|blog 3 (B3)
Kaiser Ahmed, the Co-Founding Artistic Director of Jackalope's freshman years, shares his thoughts on a Jackalope for the future/
The past 44 months have been a time-distorted perfect storm of awesome theatre making experiences. It all seemed to go by so fast, and I was holding my breath for so long... Phew...
Okay, seriously though, it's time to get back to work.
When I would tell close friends and family that I was beginning the transitioning process of Artistic Directorship to AJ, I would often be met with a look of "Oh,..why?"
And my reply to that would be, "The Great Plan progresses."
When AJ, Gus, and I formed Jackalope, we did so after hearing several warnings from beloved colleagues and studying several off-loop theatres in the history of Chicago past.
We read about some theatres that rose up to make a mark and many that rose and fell inside of three years. Keeping the Artistic Directorship in rotation seemed like a damned good idea, and I knew I had a limited time in this position to make an impact. From the very beginning, I was setting out to build a theatre that would last and grow and not just sustain, but re-invent itself and flourish. We are a company that produces a lot of new work, and so we must also stay new. During these first 44 months as Artistic Director, I've been doing my best to separate myself from the company and serve the Great Jackalope and its plans. You see, I am just a man, but Jackalope is an entity, like Batman; a symbol; an immortal corporate person. And if we can make this Artistic Director transition happen smoothly once, then it can happen again. In my opinion, this is one of Jackalope's greatest achievements of sustainability.
Though, it is less of an elaborate challenge since I never had to make any artistic decisions without my partner in crime, AJ Ware. And that our working relationship won't really change that much. If anything, it's already gotten even better. Not only will I be proud to follow her prompt, it will be easy for me to do so. I am truly excited to begin my new position as Associate Artistic Director in the world of 'The New Jackalope Theatre.'
So what will happen next? Who could possibly know? Won't somebody say something?
(a wind from the west whispers...)
"The Great Plan will progress."
|blog 2 (B2)
A brand new entry from a brand new Artistic Director. AJ Ware writes about the transition into her new position at the helm of Jackalope/
When we founded Jackalope in the spring of 2008, one of the very first things we decided was that after three years we would switch up the leadership to keep perspectives and spirits fresh. Here we are, (fine, three and a half years later, for those who are keeping track) and we add this to the list of campaign promises kept. As Kaiser and I have been making this shift internally over the past few months, several things have become clear to me. The first is that there was a lot going on that I didn’t even know about. Without asking for recognition, Kaiser has kept this fireplace stoked and deserves a damn trophy for the miles of paperwork and planning he’s done, without which a company simply fizzles from within. I also realize that in many ways, I’m the lucky one. The tenuous first years of any organization are rife with… let’s call them learning opportunities… that are a frustrating but integral part of discovering exactly who the organization is, what it does, and how it does it. Being Jackalope’s second Artistic Director means that the cornerstones have been laid, the structure has ceased to wobble, and I get the fun job of picking out wallpaper.
Now we embark on a new voyage. In 2012 you can expect so many new things from us (read about them on the announcements page). These projects usher in a new Jackalope, and amidst all the new work, what I’m most outrageously, blindingly excited about are the artists we’ll be joining forces with in the next year. Marti Lyons’ brilliant directing paired with Lucas Neff’s challenging and inventive wordplay is resulting in a play unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Andrew Swanson and Chance Bone are making music for spies and adventures. Killian and Tricia Sweeney are making a whole website. From scratch! Not to mention all of the outstandingly talented actors and designers who loan their hearts to every show they do. And we get to do it all in our home away from home, the Viaduct Theatre. I am literally giddy thinking about it. All I could ask for now is to have you join us. We do this for you. We make this because of you. We love you. We go through your garbage to learn about you and make plays we think you’ll enj…
Sorry, that was super weird.
I didn’t mean to freak you out. Come on down to the Viaduct, say hello, see a play, and let me buy you a beer to make it up to you.
I can’t wait to show you what we’ve been up to.
blog 1 (B1)
Andrew Swanson, co-writer for Under Construction, writes about the role of the visual arts in this production/
Greetings Inter-web Voyagers! Andrew Burden Swanson here, I'd like to take the time to thank you for checking out the site, And the first edition of our blog! We're planning to be very real up in here. For real. Really real... We're new at this.
Today's entry regards a fraction of the process embarked upon
By AJ Ware, Melanie Berner and myself toward our upcoming production of an
- Originally Adapted Under Construction, from the text by Charles Mee.
About a year ago, my two fellow collaborators and I took a rather unorthodox look
- At the script we had selected to produce in November of 2010.
Due to the openness and graciousness that exudes from Mr. Mee's work,
AJ, Melanie and I were given the golden opportunity; "Do what you want, but more importantly need, to do."
- This ideal lead to a thrilling year of exploration, creation and collaboration.
Eventually, we found ourselves with a work of art that each of us was intensely connected to.
The year since we first sat down with Charles Mee's script,
With no clue as to what may lie ahead, has been a whirlwind of flying pages,
- An eight ft. collage storyboard and many hours spent hunting for treasures in the trash.
To sum up the entire process thus far would take much more time than I'm afforded in this blog post, however,
- I would like to say that it has been an honor thus far to be a part of it. Many thanks to AJ, Melanie, Our Cast, Our Crew,
Jackalopes one and all; for making this production a possibility.
- One major influence on the play is the Visual Arts.
- From the off, we had decided that we wanted to showcase
- As many avenues of artistic expression as possible,
- Within the confines of one theatrical event.
- With this in mind, and with the hope to gain an audience
- Through the visual art community in our fair city,
- We sought out the help of our friend Floyd A. Davis IV,
- Owner of ARTPENTRY, a gallery in the Pilsen neighborhood.
- As a regularly visited art gallery,
ARTPENTRY seemed the perfect place to first announce the production.
- Gus Menary, who has managed this gallery project,
Gathered work from several visual artists working in Chicago.
- These pieces were commissioned with the intension of displaying works of visual art
Which spoke toward the basic ideals behind the play itself.
- We hoped to gain some interest from the Art Walk's regulars.
We printed basic flyers and handed them to folks that came in to gander at the work.
- Being able to describe the concept behind the showing was a definite bonus.
We were able to introduce the artwork, the artists, the production and the company
- To loads of arts supporting strangers, and all in one fell swoop!
It was a terrific evening;
- Hugs to all the artists who contributed their work and talent,
A firm hand shake and a smile to all those art fans that listened to our little theatre spiel,
- And thanks to all of you who read this entire blog post!
- Some shots of the commissioned art work
- Housed @ ARTPENTRY, located at 1827 S. Halsted Ave., Chicago, IL. (artpentry.com)
- All photo's shot by our good friend Ryan Bourque. (bourquephotoonline.com)
- (Artists; clockwise from top left; Brian Rad, Ryan Bourque, AJ Ware, Mary Williamson, Meredith Kachel , & Sierra Dufault)
- Thanks again, and check back soon for more posts!
- (Gee wiz, that took us long enough!)