HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ACTORS REP!

Wishing all of you a joyous and healthy 2019

2018 was another exciting and productive year for Actors Repertory Theatre Luxembourg (Actors Rep) and we look forward to a great 2019.

In March we began a residency at Bamhaus, the creative industries co-working space in Dommeldange. We presented our June production, Anne Nelson’s THE GUYS, there in June. This was the culmination of a multi-year desire to produce this beautiful and moving play about a New York City firehouse Captain seeking out a writer to help him memorialise the men he lost in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center.

The production featured Actors Rep Associate Artistic Director Christine Probst and Artistic Associate Peter Zazzali, who travelled again from the US to work with us. Probst, Zazzali and Artistic Director Erik Abbott, who directed the show, were all living in New York at the time of the attacks.

THE GUYS was met with acclaim (and tears) from critics and audiences alike. Thank you to all who came to see and support the production and to the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Kansas (where Zazzali is an Associate Professor and the Associate Chair) for granting him leave to come again to Luxembourg.

Christine Probst and Peter Zazzali in THE GUYS (Photo by Margo Skwara)

In July and August, the Actors Rep production of Abbott’s solo play, #WTF HAPPENED? ON THE PHENOMENON OF TRUMP, was revised and revived for three performances in Luxembourg (at Café Rocas) before travelling to Kansas City, Missouri (US), to be presented in the Kansas City (KC) Fringe Festival. The revival, again directed by Christine Probst, was enthusiastically received by audiences and critics in Luxembourg and KC, and it was named one of the Festival’s ‘Best of Venue’ shows. #WTF HAPPENED? is now Actors Rep’s most-seen production.

Erik Abbott in #WTF HAPPENED? ON THE PHENOMENON OF TRUMP
(Photo by Margo Skwara)


For the festive season, we once again presented our holiday (almost) classic, DEAR SANTA…, for six public performances (at Café Rocas) and for two private events, one at Arendt House in Kirchberg (where we produced BIG BOYS in 2017), and the other at Brasserie Bosso in the Grund for the Ireland Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce (ILCC).

This year’s production was directed by the wonderful Matilda Hansson (with tech support from Mayalani Moes). Probst and Abbott reprised their roles as the married couple writing letters to Santa, planning the annual celebrations with their extended family, and reviewing their gift list.

Audiences again loved the show and we as a company had a terrific time doing it.

Next year?

At your company or association’s holiday event?

It’s never too early to plan.

Get in touch and we can meet to discuss bringing this theatrical burst of seasonal cheer right to you.

Christine Probst and Erik Abbott in DEAR SANTA…

(Photo by Margo Skwara)

In November we presented a playwriting workshop, THE GREAT LUXEMBOURG PLAY BAKE-OFF, based on the ‘Bake-Off’ workshops popularised by Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Paula Vogel. In the workshop (led by Abbott), participants were given a list of ‘ingredients’ which they used in plays they wrote over a course of a few days. It was great fun and the performing world now has a few new scripts!

So what is Actors Rep doing in 2019?

We are still in the planning stages for the coming year — looking over a few of the many many plays we’d love to produce, considering possibilities for workshops and classes, and as always, comprising our wish list, which is very much the same as it has been: increasing our financial support and finding affordable space(s) for performance, rehearsals, administration, storage, etc.

As of the end of 2018, we have, with sadness, had to end our residency at Bamhaus. The costs of continuing were simply no longer viable. We are deeply grateful to the team there — Ben Barnich and Christian Muno — and the other creatives who make it their home for their help and encouragement. We hope it may be possible at some point to return.

Professional theatre requires extensive resources. Almost everyone in the business — almost everywhere — continually scrounges to scrape together enough for the next project. We are no different. Our limited resources mean that we mostly produce small cast productions with correspondingly limited technical requirements.

We have embraced these limitations and have worked to hone an artistic aesthetic focused primarily on acting and directing and the production of strongly theatrical (and frequently new) writing. This year we honoured the ‘repertory’ part of our name by reviving two of our most popular shows. We believe the results are as artistically solid as any — that we have created and that we continue to create excellent professional theatre out of very little.

The responses from our audiences validate that belief again and again.

We are, however, always willing to work with more. A stronger financial footing would allow us to plan further in advance, to consider bigger projects, to approach potential collaborators — and to apply to join the Luxembourg Theater Federatioun.

So if you know of a space that is potentially a good fit, please get in touch.

If you want to contribute to our continuing commitment to delivering passionate, professional, thought provoking English-language theatre to Luxembourg audiences, please get in touch.

We need your help to continue the work no other theatre company in Luxembourg is doing.

Thank you for your support and for a great 2018. We hope to see you at the theatre again soon!

We wish all of you a happy and safe 2019.

