Today, we planned to share with great excitement that we are participating in #NEPAGives—a one-day, online giving extravaganza that’s all about giving back to the community—this Friday, June 5th. Although we do intend to move ahead with our planned fundraising, we strongly feel we cannot ignore the pain being felt across our country.
In Ancient Greece, theatre’s primary function was to provide a platform to express opinion and catharsis for the community. This core function has been a constant as theatre has evolved the past 2,600 years. Whether we realize it or not, we go to live theatre performances to experience empathy: for the characters in the play and with fellow audience members. We learn, heal, laugh, and empathize on an electrically human level; it’s what makes the experience different from tv and film. It is catharsis and compassion, listening and understanding together as one. It can affect political and societal change. And it’s important, now more than ever, that we write about and share our experiences with one another in this way. That we come together and feel together.
Our mission has been based in education, bringing life to classical works most might assume boring (Shakespeare, Moliere), underproduced titles that are award winning and have important messages but not necessarily mainstream (The Sunset Limited, Next Fall), and, most importantly, original work that give voice to emerging writers to talk about critical issues (Drowning Ophelia, The Pallbearers). We are so proud to have this mission, are dedicated to carrying it forward, and hope to do as much good as we can—as a theatre and as individuals—to support equality in our community.
We’re a small company but we can still make an impact by firmly standing in solidarity against racism, violence, and injustice. And while we strongly hope you will support us in NEPAGives come Friday, we hope that you can find it in your hearts to also support any one of these great organizations in the meantime:
peaceandjusticecenter.com / Peace and Justice Centerblackscranton.org
We’ll pick back up tomorrow, but for today: educate, reflect, speak up, and support.
Last weekend, Gaslight Theatre Company took home six Northeastern Pennsylvania Theatre Alliance Awards for our work last season on Taming of the Shrew by Williams Shakespeare and two of our original plays in our Playroom: Dining Room series. Having received 17 nominations this year, the awards show support of our mission of producing both under-produced classical and original works. Gaslight is so proud to have produced yet another Shakespeare production and supported our regional playwrights with another knock-out summer of original one-acts. Congratulations to the cast and crew of these productions!
2019 NEPTA AWARD GASLIGHT NOMINATIONS AND WINNERS
Taming of the Shrew by Williams Shakespeare
Best Lead Actress in a Comedy: Mollie Dooley (Kate)
Best Lead Actor in a Comedy: Dane Bower (Petruchio)
Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Rob Klubeck (Hortensio)
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Mike Wawrzynek (Lucentio) - WINNER!
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy: Eyanna Gruver (Bianca) - WINNER!
Best Director of a Comedy: Dave Reynolds and Brandi George - WINNER!
Best Ancillary Ensemble
Best Comedy - WINNER!
The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy
Best Lead Actor in a Drama: Adam Moore (Black)
Best Sound Design: Mike Little
Best Director of a Drama: Dane Bower
Playroom: Dining Room
Best Original One Act (Writing): Horseplay by Dane Bower
Best Original One Act (Writing): Dinner With Osmina by Matthew Hinton
Best Original One Act (Writing): Counter, Counter by B Garret Rogan - WINNER!
Best One Act: Horseplay by Dane Bower - WINNER!
Best One Act: Counter, Counter by B Garret Rogan
From left, front: Jon Vojtko and Mike Wawrzynek. From left, back: Eyanna Gruver (photo credit), Mollie Dooley, Mike Little, Dane Bower, Rob Klubeck, and Keith Novack.
"What is past is prologue."
- The Tempest
After our replacement at East End Centre in September 2018, the Gaslight Board of Directors has been hard at work searching for potential new homes for our company. In the process, we explored nearly every vacant store front in Downtown Wilkes-Barre, most of which were dead ends either due to three main factors: 1. the space simply did not meet the needs of an arts venue; 2. it was in disrepair/wrapped up in issues; and/or 3. landlords were absentee or unreachable. We're willing to revisit any of them though if new information turns up!
We also conducted searches in other parts of Wilkes-Barre, Kingston, and Luzerne County but have been struggling to find the right fit of "space needs / affordable / available." We have two leads we've been working for the past few months, both with their own challenges. The lesson here: it is surprisingly difficult to find the right space with a landlord willing to support an arts venue and arts budget. And it's even more frustrating to see so many vacant store fronts in our region that could be great (and would give landlords monthly income!!), if only we could be given a chance.
But have no fear! We are hard at work searching and reaching out to everyone we know for leads and introductions. While we welcome suggestions on venues, please know the list of our requirements is complex (included below). In the meantime, we've taken a much-needed break but are still strategizing our "relaunch" and brainstorming ways we can remain active until then; hopefully, in the next month we'll have more news to share on that. While our roots are that of a nomadic company, we hope to find ourselves again in a long-term venue as it is more efficient and less stressful on our Board. We thrived on our pop-up theatre approach for many years but have since amassed a great deal of equipment, set pieces, and costumes that must travel with us.
We're still very much hopeful to return soon and bring you only the best programming of underproduced and original works! Please reach out with suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and check our Facebook page for more updates!
Gaslight Theatre Company recently announced its 15th anniversary “Year of the ‘Speare,” a year-long celebration of William Shakespeare laced with original concepts and titles, but will be simultaneously preparing to relocate its theater this fall.
