Performer Spotlight: Chris Steele

“Heart with strings of steel”

-King Claudius, Hamlet

An interview with Undiscovered Country's Chris Steele

We caught up with Chris Steele, who plays Horace in our upcoming production of Undiscovered Country. Here's what they shared about the rehearsal process and about working with We Players.

What was your first show with We?
I played Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet at Petaluma Adobe and Villa Montalvo. I've been enamored with We ever since.

How would you describe working with We in 4 words?
Visceral, Thrilling, Rewarding, Dionysian!

Describe your favorite We Players memory.
During Midsummer of Love, as my co-Puck Britt and I were speaking about summoning the darkness, this MASSIVE bank of fog rolls over the hilltop out of nowhere and plunges down upon us all. I'm still not convinced that we didn't actually cast a fairy spell.

What is your favorite thing about working on Undiscovered Country?
The intimacy of the immersion is unlike anything else I have done with We. It is going to be a treat to be so immediately involved with the audience both in terms of proximity and size. This show is really a special chance to feel like you are spitting distance from real and vital theatre.

What has surprised you during the building of this production?
Honestly, this show has felt magically effortless in its creation in a way no other show has. Ava, Nick, and Hunter are such generous and supportive collaborators so we all keep bouncing ideas off each other and so many of them seem to stick. That kind of synergy is rare!

Don't miss Chris in Undiscovered Country opening next week at San Francisco's Sunnyside Conservatory! Enjoy special low prices on tickets for our Preview performances April 18th & 19th!

King Fool and Night Walk this Friday

We Players invites our community to join us in a Night Walk through the Mission in advance of our final San Francisco showing of King Fool, this Friday. Our 9/26 event – including performance, conversation and festive closing reception, will begin at 8pm, in a private warehouse just south of Mission Bay. The address will be revealed upon placing your reservation.

One of the things that has come up in our post-performance conversations is the truth that we cannot know when we will die.

Many of us hope that we will be blessed with a full life and well cared for by those we most love as we age and approach death. In our adaptation, Lear is blessed in this way, and yet his story is still heartbreaking.

It is a far greater tragedy for young people to die from violent crime.

The faith communities in the Mission – with whom we shared our opening performance of King Fool, have been making a positive impact in their neighborhood by being present and peaceful.

Our creative team is inspired to connect the timeless themes of death and relationship with current realities and join these communities for this Friday’s Night Walk.

We welcome your participation.

More info below.


For over a year now, several faith communities have been regularly walking some of the more violent streets of the Mission with a simple three-fold message:

 We care
 Stop the violence
 What do you need?

At this next Night Walk we will also celebrate the re-emergence of an important street-intervention organization in our neighborhood. This organization, called CALLES (meaning “Streets”), has been one of the Mission’s most effective organizations reaching high-risk youth. It has been dormant for the last few years, but makes its comeback as part of our next Night Walk.

When: Friday, September 26, 6-7:30pm

Where: Starting with a short ceremony at Instituto Familiar De La Raza (IFR) // 2919 Mission St, SF, CA 94110 and walking to Centro del Pueblo // 474 Valencia St

Getting the Conversation Started: Ava on General Auditions

We’re getting quite excited for We Players annual general auditions, coming up this Saturday and Sunday night!

John Hadden, my close collaborator and co-director for 2014 projects, is flying in from the east coast today. We have over 50 new actors planning to attend the upcoming sessions. And thanks to the wonderful folks at the Circus Center of San Francisco, we have a spacious, high-ceilinged room to stretch out and play in. All the ingredients are ripe.

We Players’ auditions take place as an immersive 3 hour workshop. The actor/ director relationship is fundamentally a collaboration. So it seems to me that the best way to begin this conversation is through working together. Really working. It’s hard to learn all that much about an actor through their presentation of a 2 minute monologue. Perhaps how well they audition. But I don’t learn much about the more important stuff…how they work, how they play with others. Are they generous with their fellow performers? Do they breathe? Do they make eye contact? Or do they speak to the wall beyond my head? Do they take risks? What are their impulses like? Are they showing me their stuff, or able to release into the reality of the moment?

