Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

Alef Ayin and John Hilinski, as fellow tragedians, as two smiling accomplices, friends, courtiers - two spies (photo credit: Calvin Jung)

I haven't posted for a while, mostly in the interest of keeping quiet how farcically "365 consecutive days of uninterruptible bliss" has fallen short (because whoever you are, you are not my therapist). The only uninterruptible thing about this year has been my work schedule, editing video and doing archival research for the Rapt Productions theater documentary by day and going straight from there, most days, to rehearsals for the TheatreFIRST production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, which opened this past weekend and runs through Valentine's Day. Rehearsals were at Berkeley Rep School of Theater, performances are at the black-box theater in the Fox Theater building in Oakland, Rapt is 6 blocks up Telegraph from there, so James and have found our usual whereabouts precisely reversed, with me calling him from across the bay or cutting out under it, and him at home with the doggy.

Andrew Hurteau as The Player pops out of a trunk aboard ship in Act III - behind him, on the ladder, is Harold Pierce as Hamlet (photo: CJ)

The last time I worked with this director and several of the actors, also as a violinist with a small dramatic role, was in the North Bay Shakespeare Company's production of Twelfth Night in 2007. That was staged at the old stone amphitheater at Hamilton Airfield and was about as fun as a Shakespeare comedy with a great director and a brilliant and amiable cast in a public park sounds. Downtown Oakland isn't quite as much fun, and neither is doing a play while holding down a job. But working with this group - especially now that that rehearsal schedule is receding into memory - has bounced me out of the deep and narrow space where uninterruptible bliss was meant to be. To anyone in the market for a good antidepressant, may I recommend a small part in a good play - even one about death.

Kalli Jonsson as Rosencrantz (photo: CJ)

Stoppard is my favorite living playwright based primarily on my experience of one production of one play - The Real Thing, which I saw twice in London and once in New York several years ago. I'd only seen a videotape of R&G before doing this one and was very glad to get the opportunity to know the play from the inside out. The production is great, but don't take it from me - here's yesterday's Oakland Tribune review. (My pull-quote from the review: "funny...equipped.")

Kalli and Harold with TheatreFIRST artistic director
Michael Storm, as Guildenstern (photo: CJ)

R&G runs through Valentine's Day - Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30, Sunday at 2PM. It's a block from 19th St. BART and they're not checking IDs on the "under 30" pricing. More about the show and tickets here.

Graham Patzner and Paul Festa as tragedians as Player Queen and Player King (photo: CJ)

Left to right: G. Randall Wright (tragedian), Siobhan Doherty (Ophelia), George Killingsworth (Polonius), Graham, Chiron Alston (Claudius), Kalli and Michael (photo: CJ)

My own pix from rehearsals:

Natasha Noel (Gertrude)

Michael and Aleph

No comments: