Jun 22, 2018

Robert's Eternal Goldfish at the 2018 Minnesota Fringe


I am performing my solo show Robert's Eternal Goldfish at this summer's 25th Annual Minnesota Fringe Festival. I am playing at the University of Minnesota Rarig Center's Xperimental Theatre.

Shows:
Aug 3 @ 5:30 pm
Aug. 4 @ 2:30 pm
Aug. 7 @ 8:30 pm
Aug. 10 @ 10 pm
Aug. 11 @ 1 pm

At the U of M Rarig Center's Xperimental Theatre,
330 21st Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55454

Info on tickets and more... HERE.




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Jun 20, 2018

My play will be read at the 2018 Texas Playwrights Festival


Playing July 26-29, 2018 at 
Stages Repertory Theatre, 3201 Allen Parkway, Suite 101, Houston, TX 77019

Que SerĂ¡, Giant Monster 
by Brad McEntire 
Charles is having a very rough day. It only gets worse when he runs into an ex who is, herself, having a ridiculously rough day. The giant monster destroying the city doesn’t bode well, either.
  • Thursday, July 26, 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 28, 2:00 p.m.
Three plays, each given two readings with an audience talkback and a day in between so the playwright may revise. All by Texas Playwrights! I will be joining playwrights Ben Schroth and Stephen Brown who will also be presenting new works.

Produced by Wordsmyth Theater Company 
Hosted by Stages Repertory Theatre
Tickets... HERE
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Jun 16, 2018

#myFITstory

A local theatre event here in Dallas called the Festival of Independent Theatres (FIT) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and FIT producer (and an old college classmate of mine) David Meglino reached out to ask me to contribute to a hashtag thread called #myFITstory. The aim is to collect various anecdotes and sound-bites about the FIT over the years from folks who have participated a lot. I will probably put something brief and pithy up on Facebook soon, but I started brainstorming last night about my experience with the FIT and it turned into a charming li'l trip down memory lane. Here's what came out...




I have really enjoyed participating in the FITs over the years. I first got involved when Brenda and Michael Galgan (of Beardsley Living Theatre and co-founders, along with David Fisher, of the FIT) suggested I apply in 2002. 

I did a show called MINT JULEPS back when Audacity was still Audacity Productions. That was the first time I got to work with the excellent Laurel Whitsett. Russell Dyer was my lighting designer for that show and David Fisher drafted him into the FIT production team after that. I then submitted something every couple of years. The next year, I produced Mac Wellman’s CLEVELAND in 2003 and introduced FIT audiences to a hungry up-and-coming actor named Jeff Swearingen (in the role of Panda Hands). 

Jeff Swearingen and Christie Beckham in CLEVELAND
I particularly enjoyed presenting my play FOR THE LOVE OF AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST back in 2004. It was the first play of mine that I presented to Dallas audiences and felt confident in calling myself a playwright after that. Sometimes I’d just be a producer behind-the-scenes like for Jaymes Gregory’s original GOSPEL OF THE JUNKYARD in 2005 (or his adaptation of THE GREAT DICTATOR in 2017) or the Jeff Hernandez-directed production of my own play ARSENIC & ROSES in 2009. 

Jeff Swearingen and Kenneth Fulenwider in FOR THE LOVE OF AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST

I even acted in the FIT, both on the secondary stage in the gallery (now down below in the old boat storage area under the building) and on the main stage. My comedy troupe Mild Deemntia played in the gallery when FIT was at its largest in 2004. I was in Jeffrey Schmidt and Lydia Mackay's Drama Club debut show, an adaptation of Strindberg's GHOST SONATA in 2008.
On the ground in Drama Club's GHOST SONATA

In 2013, I wrote/directed/produced/acted in my proudest FIT production. It was called DINOSAUR AND ROBOT STOP A TRAIN. I played a robot to Jeff Swearingen's goofy dinosaur. It was a blast.

Me and Jeff Swearngen in 2013's DINOSAUR AND ROBOT STOP A TRAIN
Besides the engaged and bountiful audiences, the best part has been the great artists I have met and worked with through the FIT. I have particularly liked seeing where they have gone after starting out at the FIT. Swearingen and I worked on-and-off for years on various projects. He went on to found his own theatre company. I met Matt and Kim Lyle of Bootstraps at he FIT. Years later I would commission Matt to write a play for Audacity (which became HELLO HUMAN FEMALE). Matt has gone on to have his plays produced at several high-tax-bracket theatres around Dallas. Russell, mentioned above, was an old college buddy of mine and now is the General Manager of the 749-seat Moody Performance Hall (formerly known as the Dallas City Performance Hall). David Fisher used to champion small, indie theatre groups at the Bath House Theatre Center, including Audacity in its earliest days. He used to run the BHCC where the FIT took place, and where he helped produce it, went on to be Director of the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs for a while. David Meglino, who now produces the FIT, acted with me in GHOST SONATA.

I am glad the FIT has made it to 20. I hope it runs for 20 more years and continues to be a testing ground for new works and new groups in the Dallas cultural landscape.

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Jun 7, 2018

Dallas Solo Fest Q-and-A: Brad McEntire

Producer of the Dallas Solo Fest Brad McEntire [credit: Robert Heart/ TheaterJones]



Chatting with the man behind the Dallas Solo Fest, which runs through Sunday.


published Thursday, June 7, 2018




Dallas — For the final interview of our Dallas Solo Fest coverage, we chat with Brad McEntire, who runs Audacity Theatre Lab and produces the Dallas Solo Fest. This is the event's fourth year (he skipped 2017 because had recently become a father, and to rethink the festival).

The event runs through Sunday at the Rosewood Center for Family Arts (home of the Dallas Children's Theater).

