Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Auditions…Comedy in Bigfork…Looking for Actors…

“Becky’s New Car” is a very funny comedy about what it might be like to try a new life for a while.  Actors get a chance to not only talk to the audience but seek their advice.  And, as long as Becky keeps her millionaire friend in the dark about who she really is, she gets to keep enjoying what it might be like to change everything in her world.  Needed are three women and four men.  Auditions are Monday and Tuesday – February 4th and 5th from 4:30 PM to 6:30PM.

This EdgeWild Players production, directed by Patricia Feld, will be performed April 25-28, 2013.

Here is a chance to act in a play that is funny, challenging, and enjoyable.  A chance to help Becky stroll through an existence one might fondly wonder about, but only can experience in imagination or onstage!  Becky gets the chance to really do it and learns a lot about herself in the process.  The cast of characters needed for the play below covers a nice range of middle-American society.  Below is a poster with a "Variety" comment about the play.

Becky Foster – Looking for someone who can play a forty something looking woman with quick comic timing, a range of emotions and very is charismatic. Becky Foster works for a car dealership.

Joe Foster – Looking for someone who can play a forty something man, salt-of-the-earth type, who is a good husband who means well but settled in his ways. Joe Foster works as a roofer.

Chris Foster – Needed is an actor who can play a mid-twenties son, living in the basement and is a psychology student.

Walter Flood – If you would like to play a wealthy businessman, one who is 60 and widowed…Walter Flood would be your choice.

Kenni Flood – Needed is someone to play Walters’s daughter, who is in her early twenties who means well…but.  Kenni Flood appears in the second act.

Steve – Can you play a 50ish car salesman who works with Becky?….He’s NOT your typical car salesman.

Ginger – How would you like to try to be Walter’s neighbor in her fifties?  We are not sure about her plans, and she appears in the second act.

Written by Steven Dietz's (above)  “Becky's New Car”, had its world premiere on October 23, 2008 in Seattle and has kept audiences laughing very successfully since.  It won a Steinberg/American Theatre Critics New American Play Award for a play that opened out side of New York.  Dietz placed eighth on the Top Ten Most Produced Playwrights in America.

So come out and audition for this play, it will help pass winter and keep you laughing too.

Below is a part of the Seattle Times review of this play and here is the URL if you wish to read more. Above is a picture from the Seattle opening of the play.


Steven Deitz's "Becky's New Car" was written as a birthday present:
The new Steven Dietz play "Becky's New Car" plays at Seattle's ACT Theatre Oct. 17-Nov. 16.

By Misha Berson
Seattle Times theater critic

Steven Dietz is the prolific author of more than two dozen plays, and his work has been presented at major theaters around the U.S. But "Becky's New Car," in previews at ACT Theatre, is the only play he's created as a birthday present from a husband to his wife.

The wife Dietz wrote it for is not his own (fellow playwright Allison Gregory) but another man's spouse.

How's that? Let Dietz, a part-time Seattle resident with long ties to this area's theater community, explain.

"'Becky's New Car' was commissioned in a program ACT started recently, where anybody can underwrite a new play as a gift to someone," said Dietz, by phone from Austin, Texas, where he spends the academic year teaching writing at University of Texas.

Seattle commercial realtor Charles Staadecker commissioned "Becky's New Car" for his wife Benita, an ACT trustee. And that led to the forging of ACT's New Works for the American Stage, which grants $5,000 to $8,000 per year over a three-year period to a writer toiling on a new script ACT might produce later. (The company won't specify the exact amount of Dietz's commission.)

"I wanted to make this gift to Benita something unusual and memorable, something that would be a real legacy," says Staadecker. And yes, his theater-loving wife was indeed pleased by the gesture.

"On Betina's birthday," notes Dietz, "I sent her the play's first scene."

The practice of arts patrons funding new works in tribute to friends or lovers was commonplace in, say, Shakespeare's day, and Mozart's.

It happens far less frequently now, but Dietz says he's been happy to oblige with "Becky's New Car," a satirical comedy that sounds like a cross between the Demi Moore film "Indecent Proposal" and the Craig Lucas farce "Reckless."

"My play is about a regular middle-class woman, Becky, who works in an auto dealership and her husband is a roofer," Dietz elaborated. "She meets this slightly eccentric, somewhat bumbling millionaire, and through a bunch of misunderstandings, he offers her a chance to live a kind of parallel existence."

The idea of having a secret double life fascinated Dietz.

"I think we all love those great little stories you find in the corner of the newspaper — you know, 'after his death, Florida man is revealed to have three different families.' That felt like the stuff of comedy to me."

The settings and subjects of Dietz plays have been all over the map — from 19th-century France (in "Inventing van Gogh") to 1990s Seattle ("Lonely Planet") and the isle of Grenada during the Reagan Era ("Halcyon Days"). But he often ponders secrets, lies and identity, and employs strokes of sardonic humor.

