Remember the Hollywood days when newsreel talk-overs screamed mega adjectives like Colossal! Magnificent! As newspaper headlines spun toward the screen, trumpets would herald, “A Cast of Thousands”?
Those days are back – at The Phoenix Theater – as the funniest theatre in town runs its summer production, “Epic Proportions.”
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Thursday, June 11
By David Crane & Larry Coen
Directed by Eric Lewis
The Phoenix Theatre
9673 Firdale Ave.
Artfully Edmonds (AE) is always eager to talk to our community’s theatre managers, so we chased after Christine Mosere (CM) who keeps things tidy at The Phoenix for this epic interview; “epic” because so much is revealed!
You’re asking, “What’s the play about?” Epic Proportions is set in the 1930s, and tells the story of two brothers, Phil and Benny, who go to the Arizona desert to work as extras in a huge (epic, even) Biblical film, Exeunt Omnes. Things move very quickly in this riotous slapstick comedy and before you know it, Phil is directing (for the first time ever!) and Benny is much more than an extra – he ends up with the starring role! Plus they both fall in love!
I know you’d like to hear from Christine about all the backstage silliness – so here’s the transcript:
AE: What quirky, lively, element of “Epic Proportions” should fans of The Phoenix want to know about as they get ready to do the Click! Click! into your online ticket box queue?
CM: I think a fascinating part of this production is how four actors play a “cast of thousands” – literally. They represent 3,400 people! And (warning!) the audience is also used as some of the 3,400 cast members.
Of course, playing such a large cast means lots of costume changes. One of our actors, Phoenix favorite Dan Jacoby, has 11 costume changes.
And Melanie Calderwood has two full costume changes that have to happen in under 30 seconds! That includes changing her shoes, clothes, and wigs!
One of the beautiful things about this play is that the laugh lines are not just jokes thrown out. They come from the situations and the character development. There isn’t really a “laugh line” that is funny when taken out of context.
Example: “Face it Phil, I’m a four, I’ve been a four all my life, and that’s all I’ll ever be” is a line that gets a huge laugh every night… but without knowing what that means (through the set up of the play), well, it just doesn’t “read” funny.
AE: Well our readers will definitely bring their stop watches with them and make a sport of timing the wardrobe changes. Hopping to another topic, how did opening night go?
CM: Opening night was only the second night that the actors had all the costumes to work with. That meant little time to practice those very quick changes.
Our brilliant costume designer, Arin Larson, had her work cut out for her! With only $200 to work with she came up with 40 costumes – stop for a moment and imagine!
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AE: It sounds wild! Chaotic! Madcap, even! Any snafus?
CM: Most of the snafus happened backstage around costume changes. I think the most hysterical incident took place with actors running around backstage trying to locate and sort out their beards–which had fallen off the hooks. It was kind of comical to watch.
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AE: Christine, with all these delectable behind-the-scenes things to look for now – I’m sure our readers are waiting or the ticket link!
CM: Oh! Of course! It’s
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AE: A new tradition for The Phoenix is the wine bar and, in particular, having a wine and chat after the production. How is that going?
CM: The opening night for “Epic Proportions” was the exception for a number of reasons. For our previous show, we went through six bottles of wine. It was fun!
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AE: Does The Phoenix close shop for the summer, or will the Company keep busy?
CM: We don’t close shop but we do calm down. Here is what our summer is bringing:
1) July 18
Free! Donations Accepted.
We will hold our second staged reading of the Pulitzer Prize winning play “A Little Journey” written in 1918 by Rachel Crothers. So we invite our audience to join us for tea, cucumber sandwiches and a little journey.
2) August 1
Our first ever 24 hour festival.
At 10 p.m. on Friday, July 31, four writers, four directors and 16 actors will meet for the first time, and within 24 hours will have written, directed, rehearsed and memorized four show plays–that will be presented to the public at 8 p.m. on Aug. 1. The charge will be “pay-what-you-can.”
3) Aug. 21-30
Times to be announced by Artfully Edmonds
We continue the tradition of presenting another episode of Gilligan’s Island — A parody–complete with commercials.
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AE: How can the community support The Phoenix?
CM: Well, we have an indiegogo campaign and would love community support!
[Christine makes a direct appeal to My Edmonds News readers with this ask:]
Won’t you help us “Bring theatre to those who can’t get out to the theatre on their own”? We will bring our laughter and joy to senior centers and assisted living centers in and around the Pacific NW.
And theatre always needs help with general operating expenses. It isn’t glamorous but is so needed!
Ticket pricing only covers 40% of the cost to produce great theatre. We rely on grants and help from our community. Donations can be made at www.phoenixtheatreedmonds.org and click the “donate” tab.
