POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 5, 2012:
Widows, Gypsies and Art
Tragedy meets comedy and the Brady Arts District gains a new jewel in its crown
"My primary focus in directing the show was to convey the playwright's themes as simply and as genuinely as possible," said Erin Scarberry, director of the Heller and Clark Theatre production, Be a Good Little Widow. "Most people have suffered loss of some kind in their life, and I think it's important to respect that and honestly reflect those experiences."
This comedy about tragedy will be playing at the Heller Theatre the first weekend in September. The theme of dealing with loss like a grown-up is a tough topic to tackle.
"Melody and Craig are not married very long before he dies," Scarberry said, "and they never get the opportunity to figure their marriage out, or to understand how much they really love each other. This leaves so many questions for her. Learning how to navigate through grief, coping with guilt over whether she was good enough, all while following these rules set out for her on how a grieving person is expected to behave -- it's an overwhelming undertaking for anyone, but especially one as young as Melody."
The storyline might seem a little far-fetched, but the subject matter of dealing with a massive loss can hit home on a lot of levels, especially dealing with a loss when family is involved.
"Melody has never attended a funeral before, never suffered a loss -- and suddenly her husband dies and she's expected to assume 'proper widowhood.' In contrast, her mother-in-law is an expert griever, there to disapprove of her every misstep," Scarberry said.
In staging a show of this size and scope, it's important to have a great production team to support directing decisions and further compliment the play's intent.
"Aside from the four actors in the show, my right hand has been my stage manager, Melissa Sparks," Scarberry said. "I have been very lucky over the years to find stage managers that I trust and can rely on to anticipate my needs, and when Melissa came along I knew I had found someone that made me better, and made my shows better."
The audience is actually in for a tragedy ... with a lot of humor.
"It's a very funny show," Sacrberry said. "The playwright, Bekah Brunstetter, has done a really wonderful job of balancing the play's themes with a lot of humor. At times I've asked myself whether we are tipping the scale too far in that direction, because I've found myself laughing so hard in rehearsals."
Scarberry said the biggest hurdle the team has had to overcome was doing justice to the subject matter. "It's not an easy play to perform, the balance of it is so delicate. We've had to develop a lot of trust within a short time frame and be willing to share parts of ourselves with someone that may have been a stranger before the rehearsal process began," Scarberry said.
Be A Good Little Widow by Bekah Brunstetter plays at Heller Theatre Sept 7, 8, 11, 14, 15. For tickets call 918-746-5065.
Green and Gypsy
MAY YOU RUN FREE/MEG HAWKINS
The number of outdoor festivals the second weekend of September is outstanding -- and they're all within a reasonable walking distance from each other.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, The Gypsy House Coffee and Cyber Café is hosting the first annual Gypsy Arts Festival. Two stages of live music for many hours of free entertainment. A sidewalk chalk contest will be nestled among a showcase of local artists with booths to show their wares. Be sure to stand clear of the fire jugglers! The Gypsy is located at 303 N. Cincinnati Ave, and the festival runs from noon to midnight.
Also on September 7-9, saunter over to The Brady Arts District Arts Festival & celebration of the opening of the Guthrie Green Park, 111 E. Brady St., presented by the Arts and Humanities Council. There will be a weekend of celebratory events that range from puppet shows to fireworks. The little ones will appreciate the pinwheel exhibit by the folks over at Zarrow Education Center, and the fountain at night is sure to spark some romance between lovers.
Mega Art Crawl
The Tulsa Artist Coalition is inviting submissions of up to two original pieces of art for their annual member show called September Salon.
The show is open to all media and will be juried from the actual works by independent art professionals. TAC encourages members to feel free to submit their best and most cutting edge works.
A cash award will be presented, and all work must be presented professionally and be ready for hanging. Members are encouraged to renew their membership, and new applications for membership are encouraged. The drop off for works is Friday, Aug. 31 from 5-7pm. Artists will be notified if they have been chosen Sept. 4. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
September Salon will have its opening reception on Friday, Sept. 9, from 6-9pm.
Club 209, 209 N. Boulder Ave., is known for its edgy and alternative displays of art, and hosts an equally progressive clientele. Their participation in the Friday Art Crawl will include works the installation Brushstrokes and Imaginations by Meg Hawkins. The painting May You Run Free will be on sale and 10 percent of the proceeds from all art will be donated to Tulsa CARES, the organization that delivers social services to people affected by HIV/AIDS. Opening reception is Sept. 7 from 3-10pm and the entire show runs through the month of September.
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