Jun 30, 2013

Brad McEntire Talks With KDT's Tim Johnson on the Stage Directions Blog

I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Tim Johnson a week or so back. That podcast interview is now up and online at the Stage Directions Blog

Mr. Tim Johnson        [credit: M. Mrozek]

Tim works as an educator and the Development Manager at Kitchen Dog Theater. He is a wonderfully gracious and thoughtful theatre artist who, after years of directing, is really just beginning to instigate his own projects from scratch. Our conversation touched on a variety topics, including: Tim's background, his reactions to audience responses to his recent show ONE: MAN.SHOW. and where he thinks things are headed on the cultural landscape (which I whole-heartedly agree with). 

Head over and have a listen... HERE.

Two Robots

Brad McEntire robot t-shirt design
Participating in Audacity Theatre Lab's 6IX CONFESSIONS June 29, 2013
With artist and good friend Jeff Hernandez. Completely unplanned, we both happened to be wearing the t-shirts I designed...

You can get one HERE.

Jun 16, 2013

On Being a Multi-Disciplinary Artist

" I began to think of myself as a product for sale as opposed to an artist with a unique voice. 

- David F. Chapman, Specialization and Its Discontents

David Chapman wrote an essay for HowlRound back in 2011 about his experiences venturing into solo performance. He had been trying to establish himself as a director in New York for years and was reluctant to identify himself publicly as a multi-disciplinary artist, thinking it would somehow diminish his momentum as a director.

It is a great essay exploring why many artists settle into a single interpretive role in the theatre and how exhilarating and perhaps uncomfortable it can be to take control of your own artistic voice.

I returned to this essay recently after a brief conversation I had with a local Dallas drama critic. She had returned to see my play DINOSAUR AND ROBOT STOP A TRAIN for a second time. I was glad about this, since the opening night performance she had seen was the first public showing and, of course, the piece has become better and better with each performance for subsequent audiences. We got off on a line of conversation about how many local theatre artists don't see themselves as instigators of their work, but merely guns-for-hire who perform or direct or design for whatever they may drift into.

I mentioned that in 2009 while on a cross country road trip from Texas to Winnipeg I read John Southworth's book SHAKESPEARE THE PLAYER. It centers in on Shakespeare as an actor in his own company and in his own works. It reaffirmed a notion I had abandoned in my early days as a theatre artist... a single artist can drive the vision of a piece of theatre from idea to production and be a part of all the stages of that process. I had abandoned it because it seemed pretentious. I was a young artist and there seems to be a special ring of criticism hell for a young artist who has the presumption to wear more than one hat. The world is not looking for a new Orson Welles. So, I stopped being in the plays I directed or wrote.

It was only when I drifted, in earnest (beyond some small, tentative early attempts), into solo performance with CHOP that I shook off the old worries about how I would be perceived. 

Perhaps it is age, but I care less and less how I am perceived as the maker of the work and more and more preoccupied with how the work itself comes across.

I am about to return to solo performance with my newest piece about a man haunted by an eternal goldfish and I am excited to continue to play in that sandbox of multi-disciplinary work.

PUPFest 2013

Student actors performing BACON IS NOT KOSHER at PUPFest 2013
For the past few years I have participated in a great program called PUPFest. Sponsored by Junior Players and Kitchen Dog Theater the Playwrights Under Progress (or PUP) Fest is a celebration of student written plays from some of Dallas's brightest student playwrights. The plays are performed as staged readings (emphasis on staged) by a group of great student actors. Professional artists from the theatre community are hired in to direct. Over the course of five days, in 3 hour rehearsals, the plays are explored and then put on for an open-to-the-public audience at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary.

I had a great group of kids to work with June 10-15. The play was called BACON IS NOT KOSHER by Naomi Cohen and was a neat little comedy about (mis)understanding and faith.

Jun 9, 2013

DINOSAUR AND ROBOT STOP A TRAIN keeps on chugging...

Brad McEntire as Robot and Jeff Swearingen as Dinosaur in
My show DINOSAUR AND ROBOT STOP A TRAIN has opened at the Bath House Cultural Center as part of the Festival of Independent Theatres. We have performed two shows of a six show run. The audiences seem to be digging it and the press has been positive so far. 

I am extremely proud of this show. On many fronts, for me as a theatre artist, it is the most difficult show I've done in a long while. I'm acting, designing, directing and marketing a play I wrote myself. It has been a tremendous amount of work and occupied that space several notches outside my comfort zone (which is the space I normally strive to be in my work). It is both the most fun I've had in a while on stage as well as the single biggest cause of stress. I'll post more on the process as it finishes up the run. For now, I wanna encourage any and all to come out and see the show. 

The show is funny and weird and charming and harsh and tender and layered. Above all, it is - in a very undiluted way - the kind of theatre I'm proud of creating right now, the kind I believe in and the kind I would want to experience myself if I were sitting in the audience.

Info on the show, including performance schedule, HERE.

TCG13 debrief

I attended the 2013 TCG (Theatre Communications Group) National Conference this past weekend (a super hectic weekend since I also volunteered to help with the late night party and opened DINOSAUR AND ROBOT STOP A TRAIN at the FIT). 

It was the first time I had participated in a major conference like this. TCG is a national service organization for professional theatres in America. It primarily functions as a national forum and communications network for the country's regional (and similarily-sized) theatres.

The panels, workshops and presentations were all interesting, even though what I do with Audacity Theatre Lab and as an individual artist has little overlap with the challenges faced by LORT-size theatres. 

The whole event was well-catered with receptions complete with open bars at places like the lobby of the City Performance Hall and the Nasher Sculpture Garden (there the menu was catered by Wolfgang Puck). I saw Will Power perform and later met him and had a great conversation about accessibility in one's work. I saw an except of a piece by performance artist Natasha Tsakos.

As nice as the official planned events were, especially the panel with Adrian Hall and the very rudimentary artist-as-entrepreneur workshop/discussion led by SMU's Jim Hart, the real benefit from the weekend was the in-between times. The breaks, meals and receptions when you could network and just introduce yourself and strike up a conversation... these were the best parts. I made a bunch of new contacts and, dare I say, friends. Especially nice was just interacting with a bunch of other Dallas-based theatre people. We hardly ever gather together since we are all running our own stuff. It was like a big family reunion with a lot of cousins you never get to see.

Party at the Nasher 

Also nice was how the conference showed off Dallas's Arts District. I hadn't even really been down in that part of town before (or I should say, I had never spent time down there). The Wingspear, the City Performance Hall, Kyde Warren Park, the Nasher, food trucks, the Wyly, the Latino Cultural Center, the stage at the Booker T. Washington Performing Arts High School and so on. I live in a sweet city. The Arts District still is not too beneficial to my own art directly, but it does represent Dallas well as a performance arts oriented place.

Local arts blog Art & Seek did some nice coverage of TCG13... go HERE.

I posted a few photos from the event on my Flickr. See them HERE.

Jun 5, 2013


Brad McEntire
Taken by Ruth at the final Dress Rehearsal.
My play DINOSAUR AND ROBOT STOP A TRAIN opens this week! I'm really proud of this piece. It is all the things I like in theatre: weird, funny, touching, spontaneous and difficult to pull off. Come see it.

Details and performance times HERE.