Alanna Stone, a lady I know that does all kinds of wonderful things on the backstage side in the world of the arts, is directing her first full-length project, a play titled The Natural Act by playwright Charles Watson, and it needs your help.
She is using the aid of the great Kickstarter to help fund the production, and you can make that happen either here or on the link on the bottom.
CM: Can you talk about your love for directing and the theater?
Alanna: My love for theater initially began in high school at Lehman where I was on the stage crew and really grew the more I was exposed to it at Sarah Lawrence College. The program there is very collaborative and it encourages tech folks to do acting, actors to do tech, all in the spirit of mutual respect for the craft of others. I did a lot of technical theater–stage-managing, lighting and sound, and then I discovered directing. It quickly became my favorite aspect of theater as it drives the creative vision of a work.
After graduating, I worked at several Off-Off Broadway theaters in various capacities. My first directing opportunity came thanks to Marcy Arlin,
who was programming the Lower East Side Tenement Museum’s Immigrants Theatre Project. I proposed a Luis Valdez one-act about the grape workers’ strike,
Las Dos Caras del Patroncito (The Two Faces of the Boss), as it was a good combination of theater and my own interest in labor activism. I invited a speaker from the United Farm Workers union to talk after and explain the relevance of the piece to present day farm workers, many of whom were (and are) still facing daily struggles in the field. The play was very short, about 20 minutes and we had one evening’s performance. The response was amazing! We had a sell-out crowd and Marcy asked us to do a second performance the same evening. I was thrilled and hooked ever since.
CM: What can you tell us about the play The Natural Act?
Alanna: I’ve been quite drawn to this play as it’s an usual a pairing of an older female artist with a younger jazz musician. They develop a tempestuous relationship with each using the other for their own reasons. I think the female role is a particularly engaging character as it’s not often you come across a part that calls for an older woman to be sensual, creative and free.
I have wanted to direct this for some time now and I’m just having a chance to do the fundraising outreach. Hopefully the Kickstarter campaign will be successful and I’ll be able to direct and produce this as my first full-length play. I am very grateful for the wonderful and generous sponsors and to you for helping get the word out about the campaign.
CM: Can you also describe your working relationship with this particular playwright Charles Watson?
Alanna: The very first play I worked on in the city was written by Charles called Jenny Gets. It was directed by
the amazing Abigail Zealey Bess and presented by HERE Arts Center. I ran the lighting board and stage-managed for it. A few years later, Charles had heard that I was directing and got in touch about a piece called Ice Cream Truck for TSI (Theater Studios Inc.). Working on this was a great pleasure as I had a chance to cast and direct Arthur French, whom I have a huge amount of respect for as an actor and Walter Puryear, who is also incredibly talented. The following year, I worked with Charles again on Waiting and it further developed our collaboration.
Charles is a tremendously talented and under-recognized playwright. I’m always grateful for any opportunity to work with him. I tend towards grittier, character-driven pieces when I direct and greatly admire his writing.