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Overlooked Stories: Body & Sold at Bootless Stageworks

Overlooked Stories: Body & Sold at Bootless Stageworks

Some American societal issues benefit from being out in the spotlight. They might receive aid, political assistance, or public support thanks to this status. Yet, other, marginalized, stories may be less fortunate. Enter Bootless Stageworks’ production of Body & Sold, a play written by Deborah Lake Fortson, which highlights, underscores, and shouts-from-the-rooftops the struggles and trauma faced by children and teens who have been forced into commercial sex trafficking. Using dialogue pulled directly from interviews with survivors, Fortson demonstrates the hard truth: that these stories are happening in America. Body & Sold collected the stories of several survivors who recount the ordeals they experienced as part of the sex trafficking industry. Many of the narratives shown in this work begin where you’d expect human trafficking would: sexual abuse from a family member, LGBTQ, challenged home life, or some other form of trauma. What this work does is also highlight the unpredictable starting circumstances, like the average runaway or abused significant other. Just think, over 100,000 young Americans run away from home every year.  Within 48 hours of being on the street these teens may be approached by a man posing as a friend, offering food, shelter, and love.  Most of the time, he will turn out to be a pimp and sell the young person for commercial sex. “It made me think about how easily this could have happened to me,” says Alicia Alaimo, who portrays Dora in the production. “In college, I would walk to my apartment by myself at night all the time. Someone could have easily lured me away and anything could have happened.” While this...
Historical Context & Contemporary Issues: Spring Awakening at Bootless Stageworks

Historical Context & Contemporary Issues: Spring Awakening at Bootless Stageworks

In a short period of time, Broadway has seen the premier and revival of the important piece of theatre known as Spring Awakening – and now it’s coming to Bootless Stageworks. The show follows pubescent teenagers as they begin to question what it means to be an adult: handling subjects such as sexual abuse, homosexual relationships, suicide, and many others. For this challenging piece of theatre, Bootless Stageworks has brought in Justin Walsh, along with several new artists, to work through the demanding script and score Spring Awakening is a show with its feet planted firmly in historical context and contemporary issues. Based on a play of the same name written in 1890, it’s amazing to see how the issues present in the 19th century have transferred to the new millennium: while costumes and dialect of the characters firmly root this piece in its time period, the struggles undergone are current hot-button subjects of debate. Directors, including Walsh, have constantly been finding new parts of the text to highlight since the musical’s debut in 2006. Issues have vanished from the public sphere only to resurface and be incorporated into the musical’s consciousness: tackling topics from blossoming sexuality to the politics surrounding the deaf community and more. Walsh, in Bootless’s upcoming production of Spring Awakening, aims to bring the issues of communication, oppression, and xenophobia to the forefront – making them accessible for audiences to engage with. “I love dark shows,” says Walsh, as the male cast begins to drill Latin in the background with the music director, James Fuerst. “I always say with dark shows – I approach them...
The Doctor Will See You Now

The Doctor Will See You Now

While Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis can be toted as visionaries of their age, the two barely had a fleeting chance to meet during their respective primes. With little time to debate, two of the greatest philosophical minds  get their delayed chance at discourse this coming weekend at Bootless Stageworks. Freud’s Last Session centers on a hypothetical meeting between legendary psychoanalyst, Dr. Sigmund Freud, and a young, rising Oxford Don, C.S. Lewis, to Frued’s home in London eve of World War II. Freud and Lewis clash about love, sex, the existence of God, and the meaning of life, just weeks before Freud took his own life. Jim Ludovici, who portrays Freud, is privy to an intimate look in the life of the father of psycho-analysis, having earned his undergraduate degree in philosophy and a masters in family therapy. His education acts as a firm foundation for the demanding role—one the presented a new and interesting challenges for the veteran of over 80 stage productions. “When Rosanne [DellAversano] first mentioned that she was thinking of using me for this play, I wasn’t sure which character she had in mind,” states Ludovici.  “I am almost exactly half-way in age between the historical Freud and Lewis in 1939, actually a couple years closer to Lewis’s age. I had never played a significantly older character. Much of my work for this show has involved embodying a physically older, terminally ill man—albeit one who is still mentally as sharp as ever.” But what of the men? Especially at this time in their careers. Set in 1939, Lewis was beginning to enter the prime era of...
An Intimate Re-staging of “The Light in the Piazza”

