Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Cal Shakes Scramble

Glenn Carroll, Development intern extraordinaire, returns to the blogosphere.

I ask you, what better way can one start the new year than with AN INTERN BLOG? The Cal Shakes Scramble (not a McDonald’s breakfast option), as I’ve come to call my day-to-day existence, varies from researching local wineries to improving our filing integrity to trying every single bit of holiday candy goodness that comes in this office. In fact, I’ve never come so close to contracting diabetes as during the last three weeks of 2010, when everyone decided that the printer table at the end of the hall was the perfect place to put any delectable homemade confectionary delight.

Not having spent much time in offices during the holiday season, I never quite understood why every adult always lamented the increase in office junk food during this time. I mean, a different type of baked good every day? I would be the last to complain.

Unfortunately for my cholesterol and waistline, I spend a lot of time at that particular printer. And once the cookies started pouring in, I decided my time spent there should really increase. An envelope for the printer, a piece of fudge for me. Some letterhead for the printer, two gingerbread cookies for me. The day someone brought in truffles held a clear-cut victory for Glenn Carroll over the truffle-people in a very short amount of time. You can see where this is going.

After quite a canker sore, I begin this new year with plans to eat less processed sugar, and write more blogs. Hopefully the blogs will deal more with what I actually learn and work at here than what I eat, but I make no promises. Good luck to everyone else keeping their resolutions!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Introducing Glenn, 2010/2011 Development Intern

The Bay Area is new to me. Originally from L.A., I moved up at the beginning of September for a part-time, unpaid internship in the Cal Shakes development department, a.k.a. my post-graduation opportunity, which is what I tell my employed friends. While this move may seem bold to some, I could tell from my first phone interview that Cal Shakes was the type of supportive, positive work environment that I had been craving.

Of course, Id never seen one of their plays.

So clearly my number-one agenda item upon arrival was to see Much Ado About Nothing, the last show of the 2010 season. It would be very difficult asking people for money, garnering support for the company, and doing my daily work if I had never actually seen what I was supposed to be in full support of. I mean, theres really only so far my BSing will get me.

Which is why I found myself one warm Friday evening at 7:59pmhaving just parked my car between a rock, a hard place, and two very large minivansrunning up what seemed to be the Mt. Everest of hills. Having stood in line at Zacharys for 45 minutes, I was now in possession of a deep dish pizza so heavy it acted as a dumbbell for my friend Mary and I as we raced up the hill. Actually, as I discovered the next morning with aching muscles, we created a very effective exercise system for ourselves, namely running up steep asphalt drives while holding 10-pound pizzas at a 90-degree angle to your body while laughing so hard you almost pee your pants; it works your thighs, shoulders, biceps, and abs, respectively. Of course, the pizza soon countered all calories burned.

I should certainly know better than this. Being a theater person myself, Ive always thought it rude to arrive late to a show and that you really ought to be in your seats 10 minutes before curtain. Really, people. Its not asking much.

But of course it was asking a bit much for me that evening. Finally, out of breath, sweaty, and starving, we raced through to the entrance. Weve got the last two audience members rushing on their way right now, I overheard on a house staff walkie-talkie. Great. They were holding the house for us. I was certainly making a poor first impression as the new development intern. We scrambled over other patrons to finally sit down in our seats with our pizza/dumbbell. Which is when I discovered we didnt have forks, knives, or napkins. Plus, no one around us was eating. Does this mean everyone has already eaten? Or even worse, are you not supposed to eat in the theater? Obviously I know this for your typical, indoor house, but I thought the whole Bruns idea was picnicking under the stars while watching a show. I mean, this isnt some candy either. We have an entire box of pizza on our laps. That we now have to eat with our fingers.

At this point, if were keeping tally, I have lost five points for being late, one point for each person I crawled over to get to my seat (three points total), 10 points for bringing a pizza into the theater, and four points for eating deep-dish pizza with my fingers. Subtract an extra two for being sweaty. That makes a grand -25 for Glenn Carroll, struggling Cal Shakes superstar.

But hey, there I was! I scrapped by and made it, and, as the opening music began and onstage revelry opened the scene, I soon forgot my last hour of misfortunes and fell into the wonderful world we had created. I happen to love Shakespeare, which means I absolutely-completely-and-utterly loathe poorly done Shakespearean productions. Other shows can be bad, but when Shakespeare is bad, its really awful.

