02 Jul

SHOCK OF RECOGNITION 

A final festival blog from Venice Theatre volunteer and Guild member Mike Sullivan

As I was going over the KMI Bridge on my way to the last performances of the 2018 edition of AACT WorldFest, I was trying to come up with something intelligent to say about the performances of Poland and Australia I attended the night before.

I won’t recount the details, which would be meaningless if you didn’t see the plays, but, as it is each evening, the adjudicators, well-schooled and experienced in the theatre, gave expert opinions of what they had seen in the two performances. I missed almost all of what they had seen. I missed the symbols and allusions made by the Poland troupe on the plight of women in relation to their mothers, fathers, husbands – their life. I did figure out a couple of allusions but missed the important clues that made the performance complete in message and effect.

I caught on to the Australians and their portrayal of a stranger’s struggle to be welcomed fully into an already-intact society group. But many of the subtler messages and allusions escaped me.

The adjudicators caught them and explained them with clarity.

Back to the shock – I attended those performances, but only my body, old and creaky, and a few of my brain cells were in those near-the-front seats. My active brain, well-experienced in the ways of the world, was absent. I didn’t put anything into the performances. I was content to sit there. The shock of recognition is that if I am to get something out of my attendance I have to put something in. I can’t be lazy and watch a serious performance by talented authors/actors, in the same way I watch reruns of “Lucy.”

By the time I arrived at the theatre, I resolved to do better. To dig deeper. To bring my A-Brain to the next performance. My last performance was from Germany, and I really got everything they wanted me to, I think and hope.

I urge you to read the blog and emails penned by Corrine and Kelly Woodland, two regular VT actors (and director), who are well-schooled in the theatre and they are offering valuable advice that will enhance your appreciation of the theatre.

Wrapping up the final day of WorldFest 2018 saw the torch-lit park by the theatre filled with participants and folks who had purchased the entire package. The talk was of great performances, great city, great Venice Theatre staff, especially the tech staff. Then it was into the MainStage for awards. Entertainment was provided by the Commedia dell’Arte students. Awards were given out on every conceivable subject, each met with great approval from a packed house. Dorian Boyd delighted the audience with a solo song on coming to America, showing Boyd can make beautiful music in addition to sound and noise.

The awards ceremony was packed full of appreciation and thanks for the volunteers of Venice Theatre, with special mention of the home hosts. Bob and Carol Wood related their experience over the past three WorldFests with their performers from Denmark, Bangladesh and this year, Slovenia. They were uniformly positive, even delighted, with having the people in their home for the week. Cindy also related with pleasure, “Last night the Slovenia people cooked a wonderful dinner for us!”  Please keep this and other experiences of home hosts in mind as you plan for the next WorldFest in 2020. This will be a great way to expand your horizons and delight in the international flavor of your Venice Theatre.

That’s all from this writer on WorldFest 2108. I enjoyed every play I was able to see. The international and out-of-state visitors I talked with were uniformly positive with Venice, the volunteers, and the individual staff members who made this such a great experience.

Please mark your calendars for June 2020. Mine is already marked in red.

26 Jun

Reflections on “The Stone of Patience” and Monochrome”

A blog by Kelly Wynn Woodland – director, actor, teacher – pictured right, at Friday’s afterglow with Martin from Australia and Lynn Nelson from Tupelo, MS.

One of the adjudicators at Friday night’s International Festival shows mentioned a conversation he had with a man in the lobby of Venice Theatre. His encounter was after a performance of Poland’s bea

utiful play, The Stone of Patience, a highly charged emotional journey through the experience of women imprisoned by the demands of female gender and sexual roles in a patriarchal society. One of the first things the man expressed to the adjudicator was his offense at the negative way men were portrayed in the story, offering the “not all men” rejoinder.

Yeah.

Case closed, thanks for proving the point, buddy.

If your first response to breathing through another human being’s innermost pain is to be offended that it might reflect on you, it definitely does.

I bring this up to introduce the two plays I was fortunate to experience at festival on Friday night. Both of them addressed deep and difficult social issues, though the offering from Theatre Zapadnia of Poland was darker in nature. Highly stylized with beautiful use of lighting, symbolism, and representational movement, this play was evocative of the 2012 film by Atiq Rahimi in more than its title. The Persian legend of the Patience Stone presents a stone to which one can tell all experiences, fears, sorrows, and anger that are obstacles to freedom. When the stone is so full it cannot hold more, it shatters, leaving the storyteller free of the damage done by harboring these emotions.

