Other Desert Cities

WICA opens ‘Other Desert Cities’ on Friday, Feb. 13

Set in Palm Springs, Brooke Wyeth is the troubled daughter of a prominent California family, who comes home for the holidays after a six-year absence. She presents her family with her about-to-be-published memoir exposing a pivotal and tragic event in the family's history ─ a wound they don't want reopened. In effect, she draws a line in the sand and dares them all to cross it.

American playwright Jon Robin Baitz said he’d rather drink hemlock than harangue an audience with liberal pieties.

A finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Baitz’s Other Desert Cities involves a family with differing political views and a long-held family secret. But, Baitz said his play is more about humility than politics.

Andy Grenier directs (and acts in) the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts’ production, which opens Feb. 13 and runs through Feb. 28. “Jon Robin Baitz was a student of mine years ago in New York so I am delighted with the success of his play. It’s a well-crafted play with wonderfully developed characters. Each of the characters is strong enough to be the lead in a story of their own, this one happens to be about Brook,” said Grenier.

Deana Duncan plays Brooke, and said the cast talked a lot about the code of ethics demanded of a writer. “This play for me is about the cost of telling the truth and then realizing I (Brooke) didn't know the truth,” Duncan said. “It’s about the courage and strength it takes to finally stop trying to please everyone and finally just say what needs to be said.”

Brooke’s mother, Polly Wyeth, is not having it. Polly considers the book’s publication to be a betrayal of her friends-with-the-Reagans family “that has so valued discretion and our good name.”

Meanwhile, Polly's sister Silda is also visiting, after having spent some time in rehab. Polly and her former American Ambassador husband Lyman are Republicans, while Silda is a liberal. Privately, Silda tells Brooke to stand by her book.

“Don’t back down. You’ll win because you have ideas, and they only have fear,” Silda tells her.

Baitz said he wrote the play to explore what happens when a writer uses one’s life to create something. He says Brooke gets a lot of it wrong and has to deal with that; that she may not know everything she thought she knew about her parents and family. The play, he said, is about what we think we know about everybody and “the absolute un-knowableness of things.”

Whatever it is, this play contains all the makings of an engaging evening: high drama, comic relief, and great repartee written by one of America’s best, living playwrights.

The play shows at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and at 2 p.m. Sundays; Feb.13 through Feb. 28. Tickets are $22 for adults; $18 for seniors; $15 for youths; $15 for everyone at any matinee.

The cast includes Deana Duncan (Brooke), Andy Grenier (director, Lyman Wyeth), Shelley Hartle (Polly Wyeth), Heather Oglivy (aunt Silda), and David Mayer (brother Trip). Lucy Pearce is associate director, Steve Ford is the stage manager, Patty Mathieu designs the lights, costumes are by Mira Steinbrecher, Tyler Raymond is the technical director and Chandra Sadro and Jim Scullin will design the set.

Click Here for Online Purchases.
Online tickets are available until noon the day of the show.
For tickets by phone, call the Box Office at 800.638.7631 or 360.221.8268.
You can also buy tickets in person at the Box Office at 565 Camano Ave in Langley between 1 and 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, or two hours before any show.

WICA opens intimate 88 Keys Piano Club series

Maureen Girard

Maureen Girard

Hosted by Maureen Girard

Longtime piano jazz teacher and performer Girard invites some of her most talented friends to join her at the piano in the style of the National Public Radio program, Piano Jazz with the late Marian McPartland.

Girard said the idea is to present a show that’s entertaining and fun and includes the audience.  The centerpiece, of course, is great music, but the discussion will center particularly on improvisation.

“I will open the show with a solo performance, then introduce our guest artist,’ Girard said of the format. “We will perform a few pieces together on two pianos followed by some conversation about the music and careers. We’ll invite the audience to ask questions, as well.

Girard welcomes Seattle-based pianist Karin Kajita. Kajita is an accomplished pianist who has been a part of the Seattle jazz scene for many years, including as the leader of the Karin Kajita Jazz Quintet. She also performs regularly with Emily McIntosh, the David George 10 Tet Big Band, Blues Street Voices and Mairin & Friends, and has played several North American cities, as well as having toured several times in Japan and through Europe on the Norwegian Cruise Line.

The second set of the evening will open with a performance by one of Girard’s adult students, Masami Saiku, who has studied classical piano for several years and has learned to improvise through her lessons with Girard. Kajita will also take the stage with Masami.

