Fortune’s Favored – There Will Be Words Recap from Literary Manager Zach Winston

I came across Fortune’s Favored a little over a month ago, back when VTG opened submissions for its summer production. Like any other play we’ve selected, it initially needed some work. It took a bit of convincing to get the play chosen but, with such passion, such an educated voice, and highly inspired elements, it simply could not be ignored.

When it comes to selecting plays for There Will Be Words, I like to think of more than just choosing a “good play.” The playwright should benefit just as much as VTG from both the reading and the talkback. The question I’ve always asked is, “is this play developed as much as it can be without being heard in front of an audience?”

Such was the case with Fortune’s Favored.

In acting school, we’re taught to make our characters lead from one of three places: the head (character’s choices made from intellect), the heart (character’s choices made from the soul), and the stomach (character’s choices made from impulse). This is also the case with a play, and Fortune’s Favored is one which leads from the heart.

I was amazed with exactly how much heart and soul was ingrained into the script. So much so that it overflowed from the pages into playwright Lesley Anne Moreau’s process which led to three new, honed drafts before TWBW.

A small but mighty assembly of new theatre enthusiasts gathered together at Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Thursday, May 15th to hear the words of Fortune’s Favored. We gave them words as promised and, in return, we got words. Lesley heard the words spoken by our audience and, without hesitation, worked around the clock on a new draft before going into rehearsals. In fact, first thing I’m going to do after publishing this blog post is look over the revisions Lesley just sent after a successful first week of rehearsals.

I’ve been describing the play as an inspired mash-up uniting the characters of Tennessee Williams, the tone/setting of Sam Shepard, and the themes/motifs of Anton Chekov. It takes place in a run-down arcade in Big Ugly, West Virginia where Eudora Redden (Annie Hochheiser), daughter of the arcade’s negligent owner, runs day-to-day operations. When Davis Milford (Conor Walsh), a mysterious stranger from Beverly Hills, offers a very large sum for a rare fortune-telling machine, she finds a way out. However, when her beauty-pageant-washout cousin Luann (Lauren Robinson) interferes, sparks fly and the gloves come off in a riveting family drama.

Fortune’s Favored opens at The Factory Theatre (791 Tremont street, Boston MA) on July 11th, and runs through the 26th. Tickets can be purchased at on Brown Paper Tickets. We will also be hosting pay-what-you-can night ($5 min.) on July 16. Hope to see you there!

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Open Submissions for December There Will Be Words

Winter is coming and you know what that means? So it the winter edition of There Will Be Words!

Our next There Will Be Words will be held on Thursday, December 19 at 7:00 PM at Trident Booksellers & Cafe, which means that SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN!

While we just closed submissions for our next production in the spring, this is a chance for playwrights to submit works that feel like they would benefit from a public reading.

Starting today, we are accepting both short and full-length plays. Please note that TWBW submission guidelines have been modified slightly with a newly added limit on the number of plays that a playwright may send:

    • Playwrights must be New England-based.
    • Playwrights must be available to attend the reading and be able to provide their own transportation to and from Trident Booksellers & Cafe.
    • Plays should be entirely original work.
    • Plays should not have been produced in full prior to TWBW (readings/workshops are fine).
    • Playwrights may submit up to two plays per round of submissions.

Please email plays in PDF format to submissions@vagabondtheatregroup.com. Include a personal biography and a synopsis of the play in the body of the email.

Submission deadline is Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 28 at 9:00 PM.

We look forward to reading your work!

Meet the Cast of August and Autumn

BUY TICKETS BUTTONMeet the cast of August and Autumn! These lovely faces are coming soon to a theatre near you – the show runs from November 30 to December 7, so buy your tickets now!

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StudioHeadshots Models , ActorsEmma GoodmanTim Hoover

Tim Hoover (August)
Tim Hoover is somewhat of a professional memorizer, working extensively in educational and historical theater, keeping 14 different scripts and 6 different tours in his head for several different companies he works with regularly, but he can’t remember what he was supposed to pick up at the store. You may remember him from Vagabond’s Burning Up the Dictionary (nominated for 2013 IRNE Award Best New Play). He loves working with local companies and helping to develop new plays, and he is the president of the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston.

