Thursday, July 28, 2011

A View of A View From The Bridge with Scenic Designer Oliver Luke

Today we spend a few minutes with Scenic Designer Oliver Luke as he discusses the long journery he and director Adam Adolfo have had in getting a firm grasp on design for A View From The Bridge.

In approaching the design for A View from the Bridge my first thought was to start literal and make it a traditional set.

However after pouring over designs of previous productions, reading the script and researching the time period, I had hit a roadblock. The designs I was working on just didn't feel right. The designs seem to be missing something. The designs just didn't seem to flow, or feel inspired.

When director Adam Adolfo first asked for the designs he had given me a packet of research and a color scheme, he wanted something to embody this dark oily image of dirty water, yet still containing some muddled blues and greens. The problem was the feel of the colors and the designs of the set just didn't seem to work in a traditional setting and design.

So after weeks of racking my brain trying to come up with something interesting but conventional I was still stumped. Then one Sunday morning weeks ago Adam and I sat down and started discussing our concerns and the fact that we both just weren't happy with the looks of my designs - they all just seemed to be missing something we could not put our fingers on. Then suddenly it hit us both - but at different times.

One of the reasons I like designing for Adam is that we both seem to be on the same page when it come to creative inspiration. Adam suddenly turned to his computer and started looking up images of early New York, picture after picture the ideas started to form between us and he handed me one image in particular. It was a picture done in charcoal of the cities building and the bridge, and then he handed me a second picture one of just the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

At that moment we both come to the conclusion, it needed to be the bridge. We would take the title and idea behind it literally creating a beautiful metaphor, the set would be the bridge. So as I sit writing this blog I now have the daunting, yet exciting task of interpreting and recreating the bridge for this show. It will be fun!

~Oliver Luke

Monday, July 25, 2011

A View of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE with Actress Yvonne Duque

Today former Teatro de la Rosa's Artistic Director Yvonne Duque talks about returning to the stage at the Rose Marine Theater, this time as an actress and not a director. We also hear about one of director Adam Adolfo's post rehearsal rituals that leaves everyone asking themselves a rather personal question.

"How do you feel?"

"Yvonne, How do you feel?" How do I feel? After rehearsal our director likes to ask the actors this simple question. It's a kind of round robin, check-in, if you will... It was interesting hearing the responses from the other actors and to hear the new responses at rehearsals to follow. The first time, as the answers were coming around the circle, I tried to focus not on my own answer, but listen to the others. Suddenly, it was my turn to respond. "So, Yvonne, how do you feel?" asked Adam Adolfo. After a quick self evaluation, the word resurrected came out of my mouth. Resurrected?? A bit dramatic, perhaps I overshot?

It has really stuck with me and continues to be true. I feel like I've been brought back to my self. I haven't been on stage in a long time and never have I been on the Rose Marine Theatre stage as just an actress for Artes de la Rosa. My theatre life for Artes de la Rosa, formally known as Teatro de la Rosa, and further formally known as The Latin Arts Association has had many twists, turns and responsibilities that far reached just acting. What a joy to be part of the renaissance of theatre at the Rose. What a joy to be working with a director who has really done his homework. What a joy to be working for a organization that has such passion for the arts. So, how do I feel? That's right, resurrected, like I've been brought back to life.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A View of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE with actor Abel Flores Jr.

In today's blog, actor Abel Flores Jr., who last appeared on the Artes de la Rosa stage as Father Tooker in last years Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, talks about the relevancy of the story and the importance of seeing ourselves in this story. Abel returns to ADLR as the young, romantic (and illegal) immigrant, Rudolpho. As a special treat, he's included some photos from rehearsals thus far!

