Coffee Rhetoric: Flipside
Showing posts with label Flipside. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flipside. Show all posts

October 06, 2011

Coffee Buzz: See You BACK on the Flipside!


This past spring, I had the rare pleasure of being invited to document the behind-the-scenes drama that went into building a main-stage play.  Hartford, CT based Theater Company; HartBeat Ensemble extended an opportunity to me to blog their experiences finally bringing their play, Flipside to fruition in its entirety. For about 6 months, the creative undertaking allowed me to be able to tell a "day job" to kick rocks and I got to see what truly makes actors tick; Their methods, their frustrations, their elation when they have a nervous breakthrough... It was like reality television, but with more substance, minus the physical altercations, minimal wig-snatching, and without any dubious, "piecey" editing. Here's the in-depth skinny on Flipside (insert flashback music here)...

Working in tandem with a local filmmaker and video producer named Helder Mira, we caught the Flipside actors and director during some of their most vulnerable moments, as they worked tirelessly to bring their play to bigger main stage, in Hartford, CT. We also saw them take a donated space in the renovated, LEED certified, multipurpose commercial space, The Hollander Building, and make it their own; building a stage, painting, and putting their personal touches on it, turning it into an intimate performing space that would later be used to host fundraising shindigs, jazz concerts, and poetry showcases.  
Sitting in that performance space during rehearsal proved to be some of the coldest days I ever endured. It was in the middle of one of the most horrific winters of my adult life, here in the northeast. However,  it registers as one of my most memorable collaborations to date and I enjoyed it; Cold, dour, and ugly. 
Needless to say, Flipside had a successful spring-summer run. Audiences appreciated its take on the War on Drugs and its effect on the surrounding communities.  

Flipside is based on actual interviews with two real people, and tells the story of a friendship between a Hartford teen named Bo and an undercover narcotics agent named Nick. The show combines original music and spoken-word poetry throughout the play’s narrative on drug use and trafficking in neighborhoods.  Audiences agree that Flipside relays a compelling discourse on the War on Drugs and is interspersed with a little humor and very catchy musical numbers…

Directed by Co-Founding Artistic Director, Greg Tate, Flipside involved two years worth of painstaking research and subsequent workshops in partnership with Central Connecticut State University’s Center for Regional and Municipal Policy, Portland Oregon’s Sojourn Theater and Manchester Community College; HartBeat has lead open dialogues and over 40 individual interviews on the subject in order to create the play.
“We found that no matter what a person believes about drug use and selling, they tend to be very passionate about their feelings on the matter.” says Tate, “Of course that makes for great theater.  It’s tricky, and very fun stuff.”
(Queue back to the present) ...

Now, back by overwhelming demand, Flipside will be making a limited run this October 13th-29th at The Hollander Building in downtown Hartford at 410 Asylum Street! Show times begin at 7:30 pm and will run every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Tickets are $20 with a discounted price of $15 for all students, seniors, and Let's Go Arts! members. Call 860.548.9144 or visit http://hartbeatensemble.org to purchase tickets. 
 
HartBeat Ensemble recently had a raucously good time celebrating at the Mark Twain House and Museum, in commemoration of their 10 year anniversary. For the past ten years, HartBeat Ensemble has been creating original, professional theater based on stories from the Hartford community. Through Main-stage plays, Open-Air performances and Education programs, HartBeat makes theater accessible beyond the barriers of class, race or gender.
Since it’s founding in 2001, HartBeat has created six full-length original plays. HartBeat’s flagship education program, the Youth Play Institute, works in partnership with five different school districts to bring urban and suburban youth together for intensive month-long play building residencies in which they create and perform original one-act plays. HartBeat also conducts bullying prevention programs in schools called “Startin’ Drama.”


Check out HartBeat Ensemble's behind-the-scenes, Flipside documentary series 
Also, read my behind-the-scenes guest blog posts





April 28, 2011

Finally...

