Field Notes From A BOA Virgin: Program 1 And Program 2, Together At Last

Annie Paladino continues her chronicle of this year’s BOA Festival. Anything you want to share about the Bay Area Small Theater Experience? Let us know! We’ll be looking to fill some blank space after Annie gives us her capper article next week. And we know there is plenty of stuff going on out there. Let the world know too!

Another week down — and one to go! Actually, for Program 2, we’ve just got two performances left. Sniff.

This week I give you some thoughts, musings, and observations about the two Programs as counterpoints and/or complements to each other. And, maybe more importantly, I invite those of you who have seen both Programs to share your thoughts on the matter! Commenting is fun.

Right from the first dress rehearsal for Program 2, I was struck by how overpoweringly female our Program is (as were many others). As I’ve already noted, there are two plays with casts of just two women — in one, they are sisters (The Bird Trap), while in the other, lovers (A Game). Right there, you’ve got more types of female relationships than are typically portrayed in any one production on the American stage. Maybe Baby is definitely woman-centric. It follows three women (one single, one with a female partner, one with a male partner) as they approach the decision to conceive a child. Of the remaining two pieces in Program 2, I.S.O Explosive Possibility explores a kaleidoscope of female experiences, equating their branching life paths with the differentiation of stem cells — certainly focusing on women. The only slight outlier here is Death to the Audience, a clever meta-theatrical morsel which kicks off the evening — but then again, maybe the exception proves the rule.

On Saturday evening, I finally (finally!) saw Program 1 — and was kind of bowled over by how thematically different it felt from Program 2. Program 2 is, to grossly oversimplify, the Sex and Violence show. This is pretty obvious from a few of the pieces: The Three Little Dumplings Go Bananas features more colorfully violent imagery than probably all the other shows combined (including matricide represented by a surprisingly disturbing sandwich dismemberment), plus a bit of (albeit weird) heat between the Third Dumpling and the Mailman; Brainkill starts out with a placidly-argued plan to kill people and take their stuff and only gets more morally bankrupt from there; and In Bed begins with a hot-and-heavy drunken make-out between a man and woman on their third date (made all the more intense by the close quarters of the theater) and culminates in the reveal that one of them is a child molester. But even the other plays somehow seem to fit. Cello is quiet and exceedingly delicate in comparison to its Program-mates, but the specter of danger and death looms large (particularly in the form of the cellist/sister on stage). And though The Seagull Project is, on the surface, ebullient and full of life, the violence and adolescent infatuations of its source material permeate every moment (Constantin’s violent and obsessive tendencies are foregrounded in the small bits of text included in the piece).

What do you think? Agree/disagree? Am I full of shit? Missing the point? What other common threads or parallels did you observe? These things are interesting to me for more than just rhetorical reasons — as a snapshot of local Bay Area theater artists, BOA is particularly well suited to tell us something about what we (as a theater community) want to talk about, about what’s on our (collective) minds.

So…women, sex, and violence? Jeez, guys.

Please please discuss in the comments — or if you haven’t seen both Programs, what are you waiting for? There’s only one weekend left!

Make sure you don’t miss out on this year’s BOA Festival! Get more info, and tickets, at!

Field Notes from a BOA Virgin: Highly Scientific Data — I Haz Dem

Annie Paladino continues her report from the BOA front lines… 

So, BOA 2012 happened.

No, wait, just kidding! It’s STILL happening!

What DID happen was that, in less than a week, two full programs composed of 10 amazing one-act plays were loaded-in, teched, and rehearsed (lather, rinse, repeat). This past Sunday, both programs had their first performances. Since the play I am in, Maybe Baby, is in Program 2, I can only speak from that experience- which was LOVELY!- but seriously: just try to imagine TEN CASTS AND CREWS getting their shit together, tech-wise, in like, 4 days. Oh wait, YOU CAN’T, because IT SOUNDS IMPOSSIBLE. But… it happened! I promise! With little-to-no heartbreak, tears, hair-ripping, etc.!