When I read plays, I often find myself empathizing with one or two characters. Finding the relationship between yourself and a character in a story is important when studying a script or being cast in a role. What’s so powerful about the story and characters in A View from the Bridge is that not only is every character relatable but every element of the story is too. This play is one important story with many different sides to it. I’ve read this script multiple times and I find myself hoping for each character to achieve what they so desperately want each time. Real people exist in this story. The issues brought to light by this show and how our director, Adam Adolfo, transforms them through Latin eyes, makes them local, relevant, and applicable to where we as a community find ourselves today. Artes de la Rosa’s production of A View from the Bridge is an ambitious and important one; with the consistent dedication and hard work that each member of the company gives, it is a story worth telling and listening to.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A View of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE with Actor Carlos Iruegas

Today's blog is a truly special. One of the highest compliments an actor can be paid is the one that comes from a fellow actor. After all, who better would understand the in's and out's of the creative process then a fellow collegue. Spend a few minutes with the talented and charming Carlos Iruegas who plays A View From the Bridge's formidable voice of reason, the lawyer Alfieri.

In the coming weeks you’ll hear much about the production of A View From the Bridge. You’ll hear a lot about the production and the idea behind the show. It is ambitious and it is very important. You’ll hear about the intentions that Miller had in the show and hopefully debate the relevance that it still has on the current immigration issues facing our cultures. But today I wanted to talk about something a little different.

I cannot add a word about the Production itself. I fully trust in the vision of director Adam Adolfo and the costume designs of Carl Ramsey and the many people behind the scenes. You’ll see and hear the impact of Miller’s word as you witness the saga itself on the stage.

I wanted to take a few minutes and walk you through our amazing cast. These are the people that will come together and tell you a very powerful story on the stage. Miller is not easy, because Miller is real. These amazing actors will have to draw from tough places in order to tell a story that is not easy to tell, and watching them do it in rehearsal has been a very special treat.

Our Chorus is amazing. Simply put. We have a cast of people who each can tell a story given an hour or only a minute.

Our youngest is a very promising young actress named Alyssa Maldonado. Her innocence and bright smile and her willingness to take on difficult material give her scenes an energy that can’t be put into words. When she is on stage you want the story to turn out all right because you don’t want to see her frown.

Ms. Jacqui Rash is an amazing person to be around. Her bevy of experience makes each scene she is in very real and very powerful. Regal yet warm she is one of those that can tell a whole story in only a few words.

Tyler Cochran very talented and very energetic actor who is able to completely step outside himself and be anything you need him to be. An actor without limits is incredibly hard to come by.

Laura Watson is literally one of the smartest actresses or actor I have ever known. She has an amazing gift of being able to analyze and understand any material given to her and break it down to its very raw and very real form. She is able to draw from a wealth of knowledge few actors have but all should strive for.

Cole Spivey digs very deep into everything he is given. Not a single word or movement is wasted on him as he delves to completely understand each moment he is given. Each second on stage is important and he completely understands that.

Fredy Edward Quiroga has an energy that doesn’t just come from being young but also young at heart. An actor who shows no fear in the material he is given he is willing to work as hard as he can and push himself to best tell a story.

Jimmy Moreno has been a pleasure to work with. Laid back and undaunted by the heavy work ahead, he keeps things fresh. A great listener who doesn’t lose any bit of detail in the material he has.

The chorus is amazing and just as amazing is the rest of the cast. With an array of talents and experience they have the task of bringing Millers characters to life.

JP Cano himself is funny and energetic, but as Marco transforms into a pillar of strength. His presence on stage is powerful and felt from the instant he makes his entrance. He brings dignity and passion that the role needs and that the show cannot survive without.

Abel Flores, Jr. is perfectly cast as Rodolpho. He is that light that everyone wants to be close too. His warmth and likeability translates perfectly to the stage. Abel takes every scene and every rehearsal at a pace and energy that is hard not be motivated by it.

I dare you as an audience member not to fall in love with Stephanie Cleghorn. She brings such wonderful innocence and awe to the role of Catherine. Within a few moments of seeing her on stage you complete understand the motivation that drives this story and it will bring you to tears.

Yvonne Duque is a kind and honest and loyal cast member. Those are the qualities that bleed into this story and make Beatrice one of the most heartbreaking roles I have ever read. Yvonne is able to turn Bea’s story into the forefront and it will break your heart

Last but not least is Eddie Zertuche. I have had the pleasure of being on stage with Eddie before. Eddie is a powerful actor who brings passion and intensity to each role he is given. He has the ability to bring out all the layers of each character so that they are never one dimensional. In this show you will Love Eddie and you will Hate him, you will also never forget him.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

A View of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE with actor and chorus member, Cole Spivey

Today we spend a few minutes with actor Cole Spivey who plays Tony in A View From The Bridge and is also a member of the chorus ensemble.

