Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Holidays from EbzB Productions! Thank you for a wonderful Season!


Thank you for a wonderful season!

-David and Serena Ebhardt zum Brunnen

Compliment: Night Before Christmas Carol, New Bern, NC

Dear David and Serena,

It was a pleasure to meet you and I am glad you enjoyed your trip to New Bern. We had a fantastic response to the performance.  I'm sure audience members must have shared their compliments with both of you.

Thank you for donating copies of your DVD's to the library.  I look forward to seeing War Bonds after our recent trip and touring the World War II museum.  I appreciate your generosity. You were both so easy to work with.  I hope we can do so again.  Merry Christmas.

Sincerely,

Joanne Straight
New Bern Public Library
New Bern, NC

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Deep Dish Theater will present a developmental workshop of Native, a new play written by Ian Finley, January 14-18.

 

 


CHAPEL HILL — Deep Dish Theater will present a developmental workshop of Native, a new play written by Ian Finley, January 14-18, 2015. Directed by Serena Ebhardt, the workshop continues the company's 14th season at University Mall. 

Native is based on the true story of the collaboration between celebrated playwright and North Carolina icon, Paul Green, and the celebrated novelist Richard Wright, the author most famously of Native Son. The two men were brought together to adapt Wright's novel for Orson Welles' Broadway production, and the play explores the battle of wills that ensued.

Ian Finley is an area playwright and educator who served as the NC Piedmont Laureate in 2012. He received the Harry Kondoleon Award for playwriting while earning his MFA at New York University's Tisch School of Performing Arts. His plays include a 2-part musical adaptation of Thomas Hardy's 
Jude the Obscure for Burning Coal Theatre Company in Raleigh, Up from the Ground for the Piedmont Laureate program, and two ten-minute plays for the Ackland Art Museum. He also serves as Head of Drama at Research Triangle High School.

 

The play is written for two actors who portray the principals and occasionally other supporting characters.  Gil Faison, whose Deep Dish appearances include Jitney and the title role in Othello, will play Richard Wright.  Opposite him will be David zum Brunnen, a long-time Deep Dish collaborator who appeared in Via Dolorosa and State of the Union.  Director Serena Ebhardt’s work includes, on the Deep Dish stage, the premiere production of Dar He, and most recently, the Paul Green WWI musical, Johnny Johnson, at UNC.


The workshop will be presented with minimal production values and script in hand, as the text continues to evolve. Audience members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the play in post-performance conversations, and rewrites will go on throughout the 5-performance run.

Performances begin Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday (matinee) at 2 p.m. Deep Dish is located in Chapel Hill's University Mall, on Estes Drive and US 15-501.  The performance on Saturday evening, Jan. 1
7, will coincide with the theater’s annual fundraising gala.

Tickets are $16. Tickets for the Saturday evening fundraiser are $6
5, or $110 per couple.  Call (919) 968-1515 for reservations and visit www.deepdishtheater.org for information. 

The Deep Dish Theater Company is committed to presenting compelling, human-centered dramatic work that contributes to the cultural richness of the Triangle area and challenges audiences to explore concerns of the community and the world-at-large.

The Deep Dish Theater Company is committed to presenting compelling, human-centered dramatic work that contributes to the cultural richness of the Triangle area and challenges audiences to explore concerns of the community and the world-at-large.

Theater Contact |  Paul Frellick  |  (919) 968-1515  |  paulfrellick@deepdishtheater.org

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NATIVE Workshop at Deep Dish Theater January 14 -18, 2015

New Play Workshop 2015 Announced!
December 10th, 2014
Deep Dish Theater will present a developmental workshop of Native, a new play by Triangle playwright and former Piedmont Laureate Ian Finley, January 14-18. Directed by Serena Ebhardt, the workshop continues the company's 14th season at University Mall.

Native is based on the true story of the collaboration between celebrated playwright and North Carolina icon, Paul Green, and the celebrated novelist Richard Wright, the author most famously of Native Son. The two men were brought together to adapt Wright's novel for Orson Welles' Broadway production, and the play explores the battle of wills that ensued.

Ian Finley is an area playwright and educator who served as the NC Piedmont Laureate in 2012. He received the Harry Kondoleon Award for playwriting while earning his MFA at New York University's Tisch School of Performing Arts. His plays include a 2-part musical adaptation of Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure for Burning Coal Theatre Company in Raleigh, Up from the Ground for the Piedmont Laureate program, and two ten-minute plays for the Ackland Art Museum. He also serves as Head of Drama at Research Triangle High School.

The workshop will be presented with minimal production values and script in hand, as the text continues to evolve. Audience members will have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the play in post-performance conversations, and rewrites will go on throughout the 5-performance run.

Performances begin Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday (matinee) at 2 p.m. Deep Dish is located in Chapel Hill's University Mall, on Estes Drive and US 15-501. The performance on Saturday evening, Jan. 17, will coincide with the theater's annual fundraising gala.

Tickets are $16. Tickets for the Saturday evening fundraiser are $65, or $110 per couple. Call (919) 968-1515 for reservations and visit www.deepdishtheater.org for information.

[Link to this story]

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Night Before Christmas Carol at Gem Theatre in Calhoun, GA


Calhoun’s downtown GEM Theatre is set to play host a production of “Night Before Christmas Carol” on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 3 p.m.
EbzB Productions, which brought “War Bonds” to the GEM stage in 2012, is set to return with “Night Before Christmas Carol,” an historically accurate and highly humorous holiday production by renowned Dickens scholar, Elliott Engel.

