Auditions for our
2016 Children's Theater Production
The Wind in the Willows
Sunday, March 6th at 6:00
Monday, March 7th 4:00
Auditions for students age 8—18
Rehearsals begin March 20th
Performances April 29th—May 8th
Directed by Rod Molzahn
For more information call 997-7529.
Download an audition form here. Forms should be returned to The Merc by Friday, March 4th. Mail them to PO Box 425, Twisp, WA 98856, or email them.
The Merc Playhouse Children’s Theater is pleased to welcome back children’s theater expert, Rod Molzahn for a second season directing the timeless children’s classic The Wind in the Willows this spring. Toad is obsessed with motor cars and after crashing several of them, he steals one and lands himself in jail. His usual friends are all there to help: Mole, Badger, and Water Rat arrive to protect Toad Hall. But the Ferrets and Weasels of the Wild Wood throw them out! Will Toad escape from jail and reclaim his home? Will he ever learn a lesson about his boastful and impetuous ways?
Theatre, the art form, is not a passive entertainment, but about us witnessing and being a part of a room full of people all saying “yes” to suspending our disbelief for the time span of the show.
Ki and I engage all the time about The Merc, our audience, and how we can build the audience while sustaining what we already have. To this end, we thought it might be of interest to publish some of that dialogue. As Executive Director, I am constantly looking at the big picture, while Ki is more focused in the artistic area, but there is tons of overlap.
We started this recent conversation after Ki reported an audience member told her he “didn’t get it” about the latest show…
Ki: When people say, “I don’t get it,” I usually respond by asking, “well, what did you experience?” Then they tell me exactly what they saw and heard, which is the same as what I and everyone else saw and heard. But for some reason, they don’t take that final tiny step to putting it all together for themselves. It’s that final tiny step—the one that involves marshaling their own curiosity, creativity, and imagination—that people often hesitate at taking. That step is the hallmark of our mission statement “connecting curious seekers to live theatre.” Why do you think people are afraid of that step?
Missi: Well, curiosity and creativity come to people in such a variety of ways and everyone has their own pace at which they bring it all together. It's so interesting to me how quickly people expect themselves to go "AHA! I know exactly what that play (or song, or poem, or book) is about!" Sometimes people have things figured out by intermission and the show is only half over! I think most people believe when they come see a show, the entire conversation happens in that one night, but it doesn't. Sometimes one performance of a show is only the beginning of the connection or the conversation. I feel like the whole point to presenting good theater is to start a conversation, not end one!
You wrote The Diabolical Elixir, so we are lucky enough to have the playwright here in the room with us to help us understand. Tell me more about the writing process for this play.
Ki: This play, as I wrote about in the director notes for the program, used the form of gothic melodrama as the jumping off point: this type of play traditionally began with a prologue, had stereotypical characters (the evil uncle, the innocent virgin, the hero), some music/singing, and had some kind of moral. Good always wins, ultimately, over evil. Just as fairy tales often have sad, or ambiguous, endings that are meant to make us wonder and question. (In the real little mermaid story she turns into foam, and then rises to the “daughters of the air” in a kind of purgatory!)
Missi: How often do you consider whether the audience, or the actors for that matter, will "get" your meaning?
Ki: I always think about whether there is a clear storyline, but I always assume that the audience will be curious enough to question and wonder. In the case of The Diabolical Elixir, I wanted the ending to be somewhat discomfiting. Why would a perfectly good and innocent person do something like drink that Elixir? Was she driven to it? Why?
Missi: For the record, I especially like any story that illuminates that we all have many sides - even girls who are totally innocent and perfect like myself can make some bad choices. ;) Only kidding, but seriously, isn't that a huge part of the human condition that anything with literary value frequently points out? There are no 100 percents when it comes to good and evil. Does one bad choice make a perfectly good person turn bad? It's an ongoing debate we can all have.
Ki: As to the whole good and evil thing: theatre, the art form, is not a passive entertainment, but about us witnessing and being a part of a room full of people all saying “yes” to suspending our disbelief for the time span of the show. Like kids playing together and creating a world with it's own rules, when we go into a theater space, we are saying we want to believe together in what is being created in front of us. An innocent girl who chooses to use something evil to RID the world of evil gets at the old question “does the end justify the means?”
Missi: It must be fun to experiment with all the ways to make the audio sounds for this show. Did the actors bring ideas with them for that? How much trial and error is there in the rehearsal process? And all of it was visually entertaining too.
