The greater Boston area already has a plethora of independent and community theater groups. Some have been around for a decade or longer. Why should you support a relative newcomer on the scene like Chameleon’s Dish? Why do we need one more?
When I first became involved in Chameleon’s Dish, I didn’t know the answer to these questions. I started out as an enthusiastic audience member, and now I’m the producer for this October’s production of The Tragedy of Macbeth, directed by Lenny Somervell. The more I am involved, the more I understand why this small, young company makes sense for the theater-saturated Boston area. Since I’m encouraging friends and strangers to come see Macbeth and to support Chameleon’s Dish with donations or by spreading the word, I want to share why it matters to me.
When I stepped into the role of producer, my nonprofit-management brain turned on, and I remembered the axiom that small arts organizations with less rigid infrastructure (or less infrastructure period) are the most nimble. They can adapt to changing situations and audiences the way organizations with an established season schedule and hierarchy can’t. What does that mean for you, the theater-goer? More shows in more places! In January 2015, Chameleon’s Dish presented Mrs. Hawking by Phoebe Roberts at the geek convention Arisia. The actors and crew put up the show — which included a set made out of a jungle gym — in a conference hotel ballroom, gave a great performance, and struck the set in time for another group to use the space an hour after the final bows. We expect to work similar magic in October, when you find Macbeth behind a door on a residential side street in Somerville.
Chameleon’s Dish isn’t trying to replace any of the other theater groups in the area. Even if the group someday stops being so small and nimble, taking over just isn’t the goal. When it comes to creative expression, we believe more is better. As artists, dramaturges, and literary geeks, we draw inspiration from the work other people are doing around us, and we hope to be an inspiration as well. In particular, Chameleon’s Dish is made up largely of people with some background in Shakespeare or history, and people who are interested in bold and though-provoking new interpretations and original works. The more voices there are in the local theater scene, the richer it becomes!
Many theater groups in the Boston area care about having diverse casts. They recognize that it’s important and fulfilling for all audience members to be able to see people who look like them, and who look different from them, on the stage. For some groups, this priority arose out of a growing understanding of the need, and for others it’s a core part of the group’s identity. We are really excited that we’re not the only ones thinking about diverse casts, but theater as a whole has a long way to go in that regard, and Chameleon’s Dish is proud to be a part of the change. From our “about” page:
Chameleon’s Dish embraces casting that is contrary to traditional expectations of gender, race, age, and overall appearance; in particular, we strive to foster a welcoming and accommodating environment for all actors under the trans umbrella. We believe that open casting enriches both our performances and the experience of the actors, providing crucial opportunity to explore outside of physical type-casting.
—Macbeth Producer, Tegan Kehoe
This October, join us for a chilling production of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. In a play saturated with grand terrors: war, murder, assassination, political upheaval, and most of all the supernatural, it is the subtle horror of manipulation that most sets our hair on end. Often times to win us to our harm, the forces of darkness tell us truths, and with such expert musicians to play upon our hopes and fears, can we avoid becoming steeped in blood? When a master manipulator can assume any shape, how do we know when we are being used? And when the ever-changing face of evil is revealed too late, is there anything left for us but the fall?
We are seeking actors, designers, and people interested in stage management. To get involved, email the director Lenny Somervell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow us more information on our production!
Chameleon’s Dish is proud to present ANNABEL LOST, an original work by Frances Kimpel
This four-person play combines visual art and performance poetry with a montage of dramatic scenes to tell the story of Quetzal, an orphaned refugee of colonial wars, and her otherworldly companion. The narrative centers on their evolving relationship as they attempt to build meaning for themselves within a foreign and destabilized framework.
At The Democracy Center, Cambridge
March 29 at 8:00 PM
April 3 at 8:00 PM
April 5 at 8:00 PM
Admission is free; donations gladly accepted.
Lenny Somervell as Quetzal
Frances Kimpel as Spirit One
Jaryn Wilcox as Spirit Two
and Stephanie Karol as Spirit Three
Directed by Frances Kimpel
Choreography, Assistant Direction by Charlotte Oswald
Assistant Direction by Lenny Somervell
Costumes by Jonathan Kindness
Props by Eboracum Richter-Dahl
Graphic Design by Jenna Schlags
Produced by Stephanie Karol
Hello, friends! We at Chameleons Dish Theatre are launching a kickstarter for our upcoming project, Annabel Lost. This original play by Frances Kimpel combines visual art and performance poetry and a montage of dramatic scenes to tell the story of two orphaned refugees.