Girard is a pro at this small concert setting. She draws on her experience with her own popular House Concert Series, which she hosted and presented for 10 years at her 88 Keys Piano Studio in Langley. That series hosted a steady stream of Girard’s talented friends, including Jessica Williams, David Lanz, Claudio Mendez, Karin Kajita and a list of noted pianists from the Seattle area and around of the world. But this time, she said, she can finally see her audience enjoy a glass of wine at the show.

“I am so happy for them to be able to have that now, and to not have my husband Johnny out in the front yard with a flashlight helping everyone park their cars!” 

Please join us for this exciting new series in an intimate setting for great piano music with solo performances, duets on two pianos, conversation, plus fine wine and small plates. The show is recommended for all ages (except very young children).

Zech Hall
Saturday, January 24, 2015
7:30 to 9:30 PM 

Tickets are $20.


Click Here for Online Purchases
Via Phone: Please Call the Box Office at 
800.638.7631 or 360.221.8268
In Person: Visit the Box Office at 
565 Camano Ave, Langley, WA 98260

**Online Tickets Purchases are available until 12-Noon the day of the show.**

Wednesday through Saturday
1pm - 6pm
and 2 hours before every show

Or questions regarding your ticket order please call or visit the WICA Box Office.


Whidbey Island journalist Patricia Duff began Patricia Duff Writing Services in 2013. Patricia was the Island Life Editor and arts and entertainment reporter for the South Whidbey Record for six years, followed by almost two years as the start-up editor for the online arts publication, Whidbey Life Magazine.  She has been writing about the island community and its artists for about 9 years. Patricia Duff Writing Services creates effective copy for anyone who needs it, including profiles, features, ads, brochures, press releases and web content.

Elizabeth Austen – poet, performer, teacher

Elizabeth Austen performs with the Sandbox Radio Collective.  Photo by  John Ulman

Elizabeth Austen performs with the Sandbox Radio Collective. Photo by  John Ulman

Friday, January 9th 
7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Austen speaks with Book City columnist and Langleyite Val Easton on the Michael Nutt Mainstage. 

Saturday, January  10th 
10:30 a.m.

Austen will also offer a two-hour poetry workshop in Zech Hall for up to 20 participants.


Washington State Poet Laureate Elizabeth Austen returns to Whidbey Island to share her poetry, talk about her new book, Every Dress a Decision.

Easton said she’s very much looking forward to a conversation with Austen.

“I'm excited to have a chance to interview Elizabeth, and hope to encourage her to talk about her life as a working poet,” Easton said. “Where does the inspiration come from? How many jobs do you have to work to write poetry? And what the heck is a poet laureate anyway?”

As the third poet laureate of Washington, Austen said she understands her job is to let Washingtonians know that poetry is available to them. She aims to foster that awareness by visiting all 39 counties of our state to introduce poems and the idea that anyone can benefit from writing poetry. In an interview on KCTS9 with Molly Spurgeon, Austen said that poetry offers us more than something for just weddings and funerals; writing poetry, she said, is a way for us to understand ourselves; a way to deal with the world around us.

In addition to trumpeting the value of getting poetry into our everyday lives, Austen will also introduce audiences to her debut collection of poems, Every Dress a Decision, which was published by Blue Begonia Press in 2011 and was a finalist for the 2012 Washington State Book Award in poetry. The aftermath of her brothers mysterious death forms a subtle narrative spine for the book, around which other pressing questions revolve. In a voice both lyrical and wry, Austens poems delve headlong into the realities and contradictions of 21st century social expectations, desires and identity.

“How can you not admire a poet whose debut poetry collection is titled Every Dress a Decision?” Easton said. “I was delighted and impressed when I heard Elizabeth read in Langley last spring. Turns out she's a Shakespearean trained actor, and brings both her love of poetry and her acting chops to the reading of the work.”

Austen is a Seattle-based poet, performer and teacher. She has also authored two chapbooks, The Girl Who Goes Alone (Floating Bridge Press, 2010) and Where Currents Meet, part of the 2010 Toadlily Press quartet, Sightline.

For more than a dozen years, she has produced literary programming for KUOW 94.9 public radio, introducing recordings of Pacific Northwest literary events and interviewing local and national poets. She served as the Washington “roadshow” poet for 2007, giving readings and workshops in rural areas around the state. She is the recipient of grants from Artists Trust, 4Culture and the City of Seattle, and is an alumna of Hedgebrook, Artsmith, the Whiteley Center, the Jack Straw Writers Program, and holds an MFA in poetry from Antioch University-Los Angeles.

