Saturday, June 27, 2009

Opening Night!

Last night I helped Gary Campbell sew and install curtains. The curtains add this great voyeuristic effect--amazing how adding a layer can make something look more naked.

Gary did a hilarious silent version of the show for me so I could see what it looked like from the outside, and through tears of laughter I figured out about 3 more magical things that I can add. Thanks, Gary Boy!

Still left to do:
Steam curtains and costumes
Hang outside curtains
Set up for reception afterwards
Run lines 3 more times to make sure they're tight (I'm aiming high here)
Speed through show w/ guest stars DWR and Vanessa
Figure out how to set up the box so that people have a natural path to donate money
probably more stuff...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Rain rain?

So the weather report says it's going to be super duper hot with a 30% or 60% chance of rain, depending on the optimism of the reporting agency, apparently. Hm.

Well, there's no real contingency plan for rain. We went 8 years on dumb luck with the W 18th St Fashion Show and always got away with it--this year was the first time we had a rain backup location. Have I used up all my weather luck? We shall see...

The real drag of this first weekend getting rained out is that we wouldn't be able to get a review of the show, since it's only a 3 week run, the bare minimum for a review in Kansas City.

Today we just say hmmm.

Weather for Kansas City, MO
Current: Clear
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 74%
Mostly Sunny
95°F | 76°F
Chance of Storm
97°F | 70°F
Mostly Sunny
88°F | 67°F
Mostly Sunny
90°F | 68°F

Thursday, June 25, 2009

KC Star Preview

Corrie Van Ausdal fills her Fishtank theater with life

C ount on Corrie Van Ausdal to do things her own way.

The actress, playwright and Late Night Theatre veteran plans to inaugurate her new performance studio, Fishtank Theatre, with a typically unorthodox enterprise: a solo performance of “Sorry, Wrong Number,” a classic radio play by Lucille Fletcher that later became a classic film noir with Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster.

But it was the original radio play that captured Van Ausdal’s creative imagination. Agnes Moorehead starred as the bedridden daughter of a millionaire who overhears a murder plot on the telephone. Van Ausdal recalls hearing it in 2002 as she delivered pizzas.

The Fishtank, at 17th and Wyandotte, has a series of picture windows on Wyandotte, and the windows are where Van Ausdal will perform. The audience will stand or sit on the sidewalk. Van Ausdal is working with a team of directors: Katie Gilchrist, who helped her develop the adaptation, Vanessa Severo, Martin Buchanan and Missy Koonce.

“At the very end I’m in the smallest space and the smallest window,” she said. “The character is an invalid, in the parlance of the time, and that’s another way to heighten it.”

In January Van Ausdal sold her interest in Birdies, the panties boutique she owned with artist Peregrine Honig, and began to think about finding a multi-use performance space. She settled on 1715 Wyandotte, just around the corner from Birdies, in a building owned by artist David Ford.

Van Ausdal, in turn, is renting out the space to other performers who want to develop new material. One of them is Heidi Van, who has formed a new performance company called Hybrid. The space also will be used for classes.

But the Fishtank is also set up for public performances. Van Ausdal said she’d like to have at least one public event a month.

Van Ausdal hopes the space can be used by a diverse range of performing artists, but she really created the Fishtank for herself. She wants a place to work continually on new projects.

“I looked back on the time when I was happiest as a performer and those were the times I was working all the time,” she said. “I found I really did need to define my life around performance.”

Officially, Van Ausdal is the executive director of the Fishtank. She said she thinks of herself as a curator.

“Once you’ve been your own boss, it’s hard not being your own boss, man,” she said.

the show
“Sorry, Wrong Number” opens at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Fishtank, 1715 Wyandotte. Additional performances are scheduled at 8:30 and 10 p.m. July 3 and 8:30 p.m. on July 6 and July 11. A sliding scale of donations from $5 to $15 will be requested. For more information call 913-621-1304 or go to
The audience for “Sorry, Wrong Number” will either stand or sit on the sidewalk outside the Fishtank, 1715 Wyandotte. Vanessa Severo, co-director, checked out the perspective in preparation for Corrie Van Ausdal’s solo production, which will be performed in the building’s large windows. Van Ausdal, executive director of the Fishtank, said the building also will be used for classes and performances by other area artists.
DAVID EULITT/The Kansas City Star
The audience for “Sorry, Wrong Number” will either stand or sit on the sidewalk outside the Fishtank, 1715 Wyandotte. Vanessa Severo, co-director, checked out the perspective in preparation for Corrie Van Ausdal’s solo production, which will be performed in the building’s large windows. Van Ausdal, executive director of the Fishtank, said the building also will be used for classes and performances by other area artists.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Publicity Train

David Wayne Reed did PR for Sorry, Wrong Number. He's really good at promotions. He wrote up a killer press release with good hooks that got everybody curious. I followed up with folks and got some great publicity opportunities....