Ki: In my attempt to keep the rehearsal process as compact as possible, I did come armed with lots of gear and ideas about how to create the live sound effects. But of course the actors brought their ideas into it, and we accommodated most of them! It’s amazing what crazy effects people know how to make with their voices: I think we all did a lot of shows in our basements when we were kids! And that is exactly the kind of energy that makes a “live radio show” fun. We’ll see how the show translates to the radio once we have selected to the recording of the show that we think is the “best show.”
Caryl Campbell’s detailed and colorful oil on canvas are evocative of the travel books of older times. These works are a product of her interest in natural history and a background in medical science. They are an extension of a carefully researched and recorded natural history journal. On some works she creates a formal structure on the canvas in an underlying landscape painting, over which is layered a representation of a journal page, upon which is painted a representational or abstracted element of nature. Other paintings are pure and vibrant landscapes enlarged to beautiful detail. These works are an investigation of a paradox; the wondrous beauty of the natural world coupled with the wonton disregard for the individual life form.
Caryl Campbell is a long-time Methow Valley resident and an amateur naturalist. Living on a large forested home-place allows her to keep daily records of bird migration, nest sites, tree health, plant diversity, and more. Caryl’s work is inspired by, and structured from these encounters with the natural world. She has a strong background in Science, as well as, a degree in painting from the University of Washington. Caryl has been featured in solo shows, locally and regionally, and her work is in private collections close to home and globally.
To purchase works of art from the exhibit contact Confluence Gallery
at 509-997-2787 or email Salyna.
Auditions for a showcase of The Last Salmon
Saturday, July 11th 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
at The Merc Playhouse
Seeking singers and/or instrumentalists for an original and new chamber alt. rock/folk music piece about wild salmon and the first salmon ceremony. Written and Music Directed by Casey James, award winning, million-selling composer and song-writer and based on the book by Phil Davis. All instruments possible: piano, guitar, drums, bass percussion, or whatever you play. If you can sing and play even better!
Special need for a Native American story-teller and/or drummer
Singers: Please prepare at least 24 bars of 2 songs. The show is in the alt. rock/folk vein with R&B overtones. Whatever you know well will be fine. Bring sheet music if you like, an accompanist will be provided.
Drummers please bring a small kit or hand drums.
Guitar, Bass bring your instrument and amp, or play acoustic guitar.
Rehearsals the week of Sept. 30th through Oct. 3rd.
Showcase on Oct. 4th.
Possible full production is in the works!
Contact The Merc Playhouse with questions (509) 997-7529.
Our Artistic Director, Ki Gottberg, is also a professor of theatre as well as the department Chair in the Department of Performing Arts and Arts Leadership at Seattle University. This weekend, she brings her student production on tour from SU to The Merc for two nights of William Inge's Picnic.
In this classic play, family relationships give way to upheaval and raw passion when a beefy drifter rolls into town on the freight train that passes through a 1950's small town in Kansas. All the action takes place on Labor Day, as everyone readies for the town picnic in the last gasp of summer. Watch the trailer from the Seattle performances to get a glimpse of the captivating ideas and actions that are as true today as they were in 1953 when the play first premiered.
May 22nd & 23rd
$15.00 Adults, children 18 and under free
Buy tickets here
or purchase at the door.
Doors open 30 minutes prior to showtime.
The Twisp Art Walk also takes place in town on Saturday from noon to 4:00. Join us in the theater for Merc Memories, an exhibit in our gallery space that features photos, costumes, posters, t-shirts, and other memorabilia from our long history of productions at The Merc. You may even find an artifact to take home. Enjoy the exhibit along with concessions, face painting, sidewalk chalk for kids, and other fun activities while Glover Street and Twispworks bustle with art and activity.
We are very excited to welcome The Seattle Shakespeare Company to The Merc this weekend for a touring production of Macbeth. With financial assistance from Seattle Shakespeare Company, plus one Shakespeare-passionate Friend of The Merc, this production was made possible as an extra-special add on to our regular season and we are looking forward to it.
Are you wondering what Macbeth is all about? Or do you just want to impress your friends? Well, before you come see the show, you can check out this convenient resource for a who's who and what's what of the play: Macbeth Guide. Skip forward to page 5 and learn about Shakespeare's witchy, magic, murderous, and historic Scottish play in a clear and succinct synopsis.