As a fledgling theatre company, we want to keep our performances free to the public. At the same time, works like Annabel Lost require an enormous amount of time, energy, and raw materials. We are hoping to be able to provide a modest stipend for our actors and production staff, as well as raise money to make the visual-art and technical elements of the show the best that they can be.
We want this production to be the best that it can possibly be, and you can help! Click here to learn more and consider donating.
There’s still time to get involved in the show itself, either in acting or technical aspects. Check out this post for more about how you can be a part of the production.
Thanks to everyone who auditioned! Annabel Lost is now cast, and we’re looking forward to a great show.
SEEKING ACTORS AND ARTISTS 18+ for Chameleon’s Dish’s experimental theater piece incorporating both prose and poetry, to be performed in Cambridge at the Democracy Center on the evenings of 3/22, 3/29, 4/3, and 4/5. Actors with disabilities, non-binary actors, and actors of color are strongly encouraged to audition. Musical ability and a background in dance or movement is a plus.
Auditions by appointment: contact Frances Kimpel at email@example.com.
ACTORS: Please bring a prepared monologue and/or poetic piece (you will be asked to read both prose and poetry as a part of the audition). Roles are not restricted to specific physical types: anyone may be considered for any role.
OTHER ARTISTS: We are seeking collaborators for creating the visual art, choreography, and music to be integrated with the piece. Anyone interested in this capacity is encouraged to bring or prepare (physically or virtually) an example of their work. You may fill this in addition to an acting role.
ABOUT THE PLAY:
This four-person play combines visual art and performance poetry with a montage of dramatic scenes to tell the story of Quetzal, an orphaned refugee of colonial wars, and her otherworldly companion. The narrative centers on their evolving relationship as they attempt to build meaning for themselves within a foreign and destabilized framework. Although the story takes place in another world, it touches upon Earth-relevant issues, focusing on the intersection between social, personal, and philosophical concerns. The content and artistry alike build towards interweaving the real with the imaginary.
ROLES TO BE FILLED: SPIRIT 1, SPIRIT2, and SPIRIT 3. All three are aspects of a genderless entity belonging to a dubiously real culture called ‘Aether’. They deliver the bulk of the poetry and abstract choreography in the piece.
SPIRIT 2 manifests in the first half of the play as a more human character called ‘RIME’, fellow refugee and friend to QUETZAL.
SPIRIT 1 manifests in the latter half of the play as a quixotic and child-like figure called ‘ANNABEL’.
SPIRIT 3, being the most removed and ineffable aspect, never manifests in a more human form.
SPIRITS 1 and 3 additionally double as MASKED FIGURES, representing colonial presence.
Debuting as part of the events of Arisia ’15
Friday, January 16th at 6PM
at the Westin Waterfront Boston
Welcome to the Chameleon’s Dish’s current project!
The first installment of the “Mrs. Hawking” dramatic series will be performed as part of Arisia 2015, a major science fiction and fantasy convention in Boston, MA! It will be performed at the Westin Waterfront Boston hotel as an event for con attendees on Friday, January 6th at 6pm.
This is very exciting, and also a big challenge! We have a lot of work to do in a very short period of time. I’m in the process of gathering a cast and staff as quickly as possible so things can get rolling.
The plot summary:
The year is 1880 in the reign of Queen Victoria. Young Mary Stone has just arrived alone and friendless in London, unsure of what to do with herself after a lifetime of keeping house for her late parents in India. She has no choice but to accept a position as a house girl for Mrs. Victoria Hawking, an aloof, mysterious society widow who seems to want nothing to do with her. But when she discovers Mrs. Hawking’s true business, as a secret champion to the otherwise helpless women of London, Mary is drawn into a world of new heroic purpose battling against devious blackmailers, rescuing kidnapped children, and struggling against the restrictive place their society forces on women.