Melissa Walker Headshot 2013

Melissa Walker (Autumn)
Melissa Walker is thrilled to be making her debut with Vagabond Theatre Group! Most recently, Melissa has been involved with Turner Street Productions producing and acting in Allston Xmas, an anthology web series about the trials and tribulations of moving day in Boston.  Previous credits include Shelby in Steel Magnolias (The NextDoor Theatre), Maria in Twefth Night (Summer Festival Theatre), and Pearl in The Scarlett Letter (New Rep on Tour). Thanks to Markus.

Alyssa PurnhagenAlyssa Purnhagen (Elizabeth)
Alyssa is excited to be working with Vagabond for the second time! Graduated from Salem State University with her BA in Theater. Some of her past roles included Leslie in Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension, Chrissy in In the Boom Boom Room, Mimi in A New Brain, Maria in Twelfth Night, Professor Don in All in the Timing: The Universal Language, Louise in The Underpants, Camille in Red Noses, Seta in Beast on the Moon and was a member of the University’s improvisational troupe, Grandma’s Third Leg.

photoJim Remmes (Fig)
Jim is thrilled to once again be working with Vagabond Theatre Group! Jim recently appeared as Questry in Science Fiction Theatre’s The Aurora Project, Josef Gross in Flat Earth Theatre’s The MemorandumBox in Vagabond Theatre Group’s True Believers and in Acting Out Theatre Company’s productions of The Foreigner, Almost, Maine, & Leading Ladies. Jim has a degree in Theatre from the College of the Holy Cross and a Juris Doctor from Northeastern University. He is now an attorney.

DSC_1454Katelyn Beaudoin (Marissa)
Katelyn is a graduate from Salem State University with a BFA in performance. Recently she has been seen in various staged readings for new works of theatre all along the North Shore. Favorite past credits include: Rent (Mimi Marquez), Great Expectations (Biddy/Mrs. Joe/Wemmick), Kat(i)e & J(aw)hn (Katie), Escape from Happiness (Dianne Black). This is Katelyn’s debut with Vagabond Theatre group and she extends a heartfelt thank you and congratulations to the cast and crew for being so dedicated to creating new works of theatre.  She’d also like to thank her outstanding parents who have always been a source of unwavering encouragement, love, and support. And last but not least, a big ‘thank you’ her friends who’ve lit a fire under her butt and helped her to keep on keeping on.

Zach WinstonZach Winston (Thomas)
Recent Boston and New England performance credits include Hair (Counter-Productions Theatre Co.), A Bright New Boise, Tigers Be Still (Norton nomination- Outstanding Fringe Theatre Production, Zeitgeist Stage Co.), A Skull in ConnemaraTrue Believers (Vagabond Theatre Group), Such Times: A Sexfest of New Work (Heart & Dagger Productions), and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day (Boston Children’s Theater), How May I Connect You? (Project: Project). Zach serves as Literary Manager for Vagabond Theatre Group, and has filled many other roles in the company including Stage Manager for Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension, writer of The Unfortunate Cutthroats, and Assistant Director for Burning the Barn and Burning Up the Dictionary, both of which received IRNE award nominations for Best New Play.

Auditions for August and Autumn!

Hi there!

Coming in fresh off of a great There Will Be Words reading of John Minigan’s Concordance, we here at VTG are very excited to announce that we have added a day of open auditions for our next production–August and Autumn, by Brian Tuttle!

Mark your calendars, because this day of open auditions will be held this coming Tuesday, October 8th! If you want to audition but are not available on October 8, please email info@vagabondtheatregroup.com to discuss possible alternatives.

Auditions are by appointment, so please claim your slot here on our Sign Up Genius page!

Here’s a short blurb about this show:

August, a prickly and sarcastic know-it-all, is plagued with having the second best memory in the world.  Autumn is a fun and beautiful kleptomaniac, who cannot form short term memories. When the two cross paths in a hotel lobby, the troubled and cynical August is beyond smitten. From that point on, he is tasked with making an impression so big that even the Girl Without A Memory will remember him, no matter who — an overwhelmed sister, a frustrated ex-wife, or figments of his own imagination– stands in his way.

