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Monday, April 26, 2010

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Monday, June 25, 2007

ROGUE YEAR ROUND with Suicide Lounge & Tale End!

A double header you can't afford to miss!

6:30 PM (Doors open at 6)
Sunday, July 1

STARLINE Performance Venue
831 E. Fern


more info: at the Rogue Year Round Page!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mark your calendars... we're back!

Click the pic for a bigger version...


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Monday, April 16, 2007

A Laurel...and Hardy Handshake...

And a tremendous THANK YOU for the Promo Vid. It's wonderful and everything we could have wanted. And, based on Steph's's working already!!! Hope you enjoy the show, Steph.

Thank you, Marcel.

g & l


Tuesday, April 3, 2007

TALE END - the marketing of a new play. Pt. 2

Mind you, even though the intent was to Create excitement (or at least intrigue) with the creation of a brand new play there was really no "diabolical" plan on how this would be accomplished. So, everything was just one step beyond the "willy nilly" stage. What would be the "hook"... apart from the fact that it was a new play? It was 4 months from "premiering" at Rogue 2007... and a completed play didn't even exist yet.

Epiphany: You can't sell a product that doesn't exist!

Then... BOOM... one morning (after a 4 week drag) there was a sudden burst of creative energy in play writing. Within 7 days the play (at least the first draft) was completed. I can only guess that my creative doodling with the video helped unblock me.

*The success of our "art" has always been dependent on "buzz".

So, now I had a product. (Yeah, chide me for calling it that... but ultimately, if you are selling tickets to a show... you have a product.) Now the promotional thrust began to take shape. 2 words came into play AWARENESS & INTRIGUE.


The show had been cast by this point (3 months and counting) and workshop readings were underway. I had asked the cast to post about their experience as the process of creation was taking place... warts and all! (The workshop and rehearsal process turned out to be a "love fest" but that's beside the point... if things got challenging and ugly they had the freedom to blog about it.) Though it did take a while... the cast did finally warm up to the idea.

Theatre J'Nerique has had a website since the late 90's. It was pretty much a "static" site that operated as an electronic billbord of sorts. Since we hadn't produced for a while all the "news" there was at least 3 years old.

Adding a blog to it (which is really easy to do) made the site a lot more interactive and immediate. The fact that readers can comment also gave the potential audience member a direct buy-in into the show. * The idea is that if you follow something long enough... you'll want to catch the "final product."

(* All "art" is the skillful craft of manipulating thought and emotion.)

A poster had already been created for the show. (2 and a half months before.) Instead of limiting it to just a "hard" print form... a digital form was also created and placed on our blog. Readers were actively encouraged to "steal it" for their own blogs or sites.

I had my own MySpace account that I never paid much attention to. I didn't much care for their blog format (Blogger and Wordpress seemed more accessible and immediate) and it always seemed like more of a "dating network for a 13 year old mentality". On the plus side... everyone and his uncle has one and it seemed a great way to send out bulletins to a "captive audience"... if for nothing else maybe a way to get more readers hooked on to the blog at the company site.

The "target audience :

a. the usual suspects (local theatre nerds)
"Friending" target A:
Start with your friends in theatre... then move to "harvest" their friends. (Chances are they are into theatre themselves.)

b. a brand new audience.
"Friending" target B:
Hit "locals" (within a 50 mile radius) who are involved in other disciplines of the arts - poets, musicians, etc. (You'll be amazed how many of those in the other disciplines have never been to theatre... this gives them the perfect reason to check it out.)

Then, just about anyone (within a 50 mile radius) that would respond to your request to "add" them. The rationale was that if only 20 percent of your "friends" took notice of you... that's 20 percent more than you had before.

"Other" Sources:
Apart from MySpace bulletins... articles and notices were also posted in local "citizen journalism" e-zines and email forums from time to time informing of something "interesting" was occurring at our site. (BTW... owning our own domain provided a central and easy to remember location for people to check in to see what was happening at their own convenience.)