Monday I recorded an interview w/ Laura Spencer from KCUR, which will air thursday or friday. Today I got to be on Midday Medley with Mark Manning at KKFI. Bob Trussell interviewed me last week and sent a Star photographer over to take pictures of rehearsal on Saturday afternoon. All good stuff-thanks David!

I'm alot more comfortable doing press than I used to be. I learned so much working with Peregrine for 6 years at birdies, producing the West 18th Street Fashion Show and also getting to do publicity for Late Night Theatre with Ron Megee. I used to get very nervous about interviews. I felt like I needed to provide completely different information to each source, or I'd try to be modest, which only ends up sounding wishy washy in print or over the air. Press isn't about modesty. I guess it's about the sound bite--but the sound bite backed by knowledge and interest and fact is the one that will keep the press train chugging along. I think I can, I think I can. There's nothing wrong with knowing what you're talking about and believing that you're selling a good product.

Sometimes it's hard for me to have perspective about the things I do. I often feel like my different interests and experiences pull me in different directions so it's nice to see that I've been learning valuable lessons along the way that will help me figure out how to make the Fishtank work.

So, more publicity. My website, My other one,

Once you get started, you just can't stop. Here's the show poster! Photo by Matthew Collins.

First Look

Monday, June 22, 2009

This is the part where I'm frustrated

This script is a little pain in the butt to memorize. I see why it was a damn radio play. Everything is repeated over with important clues dropped in and there are no real cues to go off of. grrr. Solo performance is frustrating this way, too, because there's no break, when the attention goes onto someone else. Love/hate. You're either rehearsing or you're not. You're getting it right or you're horribly off track.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

little bits of ideas come together

From Corrie 6/16/09:

I heard the radio play Sorry, Wrong Number back in college when I was delivering pizzas. I hopped in the car just as the play was starting--I remember hearing the announcer say that it was Agnes Moorhead in the title role. It's from the Suspense Radio Series, which ran from the 40s through the 60s. Sorry Wrong Number begins with a woman who overhears 2 men planning to kill a woman. Through the course of the play our housebound heroine tries desperately, frantically, to get someone, anyone, take her seriously and help her stop these 'cold-blooded killers' before they murder this 'poor, innocent woman who is all alone'...

I was absolutely riveted. I got to the address and sat in the car and let the pizzas get cold so that I could hear how it would play out. It’s a wonderful script with all those great Suspense clues along the way.

There’s Agnes (later).

I wanted to play this part, though when I first heard it I was way too young. So I wanted to figure out how you pull off a radio play on stage.

This script was turned into a movie with Barbara Stanwyck, and I tried to watch it, but it was drawn out to feature length and visually kind of boring, and I think I fell asleep. (A great single set play-turned-movie is Tracy Letts’s Bug, directed by William Friedkin. He keeps that set fresh and hot.)

There’s Barbara in all her Blonde, B-cup Glory.

The script was also made into a TV Miniseries in the late 70s. I haven't seen that one, but the stills look wonderfully Dynasty-y.

Anyway, I kind of forgot about the play for a few years until I saw the bank of windows here at the Fishtank. I’ll put up a picture of those windows as we start to dress them, but it’s a big picture window plus 3 more big windows, with room to play, but tightness for the weird visual tension the play needs to pop.

Heidi’s dogs Bruno and Falstaff guarding the window

So here's the concept: I'll be in the windows, miked. Set designer Gary Campbell is transforming the window bank into a 1940s parlor/sitting room. David Kiehl, the sound designer, will be out on the sidewalk and my lines will be sent out over the PA to the audience, who will also be sitting and standing outside.

5 Shows:
Saturday, June 27th, 8:30 pm
First Friday, July 3rd, 8:30 and 10 pm
Monday, July 6th, 8:30 pm
Saturday, July 11th, 8:30 pm


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