It takes place in 1843 on the night that Charles Dickens dreams up his idea for a ghostly little Christmas book that becomes world famous. As he composes his winter morality tale, the audience watches the real Dickens explain his inspirations.
Tickets range from $8 for students to $12 for GEM members and $15 for the general public.
For more information, visit www.calhoungem.org or 706-625-3132.
The GEM Box Office is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

War, Peace and Sexuality: A Critical Review of Weill's Johnny Johnson


War, Peace and Sexuality: A Critical Review of Weill’s Johnny Johnson

Kamaira Philips

Musc 202

December 3rd, 2014

Concert Report

I didn’t expect to like Johnny Johnson. I was not intrigued by the thought of a World War I musical. Johnny Johnson is a musical that was written by Kurt Weill and Paul Green in 1936 between two of the largest wars in history (WWI and WWII) about the perception of pacifism during war. A musical about war seemed like an odd and disrespectful juxtaposition as opposed to a musical used to keep spirits up during war. However, Johnny Johnson was a great portrayal of social issues that were relevant in the 1930s and that are still relevant today. One question posed by the protagonist was “What is the point of war?” and it was answered with “WWI is a war to put down and end war.” The dialogue posed these reflective questions throughout the musical, causing the audience to evaluate their own views on war, peace, social conventions and politics.

A huge takeaway for me was the abundant direct and indirect references to sexuality, particularly male sexuality and homosexuality. Homosexuality in the military has been a controversial issue in America until recently when the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was lifted and gays could openly serve in the armed forces. It is not likely that messages of homosexuality in the military were intended from Weill but Paul Green was a huge human rights activist and these ideas may have aligned with his way of thinking. According to cast member Amanda Hemric, Paul Green was a WWI veteran whose job was to estimate the death toll before each battle and collaborating with Weill on Johnny Johnson was a way of expressing the horrors of war and questionable practices of the military. Weill and Green represented these uncomfortable issues through the cover of humor and sexuality.

            Musicologist Tim Carter spent six years trying to decode the ambiguous and sexualized subtext of Johnny Johnson. The Kenan Theatre Company was allowed to explore sexual undertones in music, text and choreography in order to make a somewhat mediocre musical more intriguing because Paul Green Jr thought that his father would have agreed. The implications of the subtext and deeper messages are purposely left open-ended and up to the interpretation of the musicologists, directors and performers.

            According to musicologist Mark Evan Bonds, music is meaningful because it is not always straightforward. There are hidden messages, symbols and layers of themes that may be interpreted in many ways. Male sexuality when used in literature, music or media may be a symbol for dominance and power. The competition for and dominance over the female character known as “a camp doll” could possibly represent fascism of Nazi Germany overpowering and oppressing Jews around the time of this musical’s composition.

The Kenan Theatre Company took an average musical and made it great. The hours of extra rehearsal time showed. The choreography was polished and the scene changes were very smooth. I have a deep admiration for the actors and actresses for having the stamina to do five showings in a week. I was impressed by the quality of acting from the vocalists and music majors in the show. They definitely held their own with the drama majors. I was also struck by how well the drama majors sang. The music and dramatic arts departments should collaborate more often. I was really impressed with the accuracy of the performer’s various accents and voices from a Southern American accent to a French accent.

Rachel Tuton played a French nurse who defended Johnny Johnson after he was shot in the derriere. The shot in the butt was both comical and sad from the assertion that one who is shot in the behind exhibited cowardice. This musical made me laugh and sigh within the same song or line of dialogue. Perhaps the oscillating nature of emotions within the work from a microscale (from a line of dialogue) to a macroscale (happy, idyllic beginning and tragic ending) represent mental illnesses like bipolar (manic depressive illness) or Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which many soldiers suffer from after a war.

A notable turning point in the musical occurred during the “Song of the Goddess,” which was sung by the statue of liberty as a symbol for America and freedom. It was a very loaded and metaphorical song with an ocean of political strife waiting to break through in the next scene. This song was a lament and it had organ accompaniment, which evoked the nostalgia and longing of soldiers for home during deployment as well as the grief of America for its soldiers’ deaths. One would not think of an inanimate object as having a song but it offered an external perspective on peace and war. The statue of liberty, played by Laura Dromerick, sang text such as “He knows not that I am a thing of stone and have no heart within my breast” and “I send men forward to die.” The use of songs like this and others provided excellent moments of insight into the dialogue of tragedy or comedy. Captain Valentine’s song and the Cowboy song were hilarious and seemed a little out of place in terms of the plot. They added a humorous and light-hearted appeal that made the anti-war and pacifist themes of the musical more digestible to a larger audience. The only main character in the musical that constantly advocated for peace and tried to unify people of different backgrounds was the protagonist Johnny Johnson. Johnny Johnson represented an individual who embodies peace and unfortunately suffers because he doesn’t conform to society’s expectations.

            Johnny Johnson felt less like a commentary on WWI and more like a satirical anticipation of WWII. My interpretation of the use of sexuality was as a metaphor for political and racial dominance. I think that this play foreshadows issues that are still correlated with society and war. Unfortunately the demise of the protagonist Johnny Johnson made me reflect on how those who defend goodness and peace may be broken down by societal resistance. One individual may make a difference but they are often met with negativity like being called “crazy” for defying social expectations. I couldn’t decide if this play was in a way making fun of the military or if the satire was to ensure the play’s success. Overall I thought the cast of Johnny Johnson did a great job portraying relevant military, political and social issues.

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 7--The Night Before Christmas Carol, 3 p.m.

Join us December 7, 2014 -- The Night Before Christmas Carol, 3 p.m.
Friends of the New Bern-Craven County Public Library 400 Johnson Street, New Bern, NC 28560
friends@nbccpl.org
#ebzb