Posts Tagged Emerson College

Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Rafael Jean

Who are you? Rafael Jaen

What do you do? I am a professional costume designer and a design-technology professor at Emerson College.

Where are you from originally? Caracas, Venezuela the New York City!

How long have you been working in Boston? Since 1985; I am older than Iook… Gasp! p!!!

Why do you stay? I love the seasons in New England, I love the urban scale and the historical neighborhoods. The city keeps growing in sophisticated ways; including a thriving art scene. Plus you can’t beat its proximity to Cape Cod!

What’s your earliest theatre memory? A production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House mounted as a contemporary actors rehearsal in 1979. Though I was young. the immedicay of the topic and the earnest delivery from the actors hooked me.

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? Believe it or not; it was a Hasty Pudding show at Harvard. I met many of my first theater tech friends there.

What was your first job in the theatre? Designing costumes for the Watertown Dance Company in the late 80’s.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? Homemade gnocchi with truffle butter.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? Chocolat!

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? I am usually behind the scenes… I try to snack and have mints at hand…

If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be? Shorter winters!

What kind of theater excites you? All of it; specially new works with an edge.

What advice do you have for artists just starting out? Show up; show up, show up!!!

The Boston Theatre Conference focused on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? I completely embrace the idea it is about linking the pleasure of theater with a commitment to community and the cultural environment.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Emily C. A. Snyder

Who are you? Emily C. A. Snyder

What do you do? I’m a theatre director, teacher and playwright.  Occasionally, I act.  (Mostly to remember what it’s like on the other side of the stagelights.)  As a director, I’m often also producer and designer – but it’s nice when I’m not!

Where are you from originally? All over – Amherst and Worcester, MA, then Portsmouth, NH, then Pompton Lakes, NJ, with a brief stint in Steubenville, OH and an even briefer stint in Gaming, Austria, then back to Marlborough, MA.

How long have you been working in Boston? The length of grad school at Emerson.

Why do you stay? Because there’s something exciting and rich here!  There’s a hunger for good theatre, new theatre, or old theatre made relevant today.  That’s important.

What’s your earliest theatre memory? Seeing Peter Pan with Sandy Duncan when I was 3.  I still remember some of the staging, and the moment when Peter Pan (the first love of my life) flew over me…?!?!!?!  Yeah.  Magic.

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? Actually, it was when we first moved back here from NJ.  I’d been spoiled rotten by being able to live only 45- minutes west of Broadway for eleven years and I was all “piffle” about theatre anywhere else.  Then I discovered the theatre district in Boston and promptly changed my mind. I

What was your first job in the theatre? First theatrical gig was in nursery school when the parents were late for some sort of presenation that day.  Since it was way too quiet and there was a hold, little four year old me naturally thought they were all there to be entertained, and I’d better jump into the breach.  So I stood up and presented two versions of the “I’m a Little Teapot” song.  However, the first PAID gig I had in theatre was a director for a 425-person Wizard of Oz (72 Munchkins…oy!).  Stockholm-syndrome-y, I’ve been happily directing ever since.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? I generally can’t eat before a show.  So, the best meal I’ve ever had AFTER was the cyclone pasta (now sadly removed) from Outback.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? Diet Coke

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? Again, I generally forget to eat, and then when I’m hungry it’s too late and I’m too full of adreneline.

If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be? The fear artists have about “selling out.”  Learn how to entertain AND educate.  Art and bums in seats are not mutually exclusive.

What kind of theater excites you? The more immediate, tangible and in-your-face, the better.  Out of the doublets and hose and into my face, please!

What advice do you have for artists just starting out? Breathe.  Don’t sell out your personal philosophies for a job.  Remember, you have the great honor of changing lives.  Make sure you can sign up for something that is true, good and beautiful.

The Boston Theatre Conference focused on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? think therefore I am!  no, seriously, I think that Boston is a great birthplace of new and developing works that rival – and I say this as one who was a Broadway snob – what’s being done anywhere else in the country.  Let’s get the word out, folks!

YOUR TURN! Write to us here!

 

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Getting Lively, Lush & Local With: Jeremy Johnson

Who are you? Jeremy Johnson

What do you do? I’m a freelance director and teacher, occasional actor and the Member Services Manager at StageSource

Where are you from originally? New Jersey….NOT the shore

How long have you been working in Boston? Working? Ten.  Living? Fourteen

Why do you stay? After I graduated Emerson I said I would stay as long as I kept getting work.  I keep getting work and this is now more home than anywhere else.

