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Backstage pass 2011

Backstage Blog

Join our artists as they journey through the summer. Stay tuned as you never know who you will find here.

July 17, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Two more weekends of Shakespeare after this one.  I do so love the long evenings and nights by the lake, the ducks and geese, the dragonflies, the cool delta breeze when the sun goes down.  I even love the crisis management that happens back stage to keep the magic happening for the people. Every year I say I will never do this again because it is SOOOOOO much work, but every year I feel like I am in love before the season is over.

Maybe it's just fun to do something I am so very good at.  Maybe it really is magic.  I don't know.  I just know a deep contentment overtakes me once the audience is in place and I say into the headset, "This is Joy.  We have places back stage."  It always feels like a word play on my name.  This is joy. This is joy.  This is joy.

July 17, 2011 - Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin, Director- Intern Program & Front of House Manager, Production Manager

Who would've guessed there was a full moon this weekend? Me! It was only too was high all around as we tackled our third weekend of performances. Great audiences, great performances and the weirdest questions/comments/complaints I've received yet. But it's all in a days work at the front of the house. Maybe we just need to hire a chair masseuse for the top of hill? Then when things get crazy, we have a solution at our fingertips.

On another note, the interns opened their show, "Henry V", on Friday night. The comments were positive and the interns rocked it! If you don't want to miss it, come on Friday, July 22, Sunday July 24, Friday July 29 or Saturday July 30 and catch them taking over France at 7pm!

Here are some photos from this weekends have two more weekends plus tonight! Come on out!

As You Like it Cast and CrewAs You Like ItShrew Cast and CrewTaming of the Shrew

July 9, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite; Concierge

Anyone who knows me knows I cry at the drop of a hat, any hat. But today, the actors of Shakespeare Lite, once again, made me hope against hope that THIS time Father John would get to Romeo, or Friar Lawrence would get to the tomb in time: in other words that this time would be different.  Even after 400 years, we still hope that things will be different.  Well, not today.
I had seen many rehearsals of this particular production, so I knew the nuances of the performance, but today the magic of Shakespeare’s words and good acting came together once again, and I wept when Juliet killed herself.  The actors of Shakespeare Lite and their director, Luther Hanson, are awesome. If you get a chance to see them do either R&J or King Arthur, or both; go see them.  They’ll knock your socks off.

July 8, 2011 - Christine Nicholson, Director- Taming of the Shrew

It’s odd writing after the opening of a show....

Shrew opened last weekend – after an incredibly strange tech week. First it was hot. Then it rained (so much that we had to cancel second dress rehearsal). Then it was insanely hot. All the while I was sick as the proverbial dog. But . . . Wow. Opening night came and the cast rocked the park. It was beautiful to watch, funnier than all get out (or hecka funny . . .), and big sized crowd. And contrary to all assumptions abut second performances, the second night was even better. And it was the biggest second night crowd we’ve seen in ages. Several people I spoke to who normally are not big fans of the play (because of the difficulty in making some of its sentiments relevant) raved about it. Woot!

In fact the only disparaging comments I’ve heard (well, read – on the goldstar ticket homepage) were that the jokes were too sexual, and there was too much cleavage. All I can say to that is – have you read any shakespeare (after all this is a play about ‘bedding’) ? And have you watched any tv, films, commercials or video games in the past decade?  But if that’s the big complaint, I will take it, receive it with open arms, and own it. You guys rocked!

Last night we had brush-up rehearsal. Did a speed through, since we wont be back performing until Sunday, after AYLI opens. They did it in an hour and a half – and it was funny. I felt all selfish getting to be the only audience for such a fun show. But I will give them back to the world come Sunday. Not sure if I’ll have any more blogs after this – may leave it to those that will continue to run the show.

But it’s been a great summer so far, and looks to me like it will continue on it’s way. Yay Shakepeare!

July 7, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Who are those people all in black?  That's the technical crew for the festival.  I don't know too much about the sound and light crews, but the backstage crew has been performing Herculean feats throughout the 14-day work week we put in to open both plays.  No names on my kudos this time because ALL of these folks are heroes.