DEAR SANTA… Returns! The Holiday Treat is Back!

DEAR SANTA… Returns! The Holiday Treat is Back!

Actors Repertory Theatre Luxembourg (Actors Rep) announces the 2018 public performances of the  Christmas comedy

Dear Santa

 

Performances:

Café Rocas / ‘Place des Bains’ / 33 rue des Bains / 1313 Luxembourg

  • Wednesday, November 28th 
  • Thursday, November 29th
  • Thursday, December 6th
  • Tuesday, December 11th
  • Wednesday, December 12th
  • Thursday, December 13th

All shows are at 7.30pm (19.30).

Tickets: 15€ / Students 10€

ActorsRep.tickets@gmail.com or (+352) 35 63 39

This sweet and funny short play (approximately 45 minutes), which Luxembourg Times critic Sarita Rao called ‘delightfully witty’, reveals a couple, still very much in love, making plans for the holiday season. They explore a latent childlike sense of wonder by writing letters to Santa—one more willingly than the other—and review their gift list, chuckling (and fretting) about their extended families, celebrating their connections, and touchingly and humorously assessing their own relationship.

Dear Santa… is a warm cup of festive joy.

‘It’ll put the spice back in your eggnog and the sprinkles on your sugar cookies.’ – Wendy Winn, Delano.

Matilda Hansson directs Christine Probst and Erik Abbott in this little soupçon of holiday charm.

Tickets 15€  /  Students 10€

Email: ActorsRep.tickets@gmail.com

Phone: (+352) 35 63 39

 

Dear Santa… is also completely portable and is available as an entertainment for seasonal parties and events.DEAR SANTA... Returns! The Holiday Treat is Back!Actors Rep can bring this charming cup of seasonal cheer right to you!

Share the gift of theatre with your colleagues and employees!
For details and information contact Actors Rep at ActorsRep.Erik@gmail.com.

www.ActorsRep.lu

Workshop: The Great Luxembourg Play Bake-Off!

 

Actors Repertory Theatre Luxembourg (Actors Rep)

announces

 

THE GREAT LUXEMBOURG PLAY BAKE-OFF

A fun, two-part playwriting workshop.

 

 

First Meeting: Thursday, October 18 / 7.30pm (19.30) – 10.30pm (22.30)

Second Meeting: Saturday, October 27 / 10am (10.00) – 4pm (16.00)

 

At Bamhaus: 18A / 18D rue de la Cimenterie, L-1337 Luxembourg-Dommeldange

 

What is a ‘Play Bake-Off?’

 

In 1984 a group of playwrights, including Pulitzer Prize winning Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive, The Baltimore Waltz, Indecent), met in a New York City loft to ‘complain’ about their careers. In frustration, they decided to create a ‘formula’—a recipe for what might make a successful new play. They came up with a list of ingredients and went home, each to write a play in 48 hours using those ingredients. They called it ‘The Great American Play Bake-Off’.

 

Vogel has since led numerous ‘Bake-Off’ events and inspired many others to do the same.

 

Now Actors Rep is bringing the idea to Luxembourg.

 

The ‘Play Bake-Off’ exercise is for playwrights of all levels who want a fun opportunity to write a new play just for the joy of doing it.

 

Participants will meet twice.

 

At the first meeting, we’ll talk about plays and playwriting, do a short writing exercise to awaken our writing muscles, and will be given a short list of ‘ingredients’ for a new play. We’ll then go away and write a play, using all the ‘ingredients’ on the list.

 

We’ll meet a second time and share our work, read scenes aloud, enjoy the work, and share our experiences with the process.

 

Playwright / actor / director Erik Abbott will facilitate the Bake-Off.

 

Please join us!

 

Cost: 75 €

 

Registration and information: ActorsRep.Erik@gmail.com

 

Space is limited.

Actors Rep and #WTF HAPPENED? at the KC Fringe: A Reflection

 

Wow.

What an amazing experience.

Six performances, audiences that exceeded everyone’s expectations, enthusiastic responses, an opportunity to broaden Actors Rep’s reputation and reach to an international level, and three weeks in a beautiful and charming city and area that are brimming with culture and theatre (a reasonable sample of which I was able to see).

We very proud of what we achieved:

The Fringe run of #WTF HAPPENED? ON THE PHENOMENON OF TRUMP was Actors Rep one of the best attended single runs of any show we’ve ever done.

UPDATE (04. September 2018) : We have received the final numbers from the KC Fringe and we now know that over 300 people saw the show there. That makes it our most popular production ever, with the highest total attendance of any show we’ve done (across the three runs in September 2017, June 2018 and July 2018).

#WTF HAPPENED? was named ‘Best of the Fringe’ for its venue (Musical Theatre Heritage Mainstage — ‘MTH’), a determination based largely on audience attendance.

