Many of you have been awaiting our much-anticipated new show, Never Unarmed, a swash buckling historical fiction about Grace O’Malley, the Irish Pirate Queen’s mysterious meeting with Queen Elizabeth. The show explores gender roles, family dynamics and the historical conflict between England and Ireland. It is a massive project requiring ships and sails, pirates and historical props, the imaginative jumping of continents and a wild ride through emotion and adventure.

Most of 2011-12 was spent in preparation for this powerful show, and the donations many of you made earlier this year helped us to make great strides toward our goals. While this show was originally slated to be brought to you in June of this year, unforeseen circumstances made us change our plans. With a rigger hired from New York, a director and fight choreographer coming from San Francisco, and with publicity material purchased, it became clear to me that with my 91 year old mothers advance into the deeper stages of Alzheimer’s, it is impossible for me to produce this piece the way it deserves to be produced. This is an incredibly difficult and stressful time for me as the sole caretaker of my mother, and I simply cannot devote the time and energy that this project requires. We, as a company, made the only decision that we felt was right – we would postpone the show. At this point, I do not know when we will be able to mount the production.

The South Camden Theater was very helpful with rescheduling and is willing to take us on whenever we are ready. Ray Croce Jr. from New York, Kathryn Wood and Andrea Webber from San Francisco have maintained their continued loyalty to the project and are willing to postpone as well. This generosity of spirit from my collaborators has given me confidence that this is not the demise of a dream, merely a postponement as reality takes precedence for the time being.

With help from you, our loyal supporters, we can continue on the path toward presenting this show and reach the goals we have set for this amazing project. With this show we celebrate life, resilience, and our determination to bring thought-provoking, quality theater to a diverse audience. We celebrate our commitment to our art and our eager return to the production of Never Unarmed. Finally, we celebrate you, who help to make our work possible.

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Never Unarmed Postponed till June 2013

To all the wonderful people, businesses and organizations that have supported Chameleon Theatre thus far, we thank you and cannot thank you enough.  The labor of love that is the creative process requires input, sweat, tears, laughs, ups, downs, and enormous growth.  And grow we have done as we strive to put together all the best elements and people with the hope of creating the theatrical magic that makes all the effort and sacrifice worthwhile.

To this end we have decided to postpone the run of  Never Unarmed until after the new year.  Our reasons for doing this are threefold:    1.  We were not able to cast all of the roles with the caliber of actors we wanted that were also available.  Our play requires specific and extensive combat and dialogue skills as well as availability for a heavy rehearsal schedule.   2.  In reference to the heavy rehearsal schedule, we lost a free rehearsal space.  Time and funds did not allow us to find a replacement for the loss.   3. We lost the help of a key staff member.  While others have stepped up to take over different aspects of this person’s tasks, it takes time to learn new jobs and to be proficient.  We still plan to premiere at The Waterfront South Camden Theatre in Camden, New Jersey next spring/summer.

But none of this deters us from our end goal, which is to provide strong roles for women with the highest production values possible.    These are choppy seas, not rogue waves and we are sailing forward more determined than ever.  This postponement is not a hiatus from Never Unarmed but an opportunity to beef up our production team, build awareness and excitement as well as the ever present need to raise money.  We will be utilizing this time wisely.

You and others can help us by keeping tabs on our website for future fundraising events and different ways to help.  There will most certainly be future communications related to all things Chameleon.  Please go to www.chameleontheatrephilly.com for more information.

We hope we have your continued support and commitment to excellence, and we are deeply grateful for it.

