Category Archives: Theater

An Exclusive Discussion of Award Winning Actor Christopher Capito’s Best Work

To be an actor is to be an expressive, fearless storyteller; Christopher Capito has been one of these since he was seven years old. Over the past fourteen years, it is a job he has fully embodied.

Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Capito initially got his start in a theater troupe before making the transition into film. Since then, his work has been viewed by a wide range of audiences and has been nominated for and won numerous awards at a variety of film festivals.

In the 2017 short film Rotten Grapes, directed by Marc-Ivan O’Gorman (The Black Magic, A Kiss and a Click, and Blood Coloured Moon), Capito plays Andres De La Vega, a grandchild of a Latino woman who is recently deceased. “The film won more than two festivals, and I won the award of best ensemble with the rest of the main cast,” Capito stated.

Rotten Grapes is a sitcom that follows the De La Vega family after the loss of their beloved grandmother. With the promise of leaving the entire fortune to only one of her grandchildren – the one who holds the most family values – the story delves deeper into the lives of each grandchild, revealing their individual troubles along the way.

The cast was lead under the guidance of experienced acting coach Michael Aspinwall, who’s known for his acting work as Dr. Shelby in the 2012-2013 TV series WWE Raw, and has also worked for companies such as Titan Sports Productions, USA Network, and World Wrestling Entertainment. Given the film’s comedic tone combined with Capito’s prior experience in both short and long form improv, the pair worked well together in training. Expanding upon this, Aspinwall said, “While the other actors had trouble bringing the characters alive, Capito didn’t have to make any effort. He has a natural timing for comedy, and that’s something you can’t learn. Capito was born with that.”

unnamed
Actor Christopher Capito

Also in 2017, Capito co-wrote and starred in the three-time award winning short film Milk Fang. “In Milk Fang, I played the main character named Andrew. The project is about a young vampire who lives in a conservative vampire family. In this world of vampires, there are two types: blood drinkers (who represent the societal norm), and the milker (who are vampires who drink milk instead of blood, and are an analogy to gay people),” Capito explained. “In the story, the young vampire Andrew comes out of the coffin with his parents, and has to face the prejudice of the rest of the vampire society.”

Ultimately exemplifying its success, Milk Fang was awarded with the titles of Best Screenplay, Best LGBTQ Film, and Best Sci-Fi Short Film at three different film festivals. It was directed by Nicholas Joseph Cunha (Red Souls, Outdated, and Daisy) and written in a collaborative effort. Two-time Daytime Emmy Award winner and Primetime Emmy Nominee George McGrath (Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, On the Television, and Tracey Takes On), who also worked as one of the three writers of the film, speaks highly of his writing partner and actor Capito, affirming, “Christopher has a special talent when it comes to writing and acting out real, human stories. He also has the ability to play multiple races, such as Latino, Italian, and Iberian, as well as a wide age range of 13 to 20 years old.”

Aside from his natural talent, this criterion played a crucial role in casting Capito as the main “Chambelan” named Santiago in one of his first U.S. based short films back in 2016, Terintañera. The story of Terintañera revolves around the Quinceañera party, a celebration that is a vital part of Capito’s culture. The film was based in Los Angeles, ultimately showing how the Latin culture is a growing minority. Additionally, the role of Sebastian provided Capito with the perfect opportunity to show his ability to connect with both the American and the Latin cultures.

Elaborating on this, Capito said, “For me, playing Santiago was an amazing experience. Not only was I challenged as an actor with having to revert back to thinking as a younger version of myself in order to pull inspiration from my Latin roots via experiences from a much earlier age, but I was also given the chance to rediscover my culture and ultimately revel in the nostalgia of growing up in it.”

 

For more information on Christopher Capito, please visit: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7462667/?ref_=tt_ov_wr

Advertisements

Writer Wendy Bain shows comedic flair in upcoming play ‘Old Frenemies’

IMG_0601
Wendy Bain

When Wendy Bain was just a school girl, her favorite subjects were English and Literature. From a young age, she was immersed in reading, growing her vocabulary and discovering the most eloquent way to portray her feelings. As a child, this meant writing short stories and joining the drama club to delve into the arts. Now, however, she has emerged as a leading script writer, and her love of words is the foundation of her passion for what she does.