The show received yet another glowing review (by Bob Evans of KC Applauds — linked below).

We opened dialogues with a couple of KC-area theatre companies about potential future collaborations.

 

 

‘The Coal Miner’

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was able to see six other shows on the Fringe plus two additional great productions at the Kansas Repertory Theatre (KRT) in Lawrence, Kansas, where Actors Rep Artistic Associate Peter Zazzali is Artistic Director.

We also did some touristy things, taking advantage of KC’s superb cultural and historic sites — the World War I Memorial and Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, a Kansas City Royals baseball game, ‘The Plaza’…

 

 

‘The Conspiracy Theorist’

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an actor and writer, I was struck by the different responses the show has received not only from different audiences through all its runs, but also by the marked differences between Luxembourg / European audiences and US / Kansas City ones. I confess I experienced some trepidation about doing the show in the States, especially in a part of the country where President Trump is generally popular (although less so in the city itself).

Although the play is not, in our view as a company, politically partisan — and indeed we worked very hard to create a piece that did not take partisan political views (even though the characters within the play do) — we were (and I am as a playwright) very aware that the title of the play might suggest otherwise to some.

We did get one profane response to a Facebook post about the show from someone who lives in the greater KC area. I don’t know for sure whether the gentleman came to see the show, but my assumption is that he did not. A couple of people walked out of one performance, but we’ve no way of knowing whether they were upset about the play attacking the President, or not attacking him, or whether they were perhaps just late for an appointment they’d forgot.

The show is of course political, though not partisan. Overtly political theatre will often, even usually, offend someone.

And probably should.

 

 

 

‘The Christian’

 

 

 

 

 

Laughs came at different places. The KC audiences found humour in things that Luxembourg audiences did not — and vice versa. The first two audiences, on Friday and Saturday, July 20th and 21st, laughed often and heartily. The critic, who attended one of those shows, described the piece as a ‘parody of Trump Supporters’ and termed it ‘a rollicking review’ of ‘character-types’ — a perspective I found interesting and unexpected, as we’ve never thought of the show as a parody. Still, Mr Evans loved the show and I personally take it as a point of playwright satisfaction that different audiences and different audience members can respond to the same piece in so many varied (and overwhelmingly positive) ways.

 

Bob Evans’ review: https://www.kcapplauds.net/parody-of-trump-supporters-makes-fun-political-humor/

 

 

 

‘The Guy Down the Street’

 

 

 

 

 

 

The list of ‘Thank yous’ is a long one, but I’ll repeat it here (with hopes I’m not leaving anyone out):

– FOCUNA, who gave us a travel grant that covered travel to and from KC.

– Our sponsor, e2advance, whose great work on our website has been essential to spreading the word about Actors Rep.

 

– Peter Zazzali, a long-time friend and loyal supporter of Actors Rep (and now our first Artistic Associate), who suggested we try to bring the show to the KC Fringe when told we were considering applying to one or more US Fringe Festivals — and who introduced us to Forrest Attaway and Kokopelli Theatre Company, our local on-the-ground co-producers.

– Forrest Attaway and Kokopelli, who were fantastic and generous collaborators and partners (and the two Kokopelli shows I saw, How Does Your Garden Grow? and Little Headshop of Horrors were very very funny).

– Steve and Wallace, the technicians for the run.

– The staff of the Musical Theatre Heritage space, a lovely complex of three performance spaces set on the top floor of a downtown retail and food complex (Crown Center). These folks were wonderful hosts.

– The staff and volunteers of the Fringe, for their hundreds of hours of work and incredible organisation. I’ll especially single out Program Manager and Director of Operations Tiffany Chappell, Executive Producer Cheryl Kimmi, and Technical Director Skip Gordon. The execution and organisation of (and communication about) this mammoth project was extraordinary, from the first email right through to the final party.

– The audiences. Of course.

 

– Christine Probst, without whom neither #WTF HAPPENED? nor Actors Rep would still exist. Actors Rep audiences have seen what magic she creates onstage as an actress. Her work as a director and dramaturgical collaborator is no less spectacular.

– Charles Muller, former Director at Théâtre D’Esch, who commissioned the earliest version of #WTF HAPPENED? in early 2017.

– Dena Abbott, who has been tireless in her support of Actors Rep (and its chaotic Artistic Director).

 

 

 

‘The Congresswoman’

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what’s next?

For #WTF HAPPENED?

For Actors Rep?

This show has proved to be popular in three separate runs in two countries; it appears to have struck a theatrical nerve in these interesting times. So we hope to keep doing it. We’re exploring other possible venues, festivals, etc., where we might be able to present it to new audiences — in Luxembourg, in The Greater Region, in Europe, in the UK, in Ireland, in North America — anywhere an audience might be open to the questions posed and the ideas presented in what we feel is the exciting theatricality of #WTF?

