Thursday, September 30, 2010
Our performance at Swarthmore will be FREE to audience members, and we'd love to have support from the community. If you missed the show when it was in Philly, want to see it again, or simply want to tell your friends to go, we'd greatly appreciate it!
Monday, September 20, 2010
To everyone who came out to see Cartogoraphasia, everyone who reads this blog, and everyone who helped us out along the way… THANK YOU.
We took a big risk this summer, a leap of faith that not only could we survive a summer of collaboration but that people like you would come out and support us at the end of it. We cannot express our gratitude to you enough; just seeing an audience actually show up to see the play we made from scratch was a thrill.
Cartogoraphasia played a successful 7-show run at the Philly Fringe Festival, delighting hundreds of Philadelphia theater-goers. We are extremely proud of the show we made, not just for its Fringe success but also because we were able to truly work as a collective to create it. Our work together this summer was exhausting, chaotic, and contentious but ultimately exhilarating. We’re proud of ourselves, proud of our show, and grateful to you.
We hope you loved the ride as much as we did.
All our love,
Telephone Bronco Theater Company
Nell, Jessie, Emma, Sam, Eric, Louis, & Isa
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Creating and exploring new maps for theater
BY CAMILA RYDER
In print | Published September 2, 2010
From the Frear Ensemble Theater to the renowned Philly Fringe, the Telephone Bronco Theatre Company, comprised of Swarthmore alumni and current students, hits the ground running with their first show, “Cartogoraphasia,” debuting this Friday, September 3. A brainchild of Louis Jargow ’10 and Sam Goodman ’10, Telephone Bronco began with the goal of debuting a piece at the Philly Fringe. A director, a playwright, a set designer and four actors make up Telephone Bronco, which includes Jargow, Goodman, Emma Ferguson ’10, Jessica Bear ’09, Isa St. Clair ’11, Nell Bang-Jensen ’11 and Eric Holzhauer ’10, respectively.
Telephone Bronco received a Swarthmore Project in Theater grant, which allowed them to utilize the Frear Theater over the summer.
“I’ve only had Swarthmore to thank for [the] use of space and support and I think the [theater] department really encourages [the] small theatre company [and] collaborative model that is just the … absolute best way to do theater,” Bear said.
Though the company appears to follow the typical format of defined director, writer and actors, all seven artists work collaboratively in a devised theatre form, where all the members of a company write and create the work together.
“We wanted everyone to have the opportunity to have his or her voice heard,” actor St. Clair said. “That … has really affected the structure and the tenor of the piece that we have made — you can see it doesn’t follow one person; it follows six different people.” Telephone Bronco’s collaborative process allowed for every member to have hir or her own input and the character building, script, and staging fell easily into place. At the start of summer, the group got right to work.
“We all kind of just brainstormed themes and ideas that we … wanted to see on stage or our ideas we had about characters,” Jargow said. “We came across characters that we liked and … we tried to figure out how to tie them together in the most rich and dynamic way.”
Following the devised theater model, all the artists started the process by presenting and talking about their ideas, combined with hours of improvisations and creating characters. They would also have one-on-one interviews with each other as their characters, building backstories.
“We started by playing, and then we did a lot of improvisation, so once we knew which characters we wanted to highlight, we figured out what scenes we need[ed] to tell their stories,” Bang-Jensen said.
There was also a video camera recording their improv games and scenes, which playwright Goodman later watched and edited to pick out the strongest characters and stories.
“[It] was fun for me to have these scenes that the actors had done so much in developing and to just put them in order and streamline them,” Goodman said, translating the fast-paced movement of improv to dialogue or a scene.While other theatre companies can’t dedicate as much time as Telephone Bronco did (20 hours a week through the entire summer), the process led to stronger characters and defined themes. Even before rehearsals, the group agreed on two themes: the brain and cartography, the study of map-making. They wanted to explore how the inner workings of the brain translate into the external world and the borders and lines in which we place and define ourselves. The title came from merging cartography with aphasia, an acquired language brain disorder.
“At first, we were really interested in the idea of exploring sort of how to physicalize brain science on stage and … ideas of perception and theatricality,” Bang-Jensen said. “We were also really interested in exploring [and] ‘Cartogoraphasia’ formed from that.”
