interview with the Riant Theatre's artistic director Van Dirk Fisher about their upcoming Writers and Performers Retreat Cruise to Orlando, Florida and the Bahamas from NYC on Sunday, February 17, 2019 - February 24, 2019.
Q: The Strawberry One-Act Theatre Festivals have been one of the more successful and established festival for a while now. Tell us about this retreat cruise. How was the idea born and what are your expectations?
Riant: Well I’ve always wanted to do a retreat. Initially, I was thinking about doing one in the Catskills, but then when I went on my first cruise I had the idea, “Why not do the retreat on a cruise?” I gave it a lot of thought. I spoke to some people about it and they thought it was a great idea too. The best part for me was having the opportunity to mix business with a vacation. I was sure that other people would jump at the idea too. So I spoke to some of the industry people who have conducted workshops for us in the past and they liked the idea as well. And the rest is history. I’m hoping that the Retreat Cruise becomes an annual event that artists and industry people look forward to attending with the possibility of collaborating on new projects.
Q: What can we expect the cruise to offer in terms of the balance between work and play? What can guests expect from a given day?
Riant: Well first of all you’ll be happy to know that there will be an unlimited Open Bar for everyone. So we definitely intend to have a good time and party. The days that the ship is at sea we will conduct our workshops. The days we are at port people will be free to take advantage of various excursions or just spend the day on the beach. We will have workshops for writers, actors and singers. Our staff includes an agent, a casting director, a filmmaker, an acting coach and a vocal coach. People will be able to sign up for the workshops they are interested in taking in advance. A typical day of workshops will consist of an early morning exercise class, followed by a writing workshop, then a workshop for actors and a separate one for singers. We will keep the evenings open so people can enjoy the entertainment and other events on the ship like the casino, swimming pools, mini golf, etc.
Monday: At Sea. Participate in a morning Exercise Class with Nadine Carey.
Participate in the Diversity Script Writing for Film and Theatre Workshop (10am-11:30am) with Tina Chapman DaCosta, Filmmaker and College Professor.
Developing Your Brand Seminar (11:30am – 1pm) with Margaret Emory, agent from SW Artists. Also get feedback on your Picture and Resume.
Singing Technique and Performance Workshop (3pm-5pm) with Nadine Carey, Vocal Coach and College Professor;
Tuesday: 1pm until 9pm - Orlando & Beaches (Port Canaveral). Visit nearby Kennedy Space Center for a day of inspiring and educational exhibits. Amuse yourself at any one of the world-class theme parks. Or spend the day watching alligators from an airboat;
Wednesday: 10am until 6pm - Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas). Stroll along soft, white-sand beaches and enjoy the many activities we have to offer. Snorkel and see underwater delights, kayak in crystal clear water, then get revved up on a WaveRunner adventure. The fun is endless here. Grab a bite at out new 8,500 square foot beach buffet and simply relax in your private beachfront cabana. This tropical paradise is just for you. Take advantage;
Thursday: 8am until 6pm - Nassau (Bahamas). From the waterfront to the end of Bay Street, you’ll find some of the best duty-free shopping and a charming mix of architecture, both old and new. But there’s plenty to do besides shopping – swim with the dolphins, try your luck in a casino or snorkel with colorful fish;
Friday: At Sea.
On Camera Technique (10am-11:30am) with Margaret Emory, agent from SW Artists.
Script Review & Readings (11:30am – 1pm) with Tina Chapman DaCosta.
Acting For Commercials (1pm-3pm) with Erica Palgon, Erica Palgon Casting & Beyond, Casting Director.
Workshop Scene Study for Film and Television (3pm-5pm) with Patricia R. Floyd, Actor, Director and Writer.
Saturday: At Sea.
Workshop Scene Study for Film and Television (10am-11:30am) with Patricia R. Floyd, Actor, Director and Writer.
Acting For Commercials (11:30am-1pm) with Erica Palgon, Erica Palgon Casting & Beyond, Casting Director.
Singing Audition Technique Workshop (11:30am – 1pm) with Nadine Carey.
Performance Showcase: Singers, Monologues, Poetry, Spoken Word and Scenes. (3pm-5pm);
Sunday: Disembark at 8am in New York (New York).