Despite working on many successful projects in many genres, Bain is known for her talents as a comedic writer. She perfectly captures the situational humor in real-life scenarios, and connects with her audience. Stephanie Laing, an eight-time Emmy nominated and two-time Emmy award winning producer/director known for her work on HBO’s Veep, Vice Principals, Eastbound & Down, and Divorce, says Bain’s work is crucial to the work she does with her production company, PYPO Inc. The two are currently working on the first of many projects together called Clean.

“Wendy is essential to this project as she created this television series. I’ve known Wendy for over a year now. She has a distinct voice that taps into the zeitgeist of American comedy,” said Laing.

Despite such success and accolades, Bain considers the highlight of her career as writing the play Charlotte Davies Is to Blame for Everything. The play was selected for a new playing writing festival at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in Islington, London in 2012.

“Charlotte Davis is to blame for everything came from a very bad, wet week away in the midst of the Welsh countryside in the United Kingdom. My husband, Sam, had seen an article in the Telegraph newspaper about these luxury cottages in Wales and, knowing how much I love Wales and luxury, thought I’d like to stay there,” said Bain.

Similar to Bain’s experience, when her character Charlotte decides to go away with her husband, it does not go as planned. Charlotte’s wildlife documentary maker husband, Duncan takes Charlotte on a job with him to film the red squirrels in Wales. The cottage that is hired for them by the BBC is in the middle of nowhere, and unbeknownst to Charlotte, it is owned by her old nemesis, Lesley Irwin.

Things go from bad to worse when Charlotte sees that Lesley has married her ex-boyfriend Dewey. Meanwhile Lesley wants to sell the land the red squirrels live on to build more holiday cottages. Charlotte’s sure that Duncan’s still cheating on her. Dewey can’t believe the love of his life, Charlotte Davies, has returned after thirty years.

Severe flooding prevents Charlotte from leaving. The couples become trapped in the cottage together and all the truth comes out.

“It is a comedy based on my experience. I was horrified to find out the owner of the farm cottage we were staying in was my old frenemy from my teenage years that took my boyfriend off me,” Bain joked. “We just pretended not to know each other but the memories about her stealing my boyfriend, and how a close female friendship can flip into a vicious rivalry, came flooding back. I couldn’t wait to get out of cottage and back to London.”

Bain ended up injuring her knee, and like Charlotte, was trapped at the cottage and left to think about her old friend and the unresolved issues. The weekend, although displeasing at the time, provided Bain with the perfect inspiration for her play.

“When we got back to London I told my husband the real reason, as I had exaggerated my injury for us to leave sooner. He still finds it amusing. I found a great premise for a play and a way to process those old feelings,” she recalled.

The play was shown at The Rosemary Branch, Islington and Tristan Bates Theatre, Covent Garden in London. Upon its premiere, Bain was hailed as a ‘promising new playwright at a time when comedy wasn’t as popular as social issue lead drama in London.’ As Bain also has experience in acting, she played the lead of Charlotte Davies and the laughter from the play could be heard from corner of Shaftesbury Ave. Film critic Catherine Bray a follower of Wendy’s talent said on Twitter it had some of ‘the best one liners she heard in a while’.

“The script is laugh out loud funny and hits hard nail of truth with an anvil. Charlotte’s vain and witty has married the wrong man and that man has married the wrong sex. It’s a naturalistic comedy that leans towards farce at the end,” Bain described.

Bain is now bringing the acclaimed play to America. The name of play has changed to Old Frenemies, and will be put on at the Hollywood Fringe Festival next year. Although it is based in the countryside of Wales, Bain says it is more about an old friendship gone wrong. There’s also the added romance line of Charlotte and Geffen, who were childhood sweethearts and split apart by Lesley’s lies. Thirty years later they see the result of their choices from those teenage years. Charlotte also is dealing with the affairs of her closeted gay husband, portraying common marital and friendship issues on the stage.

