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,