“It is with great sadness that Gaslight departs from our home at the East End Centre in Wilkes-Barre this September,” said Gaslight’s president Brandi George.
“We are so very thankful for the wonderful opportunity that Joe Amato Properties gave us two years ago and for their continued support throughout our stay in East End. We enjoyed building our home within this budding arts complex alongside KISS Theatre, Rockology Music Academy, and our great restaurant neighbors. While we will temporarily return to our original roaming theatre operations, we very much look forward to an exciting future in a new, yet-to-be determined location; something our company has succeeded in doing for our first 13 years.”
Gaslight will begin its season with the seventh annual Playroom: Dining Room on August 17 at their theater in the East End Centre. The remainder of the season, which includes performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), The Santaland Diaries, and a new original concept, KidScripts, will be performed at a space to be determined in advance of Midsummer in October. Presently, all announced performance dates in 2018 remain tentative.
Gaslight continues to build on its past two seasons by expanding its line up of main stage productions, original works, and special events with its biggest season in the Company’s history.
“Even with a change in venue, it’s beyond inspiring to build on the past few years by presenting more titles, even more original works, and smaller, engaging events,” said George.
“We look forward to entertaining audiences while still on the hunt for a new home. It’s an incredible undertaking, but the wonderful responses we receive from the community -- especially those in Downtown Wilkes-Barre -- justify our decision to keep growing and presenting underproduced and educational works. Year of the ‘Speare is perfectly representative of our founding mission, our renewed mission we adopted two years ago, and our future aspirations.”
The 2018-19 Season
Year of the ‘Speare begins when Gaslight presents its seventh installment of the original one-act series, Playroom, August 17-19 and 24-26, 2018. Created by playwright Matthew S. Hinton, Playroom uses the same set design to inspire writers to craft individual one-acts around the same space, resulting in an evening of short-form theatre that quickly ebbs and flows through provoking and laugh-out-loud moments. This year, the Company moves to the Dining Room for six captivating stories written by some of the region’s most talented playwrights, including Dane Bower, Emily Halbing, Matthew S. Hinton, Michael Pavese, B. Garret Rogan, and Rachel Luann Strayer.
Following Playroom, Gaslight is scheduled to present A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare October 19-21 and 26-27, 2018. One of Shakespeare’s most famous comedies is now adapted to introduce youth audiences to the Bard for the first time. Directed by Christina Reynolds and performed by a cast of adult actors with children as assistant designers, A Midsummer Night’s Dream tells the classic story of Theseus and Hippolyta, the adventures of four young Athenian lovers, and a troupe of amateur actors who are all caught in the crossfire of the King and Queen of the fairies.
In December, Gaslight is scheduled to present a new original concept just in time for the holiday season: KidScripts: Very, Merry, Happy, Holiday Tales on December 7-9 and 14-15, 2018. Conceptualized and directed by Dane Bower, the Company sits down with kindergarten and first grade classes and asks them for their help crafting a series of holiday stories. Later, a company of adult playwrights and actors turn the stories into plays, which are staged live, prefaced by the classroom recordings.
During the second weekend of KidScripts, Gaslight will run a late-night, limited engagement of The Santaland Diaries directed by Dave Reynolds. Written by David Sedaris and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, The Santaland Diaries is a brilliant evocation of what a slacker's Christmas must feel like. Out of work, our wonderfully-snarky narrator takes a job as one of Santa’s elves at Macy’s for the Christmas season. As the season goes on, hilarious accounts of the exploits of children, parents, and co-workers combine to make our narrator battle weary and bitter.
March 1-3 and 8-10, 2019, Gaslight presents shakesBEER’s Romeo + Juliet directed by Brandi George. What happens when the Bard’s most famous tragedy meets a pint (or three) of ale? Inspired by other popular productions and the Comedy Central series Drunk History, Gaslight’s shakesBEER features a small cast of actors, one of which will consume extra libations at the top of the show, who drink and attempt to perform an abridged version of this classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
To close out Year of the ‘Speare, Gaslight will revive their 2006 production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on June 14-16 and 21-23, 2019. Written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield (Reduced Shakespeare Company) and directed by Dave Reynolds, Complete Works is a saucy, fast-paced play that parodies Shakespeare’s tragedies, comedies, and histories with comically-shortened pieces. By breaking the fourth wall, actors, director, crew, and audience become one for a side-splitting evening of madcap, improv-filled knavery.
Like last season, audiences can also anticipate dates for Gaslight’s special events. The Company is thrilled and honored to return to the River Commons for Shakespeare on the River 2019 presented by the Riverfront Parks Committee (more information about this event will be released in the spring). In addition, Gaslight currently has select, scheduled dates for their Readers Theatre series and Trivia Nights online but more may be added throughout the season.
Tickets for Playroom will go on sale in August and can be purchased online at www.ticketfly.com. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for students, seniors, and veterans. Seating is general admission and limited so advanced purchases are highly recommended. For more information about the season and updates on our new location, please visit www.gaslight-theatre.org and follow us on Facebook.
Gaslight Theatre Company was founded in 2003 with the mission to create impactful, innovative, and high-quality theatre that enriches the lives of our artists and community.