CHP Turns Five

Rebecca V. Nellis, Co-Founder, Director


“I sort of feel like I cheated because I got to read everyone else’s reflections while I procrastinated writing my own and now my overwhelming feeling is simply that of gratitude.  Gratitude for the opportunity I have had to do this work, to build this community, to grow as a human being, to find my voice, to laugh hysterically, to be an artist.  CHP is an idea and four times in the last five years it has taken that idea and made something new and offered it into the world, there is nothing I am prouder of.  To Edward P. Clapp and Paul Sapp (and yes, now part of the playwright job description is a double P), thank you for letting me bring my structure and worldview into your processes and stories.  To Barnett Cohen, Garrett Feek, Stefanie Frame, Brian Morvant, Sara Gozalo, Kurt Rodeghiero, Blythe Coons and Matt Huffman, thank you for bringing these stories to life and for trusting in the idea.  Julia A. Middleton, thank you for every minute of blood, sweat and tears and for your fierce loyalty to the Hole above all else.  Stacey C. Rivera, thank you for being the best ‘theatrical spanx’ (and yes I totally stole that from you).  Erin D. Coffey and Nina Morrison (No Relation), thank you for being so much more than my audition posse and for always bringing wit to the table.  I could go on and on but since I asked everyone else to in some way offer a glimpse into the Hole it is only fair that I do too… but to all the people not name checked here I hope over the years I have thanked you in meaningful ways and if I haven’t you are welcome to call me out on it anytime!

So many of my favorite moments have been covered and better than I could have so I will try not to repeat… too much.  The truth is there are the things that have reached folklore status (the casket story for one, my part in it was so small and yet I have never wished I had transcribed a voicemail message more than the one that was left for me while Edward and Julia were celebrating their very lives at Atlas Café) and then there are all the little things: Blythe and her very Martha Stewart portable cake tray, which made me giggle but also meant I got to enjoy baked goods at rehearsal; every torturous line through I have ever made an actor suffer; Edward and I dreaming up the first rehearsal activities for Tucker in a Box and Appetite for Destruction and embracing the fact that the actors needed to bond without us even if what they were doing was super fun and what we were doing felt like being the “adults”; Paul blowing my mind the first time we had dinner with the revelation that he had seen Tucker in a Box and wanted to talk to me not in spite of it but at least in part because of it; Julia retiring every year and every year cast and crew rejecting the plea (her specific gripe is with regards to running the sound cues); Sara’s unexpected affinity for belting Bruce Springsteen; the summer Edward streak listened to David Bowie; rocking out to the Ramones before every Appetite for Destruction show (yes this is on Brian’s list too, hands down the best energy producer ever); the inflatable mattress Edward and I borrowed from Stacey’s aunt and uncle for the rehearsals for Run the Maze, Burn the Maze that provided endless entertainment when it was deflated each night; the indescribable feeling of opening nights; discovering Edward mouths the words of the play along with the play when he watches in the audience; finding Stefanie Frame after I had all but lost hope that Lily was to be brought to life in a way that would do her justice; every post-rehearsal, post-show beer; Monday nights at the Scratcher; a bottle of red at the Raj Mahal for a “work” session with Edward; having every production end in the black; Matt’s infectious use of the word rad and his not so adorable obsession with the kraken; Masha and Garrett’s BBQs; President’s weekend 2007 when it suddenly became clear that year one wasn’t a fluke and there were new people to create and a new story to tell (and that despite his misgivings Edward agreed that there needed to be 5 members of the band); getting to call watching the Food Network research; Paul writing thank you on the note in the envelope prop the last night of Magnitude of the Slope and not telling anyone so it was discovered in the moment on stage; texting Sara WHILE SHE WAS MID-SCENE IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE because I was worried that streamers were coming dangerously close to an open flame and watching her in one move read the message and in character blow the offending candle out; and Brian finding a way to deliver the several page monologue that closed Tucker in a Box in a meaningful way and then his following year’s inability to set a beer down during each show without it bubbling over the top in Appetite for Destruction

I could go on and on but the truth is what excites me now are all the memories yet to be made so here’s to the next five, I can’t wait to see what comes along next.”


Read More:

Edward P. Clapp, Co-Founder, Playwright

Erin D. Coffey, Audition Management
Matt Huffman, Actor
Julia A. Middleton, Resident Stage Manager

Nina Morrison, Casting Consultant

Brian Morvant, Collaborator, Actor
Barbara A. Nellis, Chair of the Board

Stacey C. Rivera, Production Team

Paul Sapp, Playwright

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