Kudos to the techies who move furniture on and off and on and off and on and off in 100-plus degree weather so we could do it smoothly when actors arrive.

Kudos to the techies who inspect the stage before each performance to make sure there are no hazards (loose screws, slivers, etc.) which could injure actors or damage costumes.  They also go over the grass area with a magnetic wand and sweep the stage free of slippery dust.

Kudos to those who face centipedes and black widow spiders in the bunker.

Kudos to the techie who actually SCRUBBED OUT the two open porta-potties on Wednesday so the actors would have the least unpleasant experience possible.

Kudo's to the techie who cleaned up the spilled garbage near the side entrance, maggots and all.

Actors and Directors, if you love theater...hug a techie.

July 7, 2011 - Lia Seyman, Stage Manager - As You Like It

We are getting all of our ducks in order for the opening of As You Like It on Friday. The actors and crew are working exceptionally hard during these hot summer nights. I would like to give a special shout out to all of our fantastic stage hands, tech crew, building crew, interns, costumers and designers. Everyone and everything is looking great. I think what we need now is our audience. Hooray!

July 6, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite; Concierge

Tomorrow is the last dress rehearsal for Lite’s version of Romeo and Juliet, set this time in 1846 in Sonoma during the Bear Flag Republic.  One of our families speaks Spanish part of the time.
It is amazing how long it takes to make or  pull together, or both all the little bits and pieces needed to make the show live (actually, the actors do that, we just enhance the experience). Weeks of rehearsal by the actors, time spent figuring out just which outfit looks best on whom; how many shirts and trousers and jackets of which styles, etc.  Then, do they fit? Can the actors move well enough to fight, or dance, or die or whatever they need to do.  Then replace buttons, change hems, make hats smaller, etc.  The final ingredient for a finished production is you, the audience.  Without you, the project remains incomplete.  So, come on out to see Shakespeare Lite perform Romeo and Juliet on Saturday night, July 9, at 7pm.  Then stay and see As You Like It.  We truly need you for the completion of the work.

July 4, 2011 (2:19am!) - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite; Concierge

Somebody should say a word about our lovely Lori Ann.  She makes the front of the house rock; always pleasant and cheerful and so organized!  We would be lost without her.

July 3, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite

I want to second Joy’s kudos for the Shakespeare Lite actors that are doing double duty in Shrew and As You Like It.  They are awesome actors, and people, too. The rest of the actors are just as great.

Last night Lite performed King Arthur onstage and they looked lovely, if I do say so myself.  Thanks also to Jacob who understudied Mordred so well.

Today Theresa and I spent several hours doing little jobs like hems-dresses and pants.  Also taking in vests and mending linings.  Only a couple of big things left to do for Romeo and Juliet before a final dress rehearsal on Wednesday.  After that, come see them on Saturday, July 9, before AYLI!

July 3, 2011 - Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin, Director- Intern Program & Front of House Manager, Production Manager

As we wrap up weekend one of performances in the park, I want to thank all that made this very successful weekend happen - our tech crew who worked in intense heat and sun to build that beautiful re-creation of the Globe; our stage management crew - Joy, Lia and Steve - who handled it so well; our box office staff - Cynthia, Alyse and John - and concierge - Lenore - who put on those beautiful smiles for our audience; our interns for being awesome and jumping in anytime someone needs a hand; all of Shrew - cast, crew and their fearless leader, Christine, for setting the bar very high indeed - what a performance! I agree with Joy's note about the tech crew that has already put in a full week of work, just to start another tonight. When you see them, also give them a high five as they totally rock! I know they are pretty excited about a day off tomorrow - I sure am!

We are really thrilled with the chatter on Facebook and Twitter and can't wait to see what that does for our season. Budgets may be getting cut, but we will survive!

Tudor VillageBox office starsCyn and JackieShrew

July 3, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

It was still very hot when we took the stage last night in Tudor garb.  Kudos to our actors in capes and corsets.  Even with dedicated crew to administer water and ice, there was a lot of suffering for art.  Just ask Victoria Alvarez-Chacon.  She pushed herself beyond the limit.

