Where have we been? Into the “Tech” of It!

9 Aug

This weekend we entered into the Technical Rehearsal process for A Man Comes to Fowler. During “tech” rehearsal, we add costumes, lights, sound and shadow puppets to the production. Below check out some of the photos of the team in Panzak Park.

Puppeteers in the Shadow Box

The ladies of the play and Michael Jackson

The young cast and the Child Supervisor, Siobhan

Technical team in scaffolding


Brunch at the Masumoto Farm:Picking Nectarines

4 Aug

I-8 Students at the Peach Farm

Here at the Cornerstone Institute we have 3 days off in 4 weeks. I’m sure you can imagine how precious these days are to us! Monday was our 2nd day off, and it was amazing! We had been invited by the wonderful Masumoto family to their Orchard, to pick nectarines and have brunch. We arrived and gathered under the tree’s as Nikiko Masumoto shared with us the history of the farm and her desire to continue the family business. Her dedication to the farm, passion for the work and family values are inspiring. It’s clear to see that she is where she is meant to be.

Mary and the Nectarine

The Masumoto family had generously donated a tree to Cornerstone Theater Company, so away we went to pick our nectarines! Mas Masumoto gave us a brief lesson in ‘how to pick the perfect nectarine’ Within the next 45 minutes we had 4 boxes full of delicious nectarines to bring back to Cornerstone HQ (I’m writing this blog on Tuesday and in the past day I have had 4 nectarines and delicious nectarine smoothie!)

Nikki SM Picking Nectarines

After this hot and sweaty work a delicious brunch awaited us. Sweet biscuit, peach jam, potatoes, sausages, watermelon,  ice tea, orange juice, and coffee. I sat amongst the peach tree’s eating and thinking how delightful and quaint this experience was.
After buying masumoto peach t-shirts and receiving cute little jars of  jam we left the idyllic land of peaches and returned home for naps and swimming.
We would all like to say a massive thank you to he brilliant Masumotos for their overwhelming kindness, hospitality and generosity. Never again will I eat a peach or nectarine without thinking of that Monday morning.


Necturines we picked


4 Aug

On Sunday, July 31, the designers and Cornerstone team members were treated to the first run-through of the entire play, A Man Comes to Fowler.  Director Laurie Woolery had warned the cast and audience alike that this would be more like a “stumble-through,” since it was the cast’s first attempt to perform without stopping, but there was no need to manage our expectations.  It was quite exciting to see this play take shape after little more than a week’s worth of rehearsals.

Before we began, set and puppet designer Lynn Jeffries (assisted by Birdie and Amy) did a show and tell of some of the puppet scenes for the cast and crew. Although we were watching a modified version of the projection effects, the intricate designs of antique cars, historic homes, and whimsical storytelling devices were vibrantly clear.  I’m anticipating that the shadow puppets will be one of the highlights of the production.

The cast is already performing like a well-established ensemble, evident in moments of singing from the choir and the entire company, as well as a rhythmic and dance-like sequence of grape harvesting that accompanies a poem by Jose Montoya. The play tells the history of Fowler and a stranger’s encounter with the town. There were moments of sheer fun and joy, as well as poignant scenes, particularly those recounting the internment of Fowler’s Japanese-Americans during WWII. Many in the cast and crew were moved by the rehearsal, and we’re all excited to see the play develop in the coming week as we further work each scene and begin adding production elements like costumes, sound, and lights.


Fowler We Need You!

30 Jul

With the show drawing ever so closer by the day we have a few production roles that we need to be filled!
We are looking for-

1 puppeteer: You will assist the lovely Birdie and Lynn with making puppets prior to the show and will help work the puppets during the show… No experience necessary, you will get taught everything you need to know!

Cheerleaders: You will be learning and performing a few routines for the show.
For these roles your commitments would be all day Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August and then afternoons and evenings of Tuesday 9th- Saturday 13th.

If you are interested in any of these roles please contact Nikki on 616 443 7715 or 800-578-1335

We are also looking for 2 people to assist our lighting crew and 2 people to assist backstage Your time commitments would also be all day of the 6th and 7th and afternoons and evenings from the 9th-13th August.

If you are interested in any of these roles please contact Geoff Korf on 323-353-1709 or 800-578-1335

If you can fill any of these roles or know anybody who can, please contact us asap!

Thank You Fowler we look forward to hearing from you!

The Poster Has Arrived!

30 Jul

A Man Comes to Fowler Poster

An Afternoon Exhale

30 Jul

Just got fitted with a perfect 1950s formal farmer outfit.  Hat and all.  Sounds cliche, but I felt the part. Kudos to Kim our costume designer.  She done did her job.

This production experience reminded me of just how fast time is now moving.  The Cornerstone Institute is surely a time space continuum that defies and re-defines time at whichever pace it needs.  The first week and a half felt like eleven weeks, and now a day feels like a flashing image in a dream. That flash is all you can feel and remember, but the whole dream definitely happened and is longer than that one flash.

That being said, we have much work to do, we have much playing to do, we have much learning to do.
Sleep will become a thing of the past, but for now it is the thing that we must negotiate to remain present.

My day in a few flashes:

Little Sally Walker visited us with her rich voice.

MJG stretched our “Collaborative” minds

Dirty-Soapy water waving back at me.

Quesdaillas!!! Yeah!!! and Corn Dumplings! What? They’re amazing.

“Would the barber shave the burns?”

“I really like the people I work with. (smile. raising on her tip toes.) Not many people can say that?”
-Our Captain P.



Community Engagement Team !!! Whoo Hoo :)

29 Jul

Community Engagment Team working to create Library Display Board

The last two weeks has felt like two months. And working closely with the Community Engagement Team, I can truly say the work that they have turned out in this short amount of time (as well as the work that is happening in every other department) is amazing and you would think we had been here much longer.

The team is made of three wonderful women, Melissa, Sabrina and Siobhan. Tirelessly they have come up and executed some wonderful ideas for promoting “A Man Comes to Fowler” and connecting with the residents.

Sabrina hard at work on Marketing Materials for the show

They have …
Organized a Theater Workshop at the Library
Visited community members
Created a Display Board for the Library
Created “A Man Comes to Fowler” Flyer
Facilitated the creation of “A Man Comes to Fowler” Poster

And they are still working! Being able to work with these wonderful women has been a highlight of my days here at the Institute and I just wanted to share.

Short and Sweet
Ashley Walden, Institute Associate

Looking at the library display board to fellow Institute Student Mary

Community Engagement Team, Ashley and Dorothy Feaver (Fowlerite)