Austen frequently teaches the art of poetry aloud, believing that: “something magical is possible in a performance that doesn’t happen anywhere else — something electric, immediate, and entirely ephemeral… an exchange between performer and audience that is fluid and a little bit dangerous.”

Admission to the 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 9 interview with Val Easton is $15; the 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 10 poetry workshop costs $30.

Call the Box Office at 800.638.7631 or 360.221.8268 or  click here to purchase your tickets online.

Find out more about Elizabeth Austen and read some of her poetry.


Whidbey Island journalist Patricia Duff began Patricia Duff Writing Services in 2013. Patricia was the Island Life Editor and arts and entertainment reporter for the South Whidbey Record for six years, followed by almost two years as the start-up editor for the online arts publication, Whidbey Life Magazine.  She has been writing about the island community and its artists for about 9 years. Patricia Duff Writing Services creates effective copy for anyone who needs it, including profiles, features, ads, brochures, press releases and web content.

In review

A Christmas Story In Review

by Bill Burgua

You have seen the movie maybe a zillion times, so you might ask why would someone go see a live play of something you know so well and or you can’t imagine being improved on.

No matter how beloved, a story takes on a whole new dimension live on stage, and WICA’s 2014 Holiday production A Christmas Story bears this out. Having had the pleasure to see two shows opening weekend, where kids too young to know what the heck the pre smart phone world was like, were still cracking up at the antics of the Parker family of 1950’s Holman Indiana—along with their family and friends. Please don’t think you have to part of a family to enjoy this timeless tale, done so well here. We all can find humor in Ralphie Wesley Parker’s quest for armament, the BB gun that will “shoot his eye out!”

Phil Jordan as the grown up Ralph (and a few other classic characters) tells us the story of Ralphie’s childhood Christmas with the casual elegance of a master storyteller who really could be talking about his own life. He masterfully sucks the audience into the story only to set them up for a big laugh.  He has us totally empathizing with the indignities Ralphie suffers.

Hillel Coates (Ralphie)

Hillel Coates (Ralphie)

Sixth grader Hillel Coates demonstrated his acting experience performing the role of Ralphie Parker with aplomb. He does a good job of going back and forth as the Ralphie described by his older self, to being the Ralphie speaking and interacting with other characters. A much more difficult task on stage than in edited film.

Newcomer to the stage Kristen Carlson is a wonderful surprise. Her Mother so finely walks the line between the wonderful all-knowing all-wise mother and the totally ditzy mother—to great heart and hilarity. She performed this role like she had been this family’s mother her whole life. If Carlson keeps performing like this we hope to see her on stage a lot in the future.

Robert W. Prosch performance as The Old Man is a testament to how much fun it can be for an audience when an actor is having great fun with a role. The multi and very talented Prosch goes easily from the expletive spewing nut (Note: no real expletive were spewed in this production) to the wise loving father and husband. Prosch and Carlson have great chemistry as the heads of their young Parker household.

Younger brother Randy is a big scene stealer in the film A Christmas Story and so is fourth grader Waylan Parsell’s Randy here. Much of the character’s humor is physical and Parsell literally jumps in with both hands!

After seeing Patricia Duff’s performance you will never see the prim, proper, matron school teacher Miss Shields the same way ever again. Duff’s Miss Shields and Jim Castaneda’s Department Store Santa create such a distraction at one point that the audience never notices a set change.

Then there are all the kids that play humorist Jean Shepherd’s memorable cast of supporting characters.  These talented local kids appear to have been supported by family and friends, the schools they attend, and wonderful institutions such as WICA, WCT, and WIDT. They turn out wonderful performances while having great fun, and I would venture learning a lot of life’s lessons along the way.

Director Deana Duncan takes all this talent and whips up a delightful slice of life in the days leading up to Christmas in a small town in Indiana over half a century ago.  Duncan keeps the action moving along making use of all the spaces of the Michael Nutt Main Stage, slowing nicely where the audience can absorb the timeless personal interactions of the characters.

A shout out to WICA’s creative team members that have created the bitter cold Indiana winter on the outside to the warm (as long as the furnace is working) and heartwarming Parker family home.