During the workshop period it was also decided that another VIDEO should be produced and posted. This brought even more immediacy to the awareness that "something exciting" was brewing and in the works.

Two months before mounting the show our site was averaging 200-300 hits a day. Now it was time to move into the area of creating "intrigue".

Read about that in the final Part 3.

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Monday, April 2, 2007

We "are more intermittent in nature"

LOL... at least that's what it says in this article in the Bee on Sunday. Why, yes... yes we are. But there are a few minor reasons why we are so at the moment.

Let's forget for now that for several years we were the only active independent theatre company in town... or the fact that we would produce a 4-5 play season... or that three quarter of that season were original works by local playwrights... or that for 4 years we also managed a great 200 seat theater at The Sanctuary... or that part of our work was mentoring and developing a young company to critical acclaim with little or no outside funding... or that none of the shows we produced back then could get reviewed (some strange policy that we had to be in business for at least 2 years before we could be)... or we started the Rogue and produced it for the first 4 years until it became a non-profit entity unto itself (it could be argued then that we've actually produced hundreds of shows)... or that for at least for 2 of those early years we were producing our season of shows just to raise funding for the festival... or that our personnel has now been (burnt out or) absorbed (almost totally) by the Rogue... or that... no, let's just forget about all of that. (Not that anyone called to ask.)

(deep breath.)

But, all that aside... I am actually thrilled that there are 4 new theatre companies in this town. My sincere hope is that they all thrive. It is also my hope that this city has at least 10 active independent theatre companies. (Mo bettah, mo bettah!) Competition is healthy and raises the level of performance and inspires the creation of more (and affordable) playing spaces to perform in. (Really, think about it from a "supply & demand" business logic.)

Yes, it is an actor's market right now. However, since we are on a roll here (at least I am)... I also think (and hope) that the acting pool grows. To that end... I hope that part of the mission of these companies is to nurture and develop new talent to shine on stage. This can only be if casting choices are made outside of the "usual suspects." Sure we all want "ringers" in our productions... but attention (and active encouragement) also needs to be paid to the possible "ringers" of tomorrow. Yes, the colleges are doing a great deal in that area... but let's not just leave it all to them.

I am encouraged and applaud the energy, efforts and ambitions of these 4 new companies. Mega Kudos all around! Lets hope their efforts also inspire and encourage the creation of new audiences to the theatre.... not just target that exclusive "niche market" but also put in the effort and creativity to being inclusive both in the areas of marketing and the creation of our product on stage. Once again, it's supply and demand... let us set about creating (and making real) the notion that the arts is good for business. Because that in fact is what will help all of us thrive.

Just for the record... I am proud of what has happened... that we are and continue to be generous with our (limited) resources... wouldn't have done it any other way.

For a bit there... you did think it would go the other way, huh? (Boy, our old site looks crappy.) LOL!

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Friday, March 30, 2007

TALE END - the marketing of a new play.

(or... How we got over ourselves, experimented in web marketing and sold out 3 out of 5 performances at Rogue 2007)
by Marcel Nunis
(independent playwright/director/producer)

As a creator of new works it used to frustrate me to no end that theatre companies would not even look at a new piece unless it had already been produced. So, in the 1990's I formed my own production company. Well, that solved that problem... sort of.

Over the years as an independent producer I learned that one has to wear hat upon hat in order to be effective in the real world of the arts. I, at first reluctantly had to learn skills that (shudder) was not part of my craft. (Come on... just let me write... that's all I wanna do!) In time, I got over it and embraced those other skills (graphic & web design, etc) as part and parcel of my chosen gig.