“When Geffen says the sad line ‘The thing I loved the most about her was she reminded me of you’. It rings the end of a hollow marriage between him and thoroughly dislikeable Lesley,” Bain said.

In Old Frenemies, old and new secrets unravel about who did what to whom? Ending with some hilarious revelations and proving the old adage ‘it’s never too late’. Make sure to check it out at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2018, and keep an eye out for more of Wendy Bain’s upcoming work.

 

Director/Producer Richard Kenyon Embarks on Several New Projects

Richard Kenyon
Director/producer Richard Kenyon shot by Jill Marie Robinson

Some creatives seem to have their hands in so many different projects that we can’t help but wonder if they’ve been blessed with a superhuman gift or discovered a mysterious way to create more hours in the day. The collective work of director/producer Richard Kenyon, which spans the gamut and includes award-winning films, PSAs and high profile theatre productions, is one that begs the question: How does one man accomplish so much?

Earlier this year Kenyon produced, directed and co-wrote the film A Girl’s Guide to Drowning starring Young Artist Award nominee Alexis Rosinsky from the films My Best Friend and The Archer, as well as the Golden Globe Award winning series Modern Family.

A Girl’s Guide to Drowning brings to the screen a story about the drastic manner in which a young woman tries to cope after a painful breakup with her boyfriend. Based on the character of Ophelia from William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet,” who is as tragic as she is iconic, Kenyon’s newest film is a modern take on a classic play, which he says is, “proof positive that Shakespeare is relevant in the 21st Century.”

The film, which is expected to screen at festivals around the world later this year, is one that Kenyon has wanted to make for many years, but only came to full fruition after a chance meeting with Alexis Rosinsky, who plays the lead character in the film.

Kenyon recalls, “My wife and I were at a dinner party and Alexis performed a monologue from Ophelia and it blew us away. She was 13 years old at the time and I have never witnessed a more natural talent than the way she spoke Shakespearean text. So my wife and I went home and wrote ‘A Girl’s Guide To Drowning’ for Alexis.”

Considering his long-standing passion for Shakespeare’s work, and his ability to craft a story that hits home with modern audiences, A Girl’s Guide to Drowning was the perfect film for Kenyon to direct.

Richard Kenyon
Director Richard Kenyon & Alexis Rosinsky on set of “A Girls Guide to Drowning” photo by Maynrad Brenes

A highly sought after director, Kenyon is also in pre-production with the film Measure for Measure, a feature based on Shakespeare’s play of the same name, which he will be producing and directing. The storyline for the film revolves around a nun who’s propositioned by a high-ranking official and faced with the decision to lose her virginity in order to save the life her brother, or do nothing and keep her chastity intact. With Kenyon behind the wheel, there’s no doubt that Measure for Measure will do justice to Shakespeare’s original play, while also appealing to the palettes of modern audiences.

“To say this film is my opus is really an understatement. I have been around this play for my entire adult life. I saw a production of it at Stratford Canada in 1992 and it hasn’t left my mind. It starred the amazing Colm Feore and a young actress by the name of Elizabeth Marvel-who now both appear in ‘House of Cards’,” explains Kenyon. “Since that day I have directed the play twice and have been in it so I know the power it has in for an audience.”

In addition to Measure for Measure, Kenyon is also busy laying the groundwork for the upcoming film Some Day, a biographical tale about the struggles he personally faced as a child when he and his family moved from England to Canada, which is slated to begin shooting in Canada at the end of the year. If his plate wasn’t full enough already, he will also be directing the upcoming horror film Branded, as well as the film Ice Cream.

A film about the penal system, which focuses on the way seemingly simple decisions are overwhelmingly difficult for prisoners as they try to assimilate back into society after being released from the system, Ice Cream is expected to begin shooting in Barcelona at the end of summer.

“It is unlike anything that I have ever been offered before which was the real attraction. I love being challenged by my work otherwise why do it,” says the director about the upcoming film.