WICA has made it easy for audience members to actually be part of several scenes in A Christmas Story! The kids of all ages had fun in joining in with items from their audience participation Christmas Bag: fighting off bad guys with water pistols; joining in a snowball fight; and donning rabbit ears when Ralphie suffers the humiliation of wearing his Aunt’s pink bunny suit Christmas present. Participation bags are available in the lobby; the rabbit ears are worth the price alone.

It’s all there, the dogs, the turkey, the Peking Duck Christmas dinner, and especially all of Ralphie’s long thwarted quest for the best Christmas present ever, and an important step in growing up and growing to be the Ralph that remembers it all for us forever.

The magic of the theatre, especially when a good story is well told, is that it can transport us to a different time and place. By the end of WICA’s 2014 A Christmas Story you will feel like you are part of the families down on Cleveland Street, Christmas in 1950s Holman, Indiana!

About Bill

Bill Burgua after retiring from a career in biomedical research was encouraged by a founder to write as a journalist for an online hyper-local newspaper SacramentoPress.com, first writing opinion pieces on local issues restricted to the six county region surrounding Sacramento California.

When Sacramento Theatre Company, the city’s oldest professional theatre company, asked that their productions be reviewed, the SacPress.com staff being aware of Bill’s nearly 50 years of heavy theatre attendance worldwide, made him the unofficial official SacPress.com theatre reviewer. He then wrote more than 100 in-depth reviews starting with the four Equity (professional) theatre companies; then adding live lectures (fave: John Waters, Thomas McGuane); pre-lecture interviews (Thomas McGuane, Terry McMillan); comedy (David Sedaris, Sarah Silverman); and food, centered around what has become the incredible “Farm to Fork” movement in northern California.

Bill also loves to travel. “How else do you get to see live theatre unless you travel there?” After a holiday week on Whidbey, Bill will be embarking on a winter ski adventure with his companion Lady, an Australian Cattle Dog/Blue Heeler.


A Tool for Set Design

A Tool for Set Design

Set Designer, Bonnie Stinson, shares one of the ways she looks for inspiration in designing her sets.

Meet the Cast

Production of 'A Christmas Story' is in full swing

There is plenty going on behind the scenes… rehearsals, costumes, sets… and all of the 101 details that make the magic happen.

Waylan Parsell with the   FRAGILE   leg lamp!

Waylan Parsell with the FRAGILE leg lamp!


These are the talented actors who will bring A Christmas Story to life, right here at WICA.

Phil Jordan – Ralph

Rob Prosch –  The Old Man

Kristin Carlson   Mother

Patricia Duff  Miss Shields/Voice of Schwartz Mom

Hillel Coates (age 11)  Ralphie

Waylan Parsell (age 9)  Randy

Soren Bratrude (age 11)   Flick

Leo Smith (age 10)  Schwartz

Joe Davies (age 14)  Scut Farkus

Ada Rose Faith-Feyma (age 10)  Helen

Jordan Schierbeek (age 11)  Esther Jane

Tess Patty Caldwell (age 10)  Ensemble-Bumpus hound

Phoenix Lester (age 10)  Ensemble-Bumpus hound

Jim Castaneda  Santa, Lead Crew

Christine Chittem  Elf, Crew

Meghan Parker  Elf, Crew

A Christmas Story

You’ll shoot your eye out! ─ ‘A Christmas Story’ returns to WICA in Langley

by Patricia Duff

One boy, one holiday wish, and a world that seems to be conspiring to make certain it doesn’t come true.

Bring the whole family to the hilarious American classic, “A Christmas Story,” which opens at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley on Friday, Dec. 5 and includes live audience participation!

You may recognize author and radio raconteur Jean Shepherd's memoir of growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s from the movie that became an instant hit upon its release in 1983. The play, adapted by Philip Grecian, also follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. Ralphie pleads his case to his mother, his teacher and even Santa Claus at Higbee's Department Store. "You'll shoot your eye out!" is the only response Ralphie gets and it begins to wear thin.

Directed by Deana Duncan, WICA is thrilled to bring back this beloved holiday production after 10 years. Duncan remembers her now grown sons playing Randy and Flick back in 2004.

“I loved watching them on stage,” she said. (They laughed about one particularly wild moment when Nicholas as “Randy” got a little overly exuberant with the piggy-eating oatmeal scene.) “I'm looking forward to sitting there on closing night with my two boys, remembering when they were small and walked this stage in these roles.”