Which is why I was so utterly delighted with Much Ado. The production was just deliciouswitty, energetic, and entertaining as all get out. Not only that, but Marymy cohort that evening, who does not especially like theaterwas giggling more than I was! And what a relief, knowing that, of course, I will be able to fully and completely endorse Cal Shakes during my time here because this production was wonderful! What a commendable organization to be a part of, with their combination of fine theater, relaxed atmosphere, and the outdoors. Im officially a fan. (No, really, check Facebook).

Since then, my experience working in the office has continued to increase my esteem for Cal Shakes and what we do here. I cant wait to continue updating everyone on my exciting (and probably hilarious) adventures here this year! Until next time.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shall not be long but I'll be here again!

The title of my (final) blog comes from Ross in the current production of "Macbeth", but it has personal meaning - as of this past Friday, I am an intern no more. It's both a sad and happy time: I've had the absolute time of my life at Cal Shakes over the past 2 years, seeing three productions I was involved in make it to the stage ("Romeo & Juliet", "John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven" and "Macbeth"). If there's anything left to be learned in an internship, I certainly can't think of it (although, of course, I hope I never stop learning!), and I was lucky enough to get to see 2 previews of "Macbeth" from the audience. I was enthralled watching the show, even having seen it at least 10 times prior in rehearsals - Joel Sass, the actors and designers have all done an amazing job, and my goodbye to everyone Thursday night after notes was a tearful one. I am once again back in hot, humid and rainy Gainesville, Florida starting my Senior year, but all the love and lessons learned at Cal Shakes follow me here, and will for the rest of my life. So to all the actors, designers, stage managers, administrators, educators, production crew, office staff and devoted patrons who have come into my life these past two seasons, know you will stay there forever. So until next time (and there will be a next time, promise!), "I take my leave of you; Shall not be long but I'll be here again!"

Stage Management Intern '09-'10

Saturday, July 24, 2010

When the hurly-burly's done

"Agatha Christie, I love blood!" - Joel Sass, Director

That's how the first day began, and with the first week of rehearsals for "Macbeth" (or "Forever Plaid", as Lady M Stacy Ross calls it) nearly behind us, he hasn't let us down. Joel has worked hard with Dramaturg Philippa Kelly and Text Coach Lynne Soffer to make a contemporary and relatable adaptation of Shakepeare's supposedly cursed play, while maintaining the integrity of the original. It's recognizable yet new, and so is the staging. Along with the designers, Joel and the actors are creating a world that is so much like ours, but hard to place; very realistic, but somehow dreamlike; modern and classic. Most importantly, he's worked hard with Mr. and Mrs., Jud Williford and Stacy Ross, to create a couple that everyone knows and relates to, yet sinks to the darkest depths of ambition - all while somehow keeping those viewing from being able to choose a side. How can you relate to a serial killer? Because perhaps despite never having committed murder, everyone's let their ambition get the better of them at some time or other, and then felt the pain of guilt later. But enough about the serious stuff, let's talk blood! There's plenty of it in this production (remember last season's "Romeo & Juliet"? - go bigger). And it's not just gore for the sake of shock and awe, it's creative gore. Artistic blood. Take what you think about when you think of "Macbeth" - witches, cauldrons and sword fights - and toss them out the window. This show will surprise and frighten you, especially when you realize how meaningful Shakespeare's words still are in this modern age. It's safe to say you won't be disappointed.

-Dallas Kane, Stage Management Intern

Monday, July 12, 2010

Geraniums and laughter!

Dallas, back again with more tales of the intern life! It's been just over 2 weeks since the closing of "John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven" at Cal Shakes. The show was spectacular, perfect weather nearly every evening, not to mention an amazing group of people. Every day was a new challenge - speaking from a backstage perspective- but actors, crew, costumes, props and the set all held out till the bittersweet end (save for the party lights on the poles, which finally succumbed to the pressure on the closing matinee). The run crew, made up of myself, SM PIP Lauren, PA Christina and Deck Manager Sam, along with Lighting PIP Krista and Stage Manager Briana, had a fantastic photo shoot on closing weekend, complete with photos in the Model T Ford, "geraniums and laughter" and that infamous peach scene. I've included a photo at PIP coordinator Daunielle's urging (don't be alarmed, they finally realized they'd left me behind and waited for me to catch up). Closing was, as I said, bittersweet. Briana, myself and the actors had worked on that show daily for a little over 7 weeks, not to mention the Word for Word ladies and others who had workshopped it for the past 3 years. It was time to put it to rest, though, since "Mrs. Warren's Profession" had to move in to prepare for its opening, which was this past Saturday. I've mostly been on book, prompting and taking line notes through previews which is a welcomed physical break from the running up and down stairs from "Pastures" (here's some math that will make your legs ache: I went up a total of 36 flights of stairs per performance, equalling 936 total during the run, which in perspective is about 17 Eiffel Towers)! "Mrs. Warren", by the way, is fabulous, and a total 180 from "Pastures". It's amazing to me how the Bruns and the actors can transform so greatly from one production to the next. Stacy Ross has become one of my heros on this show - she's absolutely fascinating and and has such a presence on stage, and off, too. I am literally counting down the days (8) until I get to experience her Lady Macbeth. You still have plenty of time to see Stacy and the rest of the cast rock "Mrs. Warren's Profession", but get your tickets now! The SF Chronicle loved it, and so will you.