I've worked with many directors in my life and have done well over fifty plays across the States, including one in Europe. I have had the honor to study with Marjorie Hays at UNT, Diane Salinger in Hollywood, and a group of risk takers that still hangs out at a little place called The Actors Studio in NYC. I got in through the Actors Studio Drama School's MFA program many moons ago. This gives me a little credit to give kudos to directors. It also makes me excited about approaching real people again, and a playwright that once worked with members of the Studio.

Director Adam Adolfo is a very organized director and absolutely, without doubt, knows what he wants. In the audition stage, I was a little afraid of him becomes he seemed like a tyrant and liked to bang on objects to speed up tempo. On the other hand, it brought emotion to the room and an operatic flair. Also, I thought this was sign of a director that used his time wisely and in relevance: an economist of emotional need of rhythm in auditions. Adolfo likes to kill two birds with one stone.

Now, about A View From the Bridge. Currently, we are mostly doing table talk, and some stage talk in the early stages. But mostly reading over material and research, about the setting Red Hook (Brooklyn New York), Arthur Miller's point of view of The Hook, and a sense of community, i.e. Latino and Dominican with a touch of Italian and even Irish. Yesterday we focused on the crime that lives in Red Hood and off the shores. Also, revealing the community blood of the environment around our narrating character Alfieri.

Criminal behavior began to take on a body and movement of the super-objective of the community surviving in Red Hook. The honor code was higher than legalistic rules. I mentioned that, "The white community focuses on the law biding citizen and the promise of money for the good and hardworking" I mentioned that, "the gangster is only finding a more creative way to earn that promise."

Adolfo, wanted us to focus on how, as a community, we were going to survive. There’s a great sense of exploring the lives of the characters beyond the text. Small thoughts like = what were our jobs. He also asked us, "What was the immigrant population promised when coming to America?" One actor responded in saying, "Give us your hungry. . . .etc. . " from the statue of Liberty. But is this true or a lie? Did America welcome immigrants?

Adolfo is more than just organized, but he likes actors to think hard in creating a role. The most helpful hint he gave, was "What did you do to survive in Red Hook?"
I've read once in some older dictionary, that an Actor "is a person portraying someone's occupation."

I think Adolfo is on the right note in asking us, "What do you do to survive in Red Hook." It really begins to bring to play to life. Also, it helps you step out of third person and into first.

A View of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE with Costume Designer Carl Ramsey

Today we spend a few minutes with Costume Designer Carl Ramsey as he talks vision for Artes de la Rosa's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE.

The vision for Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, is an exciting venture, not only because we have set it in one of my favorite time periods, the late 1950's, but also because, working with Director Adam Adolfo, it offers the challenges necessary to grow and experience the design process with a professional company, well equipped for the task at hand.

When meeting with Adam, it was important to discuss the concept for the show in immense detail. I am learning in this field how crucial it is to communicate, to exchange ideas, and to make sure that both director and designer are both 100% on the same page. It is easy for the slightest ambiguous idea to transform the concept of a show in a different way, which is not necessarily bad, but perhaps undesirable by either party. So especially for a production with this kind of intensity, it was important to get all the details right.

In discussions with Adam, he wanted the heightened sense of drama found in opera; the set design especially offers this drama, with its grandiose scale. But in a conceptual set design how do you match the dramatic scope with costumes while still maintaining the dignified 50’s look? At the same time, the challenge comes to create costumes that are, well…not costumes at all. They are real clothing that real people would have worn at this particular time period.

The answer to such questions, after much discussion, is this: clean cut silhouettes and maintaining true to the period. Nothing should suggest an ambiguous design; nothing to sway or create uncertainty of the moment marked in time. ‘True to period’ is certainly not a new concept, but many designers may justify their cause, saying that because it ‘looks’ period, it must ‘be period'. Another justification is that budget and time may chop away at the designer’s definitive concept, and one sometimes has to resort to such an option; it may not be a bad idea in some cases. But if the costumes, as previously expressed, are to be apart of the dramatic influence of the play, the clothing must be spot on in quality.

