Wednesday, October 28, 2015

War Bonds at North Florida Community College

NFCC Artist Series presents War Bonds: The Songs Letters of WWII Nov.5

Submitted  October 28, 2015

The North Florida Community CollegeArtist Series presents War Bonds: The Songs & Letters of WWII on Thursday, Nov. 5 at Van H. Priest Auditorium. The performance begins at 7 p.m. and includes a special tribute to area veterans as well as delicious desserts and refreshments at intermission. Tickets are on sale now at the NFCC College Advancement Office (Bldg. 32, NFCC campus).

All veterans and any WWII veteran who attends will be admitted at no charge. “This is the perfect show and time to honor and say ‘thank you’ to our veterans,” said Kim Scarboro, NFCC Artist Series Coordinator. “We have a special night planned that will highlight some of our local WWII veterans and history. It’s also going to be a great night of live music, singing and time spent with our friends and community.”

Award winning artists David zum Brunnen and Serena Ebhardt and their live band fill the stage with wartime memories and tunes in this musical journey through a war that redefined the world. This multimedia, living history cabaret is interspersed with personal letters from the front and headline news of the period, providing a warm reminiscence and a harrowing reminder of a time when the whole world seemed upside down. This family show allows the greatest generation to celebrate, as the next greatest generation contemplates.

For more information about the performance or to purchase tickets, contact NFCC College Advancement at (850) 973-1653, email ArtistSeries@nfcc.eduor visit NFCC.EDU. Tickets are $15 for reserved seating. Discounted tickets are $8; this price is extended to NFCC students with ID, children ages 17 and under, and for the Nov. 5 performance to all veterans. Any WWII veteran will be admitted at no charge.

Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended for this performance. This performance is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Long Story Short features small plays by UNC students

Long Story Short features small plays by UNC students 


For the fifth year in a row, the writing for the screen and stage minor will give aspiring screenwriters and playwrights an experience ordinarily reserved for the most successful professionals in entertainment.  The Long Story Shorts festival is a two-night event at Kenan Theatre that will put on eight one-act plays written by seniors. The original works will be put to the stage by a team of four directors. Each production will run for approximately 10 minutes.  Professor Dana Coen, director of the writing for the screen and stage minor, handpicked the winning scripts for the festival. Coen said the festival's philosophy is typified by a Don Delillo quote: “I think a playwright realizes after he finishes working on the script that this is only the beginning. What will happen when it moves into three dimensions?” 

To begin the process of moving each script to the Kenan Theatre stage, writers and actors are taken through readings, and collaborate on important creative decisions.   Senior Schyler Martin, who is on the Board of Directors for The Daily Tar Heel, went through this experience with her play, “Death and Dignity."  “It was phenomenal," she said. "I almost cried while watching my own mediocre play because the actors are so good.” Senior Jessica Zambrano, a former Daily Tar Heel staff writer, wrote the play “Comedy and Error,” and was challenged by discussing her ideas and characters with the directors and actors, some of whom were total strangers.  “I saw what other people can bring to the table," Zambrano said. "I listened to how they read the lines, and then we saw what we needed to rework, and sometimes the actors come up with something better than what I wrote. It has helped me learn to work with everyone’s contributions.” 

Guest professor Serena Ebhardt is one of the four directors involved with Long Story Shorts and is in charge of two of the short plays.  “For me, the most rewarding part was seeing both the writers and some of the actors getting their feet wet,” she said. “I loved seeing them find their voice — find their confidence.” 

The festival does not only benefit those who want to be playwrights in the future. Senior Charlie Kelsey wants to become a talent manager and producer in the film industry, yet he said he found the small-scale theatrical project to be a valuable experience. His play is called "Snowmen."  “I got to deal with actors and directors, and when you are the guy with the idea and people are asking you for creative direction, it gives you an idea of what it would be like to be a producer," he said. Coen said the idea for the festival came when he realized that he did not want the compelling and unique stories of his students to just disappear into a filing cabinet. “The first year that we had the minor, I read the plays that were turned in, and I thought, 'These are good. These should be produced.'” 

Read more:
Quoted from The Daily Tar Heel

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Native Daughter Serena Ebhardt Entertains, Educates & Enlightens

