeling of security in their jobs. “I ended up quitting and, ironically, ended up working in real estate.” She laughs. What follows is Siebert on Mamet’s poetic and colorful language, the play’s cast of antiheros and the potential influence of the film on audiences.
Question: Of course, this is one of the first movies to bring attention to Mamet’s storytelling and emblematic language. Do you think that the audience’s familiarity with the movie is a positive or a negative?
Answer: I think it’s a huge plus. I think audiences will be surprised when they see how funny it is. I think the film had a depressing layer put on it. I think our piece finds a lot of humor. It’s sardonic humor, but it makes us laugh.
Q: Like many of Mamet’s plays and films, “Glengarry” uses expletives liberally. Did you debate about mounting a production that might alienate potential ticket buyers?
A: I actually think that language is very beautiful. But I went to school in Chicago in the late ’80s, (which was home to) Mamet and (Harold) Pinter. I think the language is used extremely effectively to define the character.
Q: Speaking of Mamet’s use of language, how important is it that your actors get the complex poetry of pauses, ellipses and unfinished sentences just right?
A: I think it’s important. … Some of the actors have told me that as they were working on the lines, they found they were paraphrasing. But when they went back and focused on the syllables, it worked much better. Mamet has said that actors should not overlay a bunch of emotion not necessarily connected with (the words). I just ask them what are you doing, what do you want, how do you feel. I tried to go at it from his thoughts on acting. I don’t agree with everything, but it’s really magical when you cull it down to the specific action. When you crystallize that and everything is bubbling around that, it gets pretty exciting.
Q: “Glengarry” is essentially a play about very unlikable characters. What makes it work?
A: I think one thing is, on a fundamental level, it’s a little bit of a whodunit. That drives the second act. And I think recently everyone’s gotten hurt by American business and there are some things that are wrong. For me, it’s the exposure of that and actually saying these things are wrong.
Q: When I think of “Glengarry,” the first thing I go to is Alec Baldwin’s “always be closing” monologue. That’s not in the play, though.
A: I don’t miss it. I don’t miss it at all. Here, you don’t get all the information. You get exposition in spurts. You don’t exactly know for sure what’s gone wrong or what’s happened. As an audience, you are just trying to piece together what you get. Blake (who is played by Baldwin) fills in those blanks for the film. As a theater audience you get to work a little harder, which I think is fun. The play has its own pleasure to it.
Q: I understand that Mamet has a few edicts for directors.
A: They made it very clear that you can not cast women or insert the Baldwin monologue. I was appalled (that anyone would want the monologue). It’s like cutting a chunk out of a painting and slapping on a patch.
Q: Is there any danger of imitation by your actors?
A: Of the film? No, I think they’ve done a good job — or together we’ve done a good job of starting the character from the inside out. … I’m not worried about applying the diction to it. Some things come out the way you think it would. Some come out very differently, depending on the actor, which is interesting. I think they’re coming from a real place.
A PREVIEW If you’ve seen almost any movie or play by David Mamet, you’ll likely recognize his oddly precise language. Each pause, each unfinished sentence, each bit of slang is carefully charted like the footwork of some new dance. It’s almost alway quite beautiful, if sometimes the meaning isn’t quite clear. In this example from “Glengarry Glen Ross,” a sales contest that will leave all but the two top sellers without a job drives two salemen to discuss the possibility of stealing the new sales leads before they’re given to their co-workers. Aaronow: And you’re saying a fella could take and sell these leads to Jerry Graff.
Aaronow: How do you know he’d buy them?
Moss: Graff? Because I worked for him.
Aaronow: You haven’t talked to him.
Moss: No. What do you mean? Have I talked to him about this? (Pause.)
Aaronow: Yes. I mean are you actually talking about this, or are we just …
Moss: No, we’re just …
Aaronow: We’re just “talking” about it.
Moss: We’re just speaking about it. (Pause.) As an idea.
Aaronow: As an idea.
Aaronow: We not actually talking about it.
Aaronow: Talking about it as a …
Aaronow: As a robbery.
Moss: As a “robbery”?! No.
Aaronow: Well. Well
CS Independent Article- 2/11/10
A new theater company takes to the airwaves to make waves at Watch This Space by Whitney Bryen
As for a showing of good faith on being provocative, there's certainly no better man for the job than Barry Champlain. He and this new dark horse of Springs theater are ready and excited to mouth off. Night Talk host Barry Champlain to a caller: "You're a dimwit. Instead of brains, you have sawdust between your ears. If I sounded half as stupid as you do, I'd be too embarrassed to open my mouth."