And the actors should have a chance to sense the vibe of the company, of working with me. Is it a fit? It’s a conversation between us, it's not one-sided work. Or at least, that’s a primary goal of a healthy actor/ director relationship, I think. So committing to even just a few hours together allows us the opportunity to learn something about each other’s work and process. We get warmed up, we begin a conversation. Where will it take us? And if it really works, then everyone leaves feeling lit up, activated, and like their time has been well spent – they’ve made a discovery of some kind, large or small. Perhaps they forgot they were even at an ‘audition’, and are stimulated by the good work of playing.

We’ll see… Off we go!

Audition for We 2014

ACTORS

Announcing 2014 Company Generals!

DATES
Saturday January 11 & Sunday January 12, 7-10pm  
(please arrive between 6:30 (no earlier) and 6:50pm, work begins promptly at 7pm)

LOCATION
SF Circus Center: 755 Frederick St., San Francisco

Be sure to familiarize yourself with our artistic practice before responding. Our site-integrated work is very unique and unlike traditional theatre experiences. Projects take place in a wide range of Bay Area settings, usually outdoors and in direct relationship with the elements. Our work is for the hardy of spirit and body, it is intense and immersive.

All auditions with We Players are extended workshop format, which allows us the opportunity to learn something about each other’s work and process. More information about our 2014 projects will be announced to our mailing list early in January.

REQUIRED
Send resume and headshot to we@weplayers.org. Please include a brief personal statement and note why you are interested in working with We Players and/or engaging in site-integrated performance. Prepare a 1-2 minute classical monologue.  Bring a hard copy of your resume and photo. Indicate special skills: physical theater, dance, acrobatics, clown, music/singing/instruments, etc. 

PLEASE NOTE
You may not called for the whole time, however, please budget the full three hours. This audition will be workshop format. Be prepared for both physical and vocal group work. Wear comfortable clothes you can move in.

CALLBACKS for specific 2014 projects will be held Friday-Sunday, January 17-19, 2014

* We Players produce primarily classical work, so some experience or significant interest in Shakespeare and/or Greek mythology is a plus.

DANCERS

Information specific to dancers/ movers will be shared at the audition. Basic schedule outline for rehearsal and performance extends from mid-July 2014 through September 2014. 

AUDITION DATES
Saturday, January 25, 1-4pm
*call backs will be Sunday, January 26, 1:30-4:30pm – details will be provided to those selected

LOCATION
Sutro Baths, SF.  Meet on the east side of the new Land’s End Visitors Center and look for a red We Players flag.

REQUIRED
Send resume and headshot to we@weplayers.org. Please include a brief personal statement and note why you are interested in working with We Players and/or engaging in site-integrated performance. Indicate any special skills: physical theater, types of dance training, swimming, yoga, qi gong, naturalist training, acrobatics, clown, music/singing/instruments, etc.

PLEASE NOTE
You may not called for the whole time, however, please plan to attend the full three hours. Please also hold your schedule open for Sunday, 1/26, 1:30-4:30pm. This movement audition will be workshop format. Wear comfortable clothes and close-toed shoes in which you can move freely. Please dress for the weather! We recommend layers, hats, gloves and windbreakers.

Production Staff Interviews for We 2014

If you like how We Players transforms public space, builds community, and engages timeless themes and current social issues, one of the most fulfilling ways to deepen this practice and expand your own awareness is to get involved!

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WE are looking to expand our community of qualified production staff including: Costume Designers (preference for applicants w/ apparel design & garment making experience); Lighting Designers; Production Managers; Stage Managers; Properties Masters; Carpenters; and Go-get-em all-purpose production team members!

We are hosting two days of production staff “speed-dating” as an opportunity for company directors to meet with a wide range of skilled and experienced theatre designers and technicians. Sessions are 20 minutes each, scheduled on the half hour. By appointment only.

DATES & LOCATIONS: 

Wednesday 1/8/14 12-3pm, East Bay location near Bart (TBA)

This “speed dating” is akin to an informational interview. Extended interviews with candidates for 2014 projects will be scheduled by invitation.

REQUIRED: Send resume to we@weplayers.org. Please include a brief personal statement and note why you are interested in working with We Players and/or engaging in site-specific performance. Please list all your available times in order of preference and we will do our best to accommodate. Please explore our website and familiarize yourself with our artistic practice before responding. Our site-integrated work is very unique and unlike traditional theatre experiences. Projects take place in a wide range of Bay Area settings, usually outdoors and in direct relationship with the elements. Our work is for the hardy of spirit and body, it is intense and immersive.