After much ado about PLENTY, the play I've been blogging about so diligently... Flipside... opens tonight! And will run through May 21st at The Hollander Building at Asylum Street, downtown Hartford every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, 7:30pm! Tickets are $20 with a discounted price of $15 for all students, old folks, and Let's Go Arts! members. 
There's originally composed music courtesy of Martin Carrillo, singing,Voguing, creative flashbacks through time,  spoken-word, discussion about wormholes, Chinaza Uche takes his pants off, so forth and so on. Opening night is sold out... but alas, Hartford Theater goers have a whole month to check it out. April 29th is HartBeat Ensemble's opening fundraiser... For a paltry $50 (you know it's paltry when compared to the cost of other fundraising events), there'll be noshables, a DJ spinning, and an opportunity to get a little tipsy before settling down at 7:30 to watch another Flipside performance.  
In the meantime, since some of you interested folk probably won't be able to make tonight's opening show considering it's sold out, catch up on all the behind-the-scenes drama on HartBeatEnsembleTube, filmed by the talented Rabbit Ears Media, and read my witty and revealing blog content on HartBeat Ensemble's website. I'm stoked. 

March 31, 2011

More Coffee Buzz: Flipside!

© HartBeat Ensemble
I know my posts on Coffee Rhetoric have been somewhat few and far between and mostly riddled with buzz, buzz, Coffee buzz posts and local events, while being low on the ranting, below-the-belt quips about the ills of humanity, and what have you ... but it's only because so much has been going on in my home city of Hartford and I've been anxious about featuring cool local people, places, and things I've come to enjoy and be excited about. 
The primary event that has been keeping me busy is my blogging for local, professional theater group, Hartbeat Ensemble. They're a talented group of actors and have been a staple in Hartford for a long time, performing their originally penned plays in the park, on the main-stage, and via outreach programs. They're unique in that they write their own original work; most of which creates awareness about social issues affecting the Hartford community. No they aren't Broadway heavies or some large Hartford theater group with a giant budget to work with, but they definitely live up to their name and are worth the weight in theater gold.
Afforded the opportunity to watch them rehearse, argue, cuss, and sigh exasperatedly as they hashed out the elements of the script, I've been writing behind-the-scenes posts to their blog; providing insight into what will prove to be one of their most exciting main-stage plays... Flipside. The action will take place in a recently acquired performance space downtown; the newly rehabilitated and multipurpose Hollander Building at Asylum Street, on its ground floor, which means passers-by have probably had the opportunity to peek in the windows, perhaps prompted by curiosity. 
© HartBeat Ensemble
The play is based on actual interviews with two real people, and tells the story of a chance encounter between a Hartford teen named Bo and an undercover narcotics agent named Nick. Flipside features spoken-word poetry, storytelling and rhythmic choreography to depict the complexities of drug use and trafficking in our communities and challenges the current War on Drugs policies. 
The play was originally workshopped at Manchester Community College while it was a work-in-progress last year, and will finally come to fruition as a full production April 28-May 21. All performances are Thursday, Friday, & Saturday and will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 with a discounted price of $15 for all seniors, students, & Let's Go Arts members. April 28 is Community Night and is FREE!
©Rabbit Ears Media
If I'm being honest, it's rare (for me anyway) to have had the opportunity to see the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to literally build a production... live and in person. I'm generally used to bearing witness to the finished result of a play, like the rest of the audience so it'll be particularly special for me to finally see Flipside in its finished form with the rest of you... after having seen the behind-the-scenes drama. 
** For additional information, read witty and insightful posts over at hartbeatensemble.org/blog 
and see the documentary videos filmed by Rabbit Ears Media at HartBeatEnsembleTube ! I love gratuitous plugs... I get to talk about the things *I* enjoy, particularly if I have some sort of involvement in it. And yes, ... yes I will write/guest blog for you and yours as well, for cash and other prizes. That is all. 



January 17, 2011

Coffee Buzz: The Relevancy of 'Flipside'

I'm currently working with Hartford based theater group, HartBeat Ensemble, to help document the making of their upcoming play, 'Flipside,' slated to open and run April 21 - May 14, 2011. 
Please support the effort, as it's an original work by a talented group of actors and it gives voice to important issues not unknown to most urban areas! Discourse via the use of art. Read my latest update on the process 'The Relevancy of Flipside' HERE

More to come...