This show is cool, folks. And we want you to be a part of it! We’re looking for six actors (three male, three female) who are available October-November for evening and weekend rehearsals and performances from November 30th – December 7th.  All characters are in their 20’s/30’s. Here’s a breakdown!

  • August: male, synesthete, sarcastic know-it-all
  • Autumn: female, cannot form short-term memories, fun and whimsical
  • Fig: Male, rowdy figment of August’s imagination
  • Elizabeth: female, former psychologist, August’s ex-wife
  • Marissa: female, Autumn’s sister, protective, uptight
  • Thomas: male, graduate education student,

Auditions will take place at the Huntington Theatre Company offices at 281 Huntington Avenue, Boston. Please arrive 15 minutes before your audition slot to sign in.

Sides will be provided at the auditions. Short monologues of about 1-2 minutes are optional (encouraged, but by no means required). Please bring a resume and headshot with you.

Hope to see you there!

New Play Submissions for our Spring Production!

I’m going to cut to the chase. We here at Vagabond Theatre Group are looking for a new show. And we’re opening submissions starting NOW!

This submission period will mark the first time that we here at VTG have opened submissions with a direct target toward production. While we generally have an open door policy for scripts, and (of course) our regular TWBW submissions, we’ve always come upon our productions in a very organic way. This time, we’re sounding the call loud and clear: We have a theatre space at our disposal in March 2014, and we want to work with you!

Submissions will close roughly one month from today (on Tuesday, October 29), so if you feel like you need some time for a quick polish, go ahead. If you’re ready and rearin’, shoot your PDFs, synopses, and bios to submissions@vagabondtheatregroup.com.

The our upcoming production of Brian Tuttle’s August and Autumn will be the seventh show we’ve staged (and sixth new play!), and all of them have been an amazing adventure. They’ve been a grab bag of sizes, genres, and challenges, and we want to keep on keepin’ on. Surprise us with your stories! Confound us with your content! Send us your plays!

We’re unbelievably excited to get our hands messy with your work and all the playing, thinking, tweaking, writing, chancing, what-if-ing, and discovering that goes along with it.

We know there’s a lot of talent and a lot of captivating stories out there. Let’s bring them to life.

Did somebody say TWBW?

Last week, Josh opened our post-production staff meeting with a general “How do we feel the show went?” kind of question. Never being afraid of a drastic claim here and there, I said Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension was the best show Vagabond has ever produced. While there have been many amazing productions in the past (including but certainly not limited to the IRNE award nominated Burning the Barn and Burning Up the Dictionary), none were quick to disagree. Thanks for stopping by!

With every production, Vagabond works harder and harder, meaning– after the success of Supergravity— we’ve certainly got our work cut out for Brian Tuttle’s  August & Autumn this Fall as well as the rest of our season, which leads into my next point of business:

Our first post-Supergravity There Will Be Words  will be the evening of Thursday, September 19th at our usual time and spot, 7:00pm at Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury Street (go say “Hi!” to Courtney & Crew for us! They’re awesome!). Submissions are open now so, if you’re a playwright, send us everything you’ve got! We’d love to read it all!

(If you need a refresher on our official TWBW submission guidelines, they’re included below! Submissions close 8/30.)

“Wait just a nerf-herding minute, did he just say ‘we’?”

Over the past four years, Vagabond has seen many great artists and collaborators come and go. A few months ago, we lost board members Erica and Ryan to their adventures in Cleveland. And just the other night, we lost Josh to his adventures in LA. As much as we love, miss, and wish them nothing but the best of luck in their highly ambitious endeavors, that leaves our staff with only three members- James, Allison, and myself.

Typically, for TWBW, we’ll have board members read submissions of their choosing. With word of Vagabond spreading amongst the playwright community, we have had a large influx of scripts that may be overwhelming for only three readers with full-time day jobs to worry about and may interfere with giving each and every play its fair consideration. To remedy this issue, a literary board of trusted theatre artists and volunteers has been assembled to read scripts alongside the Vagabond board.

“A Vaga-board!”

