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Send in the Clowns. And the Acrobats. And the Musicians. And ... . : Daniel Rairdin-Hale Directs "Commedia Dell’arte," April 17 through 19 at St. Ambrose University, and April 25 and 26 at Additional Davenport Venues PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Saturday, 11 April 2015 06:00

Jackson Green, Kayla Lansing, and Vince Solis in Commedia Dell'arte

Originated in Italy in the 16th Century, the theatrical form commedia dell’arte traditionally finds a group of actors participating in a comedic scenario featuring slapstick conceits called mécanisme. And for his original commedia dell’arte presentation at St. Ambrose University, one fittingly titled Commedia Dell’arte, director Daniel Rairdin-Hale insists that he and his cast have come up with some mécanisme doozies.

“We have one that involves the whole cast running after a coveted object,” says Rairdin-Hale. “As someone is running past it, the object gets taken. And then the person who took it gets punched and trips, and it winds up in someone else’s hands. And then that person tosses it, and someone else catches it, and then it winds up in someone else’s hands. And then it becomes like a baseball game ... .

“It just goes and it goes and it goes and it goes,” he continues, “and it’s really well-rehearsed. And we’re going to fit that into our scenario ... once we know what our scenario is."

You Can Go Home Again: Dana Moss-Peterson on His Acting Career and Directing "13th of Paris," March 13 through 22 at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 05 March 2015 06:00

Dana Moss-PetersonIn recent years, 36-year-old actor Dana Moss-Peterson has been asked to play several characters far younger than himself.

During flashback scenes in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre’s 2013 Death of a Salesman, Moss-Peterson played Biff Loman when he was a high-school senior and local football hero. For more than half of 2011’s Leaving Iowa at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, his Don Browning was a younger teen enduring an excruciating family vacation. In New Ground Theatre’s 2012 Mr. Marmalade, the actor – not in flashback – portrayed Larry, a comically morose, suicidal five-year-old. (It’s that kind of play.)

Consequently, it makes a sort of sense when Moss-Peterson says his interest in theatre began when he was even younger than Larry.

A Coupla Theatre Guys Sittin’ Around Talkin’: Mike Schulz and Thom White Discuss 2014's Area Stage Scene PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 18 December 2014 06:00

the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Irving Berlin's White ChristmasIf you’re new to this almost-annual recap, what follows is my conversation with Reader theatre reviewer Thom White about the area’s stage stage over the past 12 months.

If you’re not new to it, you know the drill. Clear some time, grab a snack, and enjoy!

Cold Temps, Cool Shows: Winter Theatre in the Quad Cities PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 24 November 2014 06:00

Ballet Quad Cities' The Nutcracker, at the Adler TheatreAs someone who’s been privileged to write about local theatre for nearly 10 years now, I can’t begin to describe the sheer tonnage* of correspondence I’ve amassed from people who are curious about upcoming area stage productions. Please allow me, then, this attempt at answering all your questions about the forthcoming winter-theatre season through just a few of the hundreds** of letters, e-mails, and texts I’ve recently received on this subject***.


*Perhaps an exaggeration.

**Definitely an exaggeration.

***Some of which I may have made up.

"Blonde" Ambition: Lauren VanSpeybroeck Reflects on Her (Pre-College) Theatrical Career PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 06:00

Lauren VanSpeybroeck, courtesy of Nick West PhotographyAs with many things in life, it can be blamed on a friendly purple dinosaur.

“I used to be obsessed with Barney,” says area actor Lauren VanSpeybroeck of her pre-school interest in performing. “I always used to pretend I was on Barney [& Friends], so I guess that’s where it started. And then I would see, say, The Wizard of Oz or something, and for that week, I would be Dorothy Gale from Kansas. My mom would take me to the grocery store and people would say, ‘Oh, you’re so cute – what’s your name?’ ‘Dorothy Gale from Kansas.’

“That,” says VanSpeybroeck with a laugh, “was probably when my mom was like, ‘Hmmm ... maybe she wants to play characters ... ?’”

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