I cannot imagine a better metaphor for live theatre.

In Theatre Zapadnia’s play, the focus was on the plight of women struggling against expectations and demands placed on them against their consent. Born as white clad beings of innocence represented on swings upstage (one adjudicator aptly mentioned Peter Brooks’s Midsummer Night’s Dream), these free images were quickly dressed in grey and black smocks by figures referred to as Mother I, II, III and IV, creatures with no identity who moved simultaneously to the utilitarian purpose of preparing the new young female to be offered to marriage and childbirth. The sharpness of movement, the clarity of visual image, and the emotions exhibited by all onstage were stunning and completely engrossing to the point most of the audience forgot to notice if they were speaking English or Polish. Regardless of the will of the individual girls, they were then subjected to harsh preparation and delivery to the experience of forced sex and eventually childbirth. The director explained some of the issues facing women in Poland and the examination of reproductive rights, among others, by this stunning and affecting work of art.

A key point. As with most live theatre, it has to be experienced to be understood. By definition, theatre draws the audience into the emotional experience of the characters rather than explaining the struggle, forcing them to feel the futility and yearning of the individual, rather than asking them to analyze “both sides of the argument.” Back to the aforementioned fellow in the lobby (in case you might be reading this? Or in case you did the same thing?)…take some time to talk about why you felt uncomfortable enough to immediately approach someone after the play and talk about it.

Then talk about it. With a woman.


It is difficult to know where to begin discussing The Lieder Theatre’s production of Monochrome. Having seen performances from them in the past, and having the privilege of being friends with many of the actors as well as the director gave me more insight into the circumstances that went into this experience, but that is a different story.

 

In Friday night’s show, very little recognizable spoken language was used, but at no point in the performance was meaning unclear in any way. I am continually amazed at this company’s ability to use physical movement, artistic makeup, simple but fascinating costumes, and a lighting design that could tell the story all by itself.

The title sets the bar pretty high. One color. Covered in talcum powder that left a slight cloud reminiscent of vapor trails or animated renderings of slow motion movement, the cast was in fact one color. A happy tribe cuddling, laughing, even breathing together was intruded upon by a Stranger, and that simple, ancient conflict provided the basis for the struggle that played out for the duration of the play. Incredibly simple yet infinitely difficult, the physical staging once again caused those of us in the Bad Kids’ section (the balcony ) to actually exclaim aloud on several occasions. Absolutely simultaneous movement along with superhuman gymnastic feats managed to highlight the conflict’s tensions and releases with perfect clarity. No kidding, I want to be in on this process someday.

Much of the movement and lighting also reflected tribal qualities to isolate an individual or strengthen a group dynamic. Using group movement reflective of aboriginal dance amplified the notions of threat and defense, while universally recognized actions depicting feeding or offering sexual favor appealed to common emotions in a clear and often humorous way. Childlike motions, expressions, and interactions endowed the characters on both sides with an innocence that added to the message of a shared human struggle. These qualities are what I love so much about this company: the ability to force the audience to experience the emotions by sneaking up on them, gaining their trust, then leaving them with the hollow and confused betrayal of being victimized by sources beyond your own control.

As the interactions between the Tribe and the Stranger intensified, we almost had hope that he would find acceptance. At one point sections of the costumes came loose to reveal…injuries. Red makeup appeared in such stark contrast to the white powder and bandage-like costumes I wondered for a second if it was an actual injury! After it was revealed that many others in the tribe had injuries or vulnerabilities, it seemed like they could learn to care enough to forget their fears and accept an outsider.  In moments that were ironically reflective of communication issues actually faced all over the world today, especially in the United States, the ultimate tragedy of rejection represented the potential end of the story. We were left with a question as the process started all over again, and strangely the hope that the Tribe had learned something. Maybe that’s just me.

Both plays seemed to address issues we had just been discussing that day, and throughout the week, as the struggles against xenophobia, racism, and misogyny dominate our news and often times our every day experiences.

If you breathe through the pain of those who experienced it, onstage or otherwise, and feel the need to offer “not all ___________”, grab someone to whom it applies and talk about it. If you do, we in the theatre have done our jobs.

22 Jun

Wednesday evening performances

Reflections from today’s guest blogger:  Actor and teacher, Corinne Woodland, Bradenton, Florida

Wednesday night I had the incredible pleasure to attend three of AACT WorldFest’s shows in a row. Upon first glance, the three were quite different, but all shared common elements and similar themes. As our festival adjudicators pointed out, each focused on life’s “journey.”