The literary staff will also assist us in selecting our plays for the rest of this season. While August & Autumn will be performed at Boston Playwrights Theatre this November, we’ve also got The Factory Theatre booked for runs in April and next July! In order to fill these spaces, for the first time ever Vagabond is hosting open submissions for full production!

With TWBW, we typically look for promising plays that still need a bit of work– pieces that are up in the air until they’re heard in front of an audience. The difference when we open submissions for our production season is that we’ll be looking for plays that are a little further along in development, that have been workshopped, or have had a reading or two, and generally are begging to be put on their feet. Expect more announcements regarding our season and when we’ll be opening submissions for it soon after we’ve announced a script for TWBW.

So, Playwrights, submit your scripts! This will be our eighth TWBW event, and we want to see what you’ve got this time around! Join the likes of Kevin Mullins, Meron Langsner, Walt McGough, and Thom Dunn and hit that send button!

“But dad-dy, I want to know more VTG now!”

Well Veruca, you’ve got your wish. But I must be brief, for Vagabond is only in the early phases of brainstorming some great new content for the benefit of playwrights, local theatre artists, and of course the theatre community at large very much like what we do for TWBW. We’re still working on the details, but if all goes according to plan, we should have a big announcement prepared by August & Autumn.

In the meantime, and for more information, this is the source for all things Vagabond. Be sure to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@VagabondTheatre).

Literarily yours,

Zach

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Ever-handy TWBW Guidelines

The guidelines for submissions are as follows:

  • Both short and full-length plays are accepted.
  • Playwrights must be New England-based.
  • Playwrights must be available to attend the reading and be able to provide their own transportation to and from Trident Booksellers & Cafe.
  • Plays should be entirely original work.
  • Plays should not have been produced in full prior to TWBW (readings/workshops are fine).

Please email plays in PDF format to submissions@vagabondtheatregroup.com. Include a personal biography and a synopsis of the play in the body of the email. The deadline for submissions for the next TWBW is August 30, 2013 at 9:00 PM!

Meet the Director: James Peter Sotis

Believe it or not, James asked us to use this shot. :)

Believe it or not, James asked us to use this shot! 🙂

Meet James, the director of Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension! James is also Vagabond’s Artistic Director and he says that his life plan is “to win the lottery (MegaMillions or Powerball) and do this full time. Because that would be great.”

If theatre is not your full-time job, what do you do on the side?
I currently work for a small startup company called Google. Favorite previous jobs include Chef, Script Reader, and working at a beach (where I love to take long walks).

What has been your favorite thing about working on the play so far?
My cast and my crew are a retinue of saints. They’re insanely patient, talented and driven. When they’re not making my job absurdly easy, they’re pushing my creative boundaries to places I never would have gone. Every day is awesome theatre yoga.

What do you think is the most challenging thing about this show? Why are you looking forward to making it work?
Defining the spacial/physical/etherial/sonic/visual relationships between all of the various parts of the play. At times, Supergravity can be incredibly fluid, and it’s definitely a balancing act to make sure all of the radical transitions work well and move toward the feelings we’re trying to evoke and the experience we’re trying to create. It’s been a great, invigorating challenge.

Have you ever been fascinated by a certain aspect of science?
Astronomy has always fascinated me. Staring into a clear night sky and really thinking on how each of those little points has travelled light-years to reach us, and some of those stars simply do not exist anymore. The vast distances. Space travel and time dilation and the relative experiences of the stars and planets. It’s all endless and crazy.

Also, Dinosaurs. Always dinosaurs.

What totally confuses you about physics?
How I’m able to constantly trip over absolutely nothing on a completely flat walkway. I’m sure there are undiscovered gravity wells everywhere that my feet are really, really good at finding.

If someone were to read your fortune (a la Carmen in the play), what do you think it would say?
“Hmmm… I see that you will be alive and with all of your limbs for the foreseeable future” (at least I hope that’s what it says.)

Are you listening to any music to prepare for this show? 
Yes! My two go-tos for rehearsal prep are “Steady As She Goes” by the Raconteurs and “Your Bones” by Of Monsters and Men. One brings the energy, one brings the loss; one brings the melancholy and one brings the frustration. (And they’re both awesome).