The Shrew actors who also perform in Shakespeare Light deserve double honor.  They rehearsed, got dressed, performed, got dressed again, and performed again.  This may be community theater, but these guys deliver like pros. Special thanks to Kayla Willett for being a great encourager!  That girl smiles right through her beard.

Get this Shakespeare fans:  After 7 straight days of tech and rehearsals, the actors from Taming of the Shrew take a break -- but the crew of the Shakespeare Festival goes on and on.  Tech for As You Like It is just beginning.  If you see Lia Seyman, give her a hug.  She soooo deserves it.  Wait. Maybe she is not a hugger.  Give her a big smooch. Wait.  Maybe she is not a kisser.  Money?

June 30, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Last dress rehearsal is done and tonight we open!  Stage manager has effectively delegated absolutely everything except following on book.  My job is so great.

Our cast has earned the moniker "Clan Prop Destroyer".  I think the death toll lies now in double digits.  If this keeps up we might be miming props on stage before the end of the run.

Petruchio!  Petruchio!  I have now heard the words every stage manager hopes he will never hear from the booth. "Isn't somebody supposed to be on stage?"

Costumes are taking a beating, too. You should see our repair log after rehearsals!

Butters is getting star treatment.  I think we have already hired and fired three dog wranglers trying to find one that is up to his expectations. Geez.  Next he will want a star on his fire hydrant.

June 29, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite

Thunder and rain today led to wet actors when they came for their fittings.  Wonderful actors—they all fit the costumes chosen for them!  Thankfully they did not have to deal with acting or rehearsing in the rain—the weather in Sacramento at Shakespeare time is usually hot, or at least warm, but I have known it to rain on opening night.  Not this year, I hope.
Tomorrow is first dress for Romeo and Juliet followed by a long list of repairs and changes for the costumes.  Wish us luck!

June 27, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Steve Jones was in my dreams last night (! ! ! !).  It's not what you think.  He kept saying, "Low stress.  We're not curing brain cancer here.  We're just entertaining people."  It's my new mantra for Tech Week.  Don't worry, Steve.  I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

We're still destroying props. Trina's make-believe mutton survived to be eaten by Hortensio, but the most laughable prop moment came when Trina demonstrated the best way to chuck a bowl across the stage without breaking it.  I didn't see the results, but I heard a suspicious crash and splinter sort of noise.

Most memorable stage manager moment?  When we discovered that our specially-made Petruchio-proof table won't fit through any of the doors to be brought on stage.>

Low stress.  We're not curing brain cancer here.  We're just entertaining people.

I got home well after midnight.

June 27 2011 - Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin, Director- Intern Program & Front of House Manager, Production Manager

What a weekend! Started today off at the Tudor Fayre watching Shakespeare Lite ROCK Arthur! Nice work, cast! Finished it up with the annual tech feed bbq to kick off tech week for the festival. This year we start with "Taming of the Shrew". I hope they're done by now (it's 12:12am) :-). Tomorrow, Shawn and his crew are back at the park finishing up things on the set, and our lighting and sound designers will also be hard at work after tonight's cue-to-cue. Our SMs and crew are awesome and I can't wait for opening. Below are some pictures from Arthur today... enjoy!

Arthur and GuenivereWarrior women!Shakespeare Lite

June 26, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite

It has been a good weekend-seeing pictures of the Lite actors looking wonderful in their costumes at the Tudor Fayre, going to the Tech feed and seeing part of Taming of the Shrew and finding out that I don’t need any extra costumes for Romeo and Juliet, though I still need to finish the ones we do need.  I am really looking forward to seeing Shrew in full and in costume on Friday night. It’s time for the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival to begin!

June 24, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Tongues and lips were tired tonight after yesterday's speed-through, resulting in some funny pronunciations.  I think I heard something about "woosy doody" at one point.

