Production Blog

A behind the scenes peek at rehearsals, artistic choices, artist interviews, and the daily business of running a theatre.

Patron Spotlight: Bill Slater and Elizabeth Doane

Stage West Development Manager, Tonya Wilson-Brown sits down with Stage West board member, Bill Slater and his wife Elizabeth Doane, both long-time supporters and avid theatre-goers:

1. How did you hear about Stage West, and how long have you been attending?

Bill: We have known about Stage West for about 10 years. I was asked to consider coming on the board by an old friend of mine, Bronson Davis, who worked at TCU with me at the same time. Bronson and I had lunch together one day and had a conversation about it. Then I met Dana and was very impressed. I thought it would be a good thing to join the board and help out as much as I could.

2. What is your favorite show you have seen at the theatre and why?

Elizabeth: The Molly Ivins play (Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins) and Ann: The Ann Richards Play. I also liked On The Exhale. It was good. I like the one-person plays.

Both: EVERYTHING is good.

Bill: When we come out to the theatre (we come to just about every performance) we bring another couple with us and have the full experience. The ability to sit down and have dinner is a great addition to the theatre. And Pam is so friendly and warm. The food is good and service is wonderful. It is something Stage West has that others don’t.

3. What is your favorite show of this season and why?

Elizabeth: Witch and Church and State - we enjoyed them both.

Bill: The theatre does a good job of selecting actors. We know we will see good performances every time we visit Stage West.

4. Why do you support Stage West?

Elizabeth: We loved Acting with the Stars. This was one of our favorite events to support the theatre.

Bill: Quite simply, Stage West does good work. You take a look at what the theatre was 10 years ago and you see what type of progress the staff and board have made. The renovation was one thing that was a big project that we all feel a big sense of pride in accomplishing…you, me, anyone who played a part in that happening. We now have a facility that is good for our use. There was good thought put into making the building accessible to the community for education and more.

5. What keeps you coming back?

Elizabeth: We are theatre people. We visit many in the area and have gone to New York and London for theatre.

Bill: We used to go to London over the holidays and see a show every evening.

6. If you had 3 words to describe Stage West to a new patron, what would they be?

In a full sentence: A good performance for your dollar.

We thank Bill and Elizabeth for their long-time support of Stage West our local arts scene!

A moment with Director vickie washington about the gathering

Q: At the first rehearsal for our production of What to Send Up When It Goes Down, you mentioned that the work and spirit of this script are near and dear to you. It is a piece that upends our expectations of what theatre can be and what it can do. Without giving too much away, what excites you most about crafting and sharing the experience of this piece with our audiences?

A: I, vickie washington, am an Afrikan-Ancestored Black Woman, who recognizes the practice of Theatre as a Sacred Gift. With that as my lived and living reality, when the opportunity to direct Aleshea Harris’ What to Send Up When It Goes Down was presented to me, I received it with much gratitude. In the face of the many forms of Anti-Black violence and relentless killings, What to Send Up When It Goes Down gives us the precious opportunity to come together and heal – utilizing song, dance, breath, story, myth, and yes, Ritual… the first theater. To be able to do so at Stage West, with creatives who recognize and honor the value of Black lives; along with this talented and committed cast, is blessing on top of blessing. Nightly we honor the memories of those whose lives have been stolen, and we drop the ugliness and the violence that far too often has been placed on us. In a world and a time that would have us to focus only on the pain, we push through to find the joy and self-love that has far too often been denied to Black folk. So come on and Heal.With.Us. #onandup

A chat with Actor Sky Williams on the things to know

Q: While this show is certainly a play, it is also so much more than that. Audiences of this show will have the distinct pleasure of encountering something very special and wholly unique. And yours will be the first face and voice they encounter as the show begins. What are a few things that you would like for people to know about this show and why do you feel this show is important for everyone to see?

A: Something unique about this piece is that we will often refer to it as a “ritual”. That is precisely what it is created and called to be - an unfiltered and unapologetic offering of Black expression, Black joy, Black pain, Black frustration, Black talent, and Black culture to provide healing to our community. We have been forced to survive in a country whose very framework tries to devalue and disintegrate us and has for centuries - the lives taken from us through police brutality being possibly the most widely known egregious attempts. This ritual gathers Black people into a public space where we can shed the burden of anti-Blackness together. A ceremony in which we may connect as a community to honor the lives stolen from us. The best part about this experience is that it is participatory. Our Black audience cannot separate themselves from the harsh reality of the world we live in so they should not have to be bystanders to an experience of cathartic unburdening of pain and oppression. This is our time to come together and heal. Whether it be through song, dance, spoken word, screaming, crying, rejoicing, laughing, or even just sitting in silence, together we will explore the varied mediums in which our African Diaspora finds restoration. Our community will gather as one, to send up the afflictions that try to hold us down.