If you have any ideas, please contact us. The production is extremely portable. We took it 7,500 kilometres; we can take it anywhere.

Know of a theatre that might like to feature it as a visiting production?

A school that might like to have it presented to its students?

A company, organisation, club or group that might fancy a bit of thought-provoking theatre?

Ask around. Let us know.

 

As for Actors Rep in the coming months…

We will present Dear Santa… again for the holiday season.

This completely portable 45-minute dose of seasonal cheer is available for booking for your company or organisation’s holiday event.

We can bring it to you!

Last year’s response — both in the public and private shows — was overwhelmingly positive. Don’t miss your chance to brighten your holiday with Dear Santa…

Details about booking available soon — book early!

 

We’re planning on offering a workshop this autumn — probably a fun two-session playwriting exercise — and are looking at the possibility of offering a set of classes.

 

And we’ll be hard at work planning for 2019 — to bring you another year of outstanding professional English-language theatre.

 

So keep in touch. We’ll see you at the theatre…

 

 

 

Actors Rep on the Fringe in Kansas City

Day Five of the Kansas City Fringe Festival, performance number three of #WTF Happened? On the Phenomenon of Trump.

I arrived late on Sunday, July 15th, met with Forrest Attaway, Artistic Director of Kokopelli Theatre Company, on the 16th, had the tech rehearsal on the 18th, preview night on the 19th and opened on Friday the 20th.

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s been fabulous. The staff and volunteers working to make the Fringe possible are truly amazing. The level of organisation required to provide and opportunity for roughly 75 independently produced productions is staggering and they have pulled it off with extraordinary aplomb.

Actors Rep has been extremely fortunate to have Kokopelli as co-producers on the ground, with Forrest Attaway getting five of their productions up and running as well as helping bring #WTF to the KC stage.

I am extremely grateful to all of these people.

The show itself has been enthusiastically received. Somewhere around 150 people have seen the first three shows and we have received very positive feedback — and one standing ovation!

It’s been interesting seeing the difference in these US audiences and the Luxembourg audiences who just saw the piece in early July (and in its previous incarnation last September at Théâtre National du Luxembourg — TNL). Both sets of audiences were and have been great, but there have been differences — laughs coming at different times, moments of recognition landing perhaps in a different way.

As a writer it is enormously gratifying to see that my words have had an impact on both the mixed cultures of Luxembourg audiences as well as the mixed cultures of audiences in Kansas City.

As an actor, the generous and thoughtful response to the work has been humbling and gratifying.

I treasure the many conversations I’ve had with audience members after the shows and look forward to many more.

#WTF Happened? wouldn’t be here without the inspiration and work of Charles Muller, who commissioned the first version last year at Théâtre D’Esch, and without the brilliance of Actors Rep Associate Artistic Director Christine Probst as collaborator and Director in the subsequent productions in Luxembourg and now Kansas City. It wouldn’t be on stage again without the encouragement of Actors Rep Artistic Associate Peter Zazzali and the help of Forrest Attaway and Kokopelli, and the tech support of Matilda Hansson, and Steve and Wallace working in the booths at the Musical Theatre Heritage (MTH) for the Festival. And I wouldn’t be able to do the work without the support of Dena Abbott.

We’re grateful also for the financial support of FOCUNA, whose generosity assisted with the travel expenses of coming to the Fringe, to the Ministère de la Culture of Luxembourg and the Fondation Indèpendance for their financial support of the September production, and to e2advance, who does the tremendous work of the website design and maintenance.

We at Actors Rep hope this show will have a continued life and that we may be able to present it to additional audiences in other cities. The piece seems to spark thought and emotion and laughter in and dialogue with its audiences. We hope to be able to continue sharing it with new audiences. We look forward to doing so and to engaging in the dialogues that result.

In the meantime, we understand President Trump is on his way to Kansas City. We’d be happy to have him see the show.

NEW Video Trailer for THE GUYS

Filmmaker Mak Wolven came to our tech rehearsal a couple of days before opening (TONIGHT — WEDNESDAY, 30 May 2018 at 8pm) and shot a few minutes of the show as we rehearsed.

Take a look:

 

Performances:

Wednesday, June 30th, at 8pm

Thursday, May 31st, at 8pm

Friday, June 1st, at 8pm

Saturday, June 2nd, at 3pm AND 8pm

Monday, June 4th, at 8pm

Tuesday, June 5th, at 8pm

Wednesday, June 6th, at 8pm

 

ActorsRep.tickets@gmail.com

or (+352) 35 63 39

 

At Bamhaus:

18A / 18D rue de la Cimenterie

L-1337 Luxembourg-Dommeldange