Kenyon’s directing career, which stretches back over the past three decades, first began back home in Canada in the late ‘80s when he directed “The Actor’s Nightmare” performed at the Alberta One Act Play Festival. His love for the theatre and his unparalleled talent as a director eventually lead Kenyon to serve as the artistic director and co-founder of several prestigious theatre companies, including The Shakespeare Company (TSC), Shakespeare in the Mountains and Knights in Waiting.

Over the years Kenyon has directed innumerable iconic plays including “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which was performed to sold out audiences during TSC’s inaugural summer season, “Richard the Third,” which received rave reviews for its ingenuity, “Cyrano de Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand, and more.

He says, “There is something very unique and exciting when an actor steps onstage and performs. A bond is made with the audience and they aren’t afraid to tell you how they feel. That is thrilling.”

While he’s achieved extensive success as a producer and director in the film world, with his first film Insomniac winning the award for Best Overall Score at the AMPIA Rosie Award as well as being nominated for the Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Drama Awards, the theatre is something Kenyon says, “never leaves you.”

This summer he will be directing the production of “Hamlet” produced by the Lovers and Madmen company, which will be performed at several venues throughout Pasadena. He is also directing and producing the upcoming production of  “The Curious Mind of Will Shakespeare,” an immersion show that will take audiences into the exciting world of Shakespeare and is slated to run at the Shakespeare Club Villa of Pasadena on October 26, 27 and 29.

Maynard Brenes, who served as the director of photography on A Girl’s Guide to Drowning, says, “Richard’s theatre background is probably his most valuable asset to directing that he brings to the table day in and day out. Part of the creative puzzle is being able to communicate with talent and having that background is invaluable. His work speaks for itself.”

In addition to his film and theatre work, Richard Kenyon has also made a huge mark in the entertainment industry as the producer and director of several riveting PSAs, such as The Keys, which earned an AMPIA Rosie Award Nomination for Best PSA in 2015, as well as the “Pason Systems” PSA, which earned him an AMPIA Rosie Award Nomination for Best Producer in 2008.

Beyond all this, Kenyon is the creator and radio host of “The Director’s Cut with Rich Kenyon,” an informative series that airs on Kaotic Radio and sheds light on all areas of the film industry.

Driven to create new and enticing work at every turn, Kenyon says “Stagnation is the death of art.”  

Anyone who’s had a glimpse of Kenyon’s work over the years would easily conclude that he is definitely one creative genius who’s never stagnated, and with four new films in the works, it’s doubtable that he ever will!

Comedic Actress Jaclyn Fleming Takes The Stage At Manifold Hollywood Theatre Hot Spots

jaclyn
Actress Jaclyn Fleming

The Los Angeles-based actress, Jaclyn Fleming, is a woman of immeasurable skill and talent. She’s the kind of person who’s been a performer since the day she could walk, and has now acted professionally for nine successful years.

After graduating from the renowned Second City Toronto, Fleming recently relocated from Canada to California in October of 2013, where she’s since worked on a number of shows. Her past and present credits span numerous media outlets and platforms, her most current work including heavy involvement with Tennessee Williams Improvised, The Second City Hollywood’s “Bubbelplast” and “Milk Tooth,” and Impro Studio Theatre’s “The Gauntlet” and “Netflix with Matt and Jack,” to name a few.

“I became involved with Impro Studios upon recommendation from Producer/Stage Manager Matthew Pitner,” Fleming said. The pair had previously studied at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) together for improv acting, along with Paul Vonasek. “We had all come from a background of narrative and genre based improv and immediately felt a kinship.”

Fleming auditioned to be a part of an ongoing study for Tennessee Williams and an in-depth acting technique taught by the highly talented Brian Lohmann. From there, she relished the opportunity of doing several runs of Tennessee Williams Improvised, and has subsequently performed in the style for several independent shows at the Studio Theatre.

“The Gauntlet” and “Netflix with Matt and Jack” are two continuing shows that Fleming stars in at Impro Studio Theatre regularly. Produced by Matthew Pitner, “The Gauntlet” challenges Impro Main Company members to perform through a gauntlet of genres with performers from the studio.

