Friday, March 21, 2008


So on Monday, I went to Salinas with Jessica Richards, Tara Misra, Jon Moscone, Stefanie Kalem Octavio Solis, and a few wonderful Word for Word people. I'm not going to blog about that yet because we haven't organized the photos from it yet and Stefanie's going to make an awesome Road Trip Movie about the trip which will be a part of the BLOG OFF! Get excited, people.

So I've got a fun story for you all. I'm upstairs sitting in Daunielle Rasmussen's (Official Intern Shepherd) GLORIOUS desk that is without question the nicest desk in all of Cal Shakes. I'm on the brand new macbook that we bought for the company and I'm organizing the photos that we'll post on the new works/new communities flickr page soon. Just an ordinary day in the ordinary life of my internship. 

All of the sudden the whole freaking bull pen comes up which was really weird and wonderful but I just figured that they were having some meeting that I was going to just continue working during. But it was weird to see everyone up in artistic either way. So then Emily Morrsion (Artistic Learning/Interpretive Dance Goddess/Song Leader) said that they all needed to talk to Jean-Paul and at that moment, in my head I was picturing like, everyone filing a complaint to Jean-Paul. I don't know what about, but it just made sense to me. The next thing I know, they're singing that jolly good fellow song to me for a good five minutes. I must have had the most confused face on because I literally had no idea what the heck was going on.

For a minute I thought they might have mistaken my birth date. 

But in reality, they were actually thanking me for my work on the gala, which was very, very wonderful and kind of them. They got me a HILARIOUS card and a gift that was WAY too much and I just want to say thank you to them blog style. Hats off you you, Cal Shakians and thank you so much for the card and gift. It is really wonderful and quite an honor to work with all of you, I love you all very much.

So again, stay tuned for the upcoming BLOG OFF between Stefanie Kaylime's Bull Pen Blog and my humble intern blog. Think super-bowl people. I want to hear about the super-blog pool going on.

For now please enjoy this week's...

(i don't know how to make an underline because "command+u" isn't working on the macbook and I use a PC and i also don't know how to embed it)
This is what I want to be when I grow up.
Not a Tony winner, just as cool as Beth Leavel.

Thanks again Cal Shakians. Keep Shakin' it!

Peace and Love,


Friday, March 14, 2008

Post-Gala & Pre-Trip


So last weekend was the 2008 California Shakespeare Theatre Gala: Gateway to India. It was absolutely INSANE! We arrived at the Rotunda building in Oakland at 9AM on Saturday morning. We sorta just hung out for the first half hour. While Paul Doyle and I indulged in some delicious Odwalla Orange Juice (props to Liz for food that day) Beth Sandefur (Gala Queen) had a rundown of the day's events. That's when the heavy lifting began and to be honest, I still had a good time. It was really hard work but it was still with really fun people who are all putting in their time to raise some money for theatre. It was cool.
The BEST part of it, though, was Winkie. Allow me to explain: The Rotunda wasn't allowing us to use the regular elevators to load things up to the second floor, so we needed to use the freight elevator. It looked like this inside except bigger and more terrifying. Let me give you the rundown of events that take place when you take a ride on Winkie (our name for the frieght elevator).
1.) Open doors of death. (LOUD NOISES)
2.) Step inside and close doors of death and cage of terror.
3.) The brakes attatch to the elevator. (SCARIEST NOISE EVER)
4.) Then you ride either up or down, being able to see the walls move on both sides of you, which still makes really scary noises.
-If you're lucky, Winkie will make a piercingly loud screeching noise that reminds me of the revival of Sweeney Todd.
I swear you guys, it was the best part of being on Gala Crew. Paul and I literally rode it about twenty times either for sport or to do actual work.
So then baisically once everything was set up, we took a break. I took a nap in my car and then went back in my homecoming best to the gala! All of the decorations looked beautiful and it all came together. The event itself went by really fast (either because I was mentally asleep during it or because I was over caffinated) and after the party was done we started carrying heavy things again. Little by little the staff left, but there were a magic 6 that stayed to load everything into the truck. Jean-Paul Gressieux, Jessica Richards, Ian Evans, Paul Doyle, Beth Sandefur and I. After waiting for the tech guys to finish loading their stuff we finally loaded ours and we were out of there by a fresh 4AM.
Again, hard work but with fun people all for a good cause.

Monday Cal Shakes is taking another trip down to Salinas! Jessica, Tara and I are being accompanied by Jon Moscone (Artistic Director), Stefanie Kalem, Octavio Solis and a few fabulous members of Word for Word Organization. It's going to be way fun and I'm excited to go back, it's a beautiful area. More on this later! Also: stay tuned for an official BLOG-OFF between Stefanie Kalem's Cal Shakes' Bull Pen Blog and me and my blog!


This is the brand new Broadway show In The Heights about the beauty of living in Washington Heights. How awesome does it look? Check it out here. I'm thinking that this might be the show to watch this season.

That's all for now!

Peace and Love,


Friday, March 7, 2008

Happy Gala!

What's a gala? And how do you pronounce it?
These are both good questions to which I do not have answers. What I do know is that I need to be at the Rotunda building in Oakland at 9AM tomorrow to carry heavy things. I also know that The Gala's theme is Gateway to India and the dress is "festive formal." The only real experience I have with super formal events is the prom so the only thing I can picture for "festive formal" would be this or this. Thus, I have no idea what I'm supposed to wear, but either way I think it's going to be really fun and exciting and glamorous.

In the other shoe J-Rich (Jessica Richards), Tara Misra and I have been working on doing research on other New Works-type programs that other theatre companies across the Nation have put together. What I've found so far is that almost no other theatre does exactly what Cal Shakes' New Works/New Communities program does. The most common New Works program is doing staged readings of brand new shows alongside the playwright. What Cal Shakes does is brings people of diverse backgrounds together around the creation of a new work of theater inspired by classic literature. Through a process of heavy research, community involvement, writing and workshops, we find a way to bring and relate new theatre to diverse communities with stories of their own to tell through literature like The Pastures of Heaven. It offers a very specific point of view and after doing so much research, I'm proud to work for such a progressive, original program. It's very cool.

Moving on to the next item on the agenda, who saw the finale of Project Runway? Let's just put it this way: it was FIERCE! Here's my breakdown:
Rami Kashou's collection was a little disappointing. While it was intricate and detailed, some of the designs were a little bit dated, repetitive and off.
Jillian Lewis' collection was beautiful and incredibly detailed, but had no consistency. It didn't look like a line of clothes it just looked like someones closet.
Christian Siriano's collection was fanTASTIC! During the start I was a bit concerned because it was black after black after black, but then went into some incredible pieces.


I know it's long but just sit back, open a can of Fresca and enjoy.
1.) The variety of outfits meeting her versatility.
1.) SO MANY QUOTES! Current faves:
-"Ostrich feathers, anyone?"
-"Here I've added a fox draped over my shoulder."
-"Or when I'm riding my motorcycle!"
-"The puffed sleeves on this dress make it particularly interesting."
3.) There's a part two...

Peace and Love,

Derek Smith

PS: Happy Birthday to our awesome Production Manager, Jean-Paul Gressieux!