The 2011 IT Awards

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 1 comments

By August Schulenburg

There is much to say about the 2011 IT Awards, and very little time for me to say it, leaving momentarily as I am (along with my beautiful new wife and Flux founder, Heather Cohn) on our honeymoon to Spain. However, I thought I would share the acceptance speech I gave, as much of it was directed to past Members and current Friends of Flux who may not haven been there (or watched the exciting live stream). For those who are curious, you can read the script for the play that we staged before the speech here.

Acceptance for the 2011 Caffé Cino Fellowship Award
Perhaps unsurprisingly, our play ran a little long, so I'll try to keep my speechifying tendencies under control, but...

We need to thank Shay, Nick, Jason, the IT Awards Staff and volunteers, and the Honorary Awards Committee; we are humbled and thankful for this award. And though I hold this award in my single hand, I call upon your imaginary powers to see in me the six current Flux members on stage; our past Members Joe, Candice, David, Felicia, Cotton, Michael, Angela, Jake, Christina and Jason; and the more than 100 strong core artists and audience that make up the Friends of Flux; our mission is to build a creative home, and so this award belongs to everyone in our family.

However! The spirit of this award is ours only on load, handed like a torch by previous winners and past generations of artists - some of whom we've honored tonight - whose work carved out the space we currently play in; a space not defined by theatre or neighborhood, but by daring and desire; and this award is a call to us to live up to and enlarge that legacy; to pass on a more imaginative and compassionate community to whoever comes next; because this award would mean nothing without the living legacy it represents; the crazy, cacophonous community of which we are but a small part; and to that community, so many of who we love and admire and are here tonight; we say thank you, and we can't wait to continue the great work together with you. Read the full story

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NYIT Awards tonight!

Monday, September 19, 2011 0 comments

A super-fast reminder that amidst the flurry of new membership, weddings, and the preparation for a fall chock-full of exciting projects (stay tuned!), Flux is attending tonight's New York Innovative Theatre Award ceremonies.

We'll be performing a short play and expressing our very humble thanks as we accept the Caffe Cino Fellowship Award, crossing our fingers for Becky Byers and Jason Paradine (nominated for their work in Dog Act as supporting actress and set designer, respectively), and just generally celebrating with the indie theatre community that we are both a part of, and love.

There are still tickets available online or at the door ($25). See you there!

PS: If you can't make it, no worries: they'll be streaming the whole thing here. Read the full story

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Introducing Flux's Newest Member, Will Lowry

Thursday, September 15, 2011 0 comments

Perhaps you remember this set from Ajax in Iraq:
there was a lot of sand, too. and a giant map.
 Or this set, from The Lesser Seductions of History:
Or this set and costumes from A Midsummer Night's Dream:
how young we all were!
What do all these things have in common? Their designer, Will Lowry, who despite his modest protestations to the contrary is also an excellent performer, as proven by his frequent work at Flux Sundays and our most recent retreat:
pictured: rocking it out
Why are we bringing all this up now? Because Will Lowry is Flux's newest member! So if you see him at a Flux Sunday, or just gallivanting about town, you should say hi. Perhaps buy him a beer.

We could tell you all about him, but rather than do that, we'll let Will tell you all about himself:
I'm absolutely excited to be welcomed into the fold as a Flux member. There are many great people to work with in the theatre community, but it's rare to find such a group where the members are dedicated to such high artistic integrity. Flux chooses challenging material, they have a network of active and supportive volunteers, and they are a pleasure to work with. You may heatedly debate the specific shade of a chair or cut of a dress for an hour, but you know it's because they truly care about each and every artistic choice. Their passion for theatre is inspiring, and I feel truly honored to join as an official member. 

I grew up in South Carolina with parents who were both educators and very supportive when I discovered theatre in high school and wanted to pursue it in college. A few years later, I graduated with a BA from Furman University with a double major in Theatre Arts and Computer Science. While I had started college intending on becoming an actor, after about halfway through I had fallen completely in love with the design side of theatre. I couldn't seem to choose a favorite between the different facets of design, so instead I embraced that indecision: I selected a graduate program focused on scenography where I could study set, costume, and lighting design. And, in 2006 I graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with an MFA in Design. I spent a year as a resident designer for a children's theater near San Jose, CA before moving to New York, where I've now lived for just a couple weeks shy of four years. 

I work full-time in the city as a studio assistant for a Broadway costume designer. I also do freelance graphic work for costume designers in NYC and travel for my own designs in regional theaters. My recent projects include scene designs for Flux's very own Ajax in Iraq here in NYC, Birmingham Children Theater's Tuxedo Junction in Alabama, Celebration Music Theater's Superstarz! Live and The Palace Theater's Blithe Spirit-both in South Carolina; in addition to a lighting design for Playhouse on Park's Around the World in 80 Days in Connecticut (in previews now!), a costume design for Le Grand Cirque: Adrenaline for the Sydney Opera House in Australia, and graphic work for Broadway's Addams Family, Baby It's You, and Catch Me If You Can.