“Jaclyn is truly a master of her craft,” Pitner recalled fondly of the performer. “As the nature of much of our work at theatre is transitory by nature, it is all the more reason why individuals like Jaclyn are so vitally important to the world. Her performances are highly praised by the community and inspire more support for the theatre as a whole, ranging from an increase in patrons to new students. The ways in which she has grown further confirms my belief that she belongs on the stage and screen and will have continued longevity throughout her career as an artist.”

Additionally, “Netflix with Matt and Jack” is an Impro Studio Theatre monthly show where Fleming and Pitner also come together in collaboration. “This show is raw and vulnerable for performers and audiences alike,” Fleming explained. “It is centered around building deep, emotionally-grounded relationships, all in the comforts of a faux apartment, while we watch Netflix. What comes out of it is moving and hilarious.”

Similar to her improv work with Impro Studio Theatre, Fleming has served as a valuable member of The Second City Hollywood since 2014. In 2015, Fleming was hand picked by Director, Writer, Actor, and Producer Dave Colan to be a part of Second City’s “Milk Tooth,” an ensemble made up of eight cast members who performed each Friday night.

“Jaclyn acted as a vital member and contributed beyond the regular expectations of the cast requirements,” said Colan of Fleming’s talents. “She brings depth, presence and life to the stage every time she performs.”

The cast rehearsed weekly, spending multiple hours building a solid ensemble that never failed to exceed audience’s expectations. After having been a part of ensemble driven performing in Toronto, Fleming’s move to The Second City Hollywood was a natural progression that led to an increase in viewership from outside theaters as well as the opportunity to perform in various festivals in the LA-area.

“I’ve been fortunate to have been asked to do “Cake Batter’s Funny Women Festival, which runs annually,” Fleming said. “The festival focuses specifically on women in comedy, in various categories.” Moreover, Fleming’s dabbled with musical improv as a part of “One Night Only” on several occasions, as well as participate as a frequent performer of the Venice Art Crawl, which takes place in Venice Beach, California a few times a year.

Post “Milk Tooth,” Fleming continued performing with The Second City Hollywood in her latest hit show “Bubbelplast,” produced by Celeste Pechous. Like “Milk Tooth,” “Bubbelplast” is also comprised of a hand picked, eight-person ensemble (Jaclyn Fleming, Molly Donnelly, Maya Gwynn, Jacob Sorling, Joshua Dickinson, Paul Heredia, David Anthony Luna, and Cassie Townsend) and includes a night of hilarious, Long Form improv at every show.

Together, the eight rehearse weekly where they are given the freedom to create. “We have some of the most energetic and physicals shows and rehearsals,” Fleming explained. “Working with the others within the ensemble constantly allows for me to grow. Each one of them has such a unique and amazing way of bringing life to the stage. I get to take lessons not only from what Celeste provides us as a director, but every time I watch each of them do something. Working in an ensemble reminds me that we are all in this together. It allows for me to let go and relinquish the need to be ‘perfect.’”

This encouraging space and experience has permitted Fleming to evolve and showcase her sought after talents, where she’s ultimately received a large amount of praise and recognition for her work. “‘Bubbelplast’ has allowed me to clearly show audiences my adeptness within the realms of physical comedy, musical improv and in-depth character work. I have received many compliments for bringing professionalism, my attention to detail, genuine emotional connection, and grounded performing to each show I am a part of,” Fleming stated. Not only has Fleming achieved recognition within the theatre community around Hollywood, her exposure via The Second City Hollywood has sparked the attention of several well-known directors who have pursued efforts of collaboration.

Currently, Fleming is in the process of diving into a bit of a different realm of comedic theatre acting. Set to begin production this summer is “Ginger Snaps,” a One Woman Show directed by Jamie Janek and staring Fleming. The show is a 50-minute staged comedic sketch play that tells the story of one Ginger and her life adventures thus far.

“I am so excited to be working on all of these projects,” said Fleming, elated. “I am getting the opportunity to work with some of the most gifted people in the country and to hone in on my skills as a performer. I am excited for what is to come of all of these endeavors and to see where they take me.”

