Thursday, February 21, 2008

Anita Hoffman

Anita Hoffman has become a regular on the Circle Theatre stage, appearing in their productions of Dear World, Steel Magnolias, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and others, not to mention assisting backstage with elements of various productions. As a smart, talented actor, she is a natural for Circle's smart, tight productions on their very economical stages.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is one of Anita's favorite musicals, Princess Puffer is her all-time favorite role, and in the current Noble Fool Theatrical's production, she's recreating the Princess for Kevin Bellie for the third time. Anita and Kevin have worked together on several Circle productions, so when he called her to play the Princess again for him, she jumped at the chance. This time around, Anita says, her Princess is darker, but every bit as much fun as she has been in the two other productions she's done.

The great thing about Anita as a performer is the joy that she brings to the stage. She's one of those actors who draws the audience onto the stage with her. Backstage she is universally loved -- as evidenced by her many return trips to Circle.

Catch Anita in Drood running through April 12.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


There are several considerations when taking a publicity photo, and the most important is what other shots editors are looking at while looking at the photo for your event. For a play you also need to consider a photo that captures a theme that the audience is likely to connect with. The photo should also contain some tension or some action. Conflict is always good. And as with all of The Side Project productions, this is an intimate, character-driven piece, so it's important that the photo contain a sense of that intimacy. Then finally you need to come down to the basic elements of composition, color, clarity, etc. The object isn't necessarily a "pretty picture," it's a picture that will stand out from a stack of others and be selected. That's exactly the same goal of a good headshot.

As an example, this photo for The Side Project's production of Daniel Talbott's Slipping offers an editor a number of unique features. Conflict, color, composition, all of which work to communicate the theme of the play. It also features the lead actor, Nate Santana. Nate turns in a delicate performance as a teen coping with the pressures of the changes in his family and personal lives, all the while trying to adjust to small-town America. All of the actors (as would be expected from a Side Project project) are outstanding, but the likelihood of the lead actor being mentioned in a review is high, so it's essential that the publicity packet include a clear shot of any actor who might receive special mention.

Slipping, directed by Adam Webster, is running in rep with Philip Dawkin's Perfect at The Side Project. These two are excellent companion pieces that offer more than stereotypical "teens trying to cope in a world gone mad." This is the second set of shows I've done for The Side Project and so far this season the focus has been on powerful young people and the stories about the moments in which those people discover their power. You're not going to find any of these kids in an '80's teen flick. It's been a fascinating collection of original scripts and for anyone who cares anything about live theater, The Side Project should definitely be on your "to-do" list.