From New York to Minnesota: A New Friendly Face

If you’ve seen either Holmes and Watson or Boeing Boeing this spring then you have likely encountered the newest addition to the Commonweal, Lacey Szerlip. Read on to learn a little bit more about our newest Stage Manager!

Hi everyone! I’m Lacey Szerlip! I’m excited to be here as a Stage Manager this season! I love the community that is built around this company and how nice and welcoming everyone has been. I was born and raised in Redondo Beach, California. I miss the beach everyday, but I also enjoy wide open spaces so this is a nice change for me.

Lacey Szerlip
Lacey comes to us by way of California and New York City!

I grew up watching productions of musicals and plays around Los Angeles. My mom really pushed us to see anything and everything we could. She really helped to shape my love for all kinds of art. I went to college at a State University named Purchase College in New York. I studied Theatre with a concentration in Stage Management. I not only learned about Stage Management, but I also learned so much about theatre as a whole and got to enjoy many various types of theatre first hand. College was also the place that I was introduced to so many amazing plays that I never would had known about before. One of my favorite plays that I’ve ever read is written as a prequel and sequel to A Raisin in the Sun, called Clybourne Park

When I applied to the Commonweal I looked up the company and really enjoyed what I found. I knew that this would be a good fit for me, even if it is in a tiny town in Minnesota. Not something I’m used to, but a nice change from my normal pace. Living in this community is such a different environment than I’ve ever lived in before and I like it a lot. And I love that even in such a different place, there is still a bit of what I’m used to: a theatre where I get to go and work all day and love every minute of it.

Peter and the Starcatcher rehearsal with Lacey Szerlip
Lacey (center) runs rehearsal alongside Director Hal Cropp (right), and Assistant Stage Manager Jodi Rushing (left).

It has been awesome working on Peter and the Starcatcher so far. It’s going to be an amazing show and I can’t wait for everyone to be able to see the magic that we are putting on the stage. This show is so fun, imaginative, and hilarious. It’s a perfect show for me to start my work here at the Commonweal, and for that I’m so grateful! I hope that everyone who comes to see it, enjoys the show as much as I do! See you all soon!

Be sure to catch Lacey’s work as stage manager when Peter and the Starcatcher begins performances on July 12th! For Tickets —> Performance Calendar

The Joys of Hatcher’s Mystery

We asked company member Eric Lee, who can currently be seen as Dr. Evans in Holmes and Watson, what performing the twisting mystery has been like.

Last fall, when we were looking at the season to come, I had one role I knew that I wanted for sure: Dr. Evans in Jeffrey Hatcher’s Holmes and Watson.

First of all, I love a good mystery. In elementary school, I must have read every Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew book in the school library. Then I found a treasure trove of old Ellery Queen mystery magazines at a neighbor’s garage sale! What a day that was!

Holmes & Watson production photo - 3 Holmeses
Eric Lee (far left) alongside the rest of the cast. Photo by Peterson Creative Photography and Design

Fast forward to last year. I’m reading Holmes and Watson, and the first thing that strikes me is that signature Hatcher cleverness and wit. I just love his way with language and how he tells a story. I was intrigued, engaged and drawn forward. I couldn’t wait to find out where he was taking me as I was reading—and not every play engages me in that way. When I first read the big reveals, I was just delighted!

Now that the show is on stage, you can hear the shock of the audience at every performance. I certainly didn’t see the twists coming. And why would we? Hatcher reveals the answers to all of his questions with his classic wit and charm. I take great joy in sharing those moments with each audience, and getting to see how they react to the twists and turns I got to take such pleasure in the first time.

Holmes & Watson production photo - dying Inspector
photo by Peterson Creative Photography & Design

I’ve heard it said that one reason we love mysteries is because we know there will be an answer. In a world in which there are rarely clean resolutions to our big problems, what a satisfying feeling it is! As always, I am so grateful to share these moments with you, our Commonweal family. Come and experience all the twists and turns for yourself!

Be sure to catch Eric’s work, and the rest of this stellar cast, before Holmes and Watson closes for good on July 6th.
For Tickets —> Performance Calendar

A Feminist Farce: The Women of “Boeing Boeing”

A Feminist Farce: The Women of “Boeing Boeing”

By Rachel Kuhnle

Women in the Boeing Boeing cast backstage
The women of the Boeing Boeing cast pose in the dressing room
Boeing Boeing opened to audience acclaim on May 18th!

Rehearsing and performing Boeing Boeing sure is fun, but it’s a far cry from doing important, radical, earthshaking theatre… Or is it? Rachel here, looking for the feminist silver lining is a very unexpected place – the French farce Boeing Boeing.

One might assume feminism and farce are like oil and water, and sure, most of the time that probably is the case. But the women of Boeing Boeing are not to be underestimated – Gloria, Gretchen, Gabriella, and yes, even Berthe, are actually great role models!

For example…

Boeing Boeing is one of very few period farces where the women outnumber the men.

This really is a big deal. Despite theatre audiences being between 70-80% women, and the majority of theatre students being women, female characters on stage amount to only about 35% of all available roles. Even the Commonweal Theatre’s 2019 season only has 12 female character roles out of 35 total roles.

All four women in the script are named.

This might seem silly, but it’s very common in media, especially in film and television, for female characters to go unnamed – some studies find as few as 32% of female characters in television and film are named.

Gretchen, Gabriella, and Berthe are bilingual.

Ok, mostly, I just think this is cool. But hey – I’m making an assumption. They could speak MULTIPLE languages, not just two!

All four women are employed, speak intelligently about their work, and find some degree of identity and satisfaction in their professions.

Considering only about 38% of the workforce in 1960s was female, for all four women to be employed is pretty progressive. Will they stay employed once they marry? Who cares – that’s their choice!

All four women are knowledgeable about advancements in their field.

Of course, who wouldn’t be excited about turbo jets and a thrust of 19 thousand pounds?? These women must read Popular Mechanics.

They know what they want, they don’t need to be told what they want.

Think of your favorite love stories – how many of them are a guy-gets-the-girl scenario? It can be fun to watch guys pursuing girls with grand romantic gestures, but in those instances the guy is always “in the driver’s seat” so to speak. In Boeing Boeing, the women drive the action! Bernard and Robert are lucky – if Gloria, Gabriella, Gretchen and Berthe didn’t tell Bernard and Robert exactly what they want, Bernard and Robert would still be rolling around in their beanbags. And Berthe is worth every penny of that additional 40%!

Women in the Boeing Boeing cast backstage
The Women of Boeing Boeing (Left to Right: Lizzy Andretta, Rachel Kuhnle, Adrienne Sweeney, Elizabeth Dunn)

You don’t want to miss out on these incredible women in action. Be sure to catch a performance of the hilarious farce Boeing Boeing. For Tickets —-> Performance Calendar