The first show was “Spirit and Sworded Treks” from Theatre Esprit Asia in Denver, Colorado. A one-woman show, written, directed and performed by Maria Cheng (whew!), it took us through the journey of her life as a Chinese American who came to the U.S. as a child.

United States of America – Spirit & Sworded Treks

Her life influences span not just her Chinese culture (with touching anecdotes about her Grandfather and about the tradition of foot binding, including her Grandmother’s actual tiny shoe) and very American influences (football!), but many other cultures from her travels. All of these combine to illustrate a rich life story, with unique and creative ties to spirituality, incorporating tai-chi movement, weapons, and even food! I could smell her “Asian Barbie Stir Fry” all the way in the balcony! My boyfriend got a taste of it afterwords and pronounced it “very spicy”. This rich and colorful performance perfectly illustrated Maria’s life journey to this point! It makes you wonder how the rest of her life will play out and how her current influences will influence the rest of her life’s spiritual journey. Perhaps a sequel when she’s 80?

The second show I admit I had seen before, but could not wait to see again. It was “Our Daily Bread”, from La Compasiva Teatro in Argentina, starring Gabriela Pages and Mario Marino. It is a beautifully moving piece about one couple’s relationship from early courtship to old age, performed entirely without words in silent-movie style. With masterful movement, they tell the entire story using the metaphor of bread – flour, water, and dough. Mixed in with incredibly beautiful technical elements – drapes that become a dress, projections directly on the body, and a few simple costume pieces, they take you through each life stage of the couple and tug at your heart throughout. Even knowing what was coming from seeing it at the prior Worldfest, I still couldn’t hold back a river of tears, especially as I’m on the verge of giving birth to my first child any day now. Audience members of many ages could recognize themselves in any of the several life stages, thus I believe much of the audience was as touched (and crushed at times!) as I was. It remains one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever seen.

The third production of the evening was “One of a Kind” from the Yoram Loewenstein Performing Arts Studio in Israel, with a cast of five. Performed by several charming young adults, this story takes us on the journey of self discovery and identity that one faces as a teenager. In this tale, teens receive their official “personality definition” at the age of 16. I was particularly amused and interested in this story, the performances, and the message as a teacher of middle school during the year and older teens during the summers. I recognized so many current and former students in the characterizations, and sat thinking about how much I wish each of my kids could see this and what they would take away from it. It was especially interesting from an adolescent development standpoint, and the overall message that your “lesser” qualities are sometimes secretly “greater”, no one is perfect, and all emotions are valid and demand to be felt. This piece also combined precise movements and physical style, just as the two before, and a visually interesting combination of black and white and textures with pops of color. I also admired the admission that they had translated the entire show from its original Hebrew to English for the American audiences. What a task! It was carried out very well. I wish I could keep this cast around to bring the performance to my school to help teach character education!

All three shows took us on illuminating journeys through different life stages: adolescent development, mid-life, or a span from young adult all the way past golden years. It was a thoughtful night of theatre that truly literally made me laugh and cry, and made all of us to some degree stop and “attend” our own life stages. AACT Worldfest did it again – delivered a night full of incredible, thought-provoking, excellent theatre – reminding us once again that though we may differ slightly, our journeys are often much the same.

22 Jun

Changing Lives Through Performance

Today’s blogger is Maureen Holland, retired Venice Theatre Publications Director and all-around volunteer extraordinaire

Thursday Panel Discussion

If you were here Monday night for the Opening Ceremony, you saw the simply stunning number performed by the Loveland Players.  Today, up in the Paint Room (space is tight!), I sat in on the panel discussion “Saving Lives Through Performance.” Or, as Murray introduced it “Changing Lives through Performance”, noting that each of the three panelists runs programs that do this in different ways.

Heading in, I checked the festival brochure and learned that the panelists would discuss their own professional experiences with what’s called “theatre of direct impact” which targets audience as well as performers. It particularly uses performance to help those with disabilities or suffering social restraints to overcome their personal challenges.

As the panelists described their work, it was clear how successful ‘theatre of direct impact’ is.

Becky Holahan, Manuel Ortiz, Halil Yitzhak after the program.

