Thursday, June 25, 2009

Endings and Beginnings

Dallas again with a much needed update from the intern world!

Today was the fourth day of Cal Shakes Five-Week Conservatory, my latest adventure in my internship. Before I get to that, though, a conclusion to my adventures with Romeo and Juliet. Sunday was the closing performance (I hope everyone had a chance to see the show!), and it was the hardest goodbye I've ever made to a show. The last performance was fantastic, with perfect weather and an even greater audience; I couldn't have asked for a better way to bid adieu to not only such a wonderful production, but also a great cast and crew. Calling California home is still new and strange, but with the families I've made with the fellow interns, the cast and& crew of R and J and everyone in the office at Heinz, the transition has been not only smooth but thoroughly enjoyable. So thanks, everyone, for an amazing first five weeks!

Now back to Conservatory. Five-Week Conservatory is a Cal Shakes camp for the most serious of young actors, where they learn not only acting but also movement, voice, text, stage combat, and improv, plus other master classes. Conservatory culminates in each of the five age groups putting on a one-hour abridged production of a Shakespeare work and I have, you guessed it, Romeo & Juliet with the youngest group, the Merry Kinsmen. These kids have ENERGY! But all that energy becomes enthusiasm and drive when we get into our afternoon rehearsals.

Today the group played silent teams with Heidi in Acting; I can't pretend that I wasn't terribly nervous about 14 eight-year-olds having to be nearly silent for an hour while acting and working as an ensemble, but they proved me wrong. Not only was their work creative and entertaining, but they did it humbly and with respect. They were able to point out how they worked together—even if they didn't get the role they wanted within each scene, they recognized what the ensemble lacked and how they could fill the hole. It was inspiring to see kids prove that a great ensemble is possible at any age.

After that, Stage Combat was a breeze as they reviewed the unarmed techniques they learned early in the week and moved on to using the swords that will be used in the production. Once again, the focus and talent was surprising—I often looked around and realized they were leaps and bounds ahead of me! Auditions rounded out the day and casting decisions were made (my first casting experience, so fun). It really makes me look forward to the next four weeks and the challenges and rewards ahead.

P.S. Don't forget to get your tickets to all five of the Cal Shakes Conservatory performances on Friday July 24 and Saturday July 25! Just click on the "Performance Tickets" link at the top of the Summer Theater Programs page of our website to get yours.

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