What’s your earliest theatre memory? I was seven when I saw The Magician’s Nephew at a community theatre, a book I was obsessed with and couldn’t believe was happening in front of me.  A year later I was playing Edmund in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  That was 24 years ago and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet.

What’s your first theatre memory in Boston? I went to see Tim Miller at The Theater Offensive when I was eighteen and had just moved here.  All I remember is thinking, “That man is taking his clothes off three feet away from me……That man now has no clothes on.”

What was your first job in theatre? I got paid a negligble amount of money to stain a giant wooden cistern for a production of Salome when I was fourteen.  It was summer, 90-something degrees, my hands were stained black and it took all day.  I was elated.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had before a show? I can’t eat before a show.

What’s your favorite rehearsal snack? Well, it used to be cigarettes.  NOT ANYMORE!!

Do you eat before you go on stage or do you wait until after your performance to eat? After.

The Boston Theatre Conference is focusing on the lively, lush and local aspects of our theatre community. What do you think? This community has grown by leaps and bounds since I graduated college, with small companies blossoming into healthy mid-size companies and an exciting fringe scene that barely existed when I got here.  I am so inspired by the local artists around me and they push me to keep going and to stay here.

YOUR TURN! Write to us here.

 

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Happy to call Boston home.

Boston has always been my home. I grew up in Lincoln and developed a love for theatre when I was very young thanks to theatre-loving parents, Waltham’s Reagle Players (now the Reagle Music Theatre), and Emerson College radio’s “Standing Room Only.” Unlike so many of my non-theatre friends, I was fortunate to find my passion – theatrical producing – when I was still in high school. Not long after that, I determined that rather than move to New York, I wanted to plant my roots, develop my craft, and contribute to the theatre scene in my hometown.

I love so many things about being a part of this community: our passionate, diverse, creative, and extremely talented members; our broad spectrum of organizations who are staging such high-quality productions, developing new work, and pushing the boundaries of our art form in innovative and thrilling ways; and the audience that supports us and engages in conversation with us.

Those of us who choose to work in our field in our city are a special breed. To outsiders, we sometimes feel we need to defend our choice to be here, but among each other, no explanation is needed. Each of us understands our collective commitment to our community, our desire to achieve a work-life balance, and our pride in the home-grown.

In the more than ten years I’ve now been working professionally in our community, I’ve come to know so many kindred spirits who share my values. The Slow Food Movement celebrates the local identity of a region’s food, the connections between food and the many other aspects of life, and the knowledge of ingredients’ sources.

In a community of our size, don’t we operate this way, too? When I attend a show at one of our local companies, I take such joy in seeing work by someone whose career I’ve been following during my time in Boston. I consider how is this most recent role/design/direction/play is different from what I’ve seen from this artist previously. How are they growing as an artist? How has revisiting a collaboration with other artists strengthened their work, or embarking on collaboration comprised of entirely new artists changed it? Repertory companies are almost a lost construct in our community, and yet, without even being invited to join, we are a part of Boston’s.

I, for one, am happy to be a company member. Happy to be a part of this community, to build my career, my friendships, and my family here. And happy to call Boston home.

Rebecca Curtiss is the Communications Manager for The Huntington Theatre Company

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Slow Food = Good Theater

by Rafael Jaen

Originally posted on From the Tailor’s Table

For its next theater conference the Boston based StageSource organization has been looking at the relationship between the slow food movement and what we are calling “home grown theater” in New England. The idea got its start from various happenings including an inspired speech given by Peter Sellers at an Emerson College forum last Spring.

The website SlowFood defines Slow Food as a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment.

The organization stands at the crossroads of … ethics and pleasure. It opposes the standardization of taste and culture…. We believe that everyone has … the responsibility to protect the heritage of tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our association believes in … recognition of the strong connections between … planet, people and culture.

I did some paraphrasing, but you can probably appreciate why…

Along the way we have found some very inspiring stories (about the food industry) that do relate to the on-going development of theatre in our region. There are many samples that do denote a commitment to our community, our arts environment, our traditions and how theater creates a sense of place in the world. One sample is restaurateur Barbara Lynch, locally born and bred (South Boston) and now globally recognized.

That’s what I think of the growing Boston theater scene; it is locally grown and its tenacity is nationally known!

About Rafael Jaen

Mr. Jaen is currently the Costume Director at Emerson College where he is part of the Design-Tech Faculty. In adition he is  Co-Chair for Design, Technology & Management at the prestigious Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region 1. His design work can be seen on stage in Lyric Stage Company’s production of  The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby Parts 1 & 2.

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