He may sound like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, but in the Springs Ensemble Theatre's debut performances of Talk Radio, Champlain promises to put these shock jocks to shame.
Talk Radio is an antagonizing rendition of Eric Bogosian's most notable play, which was adapted to film in 1988 by Oliver Stone. It tracks the arrogant, abusive and condescending Champlain as he torments opinionated callers during his nationally syndicated broadcast. Topics range from race to antisemitism to homosexuality.
Steve Emily, a professional actor since 1991, plays the lead character.
"Barry is like Dr. Frankenstein, and the callers are his monster," Emily says. "It's his masterpiece when they are strapped to the table and controllable, but on this night callers are flying off the table and he loses control."
And yet Emily believes "there is a little Barry in us all."
Apparently, SET's members have managed to keep their inner Champlains in check while coming together as a theatrical troupe. The 15 players range from fresh 20-somethings to seasoned theater veterans with exposure in film, television, theater and teaching, according to Miriam Roth Ballard, a 30-year stage veteran (and a Hewlett-Packard sales rep) who plays Linda, Champlain's love interest.
Roth Ballard says the group, whose inner workings are based on committee and majority votes, was formed when several members decided to stop complaining about what they wanted to see done in local theater and to do it themselves.
In Emily's words: "We want to be able to say 'fuck' without worrying about pissing off our subscribers."
Both Ballard and Emily say SET aims to provide high-quality, envelope-pushing theater on a low budget. Talk Radio introduces the feisty attitude that promises to carry through SET's productions of David Mamet's Glengarry Glenn Ross in July and lesser-known Texas-based playwright Jackie Rosenfeld's keepingabreast during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Eventually, they hope to see area actors using locally written scripts.
"The other local companies have to do high-quality stuff that puts butts in the seats," Roth Ballard says. "We want to do more provocative things and challenge the audience."
Not that SET's uninterested in putting "butts in the seats." But its financial pressures are somewhat alleviated by support from a generous, anonymous backer and from other sources, like the proceeds of a theater summer day camp; members ran one for sixth-graders through high school seniors last summer, and plan another for this summer.
Gazette Article- 2/4/10
New theater company opens with explosive microphone by Lauren Arnest
“The worst caller a radio host can get is the person who says ‘I agree with everything you say,’” adds Plambeck. “I want a reaction when he throws the rat.”
That’s director David Plambeck at a recent rehearsal of Eric Bogosian’s “Talk Radio,” the Springs Ensemble Theatre’s (SET) chosen vessel for its maiden voyage, opening Thursday in the Depot District.
The newly formed SET has promised to bring edgier, more adult fare to the city’s theater scene, and “Talk Radio” — flying rats and all — certainly seems to fit that mission.
Barry Champlain is the fictional host of a late-night radio talk show, and he embodies every obnoxious “shock jock” listeners admire or revile.
During the broadcast that frames the play, he fields calls on topics as diverse as garbage disposals and God, along with death threats. Ramping up the verbal sword play, he is mindful that among his listeners are producers from a syndicate considering taking his show national.
Written in 1987, made into a movie a year later, and produced on Broadway in 2007, the play has remained oddly timeless — talk radio being, if anything, more popular today.
Actor Steve Emily, who plays Champlain, was amazed at how well the play has held up.
Emily is never finer than when portraying volcanic tempers bubbling under gossamer-thin attempts at civility, and it was he who suggested the play to SET.
“Everyone likes angry guys,” he jokes.
But beneath Champlain’s vitriol is a melting marshmallow core of vulnerability, a delicious challenge for any actor.
The play appeals to Emily and Plambeck in another respect: Both are former radio announcers who appreciate the artistry of Champlain’s on-air performance.
“Once the energy (in radio) drops, it’s hard to get back,” says Plambeck, recalling a difficult radio audition when he was asked to talk about a matchstick for two minutes.
“Champlain knows how to keep the energy flowing.”
The parade of oddballs who call in to the show add yet another dimension. Each actor in these fun roles has multiple characters to portray through voice alone.
“Talk Radio” explores conflict for conflict’s sake. Champlain’s conflict with his callers, his colleagues, and within himself permeates the show like a musical dissonance yearning to resolve.
But, explains actor Jeff Miller, “Conflict is central to everything we do in the theater. Without it there is no story.”
And no entertainment either.