Native Daughter Serena Ebhardt Entertains, Educates & Enlightens

It’s not so much that you wouldn’t recognize Serena. It’s just that when you ask people if they know Serena Ebhardt, you’re likely to get so many different descriptions, you’d think they can’t possibly all be talking about the same woman.
WarBonds“She’s the petite, blond powerhouse—you know, the triple threat actor, singer, dancer, right? I saw her in War Bonds—that look back at WWII where she goes from Rosie the Riveter to Marlene Dietrich and sings all those great songs.”
johnny-johnson“No—she’s the UNC alum (B. A. in Dramatic Art, Paul & Elizabeth Green Scholar), who directed the UNC revival of Paul Green’s Johnny Johnson last year and two plays for the Long Story Shorts next week. She also tackled complex historical themes, directing Tim Tyson’s Blood Done Sign My Name, and Mike Wiley’s’ Dar He: The Lynching of Emmet Till. And she’s taught at UNC, Peace, St. Mary’s, Sanderson, and Raleigh Charter High Schools.”
“Are you talking about the writer? I know the North Carolina Association of Educators commissioned Serena to write and direct The Wrights of Passage. I read it’s been seen by more than 100,000 students across the country.”
Residency at Columbia High School“Oh, you mean the teaching artist. Since 1998, the artistic director of EbzB Productions with her husband, David zum Brunnen? Trained at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center Institute, and the National Center for Creative Aging? They are leading a pilot residency over at Virginia Cross Elementary School this year.”
“Serena…isn’t she the mother of that charming and brilliant child, Carlton?”
Voiceover Artist…Business Coach…Publicist…Theatre Manager…Webmaster…
Yes, they’re all Serena!
Serena Ebhardt

From the Artist

Originally from: Raleigh, North Carolina.
Your childhood in a nutshell: It was lovely. My parents facilitated my dreams. At age two, my performer’s personality emerged – I would dance in the living room while commanding everyone to pay attention. At age 6, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes, and I also auditioned for my very first play. By the age of 7, I had my first professional job and began touring.
Most influential teachers: I’ve had so many amazing teachers, both in school and in life. I am particularly thankful to Newell Tarrant, the former artistic director of Raleigh Little Theater; To Rose Schulman, the grand doyenne master acting teacher at Hedgerow Theatre; To friend and mentor Susan Raab who taught me about publicity and marketing; and to my husband David zum Brunnen who teaches me integrity and fidelity.
How did you and David meet: As students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We were cast together in a production of Lysistrata.
WarBondsMost challenging/gratifying aspects of working with your spouse: The challenge is that I take it for granted that he knows my love is unconditional and that I think he’s very handsome, smart and talented. When working with David, I have often gone straight into the analytical criticism rather than softening it with encouragements. However because we work and live together, our personal and professional lives are integrated and sometimes magnified by each other. I love and trust David. He brings joy and laughter to my intense focus. We have fun onstage and off. The two greatest joys of my life are dancing with him onstage in War Bonds, and raising our son.
On being a parent: Our son is this amazing configuration of all the souls in both families that have gone before him. He is very much his own person with a very strong and unique view of how life should be. It is my privilege to be his parent. We beam with pride over his achievements and talents. I use everything I have to try to prepare him for his journey.
In One EraFavorite professional hat [writer, researcher, director, publicist, teaching artist, performer, etc.]:My favorite is Actress/Singer—I love exploring life through another’s viewpoint. I love the attention, the makeup, the costumes, the music, the adrenaline, the warmth of the lights, and the ensemble. I love the feedback from audience members who have found the work meaningful. I love knowing that as an artist I can contribute to the shaping of this world. I have many second favorite hats, I especially like wearing the director and teaching artist hats at the same time.
Currently reading: The Borzoi College Reader Essays. I just finished reading Colette’s Cheri. I perpetually read the Bible, classics, BBC News Online, and any resource that might pertain to work that I’m doing. It’s an eclectic list.
In One EraCurrently working on or developing: Myself; My son; Long Story Shorts at UNC; ‘69 Seasons, Nativeand touring performances for EbzB Productions; Arts-In-Education residency for Virginia Cross Elementary via NC Arts Council and Chatham Arts Council. Also, as an ordained minister, I will be officiating a wedding in November.
5 Words that describe me: I dislike this question because I know myself too well and the first words that come to mind do not have positive connotations in our society. I’d prefer you ask others to describe me. Perhaps the one word that best describes me is “human.”
Most people don’t know: Now really? If most people don’t know, it’s because they haven’t asked. Oh alright. Here goes…
  • I was originally a Pharmacy major.
  • I had to turn down an audition for the original Broadway production of Anniewhen I was 14.
  • I can cook, if I have to.
  • I love and could survive on peanut butter.
Three favorite spots in Chatham: 
  • The view of Jordan Lake from the corner of Beaver Dam Rd. and Pea Ridge Rd.
  • The Pittsboro Soda Shop
  • My house
Chatham Artists that inspire me: 
Ten years from now: I’d like to see evidence that the contributions, investments, and work of my generation has made the universe a better place for our children.

To Learn More

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Serena Ebhardt Directs Two Plays for Long Story Shorts at UNC


The UNC Writing for the Screen and Stage Program is presenting its annual"Long Story Shorts" One Act Play Festival on Friday, October 23rd and Saturday, October 24th at 8PM in the Kenan Theatre at The UNC Center for Dramatic Art, 150 Country Club Rd., Chapel Hill, NC.

This year marks the festival’s fifth anniversary! 

Eight short plays written by members of the Writing for the Screen and Stage Minor’s senior class will be presented as staged readings.  A staple of the program, the festival allows the playwrights an opportunity see their work performed as well as participate in a process rarely experienced on their level; a developmental and collaborative environment led by experienced faculty and working professionals. 

Admission is free!  No reservations necessary.