Apr 11, 2024

At the South West Theatre Conference 2024

Swearingen performing The Beast of Hyperborea at SWTC 2024

After presenting The Beast of Hyperborea at TEXFest 2024 back in February, the production by Audacity Theatre Lab was chosen to advance to the South West Theatre Conference (SWTC) in Little Rock, Arkansas in April.

The SWTC is a theatre service organization working to enhance the theatre experience for theatres in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Theatres from those states gathered to present plays that were adjudicated by theatre professionals. It was held April 4-6 at The Studio Theatre in Little Rock (320 W 7th St, Little Rock, AR 72201).

Swearingen and I loaded up The Beast of Hyperborea stuff and headed out to attend. The "conference" was really just a very small gathering of about five theatres with their cast and crews as well as three adjudicators. Despite the bad luck to be the first show to present for the weekend and a couple of technical glitches by the board ops, both lights and sound (again, went first, so we were the show that was used to work out the bugs), The Beast of Hyperborea made a decent showing.

Swearingen was slightly better rehearsed this time around and we took some notes from Victoria (new costume and repainted set pieces), but the show was not quite as dynamic as the performance had been back in February. 

Although we did not "win" in Little Rock as we did in Victoria back in February, Swearingen still garnered an "Outstanding Actor" Award and we received some overwhelmingly positive feedback from the adjudicators. Again, the observations were subjective, but again, there were a few nuggets of wisdom.

Circle Arts Theatre from New Braunfels, TX was unable to bring their production of Feeding the Moonfish, so Baytown Little Theatre was thrown in. They brought their production of The Guys as the other representative company from Texas. They ended up being named "Outstanding Production." It was nice to see actor Lyle Tate again, who again was awarded an acting award alongside Swearingen.

Little Rock had the vibe of an MC Escher artwork (very confusing with lots of road construction). The hotel, out by the airport, charged for their breakfast buffet (usually complimentary) and the building seemed to be designed by someone who had dropped out of architecture school. Plus, we were there the weekend before the eclipse. Lots of RVs and people setting up in the parking lot with telescopes. Little Rock was in the path of the upcoming eclipse. On top of that, and there was a kids pageant in the hotel, so anytime I got on the elevator, I was in it with either an elderly eclipse enthusiast or a little girl slathered with too much make-up being openly berated by her overbearing pageant mom. Between the barely-a-conference and the hotel stay it made for a very weird weekend.

On the plus side, Swearingen and I discovered a great place for beers, open late, that had a wonderful patio for cigars (cigarettes for Swearingen) called the Rail Yard. Great burgers, too.

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