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All about Rabbit Hole

Next Friday at PDST our first show of the season opens! The show is Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire. For this blog post I decided to sit down with the director of the show, Alex Scholinsky, and one of the cast members, Cara Chumbley. I got to ask them about their experience with the show, what they’re learning, and what challenges they’re facing.

First I spoke with Alex, the director. Alex is a senior theatre major here at Millikin University. Somehow he made time to sit down and chat with me about his show, Rabbit Hole.

Q. What is your previous involvement with PDST?

A. In the spring semester of my junior year I was the Marketing Director for PDST and then I interviewed to be the Artistic Director that next fall and got the position. So I’ve been the Marketing Director and the Artistic Director.

Q. What brings you to directing and why do you enjoy it?

A. I’ve always enjoyed directing and I’ve done a lot of directing in the past but I’ve done a lot of children’s theatre. This is something I want to continue to do in my professional career. I think what draws me to it is the ability to take everything I’ve learned and try and try and filter it through my brain and pass it on to people that way and shape art through them.

Q. Tell me about the show you’re directing now, Rabbit Hole.

A. Rabbit Hole is about the Corbett family who has lost their son Danny. It was eight months ago. This play just happens on a regular day in February and it’s about them trying to pick up the pieces and get back together and reconnect with each other.

Q. What challenges does a show with the content of Rabbit Hole bring to a director?

A. A show like Rabbit Hole is challenging, especially because, given the fact that we’re college students, none of the actors don’t have children so trying to get that connection, specifically with Becca who is played by Jaime Patriarca. Being able to understand the thought processes and emotions and understand where Becca is coming from is a little bit more difficult to understand. As well as the fact that every character is highly emotionally involved so it’s just a lot on the actors.

Q. PDST is a black box theatre, what challenges does that bring to directing a show?

A. Fitting ninety people into that theatre. Rabbit Hole, in particular, has three specific locations in the house then there is another location that is kind of “to be announced” and that’s based on your production. So trying to figure out how you’re going to convey a fairly wealthy family in an all-black space is quite the challenge without being able to put up walls.

Q. What’s it like working with a completely run, completely acted by student theatre?

A. I think it’s great. For the fact that I haven’t directed in so long I finally have been able to take directing and let that sit in my body and process that and be able to take everything that I’ve learned as a technique of acting to my personal thoughts on what directing and acting is. Being able to have students who are volunteering their time as well to do this production is, I think, one of the best assets that I could have asked for.

Q. You’re almost done with your rehearsal process, you open in close to a week, what are you learning through this process?

A. It’s hard to explain what I’ve learned so far. I try to come to rehearsals with a really strict idea of what I’m going to do. Then I get there and that never happens. So it’s always being able to adapt and figure out what the actors need. I have assumptions on where I think rehearsals are going and where I think certain scenes are going to happen and how they’re going to happen, then the actors get there and they have an entirely different set of problems. Which is great. So then it’s shifting my mind after I figure out “how can I help you without wasting your time while I sit here and think about how to get that done.” So it’s a lot fast pace than I thought it would be. So that’s great for me.

Q. Why should people come see Rabbit Hole at PDST?

A. People should come see the show because I think they will be genuinely surprised by the level of work that has been put into this show already. About a week ago, with actors still on book, there we’re rehearsals with people still absolutely sobbing. It’s not to say you should come so you can cry your eyes out. The show is very funny as well. I think it has a good underlying message throughout it, which hopefully I’ll do justice too.

Q. What’s your dream directing role?

A. I really want Wicked on Broadway to close so that I can revive it because I have a really cool concept idea for it, which has to do with the character Glinda. Then I really want to direct a new musical, from workshops to Broadway. I want to be there for the whole experience. I think it would be the hardest experience but also the most rewarding.

Later in the day, before rehearsal started, I got to sit down with Cara Chumbley and talk about Rabbit Hole with her. Cara is a senior acting major at Millikin who is play the role of Izzy is this production.

Q. What is your previous experience with PDST?

A. I’ve done it since freshman year when it was more of student written productions. So I’ve been with it as it’s grown into an actual theatre company as it stands.

Q. What do you like about working with PDST?

A. I really like it because I feel like I’m a part of the community of students. Sometimes I feel like it’s easier to talk to students about what you’re doing. I just really like being apart of the student community and feeling really comfortable in that way. I can interact a lot better with them and throw in my own ideas.

Q. What challenges does working in a black box theatre bring to an actor?

A. I think where to place the action, where you want to be seen, while also following the director’s blocking. From a director and designer’s stand point as well it’s difficult to figure out what points are important to see, where you want your audience, things like that.

Q. What are some of the challenges of working on a show like Rabbit Hole?

A. I think the content. A lot of people haven’t dealt with the loss that these characters have and I think trying to figure it out at our age is really hard.