The morning’s panelists were:

  • VT’s Becky Holahan, director of the Loveland Partnership at Venice Theatre, who spoke about this highly successful program begun over 20 years ago to bring adults with disabilities to the theatre and use theatre arts and performance to help them grow and meet the challenges of their lives. She has been with the program almost all of that time, first as instructor and now for many years, as director, and not only directed this season’s Mainstage Loveland Players’ show  “Something Wonderful,” she wrote it as well.  Holahan spoke of the astonishing growth seen among the Loveland Players over the years. Some, who were at first too shy to even speak in class, grew into accomplished and enthusiastic performers on stage. One Loveland student is now herself a mentor to others in the program and many are now theatre volunteers on their own.
  • Manuel Ortiz – also the Director of “Pichanga” seen on MainStage Tuesday and Thursday – is here from the University of Chile where he runs a documentary project about Chileans and how their lives have been affected by the 1973 military coup and the following years under a cruel dictatorship let by Augusto Pinochet and his regime of terror on Chileans. The emotional scars of that period are still felt throughout the country. Through story-telling and performance Ortiz’s work examines the impact on his students in post-Pinochet Chile.
  • Halil Yitzhak of the Yoram Lowenstein Performing Arts Studio in Israel is here for the second time! He was at the 2014 Festival and apparently can’t stay away from Venice! Located in Tel Aviv, his program uses theatre to coordinate international and community projects targeting at-risk youth, refugees and the disabled, from ages 5 years to 60. The program has been in place for over a decade and he says they are seeing real results and some students have now gone on to careers as professional actors.

After a Q&A, we were introduced to filmmaker/ videographer (and still-missed Venice Theatre actor) Amity Dertouroz, who teaches documentary filmmaking these days. She showed us a wonderful film about this theatre’s Loveland Partnership. It featured interviews with the founders, history of the program and took us through the rehearsal process over the years. We got to see these actors, dancers and singers become confident performers.

As I listened, I looked around the room. There, glowing with pride, was Yvonne Pinkerton, founder of the Loveland Partnership. Across the way was Gina Cahill, now retired but who for many years with Loveland was with the students every step of the way. There, Ray Goins – he’s Music director for the Loveland Players. And here, Lisa Richardson, VT volunteer now deeply involved with the program.

Of course, off to my left, there was Kim Cool, arts and features editor of The Venice Gondolier, furiously writing in her reporter’s notebook. I don’t think she missed a word and I recommend you check her story this week and what will no doubt be a much more comprehensive report on today’s panel discussion.

21 Jun

AACT WorldFest Goes to Denver and Argentina

Your daily festival blog from VT Guild member, Mike Sullivan

Maria Cheng, a Chinese-American, brought the house down with her one-woman show representing the United States, Denver. Cheng’s performance seemed to follow no thread but was a charming combination of story-telling, singing (by her own admission not too good), tai chi movement and cooking — certainly not the usual or expected fare. But well worth the one hour as evidenced by the standing ovation when Cheng quietly and gracefully bowed as the lights when down.

One of Cheng’s stories followed her early life (age 13) and her rabid love of NFL football – especially the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas. The Detroit Lions beat the Colts and young Cheng was devastated and angry at her brother for taunting her. Twenty years later, at chance meeting where she related her story, she brought a sometimes-absent Dad back in touch with his daughters.

Cheng’s story of the ancient Chinese custom of binding the feet of young girls was both informative and emotional.

In between the segments, Cheng showed great skill in the smooth and quiet movements of tai chi with impressive sword play.

With little transition, Cheng became the fright-wigged star of a TV Cooking Show, filling the theatre with aromas of sautéed peppers and garlic, ending with the head of a Chinese Barbie doll on a plate of lettuce.

I told you there was no thread. But this piece was continually interesting, charming and entertaining. The crowd loved it and her in equal measure.

The troupe from Argentina was up next with Pan de Cada Dia, Our Daily Bread. The two characters played out the story of their life from meeting, courtship, marriage, child bearing and rearing, empty-nesting, mid-life crisis and old age all in the overplayed style of silent movies. No words were spoken but the messages and the situations were immediately evident as the two worked out the elements of their life to native music, strong visuals and skilled acting – providing easy recognition of what they were going through.

A very poignant moment was the attempt of the two to don masks to cope with late-in-life issues faced by almost everybody. They were exceptionally clever in first donning the masks the right way, then attempting a change by wearing the masks backwards.

Moments of love, joy, humor, sadness, change, sorrow, angst, tenderness – everything thing we expect in life’s journey, played expertly with no words.

One attendee commented at the end, “that wasn’t Oklahoma, but I loved it.!”