Testosterone levels were at an all-time high last night, and props took the brunt of it.  We will be collecting pieces of the UNBREAKABLE pitcher I brought in as a rehearsal prop for days to come.  Add that to the list of demolished props which already includes a riding crop, a yardstick, cups...

PS:  We are still bursting corsets.

Seriously, though, we are so ready for Tech!  Precious few line notes, and these wonderful actors can still make me laugh with their comic bits even though I have seen them dozens of times.  Petruchio's servants have their own special body language, Hortensio walks Flamenco, Gremio does the Quick Step, Bianca and Lucentio vignette a half-dozen romance novel covers from an upstairs window, and Vincentio...well, you'll just have to come and see for yourself.

One more PS.  In our Tech meeting, we tried to get a tiny spotlight and a microphone for Butters, but the lighting designer and sound designers were not having it.  Sigh.  Sorry, Butters.

June 23, 2011 - Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin, Director- Intern Program & Front of House Manager, Production Manager

The set is looking mighty fine, the village is coming together, and there are lights in the sky. Shawn Weinsheink and his crew, with help from Steve Decker and the Stagecraft class from St. Francis High School have been working through some blistering heat to get the park ready for tech on Sunday, and it's paid off. And with cooler temperatures heading our way, it should be lovely, although it might get a bit chilly after the sun goes down. Stay tuned! It's getting very exciting...only 8 more days til Shrew.


Stopped in at As You Like It rehearsal. Got to enjoy the lovely original songs. I am looking forward to seeing it all put together, but let's get Shrew open first!

AYLI RehearsalAYLI Rehearsal

June 23, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Those strange-looking folks pushing carts of junk across the quad are not homeless vagrants.  Those are our actors and stage manager getting the rehearsal props and costumes from the shop to the gym.  It's a balancing act, let me tell you.

Our rehearsal last night was a speed-through.  The comic bits were even funnier on fast forward.

Trivia mystery question:  What did Will Block have in his bed for several nights before he noticed it?

General question:  Has anyone EVER seen a coset burst like Nita Christi’s did?  It looked like the thing had been wired with explosives.

Line notes.  Line notes.  Line notes.  Our fine actors' brains were frying in the heat.  Hence the quote of the week:  "I'm kind of dumb for reals.  Can you explain that for me?"

June 22, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite

It just gets better and better.  The Lite rehearsal today looked wonderful.  No more costume trauma.  They are now looking like they are wearing their normal clothing, not costumes.  Many thanks to Mikayla for all of her help.

June 21, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite

Today was first dress for King Arthur.  I hoped for luck yesterday and mostly received it.  Still have problems with men in tights without tights (not a lovely sight when they die) and making women into men. Comment today:” Are we going to have binding tomorrow to practice with?”  Male actor “What?”  “Ace bandages; that’s how you make a man.” “Oh, is that how it’s done?”
Women fighting in Medieval dress is also a new experience.  “Yesterday I had all my lines and today I can’t remember any of them!”  She was far too busy dealing with a train and a broadsword at the same time.  Luther is very pleased over all so today was a very good day.

June 21, 2011 - Lia Seyman, Stage Manager - As You Like It

We had an absolutely fantastic rehearsal last night. We were fortunate enough to have the amazing Natty Justiano work with our actors on clownish vocabulary and dance choreography. Poor Ian, our resident Wandering Folk guitarist had to play the same measure of a song on repeat for the better part of an hour. I do not envy his fingers today. 

Natty has an amazing ability to bring out the best energy in actors. Watching him work with our cast was incredibly fun. For our dance numbers think "Hair" meets "Steve Martin and Gilda Radner spazzing out." 

Final production meeting today was held in the park. Set looks great so far, though I must admit the heat was a little much for my tastes. Thank goodness Sacramento cools down in the evenings.

AYLI RehearsalAYLI RehearsalAYLI RehearsalAYLI RehearsalAYLI Rehearsal

June 21, 2011 - Scott Bailey, Theatre Technician & Sound Designer

Samantha says: "Touch my paint and I kill you!"

