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BRAINSTORMS from a Glass Mind

 

On Friday, January 29, at the Mobtown Theatre in Clipper Mill, a new theatre company will debut in Baltimore. Glass Mind Theatre formed last October, when seven young artists—many of them recent graduates of area colleges and universities—decided to pool their talents in Baltimore's increasingly vibrant arts scene. Led by artistic director Andrew Peters and managing director Alexander Scally, who met during rehearsals for the 2009 Baltimore Playwrights Festival (Peters directed Scally in Lisa Hodsoll's "Turducken"), GMT strives, in the words of its mission statement, to be "a focal point for bold, young, local artists to train, grow, and prosper."

According to Elizabeth Galuardi, GMT's marketing and public relations director, this "focal point" might include sharing a performance space with visual artists displaying works inspired by the production. (GMT is currently looking for a space of its own.) It might include hosting roundtables and brainstorming sessions with other local theatre companies, conducting workshops, and developing educational outreach programs (a particular passion for Galuardi, who teaches drama to kids at several city schools). It might include uploading video blogs (perhaps containing acting tips or glimpses into the rehearsal process) to the GMT website and inviting local musicians to play before, during, and after performances.

The first fruits of GMT's commitment to collaborative art will be on display this weekend in Brainstorm, an evening of six original plays inspired by ideas submitted by the community. During the first week in January, GMT invited "anyone who has ever had an interesting idea, inspiration, theme, or concept for a play" to tweet the idea (in 125 characters or less) to the company. Of the roughly thirty submissions, company members sent their ten favorites to six local playwrights—Rich Espey, Ira Gamerman, Chris Graybill, Bob Harris, Julie Lewis, and Rain Pryor—each of whom had one week to write a short play on the idea of his or her choice.

If the original tweets are any indication, the resulting plays promise a wide variety of styles, tones, and topics. There is the philosophical: Harris's "Life and Death and Life," based on an idea submitted by Gorden Steen. ("A young man has a conversation with himself as an old man as he is dying.") The whimsical: Lewis's "Bedding America," based on an idea by Josh Luxenberg. ("How can two people live in the same apartment at the same time and have no idea that the other one exists?") The downright silly: Espey's "Catch of the Day," based on an idea by Jon Levin. ("A man tries to seduce a waitress by offering increasingly provocative items off the menu. Things do not go as planned.")

Peters is already planning GMT's encore production: the Baltimore premiere of Carolyn Raship's 2007 play Antarctica, scheduled to open April 16th at Mobtown. The one-act comedy about two alienated girls who plan a trip to the South Pole poses intriguing possibilities for Peters, such as working with an illustrator to "organically make illustrations a part of the storytelling experience."

"We're all interested in working with multimedia as much as any contemporary, young group," Peters explains. "But one thing we want to really focus on is making sure any work we incorporate into any piece is helping to enhance the story and fit into the world of the play. We want [the audience] to invest in every idea and understand why it makes sense within the context of the story."

"The image of a glass mind suggests ideas flowing freely so they can be seen," says Galuardi. "Whether that's a new play or a new take on an old one—we don't want to limit it to experimental, new pieces—we're all really excited to help build a strong arts community in Baltimore."

Brainstorm will be performed on January 29th and 30th at 8 p.m. at the Mobtown Theatre, located at 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 114. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door. For more information, go to www.glassmindtheatre.com or call 443-509-0391.



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From This Author Brent Englar

Brent is an aspiring playwright originally from Baltimore County, though a recent job transplanted me to Los Angeles to work as a sales representative for (read more...)