• 2015-2016 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    Off They Go!

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg At its home base of BYU, Water Sings Blue has brought many smiles to many people’s faces. It’s been privileged to have Kate Coombs join the audience. And it has enjoyed good reviews from Utah Theatre Bloggers. (Of course, if you’d like to see Water Sings Blue at the Margetts Theatre, you have until tomorrow, Saturday, 10 October, to get tickets.) But there is much more ahead. This last week, our Water Sings Blue cast began their tour! For the next three months, our cast will perform for thousands of children in Utah, Salt Lake, and Summit counties with a goal “to introduce theatre to children at…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    Guess Who?

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg We have a game for you! Below are some of our fantastic production photos (courtesy BYU Photo). Two of these are used in our lobby display. A third one not in this post is also included. Can you spot which of the following are in the lobby display? How about the third, mystery photo? Which character does it feature? Come see the show and try to find the answers (and don’t forget to leave them in the comments below!). Water Sings Blue closes this Saturday, October 10th! Costume design by Sarah Stewart. Prop design by Scott Jackson.

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    Why the 1950’s: a peek into Water Sings Blue’s time setting

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg If you’ve seen Water Sings Blue, you may have been intrigued about its costumes, props, or choice of music. Why design this show to be reminiscent of the 1950’s? It’s simple. The 1950’s are often remembered with nostalgia as a carefree time, when life was less complicated and a child’s world less scary. White-picked suburbia was marketed as a place for young families to thrive, as can be seen in this 1957 promotional video for Redbook. While the reality of this nostalgia is debated, and likely depended on who you were and where you grew up, there is much truth in it. According to American psychologist Peter Gray,…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    Shimmer and Run: Communicating with Poetry

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg How can we effectively communicate with poetry? According to the national poetry-reading contest, Poetry Out Loud, every line and word in a poem has meaning. This was confirmed during a visit from Kate Coombs to the actors of Water Sings Blue. If we can understand the tones and connotations of words, possible symbols, and moments of irony and humor, we will find meaning and new life in poetry. Then, we can share that meaning and life with others. When reciting poems, clear diction is needed. Recitations should not be sing-song, but should express what meaning the reciter has found. Vocal inflections, breath, and tempo all are tools…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    How are a poem and a play similar? A visit from author Kate Coombs

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg Water Sings Blue‘s author Kate Coombs made a surprise visit to the actors! She signed books, read her poetry, and discussed what poems and plays have in common. Here are a few of our favorite from Kate’s visit: “[Screenplays and stage plays have] a tight format…that’s true of a poem…dialogue has to be condensed. It has less rambling around.” “You have to make it sound natural. You have to work to make it seem like you’re not working… that’s true of acting…and poetry has the same challenge.” “A poem has to have narrative qualities…poems generally build…often the last line and the last phrase really slams it…I…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    Devising Our Show

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg And so it began… the biggest week of our rehearsals so far. Recently, our talented group of actors met from 7 or 8 am-2 pm to rehearse our show. In the evening, they took home assignments to prep them for the next day’s work. Talk about a full day! What exactly are they doing in rehearsal? While these photos may make rehearsal look all fun and games (and truly, it is fun), these actors are engaging in carefully designed learning exercises. Because Water Sings Blue is a devised piece, there was not a traditional script. Instead, the cast created the plot collaboratively under the guidance of…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    We Were Awestruck

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg On a research trip to the aquarium, we were awestruck. What in the past was the realm of myth, inspiring selkies and mermaids, is now tangible fact, though scientific inquiry. But it hasn’t lost it’s magic. Sea turtle eyes are sage. Sharks glide with dead, empty grins. You can handle and touch sea urchins and sting rays. The ocean is inspiring. It deserves poetry. For the water sings blue and the sky does, too, and the sea lets you fly like a gull. -“Song of the Boat”, Water Sings Blue, Kate Coombs Will you get to meet a shy octopus? Be graced by majestic sea jellies?…

  • 2014-2015 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    Let’s Go Diving!

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the ocean covers 70% of the world’s surface, yet 95% of it remains to be explored. What could be down there? We may not know, but through the efforts of oceanographers and marine biologists, we have discovered quite a bit. You can get a taste by diving into this clips from the BBC:

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    A Visual Comedy Video Timeline

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg Those who read my post last week may remember that Water Sings Blue engages with visual comedy.  What is visual comedy? Well, for an excellent in-depth look, I recommend Julian Dutton’s book Keeping Quiet: Visual Comedy In the Age of Sound. For a brief understanding, I invite you to watch this video timeline based in part on Dutton’s book. Visual comedy is also known as silent comedy. While its existence dates back to the Italian Renaissance’s commedia dell’arte (and likely beyond that) it was the era of silent films which brought visual comedy into the 20th century, with greats such as Charlie Chaplin and the duo Laurel &…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Water Sings Blue

    Splashing, Swimming, Sailing: the premiere of “Water Sings Blue”

    by Spencer Duncan, dramaturg Hi, I’m Spencer Duncan, the dramaturg for the new children’s show, Water Sings Blue, adapted by Teresa Dayley Love. A highly interactive show, Water Sings Blue follows a handful of colorful characters on their day at the beach. Reminiscent of the carefree childhood of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, the show is staged in the visual comedy style of French comedian Jacques Tati (think Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean). As families and audience members play along, they will get to watch our actors transform from lovable human characters into a myriad of marine animals. Some lucky audience members will get to transform into sea creatures themselves!…