“We started with these themes in mind,” Holzhauer said. “But what ended up coming out in the end of the improvisations were dozens and dozens of characters.” They eventually whittled down the list to six main characters, with a handful of supporting characters. “The script … follows the different story lines of the characters,” he added. Not all of the storylines intersect.
Focusing on their theme of exploration, “Cartogoraphasia” follows six characters who are all, in their own way, exploring, whether it’s a country, their body or their own mind. One character is the literal explorer, another is a little girl, played by Bear, who dreams up her own adventures; two teenagers explore their bodies and sex; one woman with memory loss tries to piece together her life, and another character searches for her keys to happiness.
Though the play may highlight the exploration of six characters, it really is an exploration of the members of Telephone Bronco and what it means to be an actor, a director, a playwright or a set designer.
“Cartogoraphasia” debuts this Friday, Sept. 3 at 8:00 p.m. at the Circle of Hope on 1125 South Broad Street, with show times on Sept. 4, Sept. 10 and Sept. 11. Tickets are $15. Get off at Ellsworth-Federal station on the Broad Street Line. For more information, check out www.livearts-fringe.org or Telephone Bronco’s Facebook page.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Not to mention the teenage daughter of an evil villain, a confused old beekeeper, an angry truck driver, a closeted churchgoer, a wealthy philanthropist, a Lady Monster, a narcoleptic police officer, Captain Vincenzo (Captain Lorenzo's arch-nemesis), a kid named Andy, the various parts of Andy's brain, some British colonialists, and a very questionable tourguide.
I know what you're thinking: can we go to the play that the broncos didn't make? Well, wait until you see the one we did. If you thought THOSE characters sound good, remember: they were just the rejects! We saved the best for you next weekend, and the one after that.
So come check out Cartogoraphasia, September 3, 4, 10, and 11th!
Buy your tix here: http://www.livearts-fringe.org/details.cfm?id=13260
Monday, August 9, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Well, the creative process can be brutal. Alas, Hildegard the Nun is no more.
She met her demise at the hands of a furry adversary,
video courtesy of maisonfaux.
more from Eric soon on Hildegard and other beloved departed characters.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Guess what?! I know you've all been scratching your puzzlers puzzling over when you can buy tickets to the premiere of Cartogoraphasia, but fret no more! Tickets to all Live Arts and Philly Fringe show are now available, and you can buy them here!
Also, the good folks at the Live Arts/Philly Fringe offices have been keeping up a snazzy blog, full of bright colors and cool fonts and whatnot. On this blog you can browse the virtual Festival Guide and check out what shows you want to see in addition to Cartogoraphasia (we're on p. 97).
And as one last teaser ... with script in hand/head, fancy lights, and temporary costumes flying, rehearsals are becoming more and more photographable. Check out some teasers below and visit our photo album on Picasa.
Lots of Love,
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
A lady explorer, exploring new lands and customs
The girl who idolizes her, exploring her imagination
Two teenagers, exploring the limits of their own bodies.
A housewife, exploring the cost of personal happiness
A perpetual student, constantly re-exploring her own life.
And a young nun, exploring the possibilities of her dreams
Let us know what you think!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Now that you can officially buy tickets to our show (check it: http://www.livearts-fringe.org/details.cfm?id=13260), I thought it might be good to update all of you faithful readers about how rehearsals are going and what the next steps in our process are. We are all a little giddy with excitement because we’re at a major turning point in the development of Cartogoraphasia.
Many long rehearsals, brainstorming sessions, interrogations of possible characters, and baked goods later, we have determined that Cartogoraphasia will be a celebration of explorers. The beloved characters we are featuring in our piece, however, are not typical explorers. Some of them explore the world, some of them explore their bodies, some of them explore their brains. Some use maps and some can’t read them. Some cross rivers and mountains and others exist solely in their living rooms. Some characters are exploring their sexuality, others are exploring their faith. Some characters are exploring the past, and others creating new realities for themselves every minute. They all have something they are trying to gain through exploring, and having to explore to find it is not always a voluntary act. We are looking forward to developing, discovering, and, eventually, sharing these explorers with you at their most intrepid moments.
I can’t wait for our next rehearsal.
Thanks for reading.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Today we present the king of kings, the writer of plays, the Sam of McFeelys....