 

For more information on Jaclyn Fleming, please visit:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7534064/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1
http://www.secondcity.com/people/hollywood/jaclyn-fleming/
Follow Jaclyn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaclynFleming
Follow Jaclyn on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaclynfleming13/

For more information regarding The Second City Hollywood, please visit:http://www.secondcity.com/hollywood/

To check out “Bubbelplast,” please visit:
http://www.secondcity.com/shows/hollywood/bubbelplast-boat/
http://www.laughstub.com/events/445900

Follow “Bubbelplast” on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bubbelplastsc
Follow “Bubbelplast” on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bubbelplastimprov/
Like “Bubbelplast” on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bubbelplast/

For more information regarding Impro Theatre and Impro Studio Theatre, please visit:
http://improtheatre.com/main-company-shows/
http://improtheatre.com/events/gauntlet/repeat_1465675200_1465678800_20_00/
http://improtheatre.com/events/twopro-2/repeat_1466112600_1466118000_21_30/
http://improtheatre.com/events/bearded-men-west/repeat_1465682400_1465687800_22_00/

Powerful Actress Davina Cole Commands the Stage

Michael Wharley.
Actress Davina Cole shot by Michael Wharley

Since its inception, the stage has served three purposes above all else: to entertain, to recount important events, and to impart morals and lessons on an audience. In her years as an actor, Davina Cole has proven her acumen for all three. With a focus on drama, her work on screen and in theater masterfully encompasses the whole of the human condition through stories that are both fascinating and compellingly layered.

A phenomenal creative force whose talent lights up every project she touches, her work in film has long been acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. Among Cole’s most noted roles was that of Soalaih Ez in the 2011 film “When Soukhina Disappeared.” After a young woman vanishes, a journalism student begins investigating the case in this suspenseful drama.

“Soalaih Ez was one of the last people to see the missing girl, and she gives her account of how Soukhina touched her life. It was an emotional piece and I really enjoyed playing a character with so many layers,” Cole said. “Soalaih was key to the getting an account of the final movements of Soukhina.”

The film was regarded as a cinematic triumph for Cole, whose character was integral to the chilling tale. “When Soukhina Disappeared” was directed by Francoise Ellong, whose work on the film “W.A.K.A.” would go on to win the 2014 Jury Prize at the Festival du Cinema Africain Khouribga.

Cole’s immense skillset is not simply limited to acting, however, which she proved with her one-woman play “All the Colours.” Though she was born in London, Cole’s family hails from war-torn Sierra Leone, and those roots were critical in her writing and performing of the play.

“I felt this role took me to another level in my performance skills. It was, however, very draining at times playing a mother who had lost so much,” Cole said, describing the intimate familiarity with the subject matter that led her to write the play. “Having been through my own personal experience of loss and heartache, I was able to bring that to the role and give a truthful performance.”

“All the Colours” tells the gripping story of a mother, Salimatu, living through the horrifying decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone. Cole based her performance in the one-woman play on her mother’s own experience in the country. Cole’s writing was lauded by critics, and her acting earned her a 2014 nomination for Best Actress at the International One-Man Show Solo Festival in the U.K.

A natural choice to fill the shoes of strong, female lead characters, Cole’s performance in “1867” was a brilliant display of just how at home she is on the stage. Cole played Delilah McAndrew, from whose perspective the semi-biographical play tells the fascinating and inspirational story of Madame C.J. Walker, the first American woman to become a millionaire entrepreneur. Walker, who did this despite the added adversity of being a black woman in the post-Civil War South, employs Delilah, the first generation in her family to be born after the abolition of slavery.

“She was such a strong black woman in a time when black women were regularly looked down upon, and to have that level of success at that period of time is truly amazing,” Cole said, describing the connection she felt to Delilah. “As a character she had many layers and I was really able to explore the role.”

Through these roles and her countless others, Cole has established herself as one of the most powerful actors in the industry today. A dramatist of the highest order, she has used the craft not as a soapbox, but rather as a medium through which to remind us of the things we all too often forget. Where lecturers and historians may fall short of imparting these critical lessons, Davina Cole knows how to use the stage and screen to captivate our imaginations with the finesse and magic of a lifelong storyteller.