Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Obsession Realized....

Contributed by Sara Catheryn Wolf
Director of Henry V

It all begins with a thought that becomes an idea.  That idea quickly becomes obsession, and then you have to find a way to realize it.  When that germ of a thought became an idea which morphed into an obsession to direct this play, I was enormously fortunate when I met with Ed Nahhat at that coffee shop in downtown Royal Oak to pitch it.
Fast forward about a half a year later, and that dream has been realized. I’m back home with Water Works Theatre, watching record crowds watch my obsession, being completely realized by talented local artists. Actors with such heart and determination, they rehearsed six out of seven days, learned the choreography to two major battle scenes, studied and worked the language- and some learned it in two languages- all since July 5. We have local designers, technicians, fight choreographers and prop masters who have fleshed out a great story and made it even greater. We have volunteers who work the shows for free- in marketing, PR, box office, hospitality, concessions, ushering- all out of love for the theater. I might also add that these designers, technicians, prop masters, interns and volunteers are working all three shows of our season (Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Summer Sonnets). Yet, of course, the most important part of Water Works is the audience. Imagine having a story to tell if there is no one there to tell it to? And what a story to tell...

Henry V  is a play for under dogs; it asks us to find our own greatness, to rise above the people we were, or how others may have viewed us.  "Harry" certainly does that- he goes through doubt, worry, loneliness, judgment and overwhelming odds. He shows us that WE are warriors for the working day, and that there is greatness in us all. In working through and rediscovering this play, the most striking thing was its honesty. Henry wears his heart on his sleeve, at least to the audience. He takes us on that journey with him, through his darkest hours to his incredible victory that surprises even him.  The story is an inspiration told by a mosaic of memorable characters.

All of this began from an obsession that was once an idea that started as a thought that was nourished by an Executive Director and a theater that believed in it.  How can I keep from singing?  I invite everyone to come and enjoy this truly wonderful production!

Please visit for more information on scheduling and tickets.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Masks are Back at The Park!

Contributed by Holly Conroy
House Manager, Board Member and Mask Designer

Last summer, for the Water Works production of The Tempest, I apprenticed with uber-talented Nina Barlow, to learn the lengthy processes for creating masks from paper pulp, papier mâché, and thermalplastics. It was a blast! Nina was so generous with her time, talent, and materials…and the woman is SO MUCH FUN!!! I became obsessed with mask-making. Everyone in my family, including my 97-year-old mother-in-law, submitted to having their faces cast in plaster gauze—the first step in creating perfectly-fitting custom-made masks. Since then, they’ve received all sorts of masks, from tree-faces to zombies to Elvis.
Masks are creeping into my other theatrical endeavors,too. A production of The Fantasticks I directed in June featured several, and I plan to make a set for Morgan Le Fey’s magical creatures in Camelot at Village Players in 2013.

So imagine my delight when I learned I would be given the opportunity to collaborate with Bart Bund on masks for A Midsummer Night’s Dream this summer! Woohooo! Bart’s imaginative staging is leading me in new directions and, once again, I’m having a blast! In addition to some very silly masks for the “mechanicals,” I’m stretching my skills on a couple of over-the-top fairies and a changeling boy. I hope they turn out as snazzy in reality as they are in my mind! Come and see!