Author Archives for ‘lbatti’

About lbatti

A View From The Audience

July 26, 2012

How To Succeed in Viewing Shakespeare
Without Really Trying

Keena Batti
Marketing Associate

 

 

I’m not an actor. I’m not a director. I’m not a Shakespearean scholar. In fact, my qualifications for writing this blog are entirely questionable. I am, however, a reader, a viewer, a lover of Shakespeare in its various forms. Being an audience member of one of Shakespeare’s works usually starts in the classroom, so that, my friends, is where I will begin.

Shakespeare for Shakespeare’s Sake

I had read the typical Shakespearean high-school canon (i.e. Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar) by the time I was preparing to start at UC Berkeley. I had half a mind to major in English—a route I did actually end up taking—but felt grossly unprepared for collegiate-level literature. So what did I do the summer before college? Instead of spending my days at the beach and my evenings partying with my friends, I decided to read a little Shakespeare, Hamlet and Othello, to be precise. I had gotten it in my head that every incoming freshman must have read these two plays, and I would be the village idiot if hadn’t. I refused to be the village idiot.

So I opened up my Barnes and Noble edition of Hamlet—right-hand side of the book filled with the original text, left-hand side with footnotes—and when I finished it, I felt good about myself because I had read Hamlet. But did I really understand Hamlet? No. Did I enjoy Hamlet? No. I read Hamlet to fulfill some sort of societal expectation that kids who go to Berkeley are smart, and smart kids read Hamlet. I’m just explaining my thought process to you; I don’t say it was logical or rational or good.

This skewed approach to Shakespeare is actually the approach taken at the college level—at least the introductory level. I took a Shakespeare class where the expectation was that each comedy received one day (60 minutes) of lecture time while tragedies and histories received two. That’s a lot to get into a short lecture, people. What it came down to was reading Shakespeare for the sake of reading Shakespeare—getting through the plays the night before (or after, if I’m being completely honest) lecture, skimming through footnotes and introductions in an effort to stay afloat, saying that I had read the major works of Shakespeare because if you’re going to be an English major, you have to read The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III—but not really reading Shakespeare. I was a sham of an audience member.

Stage Management

July 19, 2012

I Love the Smell of Office Supplies in the Morning:
A Brief Introduction to Stage Management


Alandra Hileman
Stage Manager

 

Whenever I first tell people I’m in theater, the conversation generally starts off like this:

Random Person: “How cool!  Are you an actor?”

Me: “Not anymore.  I mostly stage manage now.”

Random Person: “Oh. Okay. What’s that?”

Stage management is definitely one of the least glamorous jobs in theater and, if you’re doing it right, also one of the least visible. There is no Tony Award for Stage Management, and even if there was there would be no one to accept it; all the nominees would be off running shows.  So, I’m going to do my best to shed a little light on the mysterious and shadowy world of life behind the stage.

Commedia dell’Arte

July 12, 2012

Archetypal Acting in 16th Century Italian Comedy Forms
-or- Why I Dig Commedia dell’Arte with Three Shovels


By Jennifer Le Blanc
Actor

 
 
There is a rich history of scholarship pertaining to the influence of Commedia dell’Arte on Shakespeare’s plays: profound investigations, many books, and on-line articles with fancy schmancy footnotes and everything. They’re good. You should read them. But this blog is more of a Cliff Notes/ love letter to Commedia, and a sampler about why it’s so cool that we get to play with the form in The Merry Wives of Windsor. (Our fearless leader, director Virginia Reed, has added elements of Commedia dell’Arte into our play, and we’re having wicked fun playing.)

Wile E. Coyote

What the Heck is this Commedia of Which You Speak?

Okay, briefly, Commedia started as an improvisational form of street theatre performed by touring troupes in Italy in the 16th Century. It utilized well-known stock characters in pre-arranged scenarios, and then the actors would ad lib and do lazzis (gags associated with their character). Many of the characters were masked.

I like to think of it as Renaissance Looney Tunes. As soon as you see Wile E. Coyote (Super Genius) and the Road Runner, you know what is going to happen. Coyote will try to eat the Road Runner, he will make use of elaborate mechanisms in this attempt, and he will inevitably be hoisted by his own proverbial petard. The predictability of the outcome doesn’t prevent the enjoyment of the scenario, and if you were to watch a cartoon in another language it would make no difference, because you know who these guys are and you know what they want. That’s basically what Commedia is. And it’s ridiculously fun, because almost nothing is over the top!

Auditioning for LSF

July 5, 2012

Auditions to First Read


By Elissa Beth Stebbins
Actor

 

Auditions

Auditions are not my favorite part of the creative process.

And I’m certain I’m not alone. For those of you who are required to audition to do what you love, I doubt I need say more. For those who are not, think of it like this: imagine interviewing approximately 10-20 times for every one job you land. Now imagine you need a new job every few weeks. This means even as you’re working at one job, you’re lining up as many interviews as possible (scheduling around your current job, of course). Now imagine that your interview is timed – sometimes as short as two minutes. NOW imagine, that in order to land this job, you must be willing to share the core of who you are – not your favorite past times, not where you grew up or what you may see as your best traits, but the love, the hate, the disappointment, the grief, the joy and the wonder that sit right around your heart.  And you must share this core of yourself using someone else’s words.

All right – who’s ready to audition?!?!

First Folio of Hamlet

June 28, 2012

Pre-rehearsal Workshop on the First Folio


By Joan Boar
LSF Volunteer

 

Producing Artistic Director Lisa Tromovitch leads the First Folio Workshop

I had to thread my way around the hugs of veterans and the handshakes of newcomers to find a seat at this first meeting of the Livermore Shakespeare Festival 2012 company.

It was held on a warm Sunday afternoon in what must have been the waiting room of Livermore’s old Southern Pacific Railroad depot on L Street. The large space now serves as a rehearsal room for the company. The cast gathered around a big table to take a look at the First Folio version of Shakespeare’s works to learn how it illuminates the plays.

I sat next to Peta Grimes, prop master for Hamlet. She said she was worried about getting the right guns—ones with bayonets. But at least she has a skull, purchased the day after Halloween last year. “I knew I’d need a skull sometime,” she explained, saying she keeps looking out for a better one for Hamlet’s gravedigger scene.