20 Jun

Day 3 – One Person’s Opinion on WorldFest shows

A daily festival blog from VT Guild member, Mike Sullivan

Tuesday evening was the first time my schedule allowed me to attend two of the shows at AACT WorldFest here at Venice Theatre. What follows should not be read as a review in the classic sense. I don’t have the experience or specific education to do that. I can only report my reaction as an ordinary theatre-goer, albeit one with pretty strong opinions.

I joined a packed house for the presentation of Michelangelo da Caravaggio by the Maner Manush troupe from Italy. The presentation combined dramatic music, a dark, sometimes stark stage, with a troupe of actors skilled in dance, dramatic sounds, and movements – sometimes violent, sometimes with clarity. For example, at one point, Michelangelo was assisted by two other artists in making a painting in thin air, using just painterly movement.

Since the actors were mainly mimes using some narration (in Italian, of course) the story was a little hard to follow. The jarring music fit perfectly with the actions and movement, but the entire impression was dark, stark and seriously dramatic. Well done, skillfully presented, but stark.

Fifteen minutes or so later, the Yerevan State Puppet Theatre from Armenia took the stage in a delightful contrast as they presented their hand puppet shadow presentation of Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina. Using a combination of hand puppets on a back-lit three-screen stage, the performers brought to life the flower fairy tale of Thumbelina, from her almost-marriage to Mr. Mole to her meeting and marrying her flower fairy prince. The sprightly music had the audience moving along with it and the skill of the performers was amazing. For example, one tiny movement of Thumbelina’s right foot in time with the music brought “aahhs” from the audience in praise of the skill and precision.

The presentation was spiced by the delightful music, flowing and appropriate graphics, charming froggy critters and, best of all, English. Shnorhakalut’yun, Armenia!

The audience during this two-show presentation was appreciative and awarded both troupes with ovations. But the contrast between the Italy and the Armenia presentations was evident as the entire audience leaped to their feet to signal their pleasure for Thumbelina. The plays from the different countries continue to be presented in the afternoon and evening on both the MainStage and in the Pinkerton Theatre. My opinion — don’t miss this opportunity to experience skilled and varied theatre presentations and meet and interact with delightful, interesting, and very friendly actors and crew from the participating nations.

Thank you for reading my opinion. Please experience AACT WorldFest 2018 yourself.

Tickets are available but as word gets out, some may be scarce.

20 Jun

Day 2

Mike Sullivan, Venice Theatre Guild member and VT dramaturg will be sharing some reflections each day. Thank you, Mike!

Tim Wisgerhof, familiar to VT patrons as the Resident Scenic Designer, gave a fascinating lecture and demonstration on how paint is a character in the show and how the way paint is used imparts real, useful and necessary information to the audience.

There are workshops happening all though the different rooms of the theatre — seminars on obtaining grants for funding, the techniques and moves of Chinese Opera battles, circus arts, and different resources for theatre operation. The AACT Board of Directors met in one of the large rooms, next to a seminar led by area choreographer Geena Ravella on hip hop for Broadway.

Early in the day on Tuesday, small groups of performers were gathering to tour the Venice area. A visit with Anna Zapadnia from Opole, Poland revealed the determination that group had in getting here – starting in the city of Opole, the group traveled first to Berlin, Germany, then to Munich, then waited 9 hours for flights and connections to Ft. Myers. A total of 40 hours. That is dedication – but the Polish members are young, so they survived.

The troupe of eight actors and three crew from Slovenia related how they raised funds to support their trip here by gathering corporate sponsors such as a chocolate manufacturer, a famous winery, an insurance company and a road maintenance company. One of the actors, when asked how she liked Venice, glowed with praise but mentioned how the extremes of 90-degree Florida weather contrasted with what for her was extreme cold in the air-conditioned building. But she was quick to repeat how happy she was to be here and take part in this event.

Joe Hunter, former VP of the VT Guild, actor, backstage worker, and this week a home host, spoke glowingly of his experience with his new “family” from down under. “They love Venice and its differences from their home. They saw a raccoon and a gecko this morning and were fascinated.” Joe told them to treat his home as their own, and, sure enough, they offered to clean up and take out the trash.

The big tent is the site of food service manned by volunteers. Walter Cohrs, a member of the VT scenery crew, is repeating his service of four years ago, decked out in a colorful apron (the male version folded from the waist down not chest down, who knew?) and the sunglasses and “stars and stripes” bow tie saved from the last time AACT WorldFest was in town.

