Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In the Rehearsal Room: Inspiring the Cast of THE FIRST BREEZE OF SUMMER

"Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change -
it can not only move us, it makes us move."
-- Ossie Davis

At the start of each day of work, the cast and team would assemble, and each person in the room would read a quotation aloud to prepare for the task ahead. These words came from prominent black leaders, artists, scientists, and thinkers and were used to inspire the team throughout the rehearsal process. Cast members were encouraged to bring in quotations found on their own that inspired them, which were then added to the collection.

The following quotations represent a selection of those adorning the rehearsal space chosen by The First Breeze of Summer director, Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

"The man who has no imagination has no wings."
-- Muhammad Ali

"Prayer begins where human capacity ends."
-- Marian Anderson

"If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die."
-- Maya Angelou

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life."
-- Arthur Ashe

"Sometimes I would almost rather have people take away years of my life than take away a moment."
-- Pearl Bailey

"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced."
-- James Baldwin

"Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom."
-- George Washington Carver

"I find, in being black, a thing of beauty: a joy; a strength; a secret cup of gladness."
-- Ossie Davis

"It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake."
-- Frederick Douglass

"As you live, believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader and fuller life. The only possible death is to lose belief in this truth simply because the great end comes slowly, because time is long."
-- W. E. B. DuBois

"I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all. . . . I do not weep at the world -- I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife."
-- Zora Neale Hurston

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
-- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I'm not concerned with your liking or disliking me... All I ask is that you respect me as a human being."
-- Jackie Robinson

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome."
-- Booker T. Washington

"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
-- Malcolm X

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Podcast Kickoff: A Chat with First Breeze of Summer Cast Members Jason Dirden, Brandon Dirden and Crystal Anne Dickinson

We're thrilled to present the Signature Podcast Series, which will bring you the latest news and insights into our current historic Negro Ensemble Company Season.

The inaugural podcast features The First Breeze of Summer cast members Jason Dirden (Lou Edwards), Brandon Dirden (Nate Edwards), and Crystal Anne Dickinson (Hope), who, in addition to portraying members of the family in the show, are also related in real life! Jason and Brandon are brothers from Houston, Texas who grew up doing theatre together; Brandon then met his future wife Crystal while attending graduate school in Illinois, and the three have been continuously working together since.

In this three-part interview Brandon and Jason discuss their childhood, Crystal and Brandon take us through their first time meeting, and all three actors talk about their rehearsal process.

Listen below to hear their stories: