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!

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 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!

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).

Meet the Designers: Lucas Garrity, Lighting Designer, Master Electrician

Lucas GarrityLucas Garrity, Lighting Designer and Master Electrician was one of the founders of Vagabond, years and years ago with our first show, Martin McDonagh’s A Skull in Connemara and loves Vagabond so much that he keeps coming back! Lucas enjoys the challenge of working with small theatre companies and the sense of collaboration he gets from our inspired production team.

If theatre is not your full-time job, what do you do on the side? 
As with some of the other members of Vagabond theatre is what I do on the side and supply chain management is what I do as my primary source of employment. I work for Raytheon Company in Andover Massachusetts in support of procuring material for the manufacture of defense related materials. For theatre I work with smaller theatre companies for passion and also work as a freelance theatrical electrician and lighting designer to learn more about theatrical production and as a second source of employment.

What has been your favorite thing about working on the play so far? 
So far working on this production I have most enjoyed the collaboration among the production team as well as the performance team. Vagabond stresses theatre through collaboration and it is a pretty typical morning when I wake up to at least one email time stamped 2am from a production member where they were stuck with inspiration and wanted to not only record that inspiration, but share it with the team. By working together we are able to create a more creative end product.

What do you think is the most challenging thing about your design for this show? Why are you looking forward to making it work?
The most challenging aspect for this show as a designer and as with many Vagabond productions is the lack of resources at our disposal. I do not say that as a negative, but rather as a challenge to be accepted and conquered. I have colleagues working in the Boston theatre scene that let obstacles prevent them from finding creative solutions, but through dedication and determination I have been able to create some of my best work and will do no less for Supergravity.

What totally confuses you about physics?
A lot confuses me about physics! If I had to choose one thing that my mind has a particularly hard time wrapping itself around would be flight. I understand the mechanics of flight and that air has a density that when manipulated by the wing of a plane that density creates flight, but it still just doesn’t make sense that a 300+ ton airplane could defy the laws of gravity. I have enjoyed many a summer day at Revere beach watching the plans slowly descend into Logan and flight just continues to amaze me.

Meet the Cast: Kevin Paquette

Kevin Paquette as TomMeet Kevin Pacquet, who plays Tom in Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension! Tom is a theoretical physicist and a sort of narrator in the show who spends his time obsessing over the secrets of the universe. He ponders things such as parallel universes and time travel. Science is basically his spirituality, and he uses his work to get around his grief, anger, and sadness, rather than just confront them head on. It doesn’t always work in the way he hopes, and when that happens, it only makes everything worse.

If theatre is not your full-time job, what do you do on the side?
I am a server at Zuma Tex-Mex in Fanueil Hall; Home of the $4.00 margarita. It is really really exciting… I wish there was more to it than that, but there isn’t really.

What has been your favorite thing about working on the play so far?
I am enjoying every part of the process so far, and I think that is because of the people who are involved in it. Everyone really wants to be there and is enjoying themselves, and they are all in it for the right reasons which is to put on a good show. There aren’t any huge egos going around and everyone remembers to have fun. For as serious as this show gets, there isn’t a rehearsal that goes by without laughter. I love going to rehearsal. It’s where I want to be most of the time.

What is your favorite thing about your character?
I love how passionate he is about his work. I think it is the part of him that I connect to the most. The way he feels about the universe, and time and space. Such is the way I am about acting and theatre. He is obsessed with it and consumed by it, which is unhealthy at times, but it brings him peace and it helps him better understand himself and the world around him, which is something I completely understand. It is a part of him. He doesn’t know how not to do it.

Have you ever been fascinated by a certain aspect of science?
Just like Tom, I love the idea of Time Travel. It is probably because of the sort of movies and television I watch, such as Doctor Who. I was also a big fan of history in High School, and I would love to be able to Vacation in the past. Check out Ancient Rome or go figure out this Shakespearian authorship question once and for all. I don’t think I would want to go to my future though, that could get really scary.

What’s the weirdest way you’ve ever entered a building?
I pretty much only enter buildings in practical ways. Though there have been times where I have had to break into my own house via the window because I had lost my key. The weirdest way I would want to enter a building is to just crash through a big glass window and make a big scene, but say nothing and continue to my business.

Are you listening to any music to prepare for this show?
I listen to a lot of music in general and I tend to make playlists for when I am reading a script. Currently my playlist is a lot of instrumental post rock and very ambient music. A lot of “Sigur Ros”, “This Will Destroy You”, and “Broken Social Scene”. It is very relaxing and is a type of music that allows me to read and think. I also think that some of it works very well the sci-fi/ethereal feel of the show.

Do you have any special relationships with geographic locations (good or bad) like the characters in the play have or had with the cabin?
When I was in high school, my friends and I started going to a park near the fens called, “Mother’s Rest”. If we didn’t want to be in school, we would just leave and go there. Hang out, swing, get into all different types of debauchery. We still go there when everyone is in town. It is just so full of love and great memories. I don’t have a single bad recollection of that place and it is very special to me. More so now then when we were in high school because we don’t all see each other as often, but when we go there, it’s as if nothing has changed. I love it.

Meet the Crew: Sam Sewell, Sound Designer

s_sewall-210Meet Sam Sewell, Sound Designer for Supergravity and the Eleventh Dimension! Sam drives a pedicab around Boston, but says that her dream job would be wandering storyteller (if those existed) and that theatre is the next best thing!

If theatre is not your full-time job, what do you do on the side?
I ride a gigantic tricycle around Boston that carry tourists mostly to Fenway Park.

What has been your favorite thing about working on the play so far?
Hanging out with the Vagabond Crew and chances to discuss the play in-depth.

What do you think is the most challenging thing about your design for this show? Why are you looking forward to making it work?
Getting the right feel to accurately represent where we are in the play. The lighting and sound transitions have to convey whole changes in time and reality and have to be seamless in order for this play to work. Lucas [Supergravity Lighting Designer] and I have our work cut out for us. I’m looking forward to making it work because we can create something awesome if we pull it off.

What totally confuses you about physics?
The complexity of the formulas and the whole other language you have to learn in order to work in the field.

Are you listening to any music to prepare for this show?