Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ensemble Diaries:
TSP Ensemble Member Candice Oden

The Seeing Place Theater is thrilled to announce its 2016 Fundraising Initiative. As a part of the initiative we want you to give you a chance to get to know our members, so we gave them a little challenge. To start, the Seeing Place asked each of its members 3 questions which they could answer via text or video:

1) What is your hometown?
2) What is your dream role?
3) When was the last time you contributed to a campaign and how did it make you feel?

We then asked them to craft a little blog post about what brought them to The Seeing Place and why it means so much to them. We hope you enjoy getting to know our ensemble!


My relationship with The Seeing Place began FAR earlier than my becoming a part of the company.  I was introduced to it by my best friend.  She had co-founded a theater company called The Seeing Place Theater (oh, right – my best friend is Erin Cronican), and when she first told me of the way they were working, my response was, “Oh, HHHEEEEEEECK no.”  It sounded absolutely terrifying to me.

Candice Oden
I went to see her in her first show with the company, and she was extraordinary. I wouldn’t shut up about her and the male lead in the show – to anyone. Anyone who came into contact with me for the entire rest of the week had to suffer through me going on and on about Erin and “this other guy who played the male lead.” “This other guy” I later found out was an old friend of Erin’s (from their mutual home town of San Diego), and – oh – the one with whom she co-founded the company.  Right.

I started coming to all of their shows – I would go on opening night, because Erin’s my best friend, so I need to go to her opening night; but I would also go closing night … and I would go to a show or two during the middle of the run. I was fascinated. Every single show was different from the previous, yet they never varied in quality. I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, and Erin would remind me of the way “they” (now “we” ;) ) worked – setting no blocking, etc. – and I would always have the same response.  “Oh, HHHEEEEEEEEECK no.”

But I couldn’t deny what I was watching.

I was doing a production of a show with someone who had performed the understudy title role in a very famous musical on Broadway, and someone asked him what is was like to work with some of the [celebrated] people in the cast. And his response struck me. He said that one of the leading women would deliver the same show every night. And as a musical theater actor, my first thought was, “Of course she did! That’s the way you’re supposed to do it!” But there was something about there being a distinction between someone doing the exact same show every night and someone not, both getting the same paycheck, and both getting wonderful audience responses. I grew up doing musical theater, and, as a child in musical theater, you’re not encouraged to go out on stage and explore your art. You take direction and do only what you’re asked to do.  Fortunately I was very good at that. But having a concept now of doing a different show every night blew my mind.

Candice creates set dressing for TSP's production of
Cut to years later, I had the opportunity to stage manage a show at The Seeing Place.  I got to watch the makings of what I’d witnessed from the audience for so many years, show after show, production after production. And I was addicted.  I wanted to know everything about it. I wanted to know what it was like to work the way TSP does, to have the artistic home that TSP provides – everything.

I then had the opportunity to become an ensemble member at TSP, and it has been the best thing I have ever done as an artist.  I was fortunate enough to perform as an actor in BOYS LIFE, and now it was my turn to do “a different show every night.” It was absolutely terrifying, but I knew that I was safe. I knew that no one was going to let anyone “fail” onstage or off, because every moment on the stage is precious when you’re living (and I mean living) onstage with other people like this.

So … Dear Ensemble Diary: Thank you so, so much.  May every artist feel as blessed as I do.


To help create new work with Candice and The Seeing Place by contributing to our campaign, visit

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