TheaterJones: This year's festival is different from the first three. Tell me about the changes.

Brad McEntire: Since the beginning, the team behind the Dallas Solo Fest, myself included, really have focused on making the festival a little better year by year. This year, we’ve tightened the whole thing up. There are six performers instead of eight, one week instead of two weekends and no daytime workshops. We have also moved the festival to a new venue. We are now in the studio theatre at the Rosewood Center of the Family Arts instead of where we were previously, at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park.

While we have made a few changes, we have kept the good parts that have developed over the last three incarnations of the fest.  We have continued to focus on content-diverse shows to give a good cross-section of what solo performance can offer.  We have also continued the tradition of 70% of the ticket sales going directly to the artists, who still don’t pay any form of festival fee to participate. We even arranged housing for visiting artists who were coming in from out-of-town. We want to insure that the performers get a nice dose of Texas hospitality.

What is your submission/acceptance process? Are you looking for fully formed works? Stuff in development? Both?

The application process began last fall. We received dozens of submissions. A selection committee combed through each submission and we whittled it down to the six that audiences will see at this year’s Dallas Solo Fest.

We are not a “fringe” fest, so we don’t do selection by lottery or on a first-come-first-serve basis. We curate the selection very closely because it is such a focused, intimate festival. I call it a “boutique” arts festival. In place of the big, blustery, street fair-like atmosphere audiences can get at other performance festivals around the country, especially fringe festivals, we are aiming for a more personal experience for both the performers and audiences alike. With just six performers, we do our best to fit the programming together so each show is different and offers a unique theatre experience.

To answer your question more directly, we ONLY look for developed works. In order to deepen and grow the quality of the festival, we have made it a mission to seek out shows that have already played at several venues for several different sets of audiences. There are places that cater to shows in development, allowing artists to experiment and workshop, but we aren’t looking to be one of those kinds of fests. I actually host a quarterly workshop event called the Audacity Solo Salon for that kind of thing. No, we are looking for virtuosity, originality and a bit of hard-won experience from the performers we choose for the Dallas Solo Fest.

You've done fringe and solo festivals for years as a performer. Describe how networking with other artists and presenters on these circuits helped you with Solo Fest.

Independent touring fringe festival artists, particularly those that perform solo shows, are a wonderfully tight-knit community. There are Facebook groups and performers really do kind of keep track of who’s doing what and where.

I have noticed two things again and again when meeting solo touring artists around North America. First, solo performers almost always have an overwhelming sense of enthusiasm. They are real champions for their own shows and like to talk about what they do with audiences and fellow artists. They also are amazingly self-sufficient. Solo performers aren’t just the single actor on stage during their shows, but more often than not, the driving force behind the scenes, too. They are interested in their own marketing, ticket sales, technical requirements, and a bunch of off-stage concerns that traditional actors aren’t always that into. I think this is maybe because the production for a solo performer is by its nature a rather personal endeavor.

Since becoming a dad at the end of 2016, I have, of late, had to curtail a lot of my adventuring around performing my own solo shows. Kiddos, it turns out, take up a lot of time, energy and love. I am slowly getting back into it (I’m off to Minneapolis and Canada this summer to perform my solo piece Robert’s Eternal Goldfish). I hope to strike up some new friendships, see some great new shows, talk with other festival organizers and build out my network more and more.

Despite small audiences for the previous festivals, are your artists generally happy with their experience in Dallas?

On the whole, yes, the performers from the past several years have sent us overwhelmingly positive feedback about the festival and about Dallas. This has been important because one of my personal core beliefs is that the theatre should serve the artist first, then—and only then—the artist can serve the audience and the community.

Crowds have been rather uneven. Some shows sell out, sometimes you can hear crickets. It is especially difficult to market out-of-town performers to local audiences who have little name recognition outside of the fringe touring circuit. Plus, there is a lot of other great stuff happening around Dallas this time of year, such as Kitchen Dog’s wonderful New Works Festival. My hope is that audiences don’t chose one over the other, but instead turn out to both.

The team and I have gone out of our way to really push the content of the shows when marketing. We hope people will see what a given show is about, and then, based on that, decide to come see it.

To make it more worthwhile for the artists, we video shows for performers and drum up as much press for their individual shows as we can. We also offer billeting (touring speak for housing) with local theatre artists acting as hosts. We encourage interaction with audience members before and after the show in the lobby and we do our best to make them feel welcome and appreciated.

What would you like to see for DSF 2019? 2025?

Okay, don’t get ahead of yourself, Mark. If the festival goes well this year, I will do at least one more in 2019. I originally intended to do at least five years of the festival when I started. This is the fourth one. We’ll see. This is really contingent on whether audiences show up and support the event.

I’m not producing in a vacuum. If the message is, “Hey, buddy, Dallas doesn’t want or need this in the cultural landscape,” then that will come through loud and clear. If it fills a gap in the theatre community, then, of course, I’ll keep it going.

Personally, I am an advocate for intimate, indie theatre such as these one-person shows, but I’m not aiming to shove it down Dallas’ throat if it is not wanted.

If it does continue, I can promise we will try to make it better and better. I dream of the Dallas Solo Fest, eventually, becoming a multi-week event in several close together venues with panel discussions, workshops, open mics, food trucks and a roster of the best, brightest and most diverse solo shows in the world converging on Dallas. It would still be relatively small and focused, but with a wider range of programming and, perhaps, it would make a slightly deeper dent in the universe. Dallas could potentially become known as a hub for these kinds of shows, bringing in as well as exporting one-person productions. I mean, that’s the dream.

Anything else to add?

Yep, tickets are on sale. The welcome mat is out for audiences. All info one could want is here on TheaterJones and at www.DallasSoloFest.com.


Original post... HERE



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