Our 12th Anniversary Season kicked off with some major parties, fundraisers and collaborations. Our very own Co-Founder and Managing Director, Victoria Malvagno, continued her collaboration on Montalto's Emergency Used Candles. Malvagno first directed the performance piece presented as part of the Emerging Playwright's Festival. This solo piece has been in development with the Barefoot Theatre Company since early 2009. The play had its first ever public reading under the development and producing team of BTC as part of our bareNaked Reading Series in conjunction with our 70/70 Horovitz Project in May of 2009.
'Emergency Used Candles is a tale set in Brooklyn about the profound effect a grandfather and his granddaughter have on each other as one's life is ending while the other's is just beginning. Written and performed by Chiara Montalto,'Emergency Used Candles is based on the playwright's own experience growing up as a caretaker to her grandfather."
Committing to our mission of fostering playwrights and new works, we continued to contribute our time, talents, fundraising efforts, and audiences to this solo piece in order to bring it to it's fullest potential. It seemed obvious for us to move forward and present a staged version of this new script as part of our Workshop Series after the success of the bareNaked presentation. We were able continue the development process at one of our artistic homes, the American Ballroom Theatre with the Workshop Series. The event was presented with free drinks as well as some live dancing!!! A success all around!!!
Immediately following the Workshop presentation, the core team began work on supporting and encouraging Ms. Montalto to submit her work to other festivals and theater companies but Malvagno saw something that was very much a part of Barefoot Theatre Company. What Malvagno saw was the potential to take an artistic risk and direct a theatrical, solo performance driven with fire and passion as seen in the works of and by John Leguizamo, Anna Deavere Smith and Chazz Palminteri.
Prior to this development process and production of Emergency Used Candles, Barefoot Theatre Company was best known for works that included ensembles of at least 12 actors and sometimes as large as 19 and 28. So, a solo piece was definitely an artistic risk but Malvagno was ready to take us on a journey that would live up to our mission and objectives.
As our working relationship with The Cherry Lane Theatre began to flourish, the timing seemed right to present a full production in their Studio Theatre located in the historic building on Commerce Stree / Cherry Lane. We immediately went into preproduction in the summer of 2010 in preparation for the Fall 2010 opening of Emergency Used Candles to be directed by Victoria Malvagno.
Our Fall Production (presented in November) was a success, audiences of all ages came out to show their support and the final two performances, with full houses and no standing room available proved we did our job. Another highlight: Director, Malvagno made her Off-Broadway directorial debut and found her collaborative counter part in the likes of Lequizamo, Palmintari and Smith with understudy, Samantha Fontana. Since their work on Montalto's Emergency Used Candles, Malvagno and Fontana have been fast at work on a new work that will be sure to keep you laughing long after the lights have gone out.
The 2nd Annual bareNaked Reading Series was featured during dark nights in November with works by acclaimed playwrights, Lucy Boyle, Jose Rivera, Kristoffer Diaz, Jason Furlani, Mike Reiss, Kyle Bradstreet, allowing us to establish working relationships with some of the best collaborators around - more to follow on that experience in our next blog entry.
"Choose good partners and partners who complement your skill set. I've had so many great partnerships and the most fruitful have been with people who have been able to expand my knowledge and experience and for whom I believe I've been able to do a similar thing. It's great to have someone to bounce ideas off of before you have to say them out loud to the world." - Anne Carey (Producer)
pictured: top - EUC production poster designed by F. Solorzano.
bottom - Samantha Fontana & Victoria Malvagno during the Red-Carpet Opening Night of Joseph Sousa's Teeth Of The Sons at The Cherry Lane Theatre this past Spring.
Stay tuned for more highlights from this year's productions and events including our presentation of Horovitz's Sins Of The Mother featuring Chris Cooper, Ethan Hawke, Michael Stuhlbarg and Barefoot Theatre Company's Producing Artistic Director, Francisco Solorzano.