June 21, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

The cast of Shrew is getting ready to meet the highschool interns next week.  That means all the bawdy has to stay on stage.  It's an interesting adjustment.

Two nights of line notes produced only seven scribbled pages of corrections.  Not bad.

Our remarkable Director uses creative phraseology to get her idea across.

Concerning a proposed prop.
"What we need is the Elizabethan equivalent to a handi-wipe."

To another Director, passing by.
"Come on in.  We have boogers."

To a female actress addressing Petruchio.
"You like to speak into his chest.  I get that.  But the sound doesn't bounce off of it."

To an actress, asking for more ferocity.
"You're channeling Darth Vader here.  Just think 'boobs of fire'."

And from two of our lead actors:
"I totally didn't know if you were in character just then."
"Is that really something I would do?"

June 21, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is first dress for King Arthur.  If we are lucky, everything will be perfect and we can get down to finishing Romeo and Juliet.  More likely, something will look wrong, or will interfere with the actor’s ability to fight with a big, heavy broadsword, or something else.  I think that things should go well, though.  We still need to add some trim to at least one costume and dye some tights, and get caps for all of the male characters, but that is minor stuff.  Wish us luck!

June 21, 2011 - Christine Nicholson, Director- Taming of the Shrew

Monday night before Tech week. We worked the second half. Added growling, dog barking, and nose picking. Glad it’s not a tragedy.
Also, had an actor’s car break down in Winters, one stuck in traffic in Roseville, one with tires falling off of his bike, and one in the emergency room with breathing difficulties. I’m gonna start making totems, chanting, and smudging real soon. All that being said, I laughed a lot a stuff tonight. I think we’re going to be ready.

Also worked with our furniture for the first time. We abuse it mightily so we needed to know if it’s gonna break. But Shawn, Bailey and the scenic crew ‘did real good’ and it stayed together in spite of being tortured. 

Now the question is metal, wooden or ceramic cups. Probably shouldn’t be breakable – Petruchio has been known to pitch fits. And the lute project continues.

Trying to avoid writing director’s notes, cuz I’m being lazy-brained. And they need to be smart and pithy. Or at least make sense. Oh well- another day.

June 20, 2011 - Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin, Director- Intern Program & Front of House Manager

So, it's been kind of quiet around here, prompting me to pipe up! The interns are proving to be worth their weight in gold! A number of them showed up at 6am to brave the load-in to the park before the rest of town was conscious. I'm ready to cast the pre-show, "A Short History of King Henry V" and start rehearsal with them on Friday.

For front of house, it was an exciting day. Found out that our printer, Spirit Print, is only going to print black if it needs to be printed due to shirt color, which saves us a bunch! Got the wholesale price list from Shakespeare's Den today so I can order the merchandise for the souvenir booth. You know you want a "Taste of Shakespeare" apron, don't you?

As for my production manager hat, we have our final meeting tomorrow at the park for last minute details as we get ready for tech on Sunday. Already!! Shrew opens on July 1st, so it's getting close. Now if only we had a stage manager...working on it and very close, stay tuned!

June 17, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite

I just finished a marathon at the computer searching for bits and pieces for Lite.  Ordered gold ostrich feathers for the Prince(ss) in R and J and gendarme-style hats for Paris and Mercutio.  They are all such elegant folk.  Our fair Verona is Sonoma in 1846 during the Bear Flag revolt, so we have a military family (The Prince(ss) and her family; a Mexican family,(the Capulets) and an American family, (the Montagues). And Friar Lawrence is a Franciscan from the Sonoma mission!  It’s been fun to decide what each group wears so that the audience will know (maybe only subconsciously) who belongs to which group.  Oh, yes, some will be speaking Spanish!  But wait, we still have to finish King Arthur!

June 17, 2011 - Lia Seyman, Stage Manager - As You Like It

The music in "As You Like It" makes me want to get up and dance, or at the very least, sway rhythmically from side to side. Unfortunately for me, the actors are hard at work learning their lines/blocking and still need me to follow the script, just in case. They are all working very hard, characters are starting to take shape and the play is definitely on its feet. Our actors always come in with great ideas, it's so fun to watch. 