FAST FORWARD... ... to the Fall of 2006. I was writing my first new play in 5 years. I had come head on up against a creative wall in the writing. While waiting for that engine to be jump started again, I decided to begin marketing of the not yet completed new work. (This is a trick that I have used for years. It's called "PUT YOUR BIG FOOT IN YOUR BIG MOUTH SO YOU HAVE TO DELIVER THE GOODS!") Works like a charm everytime... at least where completing the piece is concerned.

sidebar: I had read somewhere that playwrights are notorious for doing this. British playwright Alan Ackbourn would actually book a London theater for a run just to force himself to write the damn play.

OPEN MOUTH... INSERT FOOT I had already begun blogging about my frustrations on my personal blog... this post is an example. I decided that (to really motivate myself with the possibility of grand humiliation) I would go full bore and blog about it on the theatre company site. I had recently redesigned the company site (adding this blog to it) and figured that at least our stalwart supporters would find reading about the "process" mildy interesting.

I had also recently acquired some great video editing software (don't ask how) and decided to teach myself this new skill. So, with a borrowed DV camera I produced THIS VIDEO and uploaded it to Daily Motion and YouTube. I also embeded the video there. All this cost me was the investment of time (2 days.) Surely this would create tons of interest in this brand new (and not yet completed) project.

::crickets chirping::

OK... we hadn't produced a show in a while (3 years to be exact)... so, a total of 7 regular readers to our site saw the video in the first week... and a couple of curious YouTubers. It was time for a strategy.
STRATEGY (creating a promotional thrust)

I decided that I didn't just want to hook in the usual suspects (theatre nerds) but also perhaps bring in a BRAND NEW audience to my (yet completed show) that was slated to be mounted at the 2007 Rogue Festival in March. (If you are shooting for grand humiliation... go big, I say.) So, I devised a promotion strategy.

sidebar: In so doing I was reminded of this... "
Every discipline of the arts is a medium of communication." for more on this go here.

Anyway, this is what I came up with:
Create excitement (or at least intrigue) with the creation of a brand new play!! (Note: The exclamation points... this generally means "create excitement"... at least I was excited by this. BTW... if you are not excited about your own "product"... don't expect anyone else to be.)

How Would I Accomplish This?
The Internet. (Afterall, not everyone is surfing for porn... ) This "new media" has hardly been tapped by the arts community (at least effectly)... if nothing else this would be a worthy (and affordable) experiment.


: From the standpoint of a potential audience the interactive nature of blogging provides a personal "buy in" to a project. (Come on... how many of us buy those "special edition" DVD's just to watch those "making of" mini features before actually watching the main feature?) So, in effect I was using this tool to give readers a "making of" as it was happening and creating a personal "insiders scoop" to the show.

MYSPACE: Everyone has one these days and it's a great way to "harvest" potential audience through "friending" and to send out bulletins to broadcast what is happening.

VIDEOS: With the rise of YouTube the potential grows to create "promotional videos" the way the "big guys" do. Everyone loves visuals... especially if they move.

LOCAL E-ZINES: In Fresno (where we are located) there is a great "citizen journalism" site (that is now owned by the local paper) called where anyone can post articles or blog.

EMAIL DIGEST OR NEWS LETTERS: Again in Fresno (where we still are located) one exist called that many in the "creative class" subscribe to. (Talk about a potential audience!)

I was still creatively blocked where the actual writing of the play was concerned... so why not exercise my creativity elsewhere? (Really, I didn't even have a title for the play yet.) The choice was between dawdling and picking my nose or perhaps jump start (and perhaps get unblocked) by exercising those muscles in another area of communication.

Find out in Part 2 how I used these tools. (coming soon!)

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Updates & Labels

UPDATE: 1/16/07
You can follow the evolution of our latest show TALE END from page to stage. Just click the Tale End label and through blog posts and the occasional video you'll get an insider's view of what happens. Think of it as a "Making Of" as it's happening.

Just follow the Labels below to where you want to go!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Done for now?

from Marcel
"I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that a Marcel play had sold out houses." (from a friend who has been in my other shows on closing night.)

