Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Anna - The Managing Director

AnnaLou Weiler Menekseoglu (Managing Director, Production Design Manager)

Here are things I do for Dream Theatre Company (pretend they are all verbs): act, direct, light, set, paint, costume, prop, make-up, hair, sew, craft, taxes, pay bills, box office manage, press relate, market (really poorly, I’m really, really bad at marketing), liaise with contractors and grantors, ask for money, set up meetings, clean, relieve disasters (floods, etc), comply with laws, meet the neighbors, etc…
Things Dream Theatre Company does for me: art, love, soul, strength, practice meeting people (boost confidence and social skills), make me a leader, make me part of a community, etc…
Before I joined Dream Theatre Company (sometime around 2003 with a short gap and then return) most of my personal and professional energy was spent spinning in circles. I had no focus with plenty of drive and creativity, but if you take a crayon and run around in circles with it, you won’t get much coloring done. Out of necessity I have learned about the Government, the world of Not-For-Profit, and the Chicago Theater Community. Out of desire I have learned how to act in an entirely new and effective style, create theatre and art in many levels. I have grown up, focused my energy and as a direct result have created the most compelling and profound art of my life. Not to mention that the other members of Dream Theatre Company have become my self-chosen family.
My favorite art (some specifics, though I believe that all parts of the art are related, these things changed me):
1.       The Box – Though there were 2 different versions, Joanna’s torture box from SlowAnna in both versions changed my view of torture, education and safety.
2.       The World of Baby Killers, The – The black and white scale of the environment (lights, sets, props, costumes, etc.) of Baby Killers, The gave me new perspective and enlightenment on the cohesiveness that is necessary for a theatrical production to succeed as an art form. Our crew was very small and so was our budget, but with a few well made decisions the aesthetic we created put audience in a world where they themselves felt ‘Dickensian’. Every element of every show I have worked on since then, I think of the cohesiveness of that show.
3.       Ismene – Playing the character Ismene in Ismene transformed me as an actress to a new level of understanding relationship between actor and audience. I will never not be present and aware of audience again since that show. I am unable to turn that awareness off, and though it can sometimes be scary, it is the core of the Dream Theatre style.
4.       Madame Purdie’s corset – That was a discovery in sewing and construction that I reached while making this piece for Black Duckling where I had a moment of great revelation. I CAN MAKE A COSTUME OUT OF ANYTHING!
There is more, but that is all I will share for now.

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