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Friday, June 12
Wade James Theatre
950 Main St.
Watch for a special sidebar interview of Driftwood Theatre’s Board President, Ted Jaquith – coming up in the next few days!
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Sunday, June 14
1 – 3 p.m.
Sea Jazz and Artists in Action
Port of Edmonds
336 Admiral Way
Stroll our picturesque Edmonds waterfront while taking in two summertime traditions – Sea Jazz and Artists in Action.
The Sea Jazz season for performances by award-winning musicians from the Edmonds School District began this past Wednesday.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming Wednesdays for a 7 p.m. concert, and each Sunday from 1-3 p.m.
Wednesday, June 17/Sunday, June 21
Wednesday, June 24/Sunday, June 28
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Additionally the Artists in Action program, sponsored by the Port of Edmonds, Artworks , and the Edmonds Arts Festival will begin on Sunday, June 14.
The full summer season events roster for what’s happening at the Port of Edmonds can be found here.
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Conference: “Your Future Now”
Lynnwood Convention Center
3711 196th St. S.W.
Scriber Lake High School along with Dr. Cal Crow of the Center for Efficacy and Resiliency will host a conference on June 18 at the Lynnwood Convention Center. Rick Stevenson of The School of Life Project will keynote the conference.
The conference will center on the insights learned at the culmination point of “Creating a Success Culture: Transforming Our Schools One Question at a Time.” Conference topics chronicle the journey toward empowering students. The three-year effort was part of a program called Your Future Now, designed by and funded through a College Spark grant.
“We have made incredible progress in the last three years, reflected by a significant rise in graduation rates and a dramatic drop in suspensions,” says Kathy Clift, principal of Scriber Lake, who is retiring this June after 40 years in education. “I am very lucky to have had this opportunity and I look upon it as my best and most rewarding work.”
Scriber Lake English teacher Marjie Bowker, who spearheaded the project, describes it as “a heart-and-soul book about educating those with traumatic pasts.” The book includes many strategies to use when talking with students, “as well as ways in which to point them in the direction of their dreams and goals for the future.”
Conference sign up here.
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Epic Book Sale!
6725 196th St. S.W.
Then the prices drop again on June 24-25!
Watch for ads and info on an Epic Book Sale as Reread Books does the Presto! Switch-O! location change from Lynnwood to downtown Edmonds and becomes “Spangler Book Exchange.”
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Edmonds Center for the Arts (ECA)
410 4th Ave. N.
ECA is proud to announce the expansion of its Arts for Everyone program.
In a new Arts for Everyone Membership initiative, ECA invites families qualifying for Washington State’s Free and Reduced-Price Meal programs and/or DSHS benefits to purchase $2 tickets to performances in the 2015/16 ECA Family Series.
In ECA’s 2014/15 season, over 1,700 young people attended a live performance through the Arts for Everyone program, which in its pilot year offered subsidized tickets to ECA Education Matinees for high-need schools in our region.
Next season, with the generous support of the Hazel Miller Foundation, ECA is able to continue this commitment to local schools – and expand Arts for Everyone into the 4-performance Family Series.
Qualifying families are invited to apply for an Arts for Everyone Membership card, to be used in person or over the phone through the ECA Box Office to purchase reduced-price tickets to Saturday matinee Family Series performances.
For more information about the Arts for Everyone Membership Program and to apply, please contact Gillian Jones, Education and Outreach Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-275-9483.
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Coming Soon and Happening Nearby!
Shorewood High School Auditorium
17300 Fremont Ave. N.
Under the direction of Ghanaian-born griot and percussionist Eben Pobee, 2015 Cultural Heritage is a myriad of music and dance traditions practiced by West African artists. This years’ exceptional program features world-renowned guest performers representing Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Nigeria, Guinea, and Liberia.
As the program promises attendees will witness the vast influence of West African performance traditions throughout the African Diaspora. Performers will include local Obo Addy Legacy Project- Okropong artists sharing music and dance from Ghana and West Africa at large, and the Seattle Cultural Crew. Also on stage will be Saeeda Wright, currently one of the background singers for PRINCE. (Yes, the Prince you and I know!)
This vibrant and unique celebration highlights unparalleled music and dance performances and will educate the community on an African Chief Installation/Procession process, plus an exhibition on how a Ghanaian Chief is installed. The cultural event will also offer a rare viewing of the procession of the Chief and His Queen and sub-chiefs.
A fashion show is planned, and, of course, there will be traditional Ghanaian cuisine.
— By Emily HIll
Emily Hill is the author of two novels and a short story collection. She also writes the “Lynnwood Lifestyle” column for Lynnwood Today. Emily is retired from a career in public information and news media relations. If you would like your event listed, or featured, in Artfully Edmonds, Emily invites you to contact her at email@example.com.