UPDATE, 11/14 - WE HAVE SUCCESSFULLY REACHED OUR GOAL! We'd aimed for an amount we thought we'd be able to attain, and thanks to all of your help, we're there! That said, this is just a portion of the cost of the production so feel free to continue giving until the campaign ends. Expenses for the show include:
-$1,900 - Venue rental
-$2,000+ - cast stipends (7 cast members)
-$1,000+ - marketing efforts
UPDATE, 11/1 - Added to the $75.00 level - now when backing at that level, you'll also receive a 12-pack of Christmas cards featuring art from The Birth!
"The Birth meditates on the cosmic meaning of the Nativity with fresh human and theological perspectives... without a trace of showiness or saccharine."
-Creative Loafing, Charlotte
Born on a Beach
'The Birth,' as a theatrical presentation, began on a beach in 2005.
Like all good beachgoers, reading material is a must for me. Thus, with a reading of Pulitzer-nominee Frederick Buechner's book 'The Magnificent Defeat,' I stumbled on a chapter titled The Birth. The chapter is simply three first person narratives of characters directly involved in the Judeo-Christian Christmas story: the InnKeeper, a Wise Man and a Shepherd. To say too much would reduce the impact of these pieces as they ought to be read or, in our case, seen; but what struck me was how richly these characters were drawn.
I'm an actor by trade and an entrepreneur at heart and, as such, am always on the lookout for strong material that might be spun into a stage or screen setting. This material fit the bill. There was a depth of characterization I'd never seen in traditional presentations of the Christmas story.
Thus 'The Birth' was conceived.
The Show Must Go On
Like any good Creative, I sat on my idea longer than I should. Then in the fall of 2006, the need to see this thing come alive took a strong hold on me. I manufactured the conditions whereby I'd have to stage it; by that I mean I rented a space for a night and asked a few friends to help out.
As written, the monologues would only be roughly 20 minutes of stage time. So some musician friends offered their services and I enlisted my sister, an accomplished dancer, to provide further fleshing out of the thematic elements of the show, and we were on our way to a production. A 50 minute production, but a production, nonetheless.
And On And On
That first year, and for two subsequent years, we used other peoples' music to complement the dramatic performances. There came a time where I knew we needed to further distinguish our production from anything else out there, so I commissioned three original songs from a couple of Charlotte based singer/songwriters (this is the music available starting at the $10.00 level). What they wrote, in addition to the dancer's performing, in addition to the three monologues, plus one more front-added thematic dramatic piece, all wove together into this beautiful tapestry that served to create a theatrical experience unlike anything I'd ever seen or experienced in my 15 years of doing theater.
Where Kickstarter Comes In
Two significant sources of funding for The Birth have fallen through for this year's production. Thus we turn to you, the Kickstarter community. We've set our goals a little low, but to truly pay for the production, start to finish, before a butt hits a seat, will cost roughly $12,000. This includes any and all marketing measures, venue rental, cast stipends, recording costs, etc. Thank you for considering backing us.
As a creative person, like all creative people, you want someone to notice your hard work. Sometimes less for personal gratification than simply to honor the work itself.
We've been very fortunate. The last 2 years of production ('09 and '10) we've had a number of favorable write-ups in The Charlotte Observer and our local Creative Loafing (these can be found at thebirth.net).
Moreover, Creative Loafing has nominated us Theater Event of the Year for two years in a row.
On a personal level, my work with The Birth has led to a position on the National Advisory Board of The Buechner Institute in Tennessee. But more than that, I had the distinct honor of meeting Frederick Buechner himself. It's a rare opportunity to meet one's literary hero, and with Buechner in his mid-eighties, it's an opportunity I may never get again.
Meeting Buechner in January, 2010.
Thank you for considering becoming a part of this ever-evolving six-year long story. We hope to see you at one of The Birth performances.
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