Recovery Isn't Pretty - June Blog 2015

By Karen Saari, 2015 Wisconsin Wrights playwright

Karen Saari

There's a reason alcoholism is at the center of many stories. It's a compelling and relatable topic. Most of us have known or loved at least one alcoholic. If not, our gut reaction is often still emotional, ranging from compassion to outright disdain. Whatever our personal experience is with addiction, we want those in the throes to beat it and to find redemption.

What we don't often see in stories of recovery is what happens after the credits roll. The flawed character quits the bottle or puts down the needle and starts over. There's our happy ending ... right? Not really. Now the addict has to face life without the one thing that has been ruling his or her existence. With this comes regret, pain and grief over lost time and chances blown. And if they are committed to recovery, there is no anesthesia for these emotions.

This topic is something I've always wanted to explore in writing. Mark, the main character in my play, "In a Clearing," is living this reality in rural Wisconsin. I chose to write him as smart, but not scholarly. He's a good man who has done some very bad things and may have caused something outright devastating. Or did he? I can't wait to see how an audience reacts to Mark. What will they want for him? Will they relate to him? Or will they relate more to those who love him and are experiencing his recovery along with him, but in different ways? I hope the audience will be surprised at how much humor there is in the story too.

I'm very thankful that my play was chosen to be part of the Wisconsin Wrights New Play Festival and to share this story. I'm in such wonderful company and I really hope you come and see it!



Big Questions - June Blog 2015

by Advisory Company member Michael Herold and Board Member Steve Suleski


herold m           Steve Suleski copy

Spring fever hit two FTC family members pretty hard this month, and in their mania they conducted a hard-hitting interview to introduce you one of our beloved Board members, Steve Suleski. The interview was conducted in pig latin, and translated by Advisory Company member Michael Herold.


Okay Steve, here come the big questions.  Just take a deep breath, you'll be fine.  Pleas do not feel that you have to answer the questions in order, or at all, even though typing them has taken me several precious hours of my life.  Like I said, no pressure.
1.Outside of my offer of an all expenses paid trip for two to Italy, (which I'm glad you didn't accept, as I can barely afford the occasional getaway to Rockford), what inspired you to join the Forward Board?
First, the opportunity to hear your travel stories.  I’ve been wanting to get to Rockford for a long time now.  The  people in Janesville say it’s real nice.  Second, the stories told in the Playhouse by the Forward Family are so compelling, I wanted to be part of it.  As I don’t have acting experience, have never written a script, and am not very handy with tools, electronics, etc., I thought the Board might be the easiest way for me to get involved.
2. As several Forward events involve the ingestion of food, do you find eating with the Board as frightening and primal as dining with the Advisory Company ( especially the Actors)?
I live to eat!  Enough said…
3. Are Board meetings actually boring, or was this monicker chosen to disguise the true  Bacchanalian nature of the "meetings"?
How could an FTC Board meeting ever be characterized as boring?!?  There are accruals to discuss, resolutions to consider, fundraisers to imagine.  We also spend a lot of time talking about our personal relationships with the theater.  It’s very therapeutic – but boring, NEVER!
4. In one word, or less, what do you find most intriguing about your Board Buddy?
and finally, on a more serious note:
5. In your time with Forward, is there a particular insight into our Family that you would like  to share with our audience ?
The Forward Family is a very caring group, driven by art and grounded in sustainability.  I have never come across an organization (especially a nonprofit) that blends so well the passion for its mission with the realities of economic survival.  The Forward Family is fun, it offers frequent and wholesome challenges, and it is well fed.  I hope they keep me!

How Do I Love Forward Theater? - May Blog 2015

By Pete Lundberg

How do I love Forward Theater? Let me count the ways.

I value Forward Theater because it provides great opportunities for talented local actors, directors, writers, set people, and a whole host of others. I think Forward Theater really raises the bar for all the arts groups in Dane County, not to mention benefiting the economic fabric of not only the downtown, but the entire area.

I love the fact that I laugh until I can barely breath at one production and then yet two months later, I’m struck by a very serious and profound topic that leaves me contemplating what I just saw for days and possibly even weeks or sometimes it’s a combination of both, but one thing that’s consistent - the common thread is that it’s very very high quality in the sets, the acting, and the production and that’s really great. It’s a great whole package. As a business man, I appreciate that Forward Theater operates in the black. As a donor, I like the fact that each dollar that we give is leveraged and squeezed to its best possible use. So, that even on a very lean budget they do some amazingly creative, professional and enjoyable theater. Frankly, it’s about as most fun as you can have without breaking the law. Not that I condone breaking the law, but I do condone having fun. So, I would encourage everyone to go out and see local theater, support Forward Theater and heck, while you’re at it, write a check.



A Thank You Note - April Blog 2015

by Sarah Day
Sonia, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike


Sarah Day and James Ridge in VANYA. Photo by Zane Williams

I can't begin to say how much we've needed all of you to be the seventh member of our cast. Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (as well as Cassandra and Nina) have been very anxious for your arrival.

You have made our journey make sense. We knew the play was humorous--although after a couple of weeks of rehearsal, we started to wonder why something was funny--we've seen or done it too many times for ANYthing to seem funny. But, on Thursday night with our first group--we knew we had some funny going on. So MANY laughs were heard. But, I think we were all so thrilled with some of the groans of recognition, the gasps of delight, the cheering on of a character when they made a good decision, or surprised us with their choice. What a joy it is to play.

All our audiences have been just a little different. And that is also a treat for us. We're still figuring out how to work with you - our Cast member number seven. This sweet, thoughtful and deliciously wicked comedy is a joy to play, and I hope that when you
see it, you will agree.