It’s appropriate that Duncan reminisces about that previous production of “A Christmas Story.” It was part of her sons’ childhoods, the part of life we can’t wait to grow out of, yet pine for when we do.  

“Jean Shepherd once said, ‘I write about American rituals. Things you’ll find nowhere else in the world.’ He was talking a lot about the way we celebrate and how he remembers his childhood. To him ‘A Christmas Story’ became ‘a reminder of humanity through comedy,’” Duncan said.

“A Christmas Story” represents what Americans remember of our childhoods; what traditions stay with us when we think about the holidays, our family and the place where we grew up. Phil Jordan, who plays the grown-up Ralph (the narrator), grew up in the Midwest, not far from Indiana where the play is set.

“I grew up in the Midwest. My dad was an avid amateur photographer, so I have a voluminous pictorial record of each and every Christmas that extends back before I was born into the mid-1940s.  I have my dad’s entire collection of thousands of slides and his 50-year old slide projector,” Jordan said. 

“The impulse to look back and re-experience the times we were happy is a soothing activity and I think that is why human beings do it,” he added.

Jordan said that, when the play opens, Ralph is reflecting on what he remembers of that one Christmas in the middle of winter in mythical Hohman, Indiana.

“Christmas was a time for snow and hot chocolate and brilliantly white, sunny, blue days of 15 degree weather,” Jordan said. But also bitter-cold winds, the snowball fights and the daily-challenge of living with a harsh winter are all a part of Jordan’s vivid memories of Christmas in the Midwest, which seem to blend in easily with Ralph’s.

“It is a testament to Ralph’s resilience that he knows how to deal with moments of sorrow, by remembering the moments in his life where optimism and youthful invulnerability prevailed over the everyday catastrophes that assail children on a regular basis: the bullies, the disappointments, the exploded myths, the adults in their world failing to understand them.”

Duncan said that nostalgia plays a huge part in this production, which she hopes to evoke with both its whimsical and sentimental sides.

“The play is a snapshot of a time. We, the audience, will sort through the memories with Ralph and hopefully walk out remembering favorite Christmas moments and looking forward to the holiday just around the corner.”

Just don’t shoot your eye out.

Speaking of “just around the corner,” in the lobby before and after the show there will be plenty of holiday fun and games for the whole family circa 1940s Indiana, including Ralphie’s Shooting Gallery, “A Christmas Story” trivia game, and the Triple Dog Dare Hangman Bar with libations for all ages!

The cast of “A Christmas Story” also includes Soren Bratrude, Tess Patty Caldwell, Kristin Carlson, Jim Castaneda, Hillel Coates, Joe Davies, Patricia Duff, Ada Rose Faith-Feyma, Justus Lester, Phoenix Lester, Meghan Parker, Rob Prosch, Jordan Schierbeek, Leo Smith and Bonnie Stinson. Valerie Johnson is the costume designer and Bonnie Stinson designed the sets.

The show plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays; and at 2 p.m. Sundays from Friday, Dec. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 20.

Tickets are $22 for adults; $18 for seniors; $15 for youths; $15 for matinees.

Click Here for Online Purchases. Online tickets are available until noon the day of the show. For tickets by phone, call the Box Office at 800.638.7631 or 360.221.8268. You can also buy tickets in person at the Box Office at 565 Camano Ave in Langley between 1 and 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, or two hours before any show. Season tickets for the Theatre Series are available at a discount through the Box Office.

Whidbey Island journalist Patricia Duff began Patricia Duff Writing Services in 2013. Patricia was the Island Life Editor and arts and entertainment reporter for the South Whidbey Record for six years, followed by almost two years as the start-up editor for the online arts publication, Whidbey Life Magazine.  She has been writing about the island community and its artists for about 9 years. Patricia Duff Writing Services creates effective copy for anyone who needs it, including profiles, features, ads, brochures, press releases and web content.

My Tell-Tale Heart

My Tell-Tale Heart

by Lucy Pearce

As I sit down to write this, I think back on the people I have channeled in plays and how if there wasn’t an instant correlation between me and them, there soon became one. So as I prepare for the dramatic reading of The Tell-Tale Heart and Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe for Masters of The Pen at WICA on October 30th I begin to think on this some more. Anyone who knows Tell-Tale Heart will be thinking, “I hope she doesn't have too much in common with that.” For those who don't know it, I wont spoil it for you.

