Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Gordy Crashes

Written by Sam Byron
Directed by Sherri Eden Barber
Produced by Ricochet Collective

Nominated for:  Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role, Dave Klasko;  Outstanding Set Design, Kate Noll; Outstanding Sound Design, Mark Van Hare; Outstanding Lighting Design, Serena Wong

Photo by Erik Carter

About the Production

Ricochet Collective’s mission is to produce “Visceral Storytelling Events that explore and expand the potential of live art.” In their production of Gordy Crashes, the devastation of Hurricane Sandy is reflected in the life of a young man who is dealing with his own insecurities.

Ricochet’s Executive Director, Brandon Pape, Designers Kate Noll and Mark Van Hare, and actor Dave Klasko talk abou t their work on this compelling psychological exploration.


What attracted you to this production?

Brandon: This was Ricochet Collective's inaugural production, and one that we were fortunate to produce in its world premiere. This would also be Sam Byron's professional premiere as a playwright.

The play speaks to the restlessness and frustration of the younger generation, those "new" adults who are becoming members of a society that both doubts their ambition and depends on their resilience.

Dave:  At first, it was the script. I love the way Sam Byron writes, and the places he takes his characters in this play.

Kate: The winning interview/meeting I had with Sherri Eden Barber and Brandon Pape, who's enthusiasm and smarts won me over immediately.

Mark: I have worked with the director, Sherri Barber, many times before and she is absolutely my favorite person to collaborate with. Sherri has a wonderful sense of how music and design can help tell an effective story onstage. She has a remarkable ability to communicate a broad vision for a play, set the tone for the production, and then synthesize the best ideas from her actors and designers.
Photo by Erik Carter

What was your favorite part of working on this production?

Dave:  I wish I could do 100 plays with Ruffin Prentiss and Jody Flader. Such exciting, dynamic actors to work with - I always felt both taken care of and challenged at every step.

Brandon: Ricochet Collective was founded with the intention of supporting designers and other artists in realizing a vision that pushes the boundaries of what can be accomplished on a stage. To see three of our designers and our lead actor nominated for our inaugural production is a wonderful affirmation of this mission.
Kate: I really loved creating the peripheral space of this apartment. The play starts off relatively commonly, but as it goes on, we begin to realize it's not quite what we thought. I love it when a play allows a set designer to alter the viewer's perception of the world they have been watching. Sam's play had a great turn in it, that Sherri really took by the horns. I think that was the funnest part, trying to create that perception switch at the climax of the play.

Mark:  My favorite part of working on Gordy Crashes was the process of writing music. Sherri and I had long conversations about the political and social implications of the play and then she gave me a free hand to develop the score. I tried to put Sherri's concept into a concrete, musical form that we could then bring into the rehearsal room to help shape the tone and shape of the play.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production?

Mark: We produced Gordy Crashes at IRT Theater on Christopher St. It's a wonderful space but it has a few unique challenges for staging. It is a very small theater with low ceilings so placing speakers in unobtrusive locations was difficult. This limitation actually led to one of my favorite aspects of the sound design: the audience sat very near the playing space and in an "L" shape, allowing me to localize the music in a 360° field around the audience. In larger theaters this would not be possible because some audience members would be too far away from the stage to be inside that field of sound.

Brandon: The venue we performed in presented some interesting challenges, including a very limited electrical capacity (and therefore a limit to the number of lighting instruments we could use) and a small stage area. The designers tackled this challenge with aplomb and developed some inventive ways to both work within the parameters of the space and also heighten the theatricality and impact of the overall design aesthetic. The results were nothing short of extraordinary and served the piece in amazing ways.

Kate: The budget was a real challenge, and I always feel bad when I can't pay people what they deserve for the work they put forth. That being said, I think that the professionalism throughout the whole production was really remarkable, and it allowed everything to run really smoothly. It was one of the best produced shows I've worked on so far, and I'm including the large budget shows.
Photo by Erik Carter

What was the weirdest thing about working on this production?

Mark: We were told by the owners of IRT Theater that a baby lived right next door to the theater and would be woken up by loud sounds. Because of this we could not hang any speakers from the grid overhead or place any large speakers near the upstage wall. We tried our best to fulfill their request and we never heard any complaints from the baby.

What was it like working with the Ricochet Collective?

Dave: If anyone has a chance to work with the Ricochet Collective, take it and don't look back. Starting with the artistic leadership Sherri and Brandon and all the amazing designers and artists involved. It really felt like everyone was working at the top of their game and clicking in a way that I've rarely seen.

Kate: Collaborating with the whole team, and the hard work, talent, professionalism, and respect everyone had for each other was truly inspiring, especially for such a small show. And also the play was compelling, and the strength of Sherri's vision gave us all the conviction we needed to feel inspired by the production.

Mark: I am a company member of Ricochet Collective so I have worked on all of their productions. They have a wonderful enthusiasm for the work and create such a feeling of community around their productions that people genuinely enjoy being a part of the team.

What was it like working with the artists involved with Gordy Crashes?

Brandon: We are so enamored with the artists involved on this production, and are so happy to see them get the recognition they deserve.

You can follow these artists on Twitter
Ricochet Collective - @ricochetnyc
Dave Klasko - @daveklasko

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