Texture is another key player of the drama. Especially if we are in the 50’s we are free to play with many different types of fabrics. The texture should appeal to the audience, to tease them, as if people should want to reach out and feel what the actors are wearing. Texture in a sense, becomes its own character, apart of the play itself.

Adam and I are particularly fond of using color for dramatic effect, and in typical Adam Adolfo form, he is pushing me out of my comfort zone. I fight and insist that my colors are quiet enough, but he is adamant that they are still too ‘hot’. After all, colors like dull mustard never comes off as hot in my opinion, and the fear creeps up as the costume designer that the color palette may come off as boring and uninspired (perhaps the designer’s worst nightmare!) However, after a long discussion, and after providing more examples of his vision, he leads me to confidently agree that the play deserves an all over cooler color palate. The color still pops if presented in front of an even quieter neutral scheme, and the overall effect is one that not even the brightest colors can compete with, in terms of this dreary, rainy world that these characters inhabit.

Overall, this production provides the perfect opportunity to grow as a designer, and learning to communicate in this process has become the key feature in creating a successful production.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A View from the cast of A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

Today actress Stephanie Cleghorn talks to us about her VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE and what it was like auditioning and how excited she is for the community to share in this powerful drama.

Why am I excited about Artes de la Rosa’s upcoming production of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge? Because Artes de la Rosa’s production is going to blow your mind!

When I first read this script before I auditioned it was literally an edge of your seat, gasp out loud kind of show. The characters were alive and passionate and I immediately fell in love with the role of Catherine. Miller gives his readers a tragic tale that is beautifully chaotic, intensely heartbreaking yet encouragingly romantic. What an incredible experience as a Latina woman to be given the opportunity to tackle the renowned work of Miller. With a cast full of heart and a director full of wisdom, I feel that this production is going to be inspiring while challenging the audience to feel deeper emotions than we usually feel comfortable.

In regards to Catherine, the role I am gratefully blessed to play, what a dream role this would be for any young actress! The dialogue between Catherine and Rodolpho, her young lover and fiancé is so poetically heart wrenching. These two young lovers are such dreamers and so lost in their hopes of love and escape. Their love story is likened to that of other cherished forbidden love tales where there is no fairy tale ending. What I find so endearing about Catherine is that I see so much of myself in her, unfortunately what I find most disheartening are the similarities in our weaknesses. Catherine exhibits some of the qualities in myself that I feel are strengths. Her desires to please and to love are two traits I admire. Her innocence and complete surrender to these new overwhelming feelings that represent her maturing as a woman and her understanding love in a new light are beautiful to witness. However her naïveté is frustratingly on the border of ignorance, and at times I feel she uses it to be manipulative and live in the comfort of what she has always known.

“You think it’s so easy to turn around and say to a man he’s nothing to you no more?” To be able to utter these words was an electrifying experience for me during auditions and words that I will always keep in my heart. During auditions Mr. Adolfo, our exceptional director, recognized the potential of each actor and was able to tap in to their capabilities. I know for me personally having a director that knew what buttons to push to immediately let all of my walls come down and to embrace complete vulnerability was one of the most liberating and cathartic experiences ever.

One simple visual of a very special person was all I needed to make a monologue come to life and to show my soul to all who were watching and Mr. Adolfo knew that and used it to get something out of me that I was aching to share. The vulnerability that will be asked of me is a challenge in which I am thrilled to accept.

The familial feeling of the cast of A View from the Bridge, the intimate story telling of this brilliant piece, and the risks the actors are being asked to take makes for a joyous journey that I am beyond excited about!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The American Classics Series: WHAT & WHY?

Today's blog comes to us from stage director and choreographer and ADLR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, ADAM ADOLFO.