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Intern Eden Meets the Muralists

My name is Eden Neuendorf; I’m an artistic department intern at Cal Shakes. I attended the Meet the Muralists event on Saturday, June 26, after the 2pm matinee of John Steinbeck's The Pastures of Heaven.

It was a very hot day, but quite a few patrons stuck it out to listen to Salinas' José Ortiz (pictured below right in a photograph by Jay Yamada) and six of young muralists of Hijos del Sol describe the Pastures mural in the plaza, titled Las Pasturas del Cielo. People were very attentive while José spoke about the mural and his process, even applauding after the answer to a question from the audience. Many patrons stayed after the talk had ended just to ask more questions and to personally thank José and the boys. Patrons seemed very grateful of and amazed by the work.

What most interested me was to hear about the strong connection José and his students felt after reading Pastures of Heaven, and about how they felt a mural was the best way to present that connection to the stories. José gave a brief description of each story depicted in the mural, and also gave the illustrators a chance to say what part of the mural they had worked on. José said they all fought over the painting of Tularecito, because as painters they all connected closely with that story. It was also one of their favorite parts of the play. It was so amazing to hear how much these young artists connected to the story.

During the talk I was struck by the depiction of the sunset at the very far right side of the mural (photographed below by Paul Doyle). I’ve seen the mural so many times, but for some reason this was the first time I really saw the sunset. But Saturday afternoon, the picture and José’s description of the artist's intent really spoke to me. The sunset was painted with different shades of grays, which aren’t the colors you typically think of when you think about a sunset. They were trying to depict the Salinas sunset, ending the mural's story with lots of grays and just a glimmer of color and hope. This is how they interpreted the end of Pastures of Heaven. It’s beautiful; I’m thankful I was finally able to see it and to fully appreciate it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

The week is drawing to a close and I feel like a senior in high school all over again. I have been bitten by the summer bug, and concentration seems ever-elusive. Yet at the same time I am loath to think about the fact that I am now entering my last week as an intern with Cal Shakes. Sadly enough this will be my first and last blog. I am an oddity when it comes to the Professional Immersion Program (PIP) as I did my internship from the beginning of January through this last week in June. Being here on the front side of the season did have its advantage, as I was able to see all the upheaval that goes into the preparation for an excellent summer. It was fascinating to be around the office when there were maybe 25 people total, in comparison to now, when the building is constantly buzzing with scenic construction, office work, and actors coming and going from rehearsal. It is an exciting environment and even more exciting is the fact that I got to see the transformation and be a part of it.

This week has been as busy as ever, as rehearsals for Mrs. Warren’s Profession are in full swing and Pastures of Heaven is about to enter its final week. Being an artistic intern provides the opportunity to dabble in a little bit of everything. From moving furniture and scrubbing floors in order to prepare the new green room, to scheduling, making phone calls, and doing errands, helping manage the company, and making sure all the artists are taken care of, there is never a dull moment in the artistic office! Needless to say I had no idea what I was actually getting into when I signed on as an artistic intern, but I loved every bit of it (even exhausting tech days where all I wanted to go do was go home and sleep). I have to say that after spending four hours one day spreading woo dchips over the groves I have a new appreciation for them!

I got to see Pastures of Heaven in its entirety for the first time at the Student Discovery Matinee last week, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The cast works so wonderfully as an ensemble and create such great interweaving stories that it is fun and exciting to watch; I would thoroughly recommend it to everyone. Besides, who wouldn’t enjoy coming out on a beautiful night to have a picnic and then watch a play that takes place not too far from here, against the beautiful backdrop of the Orinda hills. Working with Cal Shakes really has been the most amazing experience and I will miss all the fantastic and superb people that work here!

Therefore, I say not goodbye, but until we meet again!

—Brianna Hill