I find myself drawn though to Edgar himself. My eyes pulled like lasers to him enlisting in the army under an assumed name and publishing a collection of poems anonymously. I myself have spent the past three years, in many ways, anonymous. After almost twenty years as an actress I was burnt out, depressed, insecure and then pulled down a seemingly different path. I was convinced that was it for me, I was done with acting. It was a very painful decision but it also felt right. The next three years I followed a new route, often as lost as a GPS on an English country road (as an English person I have compassion for the GPS). My days once filled with learning lines (which to me is really just discovering how they feel) now became full of music. If I wasn't sound-healing for people, I was busy writing music. It was a time of rediscovering a part of me that had been somewhat dormant. I remembered the poet in me, the musician in me and mostly kept it all to myself (my husband and dog had no choice but to hear it). After much self-healing work and moving to South Whidbey Island, a place as chock-full of creative folks as a jar of PNW pickles, I began to feel the pull to share my poetry and music with people. Anyone who knows this beautiful island knows that it is an incredibly supportive space, rooting for each individuals self-expression a daily pastime, with a shot of espresso for fuel of course.

Lucy Pearce and Ensemble in Into the Woods, photo by j shu images

Then this year my heart suddenly decided to partake in the WICA general auditions. I say my heart decided as my mind was busy saying, “erm, yo, you said you’d given up acting” (yes my mind is an Eminem wannabe). So I followed my heart….yep I’m rolling my eyes at that overused term myself, but hey, ho, thats how it was. Just like that I find myself in the role of the Steward in Into The Woods and now here I am readying for this evening with Edgar (eek, what would an evening with Edgar really be like?).

Lucy Pearce as The Steward with Hannah McConnaughey as Lucinda and Ethan Berkley as Cinderella's Prince in Into the Woods, October 2014 - photo by j shu images

I guess my heart knew me much better than my mind did because I am over the moon to be back acting, I have come back into it with many of the same insecurities and impostor syndrome fears as before but these past few years have prepared me to be able to face these insecurities, to slowly peel away the layers of that burning onion. Whereas before I was consumed by them I now feel in a place to take a cold hard look at it all and work with them to replace them with a more empowered space. I am so happy that my journey back into channeling these people of the plays has begun at WICA, I have never felt more supported, respected and embraced than I have here. Working with Gwen Jones (director of Masters of the Pen) is quite honestly a dream. Her first words, “I have only expectations of greatness”. That wording so profoundly different to saying I expect greatness. As many actors do, I thrive in a more collaborative environment with directors and Gwen’s middle name is collaboration (no, not literally). The endlessly generous actor Ethan Berkley will be reading on the night also.

Masters of the Pen: An Evening with Edgar Allan Poe directed by Gwen Jones
Thursday, October 30 @ 7:30
Michael Nutt Mainstage, WICA
Tickets: $10

I have been asked what the difference is between a dramatic reading and a regular acting role? The Merriam-Webster description is this: a public reading or recitation of a work of literature (as a poem or play) with an interpretative or dramatic use of the voice and often of gestures. For me though, the only difference is I have the material in front of me in case I am not sure what comes next. Otherwise it’s the same, I am channeling a person that the writer channeled. Our interpretations may be different but our goals may well be the same, to be truthful, to share deeply, to connect profoundly and to forge through the flames of fear.

I hope that Poe is there on the night (if anyone is going to be a ghost, it’s gonna be him), I hope he enjoys it and mostly I hope he enjoys our dance. Our tango together out of anonymity into sharing our authentic divine lights with the world, offering up our Tell-Tale Hearts.  

Lucy Pearce is an Actress, Singer/Songwriter and Poet who lives on Whidbey Island with her husband Sean and pup Billy. When not working creatively she enjoys growing food, walks in the woods and watching way too much TV and film. 


Under the Hood, Volume 4

by Katie Woodzick


Hour 1: We are called to the theatre at 1:30 PM. When actors arrive, the director and crew are running tests on pyrotechnic events and we're not allowed onstage. The cast goes to our assigned dressing rooms, putting on rehearsal skirts and shoes and reviewing our lines, lyrics and blocking.

Hour 2: Programming and Production Director (and our producer) Deana Duncan introduces us to the crew: in addition to our stage manager, Rich, we have two assistant stage managers on headset who are stationed on either side of the stage, and light and sound board operators who sit in the booth on either side of Rich. WICA's Technical Director, Tyler Raymond, is also in the booth, adjusting sound cues as needed.

