Salome Reviews!

SALOME_PUB_IMAGEReviews for Salome have been coming in, and it seems that all our hard work is paying off…
Except Nathan misspelled my name in the program, so I guess I need to change it legally…

“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

Salome opens March 13th at The Right Brain Project!

art below by Joseph Ramski

Salome Headshot

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.

Let’s talk about: Safety.

The Hotel Play at Infernal Bridegroom Photo by Dabfoto Creative / David A. Brown

The Hotel Play at Infernal Bridegroom
Photo by Dabfoto Creative / David A. Brown

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.

SAY NO.

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.

A Fit Woman to Be Removed

So, it opens tomorrow. Well, preview is tomorrow. I’m a bit terrified, to be perfectly honest. But it will be what it will be. And at least it will be out of my mind, body and mouth and into the world. I’ve been researching and writing this show for the last two years. Two years of reading about horrible horrible things done to women, men and children in the name of “mental health.” The only thing I hope that might come from this is that you might walk out thinking a little differently about the bag lady at the bus stop that talks to herself. And maybe next time you see her, you’ll actually look into her eyes instead of turning yours away.

AGNES
They call her retard, idiot, cripple, feeb, tardo, fucktard, animal, shit stain, moron, freak…

Children are humane in their cruelty. It is open and honest.
Children make fun of the girl with bad clothes, the girl that doesn’t get a bath, the girl who doesn’t have food in her satchel.
Most adults are disgusted by the weak, the sick. They turn their eyes away and look into the pretty parts of themselves so that they don’t have to allow it in. They hide it away so it won’t spread to them.

from “A Fit Woman to Be Removed” by Charlesanne Rabensburg

Not Safe For Work, except my work.

I actually gave the Marat/Sade cast the homework to go home and look up The Kama Sutra online and bring in one sexual position that they had never see/heard of/thought of. I got a a lot of “YEEESSS!” On the other hand, I got a few blank stares. Oh University theatre, how I love you. I’d be strung up if this was High School. But then, any High School that would actually be putting on Marat/Sade would be asking for it.

My Marat/Sade Kids

I’m so incredibly proud of these guys and gals. Being on stage is an amazing experience. Getting to watch the students that you are coaching is a different, and in some way deeper, experience. With the Laban and Viewpoints that I’ve given them crash courses in and the research that I supplied them with, they are all really beginning to build the most affecting characters. This next week will be really tough, but exciting. I have physical violence and intimacy to choreograph and deeper physical work to delve into with them. I can’t wait.

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