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From Emma – Proudly Presenting…

August 23, 2012

The new season is nigh! With summer vacation but a fond memory, we’re all looking ahead and getting into gear for when things really kick off in September. We have new apprentices, new tasks to be distributed among the company, new ideas being developed not only for this season but for seasons to come. It’s a truly exciting time of year, especially with our annual infusion of new blood, because with the new apprentice class, we remember that in the work we’ll be creating this year, anything is possible.

But we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize not only the fabulous original work that we’ll be producing this semester, but our presented works as well.

When we produce original work, we have all sorts of challenges – what will be the specifics of the material? How do we develop that? How can we balance the aesthetic so that everyone’s creative voice is satisfied? And that’s besides the logistics-side questions of things like how will we build a life-sized elephant and where will we find the time to do this right? It takes a lot of discussing and sorting out (and arguing. That’s a big part of the ensemble process).

When we present work created by other artists, friends from the artistic community that we want to bring to our space, the challenges are different – instead of building and buying prop/costume/set bits, we’re bringing in someone else’s and helping them get assembled. Instead of rehearsing our own scenes, we’re watching our friends run through material they already know.

The big challenge, though, is how to get the audience as excited about these artists as we are. We’re lucky to have a real home in the community of Bethlehem and the Greater Lehigh Valley, and our audience recognize us, likes to come to shows to see us, but convincing them to come check out a show by someone we’ve only told them about? That’s a challenge. Marketing these shows tends to involve a lot of what is it that we personally find delightful about these artists and to whom in our community can we best recommend that?

This fall, we have three phenomenal presented works.

The Little Farm Show will be presented out on the Greenway during VegFest on September 8. Created by NACL (North American Cultural Laboratory) Theatre and billed as the “Greatest Show on Dirt,” this is a ridiculously fun two-person show where, in kid-friendly, family-friendly strokes, the performers explore the history of agriculture, sustainable farming, organic food, and why it matters to think about what we eat (And given what your average public school cafeteria food looks like, this is an important message for kids to be hearing!).

Later that night, also in conjunction with VegFest, is Cravings: Songs of Hunger and Satisfaction, a gorgeous cabaret about the things that feed us – in every sense. Belle Linda Hamilton belts out show-stoppers, sets up an onstage kitchen, discusses her Jewish-American heritage, and talks about “Hunger for food. For love. For acceptance. For fame. And for true nourishment!” It’s a beautifully balanced performance of musical skill and personal reflection, plus the audience will get to nibble on the charoset (a sweet spread of spiced fruit, wine, and nuts, part of the Passover meal) she makes during the show.

Finally, in November, we proudly present the acclaimed Kristina Wong, recently returned from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in Going Green the Wong Way. Wong, Los Angeles’ self-described patron martyr of carbon-free living, tells her story of trying to “do the right thing.” Adventures include going door to door trying to talk to people about recycling, presenting a confrontational 6th grade science project, and buying a 1981 pink Mercedes that ran on vegetable oil. It’s easy to want to do the right thing but, Wong explains in detail, actually doing the right thing is awfully tricky.

We hope you’ll join us for our presented artists this year. They’ll be coming from New York, Boston, and LA to be with us for just a few days each, and it’s a great opportunity for you to share the work of some fellow actor-creators that we find to be inspiring and delightful.

The Little Farm show plays September 8 at 1pm on the Greenway. Admission is free.
Cravings: Songs of Hunger and Satisfaction plays September 8 at 8pm. Tickets are $25 / $15 for students and seniors, with group rates available. Buy your tickets online here.
Going Green the Wong Way plays November 16 and 17 at 8pm. Tickets are $25 / $15 for students and seniors, with group rates available.

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