Q. How would you sum up Rabbit Hole?

A. Alex always says it’s not a story of a dead kid. A lot of people get that confused. It’s the story of the family, how they cope afterwards, and how they connect to get past the grief they’re going through.

Q. Why should people come see Rabbit Hole?

A. I think a lot of people are scared of the show because of the content, because it’s based around a child’s death so I think a lot of people are afraid of it. It’s got a lot of comedic points in it though. It’s got a lot of fun things and I think you can’t not relate to this show. Coming to see it, you’ll see that one of the characters is your mom, or your sister, or some crazy family member that you have. So I think it’s worth it to come and connect with these people.

Q. Last question. What’s your dream role?

A. Elle Woods in Legally Blonde or Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire.

Rabbit Hole show dates are March 2nd at 8:00PM, March 3rd at 2:00/8:00PM, and March 4th at 2:00PM. Tickets are $5 for MU students with your ID and $8 dollars for non-students. Hope to see you there!

-Jane DavisImage


Theatre Is No Fun In The Dark

If you follow Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre on Facebook or Twitter it’s no doubt in this past week that you’ve seen our newest fundraiser with IndieGoGo called, Keep The Lights On. Through IndieGoGo, Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre is trying to raise 7,000 dollars so that we can purchase ourselves new dimmers. The dimmers in a theatre are what control the brightness of a theatrical lighting unit. It does so by increasing or decreasing the RMS voltage and, hence, the mean power to the lamp (Thanks Wikipedia). At a theatre, you’ll find multiple dimmers creating a dimmer rack. Cables run from the various lighting instruments back to the dimmer rack, each plugged into their own dimmer that controls that light’s intensity and gives it power to turn on. Without dimmers that create a dimmer rack, a theatre and its lighting instruments are reduced to simply lights on, lights off. In my opinion, that creates really boring theatre. Currently at Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre our dimmers are going caput. No longer are they safe for us to use and on top of that, six of the dimmers we have don’t even work anymore, limiting the amount of lighting instruments we can use. That’s simply no good.

So why am I writing an entire blog post about dimer racks? Last year, our patrons helped us to raise money so we could put on our first fully produced season. In three days, our awesome patrons raised us $800 dollars. Woah. Right? So this past semester when it was pointed out to us that we need new dimmers we thought, “Who better to help us out in our time of need than our patrons?” Lighting is important; it’s the most obvious design element. Imagine seeing a show with a set, costumes, and sound but no lights. You can’t imagine seeing it because you simply wouldn’t; there is no light on stage.

So here we are, asking for your help because theatre is no fun in the dark. By donating to our IndieGoGo campaign, you’ll be supporting emerging artists as they create work they want to create. There’s also a bunch of gifts and rewards for donating to our campaign with everything from complimentary tickets to having our light booth named after you! Imagine that.

Below you’ll find a link to our IndieGoGo where a really cool video is too. Don’t be afraid to donate or, if you’re not feeling like donating money, pass the IndieGoGo link around to some of your friends, maybe they’ll be willing to donate.

Oh. And it’s a tax deductible donation. That’s cool.

-Jane Davis

Well, I asked and I received. Here are all the Ryan Gosling pictures PDST received since our last blog post. Now, keep a look out tonight for PDST’s newest blog post!

-Jane Davis


Who would be PDST’s dream employee? What would they offer to PDST? We thought Ryan Gosling.

Of course.

Got something you’d like Ryan Gosling to say to PDST? Create your own picture and caption and we’ll feature the best one on next week’s blog! Post it to our Word Press, Twitter, or Facebook or email it to

Do you like this blog post? Check back every Wednesday for a new one!

-Jane Davis

Starting this spring of 2012, Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre has a new Artistic Director! Taking over is Mikey Mulhearn, a Junior Acting major at Millikin University who recently just came back from studying abroad in London. I sat down with Mikey and asked him a few questions about his excitement of working with Pipe Dreams and his plans for the future.

Q: What excites you about working with Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre?

A: What excites me about working with PDST is the opportunity Pipe Dreams presents to the student body here at Millikin. It gives us a great opportunity to explore new works or works that we have simply wanted to explore and gives us an opportunity to branch out into other fields. If you’ve never directed before and you’re really interested in directing you can apply to do so. You can do so as well with designing or stage managing. On one of current shows we have someone designing who’s never designed before and I think that’s great. It’s another opportunity for the students of Millikin to perform as well.

Q: What are your goals for this upcoming season as Artistic Director of Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre?

A: I think my biggest goal is to get back to our mission and really produce work that reflects the mission that this company was founded on.

Q: What’s your favorite show you’ve ever seen put up in Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre? And why?

A: I think my favorite show I’ve seen in Pipe Dreams would have to be Titus Andronicus. And I think Titus Andronicus was my favorite because it really used the spaced wisely and really brought the quality of what Pipe Dreams could be, up. The director of that show really set a bar for other shows and I know how much work that whole team did for that show. It was fantastic, it was experimental, it was crazy.