It's true. For many years my shows had never done that. This year it did. Yes, the marketing was quite aggressive... and it's arguably my best work to date... at least according to friends who know a bigger body of my work... others are still unsure just what to make of it.

"You have returned!" (from another friend and fellow playwright on closing night.)

I was happy to return with this one. And to journey back with the fellow adventurers I was blessed with on this show. It was a challenging piece to write... and I suspect the same could be said from the point of view of the audience. It's a piece that we can all be proud of though.

Yeah, there were hiccups during the run... but we overcame them and ploughed through. In the end... the thing of bueaty that was within grasp was embraced.

"It's really tight-writing wise... and your performers are stellar. I especially enjoyed the Pinter touches in it." (from a fellow playwright who was also featuring original work in the festival.)

I admit that it is great receiving genuine strokes from peers. Ultimately though... it's the audience that matters. We created and mounted a show that we would have paid good money to see... and evidently most of the audience that came to the shows liked it as well. This was a good run at the Rogue. We rest now... but it's far from done. There are a few more tweaks before it travels.

For those of you who have rode the mounting of this beast with us... Thank You. We'll let you know when there is more ahead.

(pics by Brad Polzin)

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

TALE END Reviews - thus far

Welcome again to Da'Rogue...

For those who don't remember..I rarely get to see much of any one rather than my own comments I post those I hear from arriving and/or departing attendee's.. we go!

Standing in line, waiting to get in.."So I hear she might..","..does she REALLY get..", and "..have you seen .." I guess their is some serious buzz going on abouth THAT!

Walking back towards Rogue Central, after seeing the show.."WOW, really cool concept, really nice idea for a 'behind the scenes' perspective", and "..did not expect was well done.." and last but not least "..he did it..". random, not completely accurate, somewhat impartial opinion pole is that "Tale End" gets at least a B+. Now if they can just get some help from the American Rifle Association with their props..
Goon-In-Back | 03.04.07 - 12:14 pm
"Tale End" is one amazing piece of theater - the script is excellent and the cast just plain stellar. I have probably never seen two actors crowd an almost bare stage like these two. All the twists worked, the play metaphors worked, and the characters worked. And it was brilliant how convincingly the two principals nuanced their characters' statures. They sure kept me on the edge of my chair! Bravo, bravo, bravo. This is a must see.
Tale end was indeed amazing, but a bit confusing, as well. It is quite enjoyable watching 2 such accomplished actors dominate the stage (both of which I have previously admired in their GCP roles), but the quickening pacing of the script near the end made it difficult to glean the truth of the situation - just wish it was easier to figure out the payoff. Otherwise, beautifully acted performance.

Tale End (Dianna's South)

"Tale End" the first play in five years for Marcel Nunis. If you can call a show that was much anticipated a sleeper then this is a sleeper, only because Rogue is usually thought of as good laughs, music, one [wo]man shows, and dance, but this is a devilishly good dramatic two person play. A postmodern fairytale within a play set in a world of make believe. Where each character plays two or three parts of the archetypal characters of the theatrical/fairytale world. From the hero to the villain, to the damsel in distress, to the devious seductress, to the never seen, but often talked about evil stepmother. This two person play was flawlessly acted. Renee Newlove & Greg Taber deserve heaps of accolades.

This play is a postmodern fairytale with a not so fairytale ending. It is as good as Rogue gets.


Nothing short of phenomenal!

Nothing short of phenomenal! Tale End is an ambitious and well-executed play that is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen at Rogue - definitely a must-see! This fast-paced drama is brilliantly written, with every word there for a reason as the gripping story developed. The two performers brought their characters to life with powerful emotion and variability. I was completely floored after I saw this; I actually had to just stand and let everything seep in for a few moments and then gradually let myself re-acclimate before going to the next show on my list. Note that there has been a performance added (not listed in the Rogue map) on Saturday, March 10 at 4pm at Dianna’s South.