Let the following facts and figures fill you with awe:

– Number of set changes in Program 2: 4

– Number of times we rehearsed the set changes during dress rehearsal: 3

– Number of actors in Program 2: 23

– Ratio of men to women in Program 2: 6:17 (including two separate plays with a cast of just two women — this is significant and awesome!)

– Sweat-intensity level in the overwhelmingly crowded backstage area: off the charts

– Average number of eggs cracked during each performance of Maybe Baby: 4-6

– Yolky-stage rating for the weekend: low (only one incidence of spillage)

– Number of teapots used in Maybe Baby: 9, plus one teapot-dog-puppet

– Average number of pushups done by the women in Maybe Baby (myself included): 20-25

– Number of splinters in bare feet thus far: ZERO, despite vigorous mash-potato-ing (the dance step — no actual cooking involved, sorry) (knock on wood)

– Number of bathrooms for the cast, crew and audience: 1 (plus one secret bathroom for cast/crew shhhh!)

– Number of minutes I have personally spent waiting in line for the bathroom: 15… so far

– Injury rating from the weekend: I may or may not have given my scene partner a fat lip during fight call before dress rehearsal

– Personal excitement level for seeing Program 1 (which I expect to do this weekend): SKY HIGH

– Number of performances before the cast of Maybe Baby reverted to high school theater and started trading back massages backstage during Act I: …zero

In sum…you don’t want to miss BOA 2012.

Until next week…


PS. Wednesdays and Thursdays are PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN: perfect for all you broke-asses!

Annie will be back next Tuesday with more sassy backstage commentary. Meanwhile, if you want to know more about BOA 2012, check out for showtimes, tickets and more! 

Field Notes from a BOA Virgin: First Time’s the Charm?

Annie Paladino continues our series of guest posts detailing the small theater experience around the Bay Area. Today she gives us an inside peek at the Bay One Acts Festival, which opens this Sunday, April 22nd. To find out more about the festival, check out To find out more about Ragged Wing, the group Annie is a part of, check out



It feels weird to divulge this secret to the entire Internet, but…here goes.

I am a BOA virgin.

The annual Bay One Acts festival is rife with, shall we say, artistic repeat offenders: a fabulously tight-knit, yet ultimately sprawling, cadre of Bay Area indie-theater hotshots. There must be some powerful chemical that gets released after your first time, because they (by their own admission!) just can’t help coming back for more. But of course, there’s got to be fresh meat every once-in-a-while and, speaking as one such noob, we are eager and anxious for our first time.

So, this year, for BOA XI, I am your intrepid reporter, your ethnographer of all things BOA. For half of you Theater Pub blog-reading-types, my observations will provide an engrossing and (I’m guessing) truly salacious behind-the-scenes peek at how it all goes down for a BOA first-time. For the rest of you (you BOA old-timers, you!), well, you can look forward to enjoying some patronizing chuckles at my quaint and (probably) charmingly over-excited field notes. A bit like reading your socially awkward, over-enthusiastic 12-year-old niece’s journal entries from the night of the Junior High Semi-Formal.

You might ask (let’s just assume you did), “Well, Annie, presumably you’ve already been rehearsing, since BOA IX opens in LESS THAN A WEEK, so come on, spill the beans: any juicy deets thus far???” What a great question, Internet! I have indeed been in rehearsals for Maybe Baby, Ragged Wing Ensemble’s fantastic piece in this year’s festival. But my true first foray into the world of BOA begins this week — with tech rehearsals, a dress rehearsal, and of course, Opening Night. My first interactions with the Other Companies (henceforth referred to as The Others), in addition to BOA as a whole, are still to come. We’ll see what tawdry secrets come to light.

Stay tuned for more, my darling voyeurs — this will be a weekly series for the duration of the BOA XI run.

Until next time,