You may remember Terri Weagant performing her solo show The Amish Project at The Merc last year. We are fortunate to have her return to The Merc stage in the role of Lady Macbeth. She plays alongside Trevor Young Marston in the role of Macbeth. Susanna Burney, Joe Cummings, Joshua Chessin-Yudin, and Anastasia Higham round out the rest of the roles in this pared-down version of the play directed by Annie Lareau.
Saturday, May 16
$15 adults $5 Youth 18 and under
available online or at the door
doors open 30 minutes to showtime
Come on down to The Merc for another night of live music & entertaining performances by local artists at our May Open Merc!, hosted by Marc Holm. Bring your band, bring your music, bring whatever you've got and don't forget to bring your friends!
A longstanding tradition continues with Open Merc, an open mic night hosted by Marc Holm, which includes local musicians and performers.
This talent-filled event began with host Egon Steinebach, The Merc's founder, and has continued for over seven years. Performances have included individual singers, entire bands, actors, poetry and prose readers...it's not your usual open mic - it's OPEN MERC! Now's your chance to take the stage. Come participate as a performer or an audience member. Future Open Merc dates are also planned for May 12th & June 16th at 7:00 PM. Start rehearsing now and we'll see you there.
Call 997-7529 or email info at mercplayhouse dot org for more information.
Rod Molzahn, director of our upcoming kids show, has provided a nice synopsis for As You Like It so that theater-goers know what the heck is going on in Shakespeare's well-loved, and perhaps funniest, comedy. Here's how it goes:
Oliver, the older brother of Orlando, refuses to share the family inheritance with his younger brother. He also refuses to let Orlando go to school. Orlando feels that he is treated worse than the horses.
The old Duke, who had ruled the city for years, has been overthrown by his younger sister, the new Duchess, and banished to the Forest of Arden with his followers.
Orlando agrees to a wrestling match with Charles, the Duchess’ undefeated wrestler. At the wrestling match Orlando and Rosalind, the old Duke’s daughter, meet and fall in love. Orlando defeats Charles. That makes the Duchess angry and she banishes Orlando. Then she banishes Rosalind.
The Duchess’ daughter, Celia, goes with her cousin, Rosalind, and the court jester, Touchstone, to the Forest of Arden to find Rosalind’s father. Rosalind disguises herself as a boy and Celia dresses as a servant to be safer on the journey. In the forest they meet several farmers and shepherds. Rosalind and Celia buy a farm.
Rosalind and Orlando meet in the forest but Orlando doesn’t recognize her because of her disguise but a young shepherdess falls in love with her thinking she is a boy. Celia finds all the confusion very funny as you will when you see the whole play.
As You Like It opens Friday night, March 6th. Doors open at 6:30 and show starts at 7:00. Performances run March 6th - March 15th. Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 7:00. Sunday at 2:00. Purchase tickets online or at the door. $15.00 for adults, $5 for kids. Pay What You Can Night is Thursday, March 12th.
We have auditions this weekend for Circle Mirror Transformation, an upcoming Reader's Theater Production at The Merc. During our Reader's Theater Productions, we present a script reading without staging, set, or costumes. It's just characters reading parts. The benefits of this style of theater are a much smaller time commitment on the part of the cast, no memorization necessary (scripts are onstage with the actors), and a down-sized budget, while still providing an evening of exciting entertainment. We often select scripts that we are considering for full-scale production at The Merc to gauge audience and cast interest. It is a fabulous way to get new people involved in acting onstage and it is terrific fun for our community to see their friends and loved ones onstage during these shows.
We couldn't produce these shows without willing actors, and it's easy to become part of one of our Reader's Theater Productions. All you have to do is audition (which pretty much means come to the Merc, read a little bit, and talk details with the director - it's not scary - I PROMISE). We are holding auditions this weekend. Meet with our Artistic Director, Ki Gottberg, in the Merc's office on Saturday, February 21st from 3:00 - 5:00. At auditions, she will give out the rehearsal schedule. Peformances of Circle Mirror Transformation are on Friday and Saturday, March 27th and 28th.
Info on casting:
Seeking 6 actors who can play the following:
Lauren age 16
Theresa age 35
Marty age 50-60
Stage directions reader: needs to have good timing sense
Stage directions reader: needs to have good timing sense
Read more info about Circle Mirror Transformation, the play that won the 2009 OBIE (best new play-off Broadway) here.
The Merc Playhouse