Lee Kiszonas – Artistic Director
Jennifer Yeager – Director of Field Operations
Alexis Higgins – Director of Fundraising
Tina Migeot – Marketing & Social Media Director
Stacie Berry – Treasurer
Kathryn Wood – Director
Andrea Weber – Fight Choreographer
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Chameleon in 2011 or What We Were Doing When We Weren’t Chasing Ships

01-25-2012 Posted by Tom

FEBRUARY: “It’s Skull and Bones Every Incha the Road!”
Tom played Agate Keller in Waiting for Lefty at South Camden Theatre Company. SCTC was ahead of the curve in seeing the play’s relevance to the current economic and political situation. The Philadelphia Inquirer was surprised at how well this “relic” of ‘30’s agit-prop played: “This progression from clunky to well-oiled describes the production’s spirit, which, by the time a character named Agate (Tom Juarez) declaims his call to action at the end, is in full throttle. The cast … ends up honoring the piece as if protecting a lost treasure they have discovered. Which they are.” Arrr!! Lost Treasure indeed, matey!

MAY: Raiding the Barbary Coast
The Tenderloin district of San Francisco, that is. Tom joined director Kathryn Wood and actor Cheryl Smith in SF to run sound & lights for the premiere of his play Lucky Girl at the EXIT Theatre’s 10th Annual DIVAfest. Lucky Girl is an adaptation of Frances Driscoll’s The Rape Poems. Cheryl performed an excerpt at two Bay Area anti-rape events; we did radio interviews on KPFA; there was a feature article in the SF Chronicle and a terrific review by Rob Avila in the SF Bay Guardian.

The Bad Will Rot in Davy Jones’ Locker or Snooty Sailors Suck Whale Blubber
The tall ship in Philly pulled out of our agreement for the production of Never Unarmed, leaving us high and dry. Yes, we could have sued them or called in our pirate brethren to loot and plunder the bilge rats but, as satisfying as those options might have been, we still wouldn’t have a show. We spent the summer pursuing other tall ships without success and concluded we need to find a venue run by like-minded professionals: in other words, a real theatre. The moral of the story: boat people suck. If you want people who will keep their word, work with artists. But sign a contract anyway.

AUGUST: Angels in New Jersey – Millennium must be Approaching!
Tom played his dream role, Roy Cohn, in Tony Kushner’s two-part epic Angels in America with The Collaborative Act Studio, which ran in rep at the Ritz Theatre in Haddon Township, NJ. Both plays received rather incoherent but over-the-top rave reviews in Stage Magazine.

SEPTEMBER: Theatre is a Beach
Lee and Tom attended the annual Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown, MA. They recharged batteries while immersing themselves in Williams as prep for roles in South Camden Theatre Company’s full season of Williams. While in Provincetown they also met with South Camden Theatre Company staff for spiritual discussions (aka, rum-fueled barroom brawls & tearful confessions) which led to the agreement for Chameleon to produce Never Unarmed at SCTC’s Waterfront South Theatre. Besides having a contract to use Waterfront South, we’ve worked with SCTC as actors, shared theatrical foxholes, and raised pints of grog and holy hell together. They’re fine mates.

OCTOBER: Captain Kiszonas Blows the Man Down
After spending the spring and summer chasing will-o’-the-wisps (aka, boat people) Lee finally got to have some fun, playing Violet Venable in Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly, Last Summer at South Camden Theatre Company. Suddenly, Last Summer played to sold-out houses and earned standing ovations from audiences and critics.
Philadelphia Inquirer: “It’s an edge-of-the-seat ride, and one of the most exciting performances I’ve seen this season.”
Stage Magazine: “Performances were off the chart amazing beginning with Lee Kiszonas’ Mrs. Venable.”

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Venue announced for “Never Unarmed”!

Waterfront South Theatre, 400 Jasper St., Camden, NJ 08104

The Waterfront South Theatre is a new 96-seat theatre located at Fourth and Jasper Streets just one block west of the interstection of Broadway and Ferry Avenue. Free Parking for the theatre is provided in the Sacred Heart Church lot just across the street, on 4th or Jasper Streets or in the parking lot on Broadway around the corner from the theatre.    South Camden Theatre Company is the resident theatre company at Waterfront South and we’re thrilled to have their support for the production of Never Unarmed.

Directions here.

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