Jay Yamada is a member of the Cal Shakes Board of Directors, but he’s actually much more than that. He’s our official photographer, IT angel, and a tireless volunteer both in- and off-season. Today, he makes his debut as a Cal Shakes blogger, with this account of last night’s first technical rehearsal for Pericles. Scroll down to the bottom for photos!
The night is warm and the air still.
Joel Sass’ production of Pericles unfolds with a fairytale-like air. It’s not a tech heavy show with lots of lighting changes and special effects (at least I haven’t seen them yet). They’re still rehearsing in their street clothes and I’m looking forward to seeing how the costume changes work.
I’ve always thought of Pericles as a play easy to watch and hard to read. Parts of the play are Shakespeare at his best. Other parts seem so flat on the page that you can’t imagine Shakespeare would have anything to do with the play.
Watching this production, I’m starting to see unsuspected bits of Shakespeare in new places. Sass picks pieces out of the Tempest–the storm scene would hold its own in any of Shakespeare’s later plays. The high formality of joust has echoes in the history plays.
Joel has done fine job in adapting the play. You don’t see the clunky parts of the original.
Some observations from the first night of tech:
- There are too many Dannys in the cast.When both are on stage, there are lots of references to Danny and Danny the younger (i.e. Danny Scheie and Daniel Duque-Estrada).
- The horses have names. Near the end of Act II, the knights all come out with their horses. Each horse has been name by the actors and somewhat color coordinated. The names are Cocoa, Butterscotch, Stinky Cheddar and Brie. Ron Campbell insists that his horse’s name is “Shik-a-Poo” and he says that it’s a cheese in one of his made-up languages, but I’m not sure.
- The Bruns is a big stage. I was wondering how they were going to find a carpet big enough to work on the main stage. They didn’t find one but a whole collection of Persian and modern rugs arranged in a patchwork pattern. Lots of production crew wandering around with staple guns.
- I was concerned about how a small cast and a big stage would work. But the set frames the space well and the cast is energetic.
Below, the Bruns stage the week before tech rehearsal.