Onboard Activities include:
678 Ocean Place: Feel the pulsating energy at the heart of the ship - 678 Ocean Place, three thrilling decks of non-stop action. Mix it up at a new bar or lounge. Splurge inside a designer boutique. Get lucky in our largest casino ever. Please your palate inside one of our specialty restaurants - Moderno, Churascarria, Cagney’s Steakhouse or La Cucina. Satisfy every whim – day or night.
Aqua Park: Grab an inner tube, find a challenger and get to racing at Aqua Racer, the newest tandem waterslide at sea. Scream all the way down as you take the plunge with Free Fall – the fastest waterslides at sea. Get the whole gang together and give the Family Slide a whirl. Or call it a lazy day and lounge by the pools and hot tubs with a frozen drink in hand. However you like to make a splash, Aqua Park is overflowing with ways to do so.
Casino: Located in 678 Ocean Place, Norwegian’s largest and most innovative casino to date offers a wide range of thrilling casino games for every level of player. Whether you’re a newcomer or a regular with Casinos at Sea, we've got something for you. Find a hot seat at one of our many slot machines (ranging from 1¢ - $100 USD). Or play your favorite table games with limits from $5 - $5,000 USD. Plus, adjacent to the main floor, the Norwegian Escape Casino has a VIP room offering a private high limit gaming area. No matter what you prefer, there are plenty of ways to get lucky.
Entourage: Movies. Art. Music. Video games. Dance parties. Welcome to Entourage – a retreat for teens looking to have fun and hang out with people their own age. One thing’s for sure: absolutely, positively, no parents allowed.
There’s also a Pulse Fitness Center, Mini Golf, a Kid’s Aqua Park, a Snow Room, Spas, Comedy Shows, a Broadway Show, a Video Arcade, Sports Complex and more.
Q: How does the retreat cruise tie into a bigger plan for the festival? What’s in store for the festival?
Riant: The Riant Theatre attracts playwrights and performers from all over the world. Our mission is to develop new plays and outstanding artists. So the Retreat falls in line with our mission. We are planning to make the Retreat Cruise an annual event, one that attracts industry professionals and artists, who are looking for an event where they can get some r&r and work on their craft at the same time and network. It’s all about making connections. That’s the beauty of the festival. The opportunity to be seen by several playwrights, directors and producers and the potential to collaborate on new projects. Our judges for the Finals in the festival have been very impressed with the plays featured and some of the actors and playwrights have even found representation from agents. In addition, several producers have created relationships with some of the playwrights and have produced other plays written by them at such places as New York City Center. One playwright even had his play optioned by the Manhattan Theatre Club. Some plays have been made into films and were featured in film festivals around the world and even won prizes. Anthony Martinelli’s play ACOUSTIC SPACE was made into a film and was featured at Cannes in 2015. I’m hoping that the Retreat Cruise will offer many opportunities for artists to network and make connections and get work. It’s all about making connections.
I see the Retreat Cruise as being the official kick-off to the Strawberry One-Act Festival, which will run from March 13, 2019 through March 24, 2019 at Theatre 54 at Shetler Studios in NYC. On Saturday, February 16, 2019 we will have a Bon Voyage Party at our Guest Hotel with Guest Speakers talking about Producing Theatre in NYC, Book Signings and a Meet and Greet with the Artists in the upcoming Strawberry One-Act Festival.
To Register Online for the Retreat Cruise go to https://www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/w7n96781f54btld0KY or call Van Fisher at 646-623-3488. The deadline to pay for the Cruise is October 20, 2018.
Balcony Room with an Oceanview: $1,378.00 Per Person / Double Occupancy.
Interior Room: $1,118.00 Per Person / Double Occupancy.
All Bookings include FREE Unlimited Open Bar.
The Event Pass for the Workshops is $250.00 and the deadline to pay for the Event Pass is December 15, 2018. To buy an Event Pass for the Workshops click here.
Q: What’s in the future for all things Strawberry?
Riant: Our next festival will feature over 30 one-act plays. Tickets for the Strawberry One-Act Festival will go on sale November 15, 2018 on our website at www.therianttheatre.com. We will be making a special announcement at our Bon Voyage Party about other upcoming events. Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our Blog.