“The holidays are NOT wonderful for many. There is too much pain, too many memories, and loved ones are missing from the holiday table. And the first half of Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake) is mysterious and frustrating introduction to a collection of characters who are miserable, obviously adrift with grief one year after a holiday accident. But playwright Sheila Callaghan’s text and AJ Ware’s keen direction – matched with fine performances and some theatrical cunning – bring the evening into a clear and powerful focus. How these characters change in the 80 minute piece is delightful and intriguing – the best kind of theatrical experience. All three of the women are great… Rabensburg is the emotional and authentic center…”
I am now a proud Artistic Associate with The Right Brain Project and have an amazing new project coming up with those guys, so stay tuned for more information! Crumble, Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake with Jackalope is going swimmingly… I am exhausted.
The show was brilliant. The cast was sexy. Damn, I miss this show…
“Charlesanne Rabensburg is particularly a standout; a force of nature portraying two strange characters; her facial expressions evolve from radiant friendliness to maniacal mischievousness in the span of a single line reading.” – Jacob Harmon, Chicago Theatre Beat
“Highly Recommended” – Chicago Reader
“Charlesanne Radensburg, as Herodias Salome’s mother, was one part Disney evil queen and one part 1940’s film noir vixen. She seemed to relish in her biting lines and quippy comebacks.” – Chicago Stage Standard
“Choreography/movement coach Charlesanne Rabensburg strategically uses a billowing, white tarp. As Szyper flirts with a sensual fluidity, the ensemble ripples this oversized silk under her feet. The look is elegant and sexy as Szyper does her royal striptease… Under the direction of Nathan Robbel, the female prowess is in charge. Not only does Szyper hold court, the noteworthy Rabensburg (Herodias) commands respect. Even though she may be sidelined as a wife, Rabensburg is still very much queen. The regal Rabensburg delivers influential jabs with an icy, cold smoothness… SALOME’s dance will make people lose their heads. It’s a visual stunner! ” – The Fourth Walsh
“The legendary story has the title character (Shantelle Szyper) performing the lusty Dance of the Seven Veils for Herod, King of Judea… The fine actors and technicians do Wilde’s brilliant and lyrical play justice here.” – Center Stage Chicago
“[Director, Nathan Robbel’s] erotically charged presentation, complemented by Charlesanne Radensburg’s steamy choreography, is performed alley style… Charlesanne Radensburg does double duty playing the most interestingly portrayed character in this production, Herodias. As Salome’s mother the actress hits all the right notes, ranging from seductive to persuasive, yet very careful not to overstep certain boundaries with her husband, Herod… In another seldom-produced classic that the serious actor, director and theatre scholar will want to see, Right Brain Project has again met the challenge. More grandiose productions can be imagined, but Nathan Robbel’s epic minimalism makes Oscar Wilde’s play both accessible and intimate and smartly manages to focus all the attention on his actors.” – Chicago Theatre Review
art below by Joseph Ramski
This one has been an interesting process for me, seeing how I am the Movement Director, Choregrapher, and playing Herodias. I think I might be a little exhausted. We’re all working our tails off for it, there is even an all original score by Trevor Watkins. We might all be a little exhausted.
Other things on the horizon:
I’m headed to Columbus, OH in May to culminate (for the time being) a two year outreach project headed by playwright Nicola McCartney hand in hand with Rachel’s House, a women’s recovery community in Columbus, Ohio. Through professional actors, the women tell their stories of leaving the criminal justice system and the difficult transition back to their communities while battling addiction and hopelessness.
YOUR safety as an actor. I wrote about this subject in my thesis and talked about it with my students. In the light of the horribly tragic news from Vegas, I want to share my thoughts…
Let me say first that the Cirque cast and crew are the safest and best trained in the world and that this post is not a direct response to their tragedy. It is a general call for every performer, every director, every crew member, to take their personal safety and the safety of their coworkers seriously. If an accident like this can happen at Cirque, it can happen anywhere.