Hour 3: We're finally ready to start the cue to cue rehearsal! We begin running the show from the top, jumping to spots in the script where lighting, sound, fog and pyrotechnic cues occur. This rehearsal is for the tech crew to refine their process and we actors are not in costume. 

Hour 4: Our director, Rob, sits in the house, next to our Assistant Director and Lighting Designer Annie Deacon. By the end of tech weekend, his yellow legal pad will be full of notes on editing sound and light cues.

Hour 5: We're roughly halfway through Act I at this point. There's no way to predict how long tech rehearsals will go. Normally, both the cue to cue rehearsal and first full tech rehearsal happen in the same day. Since Into the Woods is such a complex show, we've been scheduled for two days of tech. At the beginning of the day, we thought we would get through both Act I and Act II cue to cue rehearsal. Now, it's looking like we'll need to either run late tonight or come in early on Sunday.

Hour 6: Dinner break! Cast members have all brought items for a potluck, which we share in Zech Hall. Deana and Rob let the cast know that the plan is to finish the Act I cue to cue rehearsal after dinner and that our call time is moved from 11:30 AM to 10 AM on Sunday, when we'll continue with the Act II cue to cue.

Hour 7: Back to work! We resume the Act I cue to cue. A climbing wall has been built onto the stage left box boom to represent Jack's beanstalk. Rob talks the actors who climb up and down the wall through a safety check list,

Hour 8: We're about to start the Act I finale! Members of the cast are released between 8:45 and 9:30, and that's the end of day one of tech!



Hour 9: We return to the theatre at 10:00 on Sunday. Rob gives the cast notes before we begin the cue to cue rehearsal for Act II, which we're hoping will run roughly two and a half hours.

Hour 10: Several "holds" are called during cue to cue rehearsals. The stage manager calls holds from the booth over a "god mic," which can be heard throughout the entire theatre. Holds can be called for safety purposes, or ask actors to go back to an earlier part of the script refine the placement of cues.

Hour 11: Our accompanist, Kathy Fox, has her keyboard set up in the stage right box, next to the sound and lighting booth. This is also where Morgan Bondelid plays her scenes as the Giant's Wife, watching the actors onstage and interacting with them on a microphone that's fed into the sound system.

Hour 12: Some of the most complicated cues in the show happen during the song "The Last Midnight." There are sound, lighting, fog and pyrotechnic cues, meaning that at certain points during the song, the stage manager is giving four simultaneous "go" cues to four different crew members. We go over this sequence several times, which...

... triggers the fire alarm. All cast and crew leave the building until we're cleared to go back inside. We finish up the Act II cue to cue and break for lunch.

Hour 13: Time for hair, make up and costumes! Each character has a unique makeup and hair design, which the individual actors are responsible for executing for themselves, or finding fellow cast members to help them. Stage makeup needs to be able to withstand the heat of stage lighting--Ben Nye and Max Factor are the most common types of thick foundation that actors use. It can take between 20 and 45 minutes to apply stage make up, depending on how complicated the design is.

Hour 14: Everyone's in costume and ready to go! We're 15 minutes away from starting the first full tech run through--all the lights, costumes--everything! 

Hour 15: The first tech rehearsal takes longer than a normal show does, as the actors are getting used to moving in their costumes, doing quick changes, and the stage manager can still call holds.

Hour 16: We take a 15 minute break for intermission. I've brought a knitting project to help pass the time--Morgan Bondelid and Nancy Pfeiffer can also be seen knitting away at various times during the weekend. 

Hours 17 & 18: We finish Act II! We change out of our costumes and head into the house to receive acting notes from Rob and hair, makeup and costume notes from Mira. We leave the theatre around 7:30 PM. Whew! Tech weekend is over! Only four more full runs and then we get to share the show with YOU, the audience! 

In the words of Little Red Riding Hood, "I'm excited!"

Katie Woodzick is an actor, director, writer and feminist who lives on Whidbey Island. By day, she can be found working for Hedgebrook as an External Relations Manager. By night, she can be found rehearsing at local theatres, writing for Whidbey Life Magazine and singing karaoke. Learn more at katiewoodzick.squarespace.com and woodzickwrites.wordpress.com

Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine is directed by Robert W. Prosch. It runs October 10-25. Visit the event page for more information.