During the afternoon and evening the plays are presented and, as part of the AACT festival environment, judged (or adjudicated). The adjudicators provide the troupes and the audience with their expert opinions. This adds an extraordinary new dimension to attending the theatre.

Barbara Mullen in the box office says there are plenty of seats available for the upcoming afternoon shows. Learn more about the shows and get tickets at venicestage.com/international or call the box office directly at 941-488-1115. Come for the shows, stick around for rewarding interaction with interesting and friendly people from around the world!

18 Jun

Day 1

Mike Sullivan, Venice Theatre Guild member and VT dramaturg will be sharing some reflections each day. Thank you, Mike!

Venice Theatre knows how to put on a show. Monday evening saw the Opening Ceremonies presented to a packed, appreciative and international crowd. After some very nice opening remarks by VIPs such as the Executive Director of AACT, Venice Mayor John Holic, some nice thanks from Gulf Coast Community Foundation, and Laura Kopple, President of the VT Board, things got rolling by Allan Kollar and Kristofer Geddie.

Tears and cheers blended as a troupe from Loveland Center did a song and dance rendition of “Sounds of Silence.” The reaction of the crowd was instant and enthusiastic. Beautiful and inspiring are good words to describe it.

Next came a slide and music show created by Amity Hoffman on the theme “The World Is Ours,” followed by young people from the Sarasota Sailor Circus.

“Children and Flags, you can’t beat it,” was Allan Kollar’s comment as the stage was filled with youngsters, each with the flag of the participating countries. The actors and crews of the different countries were then introduced to a continuing ovation. A finale was performed by students and actors from VT singing “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman.

Monday, the “almost opening” day is really a “getting to know you” day. The tent in the parking lot is abuzz with different languages as actors and crews from the participating nations meet to have lunch, stock up on water and take off exploring downtown Venice.

Lori Chase, major domo of this year’s event, moves quickly from this request to this situation, calm and collected – but managing to greet every visiting actor and crew. “It is such a delight,” she says, “to see how happy they all are to be here in Venice. In fact, the same companies (actors and crew) from Italy and Australia are here for the third time. That’s an indication of the great reputation Venice Theatre, and Venice itself, have around the world.”

There are still tickets available for the shows, especially in the daytime. Call Barbara Mullen in the box office and she and Molly will help you. Individual tickets are also available on the website venicestage.com/international.

Kim Kollar still needs volunteer drivers for local trips. Just call 941-488-1115 or email her at kimkollar@venicetheatre.net.

17 Jun

It’s almost here

Mike Sullivan, Venice Theatre Guild member and VT dramaturg will be sharing some reflections each day. Thank you, Mike!

AACT WorldFest 2018 Starts Tomorrow at Venice Theatre

The flags of 12 nations are draped in the lobby of  Venice Theatre. Murray Chase is working on his remarks for the Opening Ceremonies. The bright new white tent covers a large portion of the parking lot. Actors and crews from those 12 countries are finding their way to Venice and meeting their host families. The curtain goes up tomorrow (Monday) at 6:30 on the 2018 edition of the AACT WorldFest!

Venice Theatre, indeed, all of Venice, has been waiting four long years for this event and now it’s here!

Tomorrow (Monday) the Opening Ceremonies begin at 6:30 p.m. in the MainStage, followed by performances by USA Tacoma with the first performance of The Addams Family, then Nepal takes the stage for the first performance of But I Can Move. Following the plays, the adjudicators will offer enlightening feedback on each performance. Then the social fun starts with the first AfterGlow party at the park next door.

Tuesday morning features the various workshops with plays beginning at 3:30 p.m. going all the way to the second AfterGlow at 11 p.m.

Tickets for performances are available at the box office at 941-488-1115 or at  VeniceStage.com/International. Barbara Mullen in the box office says tickets for afternoon performances are most popular but there are seats available for the evening performances as well.

If you’re interested in workshops, you’ll need to register for the whole festival (same website and phone number as tickets) with the exception of one workshop that you can purchase as a participant ($20) or observer ($10) – BROADWAY AUDITION MASTER CLASS with Chris Rice from The Book of Mormon on Broadway. Even if you’re not an aspiring performer, it would be fascinating to watch.

Volunteer Coordinator Kim Kollar also can use some more volunteers for transportation (just local) and to help with the food distribution for the international guests and actors and crews (unique opportunity to interact with our foreign guests). Email Kim for more information at kimkollar@venicetheatre.net.

Watch this space for Monday’s blog. We hope you enjoy this once-every-four-years (soon to be once-every-two-years!) event.