Kelly also suggested I write what I do for fun, so in my free moments away from theatre, I enjoy drinking with friends and talking about theatre anyway, playing board games that most people would consider incredibly geeky, reading about television shows, and dinosaurs.
-Will Lowry
Welcome aboard, Will! We are as thrilled to have you on board as we could possibly be, and hope you will protect us if and when the dinosaurs rise again. Here's to many more years of rubber sand, giant circles, PVC trees, and brilliantly executed hip-hop!

photos: Tyler G. Hicks-Wright (Lesser Seductions), Isaiah Tanenbaum (all others)
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I AM THEATRE: Isaiah Tanenbaum

Monday, September 12, 2011 0 comments

We're continuing our participation in the I AM THEATRE initiative launched by TCG with Member Isaiah Tanenbaum. If you haven't already, be sure to also check out Carissa Cordes' video.

Isaiah auspiciously began his time with Flux by playing Gutty, the obese, single-minded deposed despot of an imaginary country in Rue. How to top that? He's gone on to play roles like Clarin (Life is a Dream), Flute (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Enoch (Angel Eaters), Lee (The Lesser Seductions of History), The Messenger (Jacob's House) and Aimes in our upcoming production of Menders. Along the way, he's photographed almost everything that moves, designed postcards, written some plays, helped run Have Anothers and ForePlays, and been an engine of Flux Sundays.

In other words, he may very well be theatre, and he is certainly Flux. We're very happy we let him finish the joke...

(One thing Isaiah also does well is games...proof above from our 6th retreat.)
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Flux Sunday, September 4th

Sunday, September 11, 2011 0 comments

(What is Flux Sunday?)

If the previous Sunday was the Flux of the actors, this Sunday was the Flux of the playwrights - as many strong pages as we've seen in a long time, and despite my best attempts, we simply could not stage them all.

Playwrights: Johnna Adams (The Anguisher), Fengar Gael (The Cat Vandal), Larry Kunofsky (So Retarded), Kitty Lindsay (Life is a Dream House), Kristen Palmer (Bridgeport), Brian Pracht (Unplugged In), August Schulenburg (Jane the Plain), Adam Szymkowicz (The Note)

Directors: Pete Boisvert, Kristy Dodson, Heather Cohn

Actors: Isaiah Tanenbaum, Jason Howard, Alisha Spielmann, Melissa Herion, Drew Valins, Tiffany Clementi, Cotton Wright, Ken Glickfeld, Kersti Bryan, David Crommett

Highlights included:
-Well, it's not everyday one gets to play a fundamentalist possessed by the spirit of a cat - so that was certainly a personal highlight.
-Working on Brian's Unplugged In - we've seen many incarnations of this play (and first scene), and while Flux Sundays are used less frequently for longer term development, it's always exciting when it happens
-Cotton and Jason as the tormented Karbie and Ben dolls - they found the slightly askew physicality that made those parts pop
-Reading through So Retarded allowed us to do two big scenes that play off each other...and boy, did they ever, and the second scene really highlighted Kersti Bryan's Flux Sunday debut

Now I had to leave early, so...did I miss anything that should be forever recorded in the annals of time? Read the full story

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Flux Sunday, August 21st

(What is Flux Sunday?)

We had one of the biggest actor turn-outs ever for this Flux Sunday, and it was exciting!

Playwrights: Larry Kunofsky (So Retarded), EM Lewis (If I Did This), Kari Swenson Riely (The Bicycle), August Schulenburg (Jane the Plain)

Directors: Heather Cohn, Leigh Hile, Brian Pracht, Alisha Spielmann

Actors: Lynn Kenny, Jason Richards, Kitty Lindsay, Maiken Wise, David Crommett, Tiffany Clementi, Matthew Archambault, Isaiah Tanenbaum, Rob Maitner, Anna LaMadrid, Cotton Wright, Melissa Herion, Jen Kipley, Jane Taylor, Robb Martinez, Stephen Conrad Moore

Highlights included:
-The debut of Kari's writing! She's been an acting force at Flux Sundays for some time, and it's always exciting when we see a different side of a talented artist.
-The moment when Lynn as Lucy negotiated Jen as Jen's sudden arrival with the audience - pure natural comedy - in Larry's So Retarded
-Speaking of that play, the whole New Haven/ n sympathizer section was painfully funny.
-Watching Rob and Robb offer two different but equally compelling takes on Hal, the dissolute mystery writer of Ellen's If I Did This
-Cotton's lovely Jane in Jane the Plain somehow maintaining the honesty of the character in the face of a shirtless, gleeful Matt Archambault as Scotty

If you were there, what do you remember? Read the full story


I AM THEATRE: Carissa Cordes

Thursday, September 8, 2011 4 comments

Flux is thrilled to be participating in the I AM THEATRE initiative launched by Theatre Communications Group (the place where Tiffany and I spend our days). This is an amazing project that I'm thrilled to be working on, and so was eager to get Flux involved.

Kelly O'Donnell shot some videos after a recent Flux Sunday, and has been editing them over the past several weeks. I'm especially excited that the first video is Carissa Cordes - if anyone is theatre, it is this remarkable actor/designer/technician/hero that has touched more Indie Theatre shows than you can shake a 2x4 at.

Carissa is one of the most impactful Friends of Flux we have, most recently appearing in our Have Another of Projects and our ForePlay New World Iliads, as well as joining us for our Retreat. She is pure theatre, and a great way for us to kick-off our participation in this project. If you want to join in the action, let Kelly and I know, or shoot the video yourself - you can learn how here.
(Carissa Cordes in Viva Fidel at the Flux Retreat)
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