Pictures next time, I promise. I have to try to keep up with Joy. 

June 15, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

For the record, no one can scream quite like Will Block.

For the record:  Al Padilla kept over a dozen actors waiting in the hall tonight with his claim that the door to the gym was locked. They all waited patiently, sitting on the floor, until stage management arrived and actually tried the door.  It was unlocked.

For the record:  We are going through a lot of bandaids this season.

For the record:  Our canine actor, Butters, is the cutest thing ever.

Directors get interesting actor communications during rehearsal .  Here are a few real life Taming of the Shrew comments I overheard recently...with the context following.

Comment: "Who specifically are you saying are the screwed up ones?"
Context:  Response to Director comment about blocking.

Comment:  "Oh!  Do you not want to go down?  You don't have to go down."
Context:  One actor trying to accomodate another's desire during fight choreography.

Seriously, though.  This cast is working incredibly hard, and it's going to be a great show.

Shrew rehearsal

June 14, 2011 - Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin, Director- Intern Program & Front of House Manager

The intern program got off the ground today and I'm so excited! It looks like a great group, ready to take on the summer. After a brief orientation and advice on how to survive load-in, they went on their way to return for their first class on Thursday! Here's to them!

June 14, 2011 - Christine Nicholson, Director- Taming of the Shrew

We are looking forward to our first runthrough this coming friday night. We’re now working through the play as actors get off-book for lines. And we add our dog this week, too. So it’s getting in to the final sprint towards opening. And we are running forward with open arms.

Production shots are tomorrow night and we’ll have beautiful Bianca and Kate, and the very funny Tranio and Biondella as our representatives. I believe they will be absolutely gorgeous because we are doing a romance novel take on the Elizabethan era. All romance and bodice ripping.

Actors are all getting used to being corseted and then running around and being thrown around the stage – Learning to breathe again is always fun.

More info soon . . .

June 14, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Item 1:  Things were running hot and cold at rehearsal tonight.  Everyone arrived hot and sweating, but the air conditioner in the gym just wouldn't quit.  By the end of the night, people were wrapping themselves in rehearsal petticoats to ward off the chill.

Item 2:  We're looking for the sympathy vote here.  Lugging rehearsal shoes and costumes back and forth between the gym and the costume shop is getting to the point of impossible.  I think we should have a dolly.  Can I get an "amen"?

Item 3:  A personal note of victory.  For the first time since rehearsals started, I really felt like part of the team.  Not that I wanted the actors to get lost in their blocking.  It's just that I've spent 60 hours writing, erasing, and rewriting every move they make.  Not easy with this large and energetic a cast. It was kind of nice to be called on for an answer I could actually supply.

Item 4:  Audiences can be tough.  Still, they pretty much give you at least a little sympathy clap at the appropriate moments.  But when you finish a scene and fellow cast members awaiting their turn along the walls of the gym burst into spontaneous applause -- you can be pretty sure you just made theater magic. 

June 13, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite

Thursday Theresa and I spent the day decorating Arthur costumes.  They are getting to be quite elegant.  Our company is called Shakespeare Lite, but the Arthur costumes are heavy; lots of texture in the fabrics.  Theresa has since made a motley gown for Arthur’s Fool.  We like it and we hope he does (Luther, too).  Now it’s time to make Merlin look “magical” however that’s done!
Oh, yes, the Mexican hats for Romeo and Juliet have come.  Snazzy!