An Intimate Re-staging of “The Light in the Piazza”

With Bootless’s 2015-2016 season well underway, the focus shifts from a galaxy far, far away to a more understated setting that utilizes the black box feel of our new home at St. Stephen’s Church. On a summer vacation, Margaret Johnson and her daughter, Clara, enjoy touring the Tuscan countryside. One day while sightseeing, Clara’s hat mystically lands at the feet of Fabrizio Naccarelli, a handsome Florentine. This brief episode, charged with coincidence and fate, sparks an immediate and intense romance between the two young lovers. With this current production, the entire musical is being re-staged in a chamber opera format, providing patrons a more intimate realization of the, now classic, characters. The dynamic shift in the style also persists in the characters, with Margaret’s becoming the focus of the drma, and her own trials and tribulations regarding her daughter’s disability, coming more sharply into focus. “There has to be a child-like fragility and sense about her,” says Kimberly Christie who is performing as Clara, “but still have qualities of a maturing woman. Though she is stunted, she is still very perceptive of the world around her, even if she can’t understand everything, and she is still capable of desire, passion and love. The doctors said that she would have the mind of a child for the rest of her life, but maybe she has grown up more than Margaret gives her credit for. My challenge will be finding a balance between child and woman, which is where Clara exists.” The time frame of the piece will also undergo some reimagining: the events of Clara and Fabrizio now take place...
In a Galaxy in Wilmington…

In a Galaxy in Wilmington…

Not so long ago, in a theater five minutes away, the first production of Star Wars: a New Musical Hope made its debut into the Wilmington theater scene. The galaxy might have relocated to St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, but the family friendly thrills and spills of the first go-around of the unofficial-parody musical have only grown to Jabba the Hut like proportions since its premiere in 2012. Returning this time around are Shaun Yates and Ryan Mulholland in their roles of Obi-wan Kenobi and Han Solo. The familiar characters get a wacky spin for the satirical performance. “I’m really enjoying working with the returning crowd. It’s a bit of a reunion for most of us. The new cast members bring an exciting fresh energy to the show and it gives us an opportunity to breathe new life into this work,” states Mulholland. “New songs, new choreography, new scenery and actors… this is an entirely new show. Even R2-D2 is new! The heart of the show remains the same, but fans can look forward to seeing an updated version with new characters and situations.” Fans of the Star Wars trilogy needn’t look too far for their favorite characters: Luke, Leia, Vader, and the whole motley crew are present in all their musical glory. Those new to the production can look forward to hearing the iconic lines popularized by the original films, as well as the original narrative they fell in love with. But, that’s where the similarities end. “I am trying to draw as much of the basics of Obi-Wan as I can—some of his character aspects remain in their...
Know Your Deadite (Pt. 2)

Know Your Deadite (Pt. 2)

The Girlfriend Seemingly harmless at first, the Girlfriend can be one of the most dangerous Deadites you can encounter. In life, these monstrosities can be your strongest ally: loyal, clear-thinkers with a good eye for an escape plan. If these creatures aren’t spouting off how they want to bathe in your hot, bubbling blood, they’re a nice asset to have around. While their physical prowess and agility are nothing to trifle with, personal connections to these horrendous demons from hell are usually a survivor’s downfall. Probably the smartest of the Deadites, Girlfriends are known to tug on the heartstrings of unsuspecting victims to manipulate them into doing their bidding – before biting into their flesh. How To Take Them Down No lies, these Deadites might be the end of you. To make sure you have a fighting chance, you’re going to need to keep your wits about you. No mad fits here! Weapons are always a bonus. REMEMBER! Girlfriends are usually close contact fighters – they’ve gotten in close before, they’ll do it again – making melee weapons a prime choice. Of course, a chainsaw is perfect for any occasion.   The Hillbilly Do NOT rely on these demon spawn. Often enough, survival teams will have at least on Hillybilly among them. They often adhere themselves to groups by providing keen knowledge of local geography, weapons handling, and can carry a tune 9 times out 10. Tempting as these traits may seem, the demons of the overall wearing variety are prone to dissent, and have sent more than one group prematurely to their doom. Hillbillies have brute force on...