Mrs. Victoria Hawking: Frances Kimpel
Miss Mary Stone: Samantha LeVangie
Mr. Nathaniel Hawking: Jonathan Plesser
Mrs. Celeste Fairmont: Arielle Kaplan
Lord Cedric Brockton: Francis Hauert
Sir Walter Grainger: Matthew Kamm
Mr. John Colchester: Robert Imperato
Miss Grace Monroe: Jennifer Giorno
Ensemble: Joye Thaller, Andrew Prentice
With the technical talents
Director: Phoebe Roberts
Technical Director: Bernie Gabin
Stage Manager: Eboracum Richter-Dahl
Set Designers: Joe Gabin and Carolyn Daitch
Costume Designer: Jennifer Giorno
Sound Designer: Neil Marsh
Mrs. Hawking is a unique theatrical experience featuring brave, active, complicated female protagonists on an exciting caper in the Steampunk mold.
Come see us on Friday night! It’s going to be an adventure!
Learn more at www.mrshawking.com!
Date: Friday, December 19
Location: The Democracy Center, Cambridge
Join Chameleon’s Dish for a reading of Annabel Lost, a short play by Frances Kimpel. Doors open at 7:30 and refreshments will be provided. The reading itself will start at 8:00 and run a little under an hour. Stay on afterward for discussion and a chance to impact the shape this production will take when it goes up this spring. This is still very much an open project, and we invite you to be a part of it!
About the Play
Annabel Lost combines visual art and performance poetry with a montage of dramatic scenes to tell the story of two orphaned refugees, Quetzal and Rhime. The narrative centers on their evolving relationship as they attempt to build lives for themselves within a foreign and destabilized framework: while threats both internal and external threaten to consume them, their contrasting strengths prove grounds for both tension and mutual support.
The content and artistry of the piece are alike geared towards interweaving the real with the imaginary. Although the story takes place in another world, it touches upon Earth-relevant issues, focusing on the intersection between social, personal, and philosophical concerns. As the performers move through the narrative, they combine and recombine the more abstract elements of the piece with the concrete in order to highlight the development of central themes and relationships. Chimerical poetry, art, and choreography are interwoven with tangible characters and events in a manner that both deepens the more realistic content and provides a relatable framework for the more esoteric.
What is a Process Reading?
Annabel Lost is a collaborative work, and we continue to look for creative input on all levels for the upcoming spring 2015 production. Both the subject matter and composition of this piece stretch the experience and knowledge of our present troupe, in addition to challenging conventional forms of theatrical story-telling. As such, we believe that offering the piece up to wider range of scrutiny and input will be immensely beneficial to its development. The focus of this reading, therefore, is not only to present the script, but also to solicit feedback and connect with other artists interested in joining our team for the spring production.
We’ve changed our name from Watch City Players to Chameleon’s Dish! We think the new name represents our work better, though we hope we’ll feed you more than air alone. Our first offering: an air cookie to anyone who can figure out where the name Chameleon’s Dish comes from.
For most of our online presence, we’ve just changed our account names, so if you were already following us, you should still be doing so. Links to our Twitter and Facebook accounts are of course still available in the right sidebar.
We’re looking forward to an active winter this year, featuring at least two original works, so stay tuned for performance times and production updates!
Please note: Watch City Players will now be presenting The Importance of Being Ernest in Cambridge, MA, at Clement G. Morgan Park, 60 Columbia Street.
Watch City Players will perform a modern re-interpretation of this much loved classic in a style we hope would make Oscar Wilde weep tears of Queer Pride. This dapper, Queer, dandified, gender-exploded, trivial comedy for serious people will be performed on July 26th, at 7pm.
Welcome to another Monologue Monday, where every Monday we share a monologue read by one of our actors. This week’s monologue is given by the character Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Iv.i, and is read by Frances.
When my cue comes, call me, and I will answer: my next is, `Most fair Pyramus.’ Heigh-ho! Peter Quince! Flute, the bellows-mender! Snout, the tinker! Starveling! God’s my life, stolen hence, and left me asleep! I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was: man is but an ass, if he go about to expound this dream. Methought I was—there is no man can tell what. Methought I was,—and methought I had,—but man is but a patched fool, if he will offer to say what methought I had. The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was. I will get Peter Quince to write a ballad of this dream: it shall be called Bottom’s Dream, because it hath no bottom; and I will sing it in the latter end of a play, before the duke
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