Thursday, January 13, 2011
Friday, October 22, 2010
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, I’d 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, there’s really only so far my BSing will get me.
Which is why I found myself one warm Friday evening at 7:59pm—having just parked my car between a rock, a hard place, and two very large minivans—running up what seemed to be the Mt. Everest of hills. Having stood in line at Zachary’s 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, I’ve 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. It’s 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. “We’ve 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 didn’t 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 isn’t 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 we’re 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, it’s really awful.
Which is why I was so utterly delighted with Much Ado. The production was just delicious—witty, energetic, and entertaining as all get out. Not only that, but Mary—my cohort that evening, who does not especially like theater—was 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. I’m 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 can’t wait to continue updating everyone on my exciting (and probably hilarious) adventures here this year! Until next time.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
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.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
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
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!