Center Stage Theater
Santa Barbara, California
September 15-18, 2016
For many years it has been the dream of DramaDogs to create an ensemble of actors who would commit to a long rehearsal process to bring their characters to life, beyond the words. The extended rehearsal time would provide the breadth and space to create characters’ lives through the resources of the actors spending time with their character’s traits and quirks.
DramaDogs’ body-centered approach to acting engages the actors to create character form the body first, creatively and collaboratively activating the lines of the playwright. We work from the inside out, discovering physical / emotional choices for a character’s spine, physical center and gestures leading to the character’s posture, walk and emotional truths. Our human brain is wired to engage with body language and tone of voices as words are spoken. DramaDog’s methodology stimulates this engagement from the actor and director working together to develop characters in relationships with themselves and each other. This is what the audience with see, feel and hear.
DramaDogs was privileged to stage a reading of The Boondawgle Estate as part of PlayFest Santa Barbara last January. The reading delivered such laughter for the audience that the company committed to a fully staged production. This is our first farce – it is intended to make us laugh. And laugh we must at Peter McDonough’s “dramedy” as we look at ourselves through the dysfunction of the spiritualist Boondawgle Sisters gathering to memorialize their late brother where it becomes the essential task of the twin nephews and the “new wife” to search for the letter catapulting us into the antics and situations of outlandish and intriguing circumstances. Directing Peter’s play over the past eight months has been a journey into comedy through the farce of what life present to every family.
I chose playwriting to tell my stories because I have greasepaint in my blood, (which may account for my elevated cholesterol levels). But writing a play such as The Boondawgle Estate is only a part of the story. My lifeless script, to be truly appreciated, must come alive. It needs a supportive environment and a body of artists with vision. As the 2016 PlayFest Santa Barbara Honoree Playwright I was provided with an amazing environment to spark my play to life. It is a place for an artist to unfurl a dream, take risks, learn and share the creation of character and story. Once the incubator was secured, the fledgling work craved visional artists to breathe life into the text, first as a staged reading then as a full production.
Enter DramaDogs, a Theatre Company. DramaDogs does not simply stage a play. They craft an experience “from the inside out.” E. Bonnie Lewis and Ken Gilbert brush away clutter and pretense and delve into the heart of the work skillfully honestly and exuberantly and expect nothing less from their performing artist than they do of themselves. Watching the characters from The Boondawgle Estate emerge from the page in the tangible expression of the written word is overwhelming. A playwright could not ask for anything more. My work has life. This is a gift.