A year ago, I launched the American Classics Theatre Initiative with Artes de la Rosa at the Rose Marine Theater. I said it was “In an effort to celebrate the universal themes and theatrical history found in the American Theatre canon”. But honestly, I wanted the Latino culture to claim a portion of history and arts that is traditionally not seen as theirs.
As a child, I thought things like DEATH OF A SALESMAN and CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF were ‘old white people theatre’. As I continued to grow and eventually become active in theatre arts and pursue a career as an actor, I became jaded with the opportunities available to me in the classics. In most cases I couldn’t even play a servant. The opportunity for me to play Big Daddy in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF or Willy Loman in DEATH OF A SALESMAN would never be granted to me, or so I believed. That was also part of the spark in me to create the American Classics Series. I wanted to provide Latino actors the opportunity to see themselves in iconic roles most usually cast with non ethnic actors.
Last season, Artes de la Rosa presented the sultry Cuban retelling of the Tennessee Williams Classic, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Not only was it praised by critics for it’s boldness in reimagining of ‘the classics’ but by the audiences who were excited to see the work they had only acquainted with ‘old theatre’ or glamorous movies stars like Elizabeth Taylor.
What is so great about these plays also is the opportunity to address social and political issues that are prevalent but frequently undiscussed in the Latino community including gender issues, immigration, sexuality, and economic stress.
The second play to grace the stage at the Rose Marine Theater as part of the American Classics Series addresses several of those issues. A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE is by the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright who gave us THE CRUCIBLE and DEATH OF SALESMAN, Arthur Miller. This fast-paced production of Miller’s 1956 award winning drama soars on the strength of the story of Eddie, a Brooklyn longshoreman, obsessed with his 17-year-old niece Catherine. When Catherine falls in love with a newly arrived immigrant, Eddie’s jealousy erupts into a rage that consumes him, his family, and his world. The second in our bold 5 Year American Classics Theater Initiative, this story explores the trials of immigration in a corrupt society and how a family becomes tangled in a web of misplaced honor and possessive desire.
Immigration and family responsibility are strong components of this piece and their relationship with the Latino community made it a wonderful choice for Artes de la Rosa to produce. Together with a cast of 15, we are embarking on an ambitious and conceptual staging of this story with the passion and fire you’ve come to expect from our theatre performances. Be on the look out in the coming weeks as we have blogs written by members of the production staff, cast, and crew about the process of bring A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE to the stage at the Rose Marine Theater.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

CASTING NEWS! A View From The Bridge

Artes de la Rosa
at the Rose Marine Theater is pleased to announce its cast for their
2011 Season Opening production,


Directed by Adam Adolfo
Scenic Design by Oliver Luke
Costume Design by Carl Ramsey
Lighting Design by Matt Wasson

EDDIE: Eddie Zertuche
BEATRICE: Yvonne Duque
CATHERINE: Stephanie Cleghorn
RUDOLPHO: Abel Flores, Jr.
ALFIERI: Carlos Iruegas
LOUIS / ENSEMBLE: Jimmy Moreno
MIKE / ENSEMBLE: Fredy Edward Quiroga
TONY / ENSEMBLE: Cole Spivey

In an effort to celebrate the universal themes found in American Theatre, Artes de la Rosa continues its ambitious multi year American Classics Initiative that sees the production of plays that have most profoundly impacted the American theatre refocused through Latin eyes. These productions will re-explore the timeless classics for a Latino audience. The goal is to not only show the universality of the work but to explore their stories when given Latin themes with which to experiment. Last season, Artes de la Rosa presented the sultry Cuban retelling of Tennessee Williams’, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Artes de la Rosa next offers up the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright who gave us The Crucible and Death of Salesman, Arthur Miller. This fast-paced production of Miller’s 1956 award winning drama soars on the strength of the story of Eddie, a Brooklyn longshoreman, obsessed with his 17-year-old niece Catherine. When Catherine falls in love with a newly arrived immigrant, Eddie’s jealousy erupts into a rage that consumes him, his family, and his world. The second in our bold 5 Year American Classics Theater Initiative, this story explores the trials of immigration in a corrupt society and how a family becomes tangled in a web of misplaced honor and possessive desire.

This production of Arthur Miller's A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE
runs August 26th through September 11th, 2011 at the
Rose Marine Theater, 1440 North Main Street.
Ticket information can be found at