I was very pleased with Marcel Nunis's A Tale End, a dark reworking of the story of "Snow White." Renée Newlove and Greg Taber do a terrific job in their roles as a modern-day Snow White and the Hunter, and the play develops its characters very well--especially considering given the short period during which this complex tale unfolds. There are plenty of twists to the plot, which covers violence and murder, family secrets, sexuality, the tawdry lives of casino magnates, and Target store surveillance cameras. You'll want to pay close attention, as the story becomes intriguing and maze-like as it nears its close.

My complaints are few and minor: Newlove spends perhaps more time than is absolutely necessary in her underwear (although she wears lingerie very well), and I found myself wondering why Taber isn't made to strip down to his choneys? (What's good for the goose....) And the promo materials for the play push the will-she-or-won't-she-get-naked schtick a little too far, in my opinion. After all, the play is good enough to stand on the merits of its clever writing, its strong sense of character, and its deft handling of narrative. But hey, if a little titilation will bring the audiences in, the so be it. It's a tribute to Nunis and his actors that A Tale End actually needs little in the way of sensational hooks to make experiencing the play very worthwhile.

Mintzworks said...

When you've watched enough theatre performances, you can tell when the cast is having an off night. It was tonight.

Here's the American Idol review:

Randy says: "Yo Dog, wha's happ'nen' dog? You know, you did your thing, dog. It was a little pitchy in places, but you did your thing, man."

Paula says: "Oh, gosh. I mean, gosh. Greg and Renee are so beautiful on stage. I just sorta wish, you know, that I could see Renee more. She needs to open up more to the audience...I felt bad for the people on the outside seats who saw her back much of the time. A beautiful back, tho..."

Simon says (c'mon, do the accent in your head): "Well, for me, to be honest, I could see where the playwrite was going with this, but it might have been better read than performed. Some of the dialogue, exposition and references got bogged down and were tough to perform, no matter how good the actors were."

Ryan Seacrest then jokes "Okay, let me get this straight. Renee's character is supposed to be what? 22 or 23? She looks 26. Greg's character is supposed to be near 40? He looks 28. And he's s'posed to have a bald spot? Um, no."

Randy: "Man, dog, I was thinkin' that, dog, but my problem was I sat in the back row and couldn't hear Greg half the time, or else he was shoutin', dog. It was rough, dog..."

Paula: "I think Greg should have been in his underwear. No, kidding. No, serious."

Simon: "Paula, I agree with you on one thing...because I didn't understand the whole 'does she get naked' marketing thing. It took away from a great story idea and one of the most solid plays from Marcel I'd seen. I know you have to get arse's into seats, but, and I'm not being rude, but it took away from things."

Paula: "I just think if she has to act in her nightgown, Greg has to strip at gunpoint to his chonies."

Simon: "Paula, you're drunk."

And she, of course, is.

March 8, 2007 12:13 AM
Barry said...

Rather than try to summarize the plot of Tale End, because getting there is far more than half the fun, I’ll just offer a few comments of the short, choppy variety.

Tale End is intriguing, funny, well-staged and well-performed, sexy, mysterious, dense and smart. At times you’ll be scratching your head a bit wondering what the hell’s going on, and enjoying that sensation of head-scratching along that way. And really, what’s better than a little head scratching? Numerous and unexpected plot twists and a clever concept. And it’s selling out, so line up on time.

Barry Smith

March 8, 2007 10:29 AM
Walrus Gumbo said...

Whoa! This play does leave my head reeling or maybe it's just Renee's tempting vixen persona! (Whew! The lady is HOT!!!) Anyway, a very intriguing and ambitious work with enough twists and turns to keep you smirking. I relished how the manipulation volleyed back and forth. It really does make you enjoy it for all the wrong reasons! Sexy and devilishly fun! Highly recommended!

March 8, 2007 1:56 PM
theatre275238 said...

