By Reina Hardy
Produced by Shrewd Productions
Vortex Theatre — Austin, Texas
- Director Liz Fisher
- Playwright Reina Hardy
- Scenic Design Ann Marie Gordon
- Lighting Design Patrick Anthony
- Costume Design Monica Pasut
- Video Design Andrew McIntyre
- Sound Design Nick Hart
- Shannon Grounds as Claire
- Ja’Michael Darnell as Devon / M
- Rommel Sulit as Aristophanes
- Trey Deason as Kepler
- Valoneecia Tolbert as Henrietta
““The Afterparty” is the kind of play that only the Reina Hardy could create. Bursting with creativity, but wildly intelligent, its filled with magic and the music of the spheres. In the hands of Liz Fisher and the Shrewd Production crew, the experience becomes something otherworldly, a waking dream, a fleeting phantasmagoria that you won’t want to end. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience the like of which you’re not likely to find again, so make sure you grab a seat, before it’s too late..”
— Ryan E. Johnson, Austin Arts Watch
“Presenting each story and movement piece more as a suggestion for plot connection than continuity, the pairing of the writing by Hardy and direction by Liz Fisher presents new puzzle pieces for the audience to build the bigger picture…Admiring the images created Fisher, this show is an East Austin cup of tea.”
— Amy Tarver, Broadway World
“Here is a massively creative team leading the Austin arts community into more and more original art and performance….She [Liz Fisher] is adept at filling the space and avoiding time gaps into which the audience may fall and become lost.”
— David Glen Robinson, Central Texas Live Theatre
“Where Hardy excels, however, is at creating moments in the text for visual and physical exploration, which director Liz Fisher choreographs beautifully.”
— Andrew J. Friedenthal, Austin American Statesman
“The cast in Shrewd Productions’ world premiere performs well under Liz Fisher’s direction, which keeps the actors in near-constant motion.”
— Elizabeth Cobbe, Austin Chronicle
Hacking the Supernatural
It’s been a busy week.
Coming out of tMoRPH’s hackathon, Haunts had the opportunity to focus on developing the augmented reality application, building samples of the soundscape, and detailing the branching narrative.
In order to showcase this work, we developed, shot, and produced a short film to show folks what Haunts would look like as a livestream experience.
So check out this scene from Haunts.
This next video shows what an audience member’s experience is like when the watch the same scene using the custom augmented reality app on an Android phone.
At the end of our week, the team presented on what we. created. You can see the full presentation on Howlround here. Haunts is the first group to present (right around minute 15) but you should absolutely check out the other group’s incredible work.
Spending a Summer in Development
This summer, I will be working with two incredible organizations on the world premiere of a new Whirligig production, called Haunts. This mixed reality performance will take advantage of the incredible knowledge of members of The Orchard Project’s Liveness Lab while also participating in Toasterlab’s Mixed Reality Performance Hack (tMoRPH).
It’s going to be an exciting summer.
Read more about the Liveness Lab here
Read more about tMoRPH here
Tomorrow the Shakespeare at Winedale Spring Class will perform As You Like It. But instead of strutting and fretting in the Winedale Theatre Barn, this class is making history as the first online performance in the program’s history (and also as the first performance of the 50th anniversary year).
Texas Monthly talked to us about the journey of this production. I am so very proud of these students and this program. I hope we’ll see you in the interwebs tomorrow night.
(Also, big thanks to Kirsten Ha for this beautiful image)
Be The First to see Sow and Suckling at UTNT
Next week kicks off a two week smorgasbord of new plays as part of UTNT (UT New Theatre). There’s only a few performances of these eight exciting scripts, so get your tickets early. I can’t wait to share the extraordinary work of the Sow and Suckling team, so until then, check out this trailer for UTNT.
Henry V named a top theatrical event of 2019
Marisol: Director’s Note
Tonight is opening night of Marisol. These students are tremendous. Their hard work and dedication is to be celebrated. They have welcomed and challenged me in ways that will reverberate long past our closing night. I am so proud of what we have achieved. To honor the incredible spirit of collaboration that guided this team, I wanted to share my director’s note. Thank you, St. Ed’s community.
In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing.
About the dark times.
Tonight’s performance won’t offer you an escape from the growing darkness in society. Our world is the manifestation that Rivera presciently described as he wrote the first drafts of Marisol in the early 1990s. Every day is filled with new news of climate disasters, poverty epidemics, racial violence, and a global crisis of faith. It is hard to remain optimistic in these dark times. And yet, in this epic tale, we watch a young woman set out on a hero[ine]’s journey towards love. She faces extreme incidents of violence, hatred, and horror. Nevertheless, she persists. So why present a play that extols the worst parts of humanity at this moment in time? Because we must.
As the world grows darker, we need stories that can help us understand and ultimately conquer that darkness. We need a place where we can witness, unpack, and process these destructive impulses. Theater creates a space where we can connect over these tasks, while also validating each other, letting others know that you aren’t alone. You can be seen, come home, and find love – no matter what the world throws at you. Marisol reminds us that fighting for hope is worth any sacrifice. And while tonight’s performance won’t solve any of the big problems that Rivera broaches, I hope it energizes you to head back into your personal struggles and fight for what’s right.
ISA and Austin Film Festival – Table Read My Screenplay
Ghost Quartet: Director’s Note
Since Ghost Quartet opens today (get those tickets now) I thought I’d share my director’s note for this beautiful, haunting play. Enjoy!
Staging a Concept Album
Humans need stories. We can create a story out of nothing. We fill in the empty space with the necessary details for a narrative to emerge. Dave Malloy challenges us to do the same with Ghost Quartet, his self-professed “live performance of a concept album.” In the tradition of other brilliant concept albums, like The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars or The Wall, the songs of this musical are linked together by a shared collection of ideas. By freeing ourselves from the constraints of a linear narrative, Malloy’s music evokes emotional responses that, when pieced together, invite us to tell our own story. The genius of this piece is in its ability to serve as a rorschach test for its audiences – everyone sees something different. But the heart of Ghost Quartet remains the same for everyone: the struggle to connect with each other in the face of our perceived shortcomings and personal baggage. And there’s no better way to process one’s demons than to tell a story. We tell stories to help us connect to each other. We invite you to join in that connection tonight.
Writing Retreats and Podcasts
Three years ago, I had the good fortune to spend a week in the beautiful town of Creede, working on a piece that would eventually become Presence, Risk, Acceptance (a treasured collaboration with Kirk Lynn and Robert Matney). Now I’m back, celebrating the fifth anniversary of the National Winter Playwrights Retreat with another script that is in need of development, currently titled Ruby Writes Good.
But aside from writing and rewriting, I hung out Amanda Bermudez and learned more about her exciting project, The American Playbook. This podcast celebrates playwrights, presenting interviews and readings of their new plays. Amanda brought together a fabulous cast of actors to read a favorite short play of mine, Closet Monsters. Check it out here and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on all of the other incredible pieces and artists.