Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Don't Call It a Comeback

Hey, y'all. Sorry for the long absence. Believe it or not, my life of the past few months has been even crazier than usual. A couple of announcements:

With Midsummer closed, my tenure as Associate Artistic Director for Richmond Shakespeare has come to an end. It was a roller coaster three years on staff plus two before as a contract artist, and I cherish the memories and the resume credits. But it's time to move on to other venues. I'm planning to continue my associations with the excellent artists and friends there, and will still do the occasional special event, such as the Center Stage opening (see below), but my days of doing full productions with Richmond Shakes are, for the time being, at an end. Even had the economy not necessitated the move, it was time to go. The amazing ensemble of Midsummer's cast and crew was the perfect final project, and I am grateful to every one of them for their hard work in the face of four rainouts in ten tries and little or no pay.

So in sports terms, I'm now an unresricted free agent. I'm looking forward to playing with other theatres in town at some point, but for now I'm on a bit of a hiaitus. I'll be teaching acting at John Tyler Community College in the Fall, and that, combined with my Wednesday evening praise band commitments, makes scheduling rehearsals pretty much impossible. Short-rehearsal projects like staged readings, concert musicals, etc. are feasible, of course, and they are also among my favorite kind of theatrical event.

While I'm out, I'm thinking about trying my hand at some theatre criticism. I may phrase my blog responses to plays I see in the form of a review (thanks to my good friend Dave T for giving me some of Style's guidelines) to get another perspective--and, perhaps, to give one.

So the next big thing? Aside from finally REALLY putting my apartment together (I've been here since March 1 and still haven't unpacked many boxes or put much of anything on the wall), I'm looking forward to Richmond Shakespeare's contribution to the grand opening of Center Stage: a ten-minute collection of sonnets and songs concluding in a fully-orchestrated suite of music composed by... me! Yes, the Richmond Symphony is going to be playing the conclusion to A Midsummer Night's Dream, composed by me and orchestrated by my dear friend Keith Tan. I have no frame of reference to figure out how I should feel about this, but I can say without exaggeration that I have never been so terrified by an artistic endeavor in my entire life. As of yesterday, the score is finished, but I haven't seen it or heard the synthesized demo yet. I think that when I see the multi-line conductor's score for "Through the House Give Glimmering Light" I may actually have to sit down. Or I may faint.

So that will be the climax to my Richmond Shakespeare experience. I am incredibly grateful to Grant, and to the people at the Symphony, for the opportunity. I don't expect it to ever come again.

After that? I may have an opportunity to spread the gospel of five-actor Shakespeare to the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival in May. We've talked variously of As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and Othello. Doing a show I've already directed seems like cheating...

I'm just building the new Me some more, friends. Questions and comments are always welcome.