The Calm Before Opening Night’s “Howling Storm”

Title Block

Some gratitude before we open There Is A Happiness That Morning Is tomorrow night, a show that has been years in the making.

It began when one of our moms saw a local production in Texas in 2012, kept the program, and made sure to get it to her daughter, saying “you guys really need to look at producing this play.” It grew when we ordered the script, read and shared it with associate artists Patrick Murphy and Kellie Yvonne Raines, and realized what a gem it truly was. It waited in the wings while life hit us with obstacles and challenges that demanded we step away from the stage, shutter producing plans, and embrace the silence. And when we knew KOLT would return to produce in 2015, it was ready for us with all its layers, provocations, dares and ferocity. After the long, dark night of the soul that was 2014, what a happiness this morning — and this play — truly is!

Promo-8It is a delight to have KOLT Artistic Associate Patrick Murphy in the director’s chair, especially after a decade of prodding. An incredibly talented teacher, director and actor in his own right, this is Murphy’s directoral return since he moved to Sacramento from Chicago ten years ago. He has guided this cast through an intense rehearsal process, grounded us in the reality and the absurdity of the piece, while exploring the specificity of every beat, word, thought and intention. As the man who taught us 20 years ago in a Chicago studio what “the work” entails, he has helped to ground us again in the organic process that formed who we are and the type of theater we want to make. As he will be leaving for Southern California later this year, we are incredibly appreciative of this rare opportunity.

Our production team behind the scenes have been an absolute joy. Our stage manager, Mariam Helalian, has kept us organized and on the path as we wind our way through cries and laughs. Our lighting designer, Ciara McClary, has done wonders to turn our stage into a classroom that sees nighttime, morning and twilight. (And a special thanks to our designer now in Texas, Owen Smith, whom gave us all guidance from afar.) We are also forever indebted to the amazing Matt K. Miller for his choreography of one of the most absurd fight scenes KOLT has done.

But our biggest thanks is for our cast members, Greg Hanson and Greg Parker. New to KOLT, these guys have gone through two months of rehearsals, lending us their time, energy, insights and enormous talent every step of the way. They sing, they fight, they spout verse and they shine onstage in these roles. We are forever grateful for them and all they’ve given this project.

We also have a special thank you to a small group of about 12 people who gave us their time last Monday night by serving an important role in the process, simply by sitting and watching a rehearsal so that we could practice with an audience before opening night. Because every minute onstage is spent addressing, persuading and working with the audience, this “test audience” taught us incredibly crucial lessons in engagement, in boundaries, in what worked and, most importantly, what didn’t work.

While that alone was beneficial, we were also heartened to hear their response to the piece.:

Test Audience Reactions

So now we’re here, breathing the calm before opening night. We would love it if you would join us on this wild ride.

THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS runs May 8 – 31. Information and tickets available online at


~ by KOLT Run Creations on May 7, 2015.

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