June 11, 2011 - David Harris, Director- As You Like It

Another fantastic rehearsal with our minstrel Ian McGlone.  Mr. McGlone has created music for the five songs Shakespeare wrote for As You Like It, and I have to say I am so thrilled.  The songs are ideal, just beautiful, perfect for our setting of the play.  We are having San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park perform the “role” of The Forest of Arden with our story taking place in 1972.  It isn’t hard to imagine the pastoral scene unfolding, and Ian has written in the style of folk singer/songwriters of the period.  Actor Caitlyn Keskeys, an accomplished singer and musician herself, is portraying the role of AMIENS.  The character is a “Lord” in service of the banished DUKE SENIOR.  They are hiding out in the forest, having been banished from court by the Duke’s usurping brother.  We have combined the role of AMIENS with a few other background characters that Shakespeare wrote into the play as singers.  Now Caitlyn’s character has become a prominent minstrel, vocalizing all five songs in the play, along with actor Ashley Holm.  Ashley also takes on singing duties as an accompanying “Lord.”  So our trio of wandering minstrels in our production of As You Like It are rehearsing this beautiful Saturday afternoon.  We are very excited about how these songs are going to weave into our production and help in creating that Saturday in the Park in 1972 feeling.  Can’t wait for you to see and hear it.

As You Like It

June 10, 2011 - Lia Seyman, Stage Manager - As You Like It

Well, this is the forest of Arden.

More specifically, this is Golden Gate Park circa 1972. How do Shakespeare's lively (and sometimes ridiculous) characters fit into this setting? Well, that's what this rehearsal process is all about, discovering the play in a new and updated light. Our production is a hippie filled romp of folksy music, young love and "sticking it to the man." We've got guns and guitars, macramé, clownish antics, and lots of family melodrama to delight everyone. Who knows, maybe we've even got a herd of buffalo.  

Blocking is almost completely finished and the actors will be off book next week. Things are beginning to take shape and it is pretty exciting! 

June 9, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Bianca (Megan O'Laughlin) put her foot down at rehearsal tonight.  Unfortunately, Lucentio (Al Padilla) had his unbooted extremity in just the spot she chose for her stomp.  First injury of the season.  Hopefully the last.

BANG!  Gunfire at rehearsal?  No.  Julian's bike blew a tube.  Poor Julian.  Isn't it enough he has to ride like the wind to make rehearsal after work?  What will he do now?

Ensemble got plenty of "Oooh" and "Aaah" practice tonight, led by Petruchio. Only the Haberdasher was hating. 

Grumio (Will Block) tried a new look tonight.  Here is a pic.

Three days off, then it's pretty much All Calls from here on out.  We expect to be off book by Friday.


June 8, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Tonight I collected some interesting quotes from rehearsal chatter.
Concerning a special entrance by Julian Sandoval, playing Hortensio:  "I was just wondering.  Do I get a leash?"
Concerning the similarities between directing and acting long scenes:  "I get so tired of hearing my own voice."
Concerning corsets: "I really have a body.  Actually.  And it has organs inside."
A Director's promise broken almost before it was made:  "I will try not to stop you.  You knoooow that is difficult for me to do."
And the best of the night from Rick:  "Oh.  What?  I'm sorry.  What?  Oh!  Cut all their lines!  I'm sorry........Let's try that kiss again."

June 8, 2011 - Lenore Justman, Costume Designer - Shakespeare Lite

Today I am working on costumes for King Arthur.  Our first performances will be at the Tudor Fayre in Fair Oaks on June 24 and 25.  There are lots of beautiful costumes in the collection left over from Robin Hood a couple of years ago—we just need to make them rich and or magical depending on who the character is, so it’s trim-time in Lite land.  I wonder why Shakespeare never wrote about King Arthur?

June 7, 2011 - Joy Gee, Stage Manager - The Taming of the Shrew

Things got hot tonight between Petruchio and Kate.  After rehearsal I found them rolling on the floor of the South Gym hurling insults at one another!  I can't decide if the sight will give me nightmares or sweet dreams - I don't think they know either.  Can't wait to see these two fine actors bring it in Taming of the Shrew.
Director Christine Nicholson moves heaven and earth to stagger rehearsal times and give people a little rest, but this is one of those plays where the non-speaking parts have a lot to say, so we have already moved to All Calls.  A few days with Nathaniel Justiniano gave our brave ensemble cast a huge increase in physical vocabulary.  I swear those guys will try anything!
Stay tuned for more tidbits from Taming of the Shrew. Plenty happening in the rehearsal space, and I've got my ear to the curtain for backstage gossip.