Q: What are you looking forward to this semester in Pipe Dreams?

A: I think I’m just looking forward to working with everybody on the team, old and new. I just think it’s going to be an exciting semester because we’re working on a three year plan. So I think to be a part of that and to collaborate with other people who are just as passionate about the company, theatre, and arts in general it what’s going to be really awesome.

Q: What show would you most like to see in Pipe Dreams in the future and why?

A: I would really like to see a brand new work be produced again. This semester we don’t have one and I’d really like to go back to our mission of producing new work. That is in our mission to produce new work and to develop it. We have the program Ink Support which assists writers in writing their new work and this semester we’re going to work towards assisting one of the pieces from that class, working shopping it for a year, and having it go up next spring.

Q: What intrigues you so much about new works?

A: I think it’s because it’s the unknown and there are endless possibilities to go with it. No one has ever done a new work before so we can do whatever we want with it and explore what the playwright wants and bring it to a full production. It also give Pipe Dreams as chance to make a name for ourselves as a place that produces new works.

Q: Who do you look up to as an Artistic Director?

A: I pull from Cirque Du Soleil. The people there are so passionate about what they do and that company is so experimental and constantly pushing the boundaries of the imagination. They do a great job at challenging the audience and that’s just a unifying factor or idea that I look up to. And just how committed to the company the people are and how passionate they are about what they do.

Q: What are you looking forward to this semester in Pipe Dreams?

A: This semester I am really excited for two things. One, I can’t really say but it’s something really, really awesome in the works and something I think everyone will absolutely enjoy. The second thing I’m really excited for is furthering the development of ink support and really producing new works. As I said earlier we plan to pick a piece that we’re going to workshop and fully produce next year. That’s a project I’m just really excited about.

Q: What would you like to learn during your time as Artistic Director?

A: I think I would like to learn how to successfully aid in running a company. I’m not running this company alone; I’m doing it with seventeen other people who are a part of the Pipe Dreams team along with all the people who will be involved in our shows, audiences included. I’m excited to learn more about this craft and more about the business side of theatre.

Q: As a performer, what’s your dream role?

A: Easy. To be Elle Woods on Broadway.

Q: Okay, last question! If you weren’t in theatre, what would you do?

A: I would be an event planner for weddings. I could eat all their cake and food and just be happy all the time!

We at Pipe Dreams are extremely happy to have Mikey on our team! If you have any further questions for Mikey or want to get involved on any of his projects you may contact him at

-Jane Davis


Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre is proud to present:

RABBIT HOLE (March 1-4, 2012)
REEFER MADNESS (April 18-22)


Would you like to donate to this season? Go to the following link and chose “Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre!”

And we’re back.

¡Hola niños!

If you haven’t noticed, it’s been quite a long time since we’ve last blogged about anything. Not to say nothing exciting has been going on, just that we didn’t know how to blog. So here we go again, trying out this blog thing again. We have an exciting season coming up including Rabbit Hole and Reefer Madness this semester. We at PSDT want to keep you in the know about all of this excitement! So, for the next sixteen weeks there will be sixteen blog posts. Some will be interviews with the artistic team of Pipe Dreams, others will be about the current show, and one will even deal with Ryan Gosling. So stay tuned, get excited, and be prepared to find one or two spelling errors. My name is Jane Davis and I’ll be the one taking you on all these blog adventures.

Next blog post: Interview with Mikey Mulhearn, Pipe Dreams’ new artistic director!

Jane Davis

Preparing Our First Show

A snapshot from Light Focus for I Love You, Let's Light Ourselves On Fire--Photo by Jane Davis

Yesterday we initiated the first step into our season with the load-in of I Love You, Let’s Light Ourselves on Fire. It’s exciting to see the first production begin to be realized in the space. They have been rehearsing all last month, and being new to the production (it’s an original work by a fellow student) I’m anticipating a fresh and intriguing experience. From what I saw yesterday afternoon, I think it will be a great kick-off to the many new works we’re producing this semester. One of the best parts of my job is that I get to see in-progress work being done in the space and I expect that throughout the next month and half I will be treated to the fruition of many ideas, designs and experiments. What I saw yesterday was definitely fresh ideas being realized in our space, and I can’t wait to see more of both this production and what our future productions will bring. There is building excitement as we get closer to the start of our season, and I can’t wait to experience what the season will have to offer.

Bekki Lambrecht

Technical Director

Pipe Dreams Studio Theatre

It all began with an Idea, as all great ventures seem to. What if students ran a theatre? Started a company from the ground up? View full article »


As the beginning of what I hope to be a continuing dialogue, I felt it only appropriate to start with a greeting. Hello, we are a theatre company. View full article »