I'm sorry but this was the most dissappointing piece of theatre I've maybe ever seen. The script is atrocious. Someone had the idea lets write a play where none of the action happens on stage. That's always exciting. Then lets throw in plot twist after plot twist, although since there is no actual action on stage they are just expositonal twists. Then lets not worry about the fact that no one cares about these characters. When one "plot twist" doesn't work let's try 18 more. And if that's not exciting, lets put a gun on stage. We will make many promises we never fullfill. We'll advertise a suspensefull porno and put on a talky piece of expositon. We'll have that gun which, as a theatrical devise can be a very powerfull threat or promise and we will wave it around and point it so many times without it ever really mattering that people no longer care about that either.

Seriously, this is a group of people who should have known better than putting this on stage. They have talent and some knowledge and acted as though they through this together a week before hand in someone's basement. Yes the theatre has rules, and yes, rules are meant to be broken, but know what the rules are first and then why you are breaking them.

Not only was this show not worth my seven dollars. It wasn't worth my hour I spent in the room.

March 8, 2007 2:46 PM


Marcel Nunis' "Tale End" is one of the big hits of this year's Rogue Festival. Performances are selling out, and another show has been added to the schedule Saturday. Word-of-mouth is a strange and wondrous beast; I've heard many more people talk about going to "Tale End" because it's hard to get into than because it's a good piece of theater.

But commerce and art have always been linked, and kudos to Nunis for being so adept at getting bodies into the seats.

Which leaves us with "Tale End" the play, which is not the same as "Tale End" the phenomenon. There's no question this is a high-octane production with a couple of highly charged performances from its hard-working actors, Renee Newlove and Greg Taber. With a frenzied series of plot twists and enough emotional jacknifes to give whiplash to a soap opera, this cheeky and fast-moving one-act production leaves the audience breathless.

However -- and this is a pretty big however -- this loose take-off on "Snow White" promises more than it can deliver. It's a few dwarves short of a septet.

Nunis does manage to twist the fairy tale in amusing ways. Miss White is a conniving, shallow, entitled teen under the keen and watchful eye of her vengeful stepmother. On this night she's opted to go shopping after-hours at the local Target store. The "hunter" from the original tale has become the chief of security at the "Kingdom," which instead of a land far away is a rundown Las Vegas casino. He's there to protect her. Or is he? Headstrong and strong-spirited, the two characters square off in a constantly shifting battle of wills. iPods, cell phones, handguns, sex talk and hard-R language are prominently featured.

I must admit to being very much a non-Snow White expert, so I may have missed some of the script's clever fairy-tale allusions. But I couldn't escape the feeling that while Nunis was very good at twisting this tale, he didn't know when to stop. He couldn't stop twisting. Instead of gradually weaning the audience onto the joke, or even providing an "aha" moment when things start to fall into this place, the plot keeps tying up even tighter. Perhaps it's because the link to the original fairy tale is more tenuous than it first seems. Is this a riff on Snow White, or is it a present-day back-and-forth between a prissy teen and a security guard? If it's the former, it needs a stronger and more significant connection to the source material. If it's the latter, then, the fairy-tale stuff should go out the window completely.

Both actors get a workout, and I had mixed feelings about them as the play rolled on. Newlove has a natural intensity on stage, and her confidence and poise is striking. But when it comes to emotional transitions, she needs much firmer and more astute direction. Taber is strong and charismatic, but, again, his character veers wildly, and while he can certainly handle the script's rollercoaster moves, it starts looking like a lot of effort.

Don't get me wrong: In some ways, "Tale End" is a natural crowd-pleaser and very slick. But if this cast plans to go on the road to other fringe festivals, as Newlove announced from the stage afterward, it's not going to be able to rest on its comfortable cushion of Fresno goodwill. It will have to win over audiences not just with its premise but with its execution. This "Tale" has promise, but I hope this isn't the end result.

Posted by
Donald Munro
05:14 PM

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