As for "Becky's New Car," Dietz insists his benefactors the Staadeckers "put no restrictions on me in terms of the writing. But they have become very enmeshed in the production, coming to rehearsals and watching over the project. And really, I've just loved having them around."…

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Edge Putting on Our Winter Coat

Winter in Northern Minnesota can be really white, really windy and really cold.  If you are in the Bigfork area, take a break from winter and stop by The Edge Center gallery to see color again, get out of the wind...and warm up. That’s because the gallery has changed to its permanent collection: a warm mixture of color and art.  The painting above is one of four Bill Hafeman paintings on display.  Known as an extraordinary hand-made canoe builder, he also was an accomplished painter, and the gallery is very fortunate to have some of his Northern Minnesota landscapes on display.  The gallery's permanent collection will be up until the spring and summer exhibits start.

Outside The Edge Center.

Inside The Edge Center

During the winter, the gallery is open during theater events and visitors are welcome during The Edge Center’s normal business hours Wednesday thorough Friday from 9AM to 1PM . Gallery visits for groups are also available by special appointment. It might be a nice stop for snowmobile groups. There might even be some hot coffee available for group visits. Call The Edge Center to make an appointment.

There is more art on display than Mr. Hafemans’s paintings, like above, which include lots of color, some abstract views of the world and more looks at nature up north.

Mr. Hafeman at work below.

As far as William Hafeman’s paintings are concerned, they show what is special about Northern Minnesota in a way that seems real enough to step into.  He came to the area in 1921 with his wife to live in the woods.  In a 1982 interview by Charles Kurault he said.

“I wanted to live in a wild country like the Indians did … I didn't want to live in a city where you go to work by a whistle, go home by a whistle.”

His canoe building started out of necessity.  He built his first canoe to be able to get to Bigfork some 15 miles by river.  After that he just kept building them along with his reputation as one of the best.  You can see the interview and read about his canoes at the following links, but you need to see his painting at the gallery to appreciate his "other art".

Link to interview below.


Minnesota history article below with URL following.


The Hafeman Canoe Works, now owned by Ray Boessel and his wife Christie, is still in existence where Bill founded it on Highway 6 just 15 mile upriver from Bigfork.  Christie is the granddaughter of Mr. Hafeman and Ray learned his craft from him in the 1980's.  You can see one of Ray’s 13 foot Chippewa Long Nose canoes on display in the Commons area of the Bigfork Valley Hospital just around the corner from the gallery.  There you can also see another of Mr. Hafeman’s paintings along with a lot more art from local artists.  While in the Commons, you might want to have a lunch in the cafeteria.  It will be delicious.

Bigfork Valley Hospital commons area below.

So, why not make a day of a visit to Bigfork this Winter?  See The Edge Gallery exhibit and then go to the Commons to see more art plus have a great lunch.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

“Monte Walsh” Western Movie At The Edge Center In Bigfork

How can it be that the 1970 movie “Monte Walsh”, acknowledged to be one of Lee Marvin’s best performances and with a beautiful haunting score sung by none other than Mama Cass Elliott, end up so well hidden in film history? This is a movie about changing times involving conflicted people in a classic tragedy. Leave it up to the Park Classic Movie folks in Bigfork to find such a gem this month. Viewers will leave with the music score in their heads, the story on their minds and possibly some answers to why this classic didn’t garner awards instead of obscurity. Learn more when you see it along with an informative discussion about the movie at The Edge Center Theater in Bigfork on Thursday, January 10 at 6:30PM. The movie is presented by the Classic Movie Series with a cartoon from the same year and a background presentation by Jack Nachbar.

It could be that in 1970 the country had lots of issues on its agenda, and a good western about the end of the cowboy era did not fit the times. When a made for TV remake was done with Tom Selleck in 2003 it received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Sound Editing and, in 2004, the Western Heritage Awards Bronze Wrangler for Outstanding Television Feature Film. But you still need to go back to the original to get the Lee Marvin touch.

In the movie, Monte Walsh (Lee Marvin) and his friend Chet Rollins (Jack Palance), two long-time cowhands, will do whatever ranch work comes their way, but "nothing they can't do from a horse".

Lee Marvin as Monte Walsh

Jack Palance as Chet Rollins

"Monte Walsh" is all about the two aging cowboys who have a hard time dealing with the end of open ranges, cowboy work, and the “wild” in the Wild West going away. To get a glimpse of what that era was like, look at some of the work of America’s own western artist Charles Russell (paintings below). About the film and Charles Russell, Jack Nachbar says, “I think the film comes closest to his work. Charlie was a working cowboy, much like Monte and Chet.”

Known as the “cowboy artist,” Russell’s more than 2000 paintings showed the life of cowboys and Indians along with landscapes in the Western United States and Alberta Canada. In his life he was a working cowboy, and he lived with the Blood Indians, a Branch of the Blackfeet nation.  In his life as an artist, Russell (below) was a painter, sculpture, and author.

Charles Russell came to Montana in 1880, left for a brief period returning in 1882 and remained there for the rest of his life. “Laugh Kills Lonesome” (below) is probably Russell’s most famous painting and recreates the beauty of a night under the stars. The other images following show more of the cowboy life. 

"Bronc for breakfast" (below).

"Russell and friends" (below) was also used on a Montana stamp.

These Russell images will just help set the tone for the movie “Monte Walsh” and Monte's lifestyle. You need to see this special showing of this hidden gem to understand more about “Monte Walsh” the person.  The movie may bring a real tear to your heart for the by-times your remember. Share this great classic and some treats picked especially for the film.

Russell's painting "Loops and Horses are Surer than Lead" (below) is one more look at his view of the cowboy life.