2×4 Bash Upcoming Program at The Western Stage
(SALINAS, CA) May 28, 2021 — The Western Stage’s 2×4 BASH season of “theatre on the edge” is back for its 11th season with a fresh take. Its programming is geared towards preparing students for a career in the arts by helping them develop their artistic skills and preparing them to both market and produce their own original work. The program will promote citizen artistry, interdisciplinary and international approaches to creation and will produce two world premieres. Participants will inquire what it means to make art in today’s turbulent sociopolitical milieu and strengthen their own unique voices to cultivate change. They will ask “what’s next?” for theatre, the world and themselves.
After rising to the challenge of creating an original virtual production for last year’s BASH, and with Hartnell College increasing in-person activities on campus, a new hybrid format has been born, which will include a mixture of virtual and in-person performance elements. This format will not only creatively challenge its participants, but allow for broader participation among students longing to return to in-person activities, as well as those who could not otherwise attend in-person but can now participate virtually. Specifically, the BASH hopes to utilize the online format to attract students who live in the far reaches of Hartnell’s district, which is a 100-mile stretch along the Highway 101 corridor, as well as other colleges. A partnership with CSU Long Beach is underway.
Helping lead this reimagining is Director Michael Alvarez, a former Western Stage company member and now an accomplished theatre director and visual artist. Alvarez has been a Directing Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, a Drama League Directing Fellow and a Director with the Civilians R&D Group, amongst others. He has directed in New York, London, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Eastern Europe and at such institutions as Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End, Arcola Theatre and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and he has created performance art pieces at the British Museum. Alvarez is the founding Artistic Director of The Muse Collective and a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. He studied at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama as well as the California Institute of the Arts. He has taught at California Institute of the Arts, The Hangar Theatre and the Serenbe Playhouse and led workshops with students at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and at Lincoln Center. www.Michael-Alvarez.com
The creative team will also include TWS resident staff member and actor/choreographer Heather Osteraa, who will assist students as a mentor. Osteraa is a 20-year veteran of The Western Stage, whose involvement with the company includes internal administrative operations such as marketing and public relations, Young Company and SpringFEST instructor, choreographer and a consistent member of the acting company. As a former 2×4 BASHer, she is excited to circle back to the program as a mentor.
As always, this year’s 2×4 BASH will offer an intensive professional training opportunity for aspiring actors, directors, designers and other theatre-makers. Students will be given the arena to try their hand at new skills under the guidance of professional mentors. During the process of producing this year’s performances, students will work on script analysis, acting and acting for camera, dramaturgical skills, directing, elements of design and devising original work, and they will encounter the process of adaptations and new play development, with a playwright. The 2×4 program is designed to be a bridge between Hartnell Theatre Arts & Cinema Department’s fully student-run projects and The Western Stage’s rigorous season productions.
“We believe in a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to creating theatre,” Alvarez said. “Whether you are an actor, director or designer, the process begins with a deep interrogation into the text or central question/theme of a work. Company members participate in all aspects of the creative process while receiving individual mentorship in your chosen discipline.
“We aim to provide participants with the professional skills needed for a career in theatre and film — skills that can also be transferable to a myriad of other disciplines.”
The 2×4 BASH 2021 season will introduce participants to two different approaches to creating work: working on a new contemporary text-based project and collaboratively devising a site-specific project.
The first project in repertory will explore themes of justice, civic disobedience, public policy and free will by deeply exploring the source text of Antigone by Sophocles. We will be producing Yale and MacDowell Colony playwright Peter Gray’s new contemporary adaptation of the Antigone myth, Starcrossed .
Synopsis of Starcrossed By Peter Gray – Gone and her circle of friends have a pact: the summer after they graduate high school, they’re hitting the road for a cross country stargazing adventure, culminating in an epic music festival and one last hurrah before adulthood. But they’re blindsided when a shooting in their school leaves one of their own dead– shockingly, the instigating shooter. Reeling from the shock and loss, the remaining friends don’t even have time to process their grief before they’re forced on quarantine at home due to a deadly virus. At last, Gone decides her motley crew isn’t going to be kept down by any setbacks. They’ll hit the road for a socially distanced adventure, gaze at all the stars they’d planned, pilgrimage to the site of a non-existent music festival, and fulfill their original promise by bringing along the ashes of their deceased friend to lay to rest. What could possibly go wrong?
The second project in repertory will be an entirely devised and multi-disciplinary work, based upon a central theme chosen by the students. The project calls for a wide range of participants from different areas of creative interest to collaborate with the final product being a multi-disciplinary work. In addition to those versed in theatrical disciplines, the program is also seeking musicians, dancers, spoken word artists, filmmakers and editors, as well as those interested in learning what takes place off-stage, such as directing, designing, and stage managing.
Get Set, Go!
Students seeking information can attend live Q&A sessions, taking place Wednesday, June 2 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, June 5 at 3:00 pm (Zoom Meeting ID: 671 028 0348 Password: BASH)
Your students can get more information and reserve their spot at our updated website: https://westernstage.com/2×4/