That being said, I would like to challenge my fellow artists with the following:
We have all been unsafe on stage. I am perfectly comfortable as an actor, a dancer, a choreographer, a movement director and a director in stating that as FACT. We have all had inept set designers or carpenters who have said, “Oh, that beam that runs across backstage at head height in complete darkness? Oh, that’s fine, just make sure you duck.” We’ve all had directors say, “Fight choreographer? Nah, we don’t need one. Just go for it.” We’ve all had a props designer say, “Stage sword? No, I didn’t get you one, but this replica civil war era saber that I bought on ebay will work fine.” We have all had actors say, “I’ve totally taken a combat class. Yeah, like ten years ago. And it was only an afternoon, but it’ll be cool, I used to take tai-bo.”
So physical danger, that’s obvious, right? But we’ve all also put ourselves in emotional danger. We have all been in a physically intimate scene, whether it’s a love story or a violent rape, and been expected to jump right in without any acknowledgement of the emotional and psychological danger we are putting ourselves in.
We’ve all felt uncomfortable in these situations and we ALL have, at some point, told ourselves, “Self, this is stupid. Just do it. If you don’t, they’ll think you’re not a professional or that you’re a diva or a problem actor and they won’t cast you again. Someone will tell someone else that you’re a chicken or overly sensitive and get labeled “hard to work with” and then where will you be? Just do it. Keep your mouth shut and do it. You’ll get used to it or over it and it will be fine.”
We tell jokes about it, trade horror stories, compare war wounds, measure scars.
I’m here to say, fuck that.
As an actor, YOU ARE ALL YOU HAVE.
Don’t be an ass about it but make your issues known clearly and calmly. “I do not feel comfortable with (blank) because (blank) has not been addressed.” Ask to speak with your stage manager or, if you’re lucky enough to have one, speak to your show’s deputy and have them bring the issue to management.
We knowingly put ourselves in harm’s way, both physically and psychologically, and we need to make sure that all steps to protect ourselves and our fellow performers have been taken.
We all need to stay vigilant and have honest conversations with ourselves and our teams to make sure every step possible has been taken to make our jobs as safe as possible.
As for what happened in Las Vegas, my heart bleeds for a lost life…a truly extraordinary talent that was extinguished way too soon. The bright lights of Vegas glow dimmer without her. May her family, her children, her artistic family, her loves fine some tiny bit of solace in the knowledge that her loss is felt by the artistic community as a whole.
“Rabensburg gives perhaps the most nuanced performance of the night. As the mother, watching her son turn on all those close to him and unable to stop him, she gives a performance that is heart breaking.”
I’m moving, again.
So I’ve been neglecting writing. I’ve built some things and taught some classes, but very little writing.
I tried to think of someone I wanted to quote and came up empty.
So you have to suffer through another one of mine…
virgin/whore, I’m never both
never one the same
either worshiped like the eternal child
or touched with naught but shame
men splay me on their pinning board
pinned through, bare souled I’m lain
or my sweetness causes virgin thoughts
and my heat is all in vain
can’t people both make love and fuck?
I feel choosing one’s a bore
love me like the virgin please
but every now and then, the whore
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo
Semi-crummy poem by me
Photo of beautiful painting of beautiful whores by me
But, to thank everyone for liking my past few posts, here’s one of my own along with some art.
My poor attempt at being Dorothy Parker…
So Good For Me
so proud, so proud I thought myself
so proud and fit and strong
and on my pride his ass did sit
and showed me I was wrong.
how fair, how fair I saw myself
fair eyes of sparkling blue
then his wandering prick, it crooned to me
you’re used and they’re brand new.
well loved, well loved I told myself
his lies were lovable foes
I was much too plain and sad for him
I’m not the one he chose.
my dull brown hair, my pale white skin
my wit too crude and mean
I hope his brand new bouncy lass
downs a gallon of gasoline.
so now, so now I pine alone
pretending he is here
not that he was so good for me
dying alone is what I fear.
words by me
ink print by me