Monday, June 14, 2010
Name: Nell Bang-Jensen
Hometown: Burlington, VT
Current Town: Swarthmore, PA
Role in Company: Actor
Some Recent Theatrical Productions She's Been Involved In: Blood Wedding, Eats Shoots and Ladders, Melancholy Play, Rindecella and Friends
People in the Philly Theater Scene She Loves: Pig Iron Theater Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Applied Mechanics, Leo Callahan Improv, This Thing of Ours Sketch Comedy
Favorite Dinosaur: Triceratops
(Current) Favorite Internet Procrastination Tool: Reading about the movie BABIES
Favorite Libations: Representing my home state with Magic Hat #9
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Over the next week, we will be featuring each of our members on the site so you can get to know us. Seven days for seven members, we'll give you a little background information on ourselves and let you know our roles in the company.
Today, we present the lovely Emma Ferguson, our designer:
Name: Emma M Ferguson
Hometown: Boston, MA
Current Town: Philadelphia!!
Role: Set Designer
Recent Productions She’s Been Involved in: Preparations for Departure, The Wild Party, La Dispute
People in the Philly Theater Scene That She loves: Matchbox Theater Co Headlong Dance Theater, Azuka Theater, Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental. I'm sure I'll find new faves this year, though!
Favorite Dinosaur: SPINOSAURUS. One time I made one out of balsa wood! Then it ate my toy brontosaurus...
Internet Procrastination: NYTimes Ken Ken Puzzles. The worst.
Favorite Drink: Eric's Buckin' Bronco Ginger Beer, made into a Dark n Stormy
She only makes visual puns.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Some recent deadlines for the Fringe have forced us to finally figure out some logistics and we are happy to announce that we now have an official venue as well as performance dates!
We are excited to be performing at Circle of Hope which is located on the second floor of 1125 South Broad Street in Philadelphia.
Performances will be:
Friday, September 3rd at 8pm
Saturday, September 4th at 3pm and 8pm
Friday, September 10th at 6pm and 9pm
Saturday, September 11th at 3pm and 8pm
Mark your calendars and spread the word!
Thank you for reading!
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
So this is us! Well, this is Isa at any rate. If you’re reading this now – thank you for supporting Telephone Bronco from its earliest stages! It’s wonderful to know that we already have a little team of fans ready to follow our blog and see our show.
Because we’re in the nascent stages of company-ness, it seems like a good idea to sketch out who we are and what this is. Because the seven of us have all either graduated Swarthmore or are working on graduating from there with majors in Theater, we tend to speak in jargon that leaves most blog followers in a state of “huh?” Bearing that in mind, let me answer some questions before you even think them!
1. How is this blog going to work? Who’s posting and when?
Great question, hypothetical interlocutor! The idea behind this blog is that it will mirror our collective mode of working together (more on that later…) in that no single person is going to post everything. All the members of the company will be posting here throughout the rehearsal and performance process – and we’ll sign our names so you know who’s writing! That way you dear followers can get a sense of Cartogoraphasia from all perspectives.
2. Also, what is collective creation exactly?
Collective creation as a term refers more to the production of a piece than what it actually becomes. The idea is that no one person is in charge. In this way, collective creation productions seek to find an alternative to the traditionally hierarchical way of creating theater, in which the playwright or director is the all-powerful head of everything, and the actors, designers, dramaturg, and even audience play a secondary role. Most collective creation groups create devised pieces, meaning that the final product is produced during rehearsal, often without an initial script. Telephone Bronco is operating on a modified collective system, in which we all are creators and contributors, but each of us still has a defined role within the company.
3. Where does the name Telephone Bronco come from?
Our company name is the product of the decline of penmanship. Our dear Eric couldn’t read his own handwriting, and misread “telephone booth” as “telephone bronco.” The rest is history.
4. But seriously – Cartogoraphasia? What does that mean?
Cartogoraphasia is our admittedly difficult to pronounce (cart-uh-gore-uh-PHAY-zhuh) melding of the words “cartography” and “aphasia.” The title reflects our interest in the intersection between mapping – both personal and geopolitical – and the way the mind works…or doesn’t. We can’t wait to create it!
Keep following our blog for more cool updates and insider peeks into our rehearsal process and we – and you – figure out our crazy and amazing piece together! Also, check us out on facebook!