OakTechRep on performing on the Cal Shakes stage

So you’ve read Cal Shakes’ thoughts on the OakTechRep performance of Hamlet: Blood in the Brain at the Bruns; now here’s a representative from the cast (Naomi Zingman-Daniels) telling their side of the story.

So all along, we at OakTechRep have been sort of going “Woo! We’re going to Scotland!” as we performed on various schools’ stages. Every rehearsal we’d done was at a school, and every performance, too. We’d done a few excerpts in public, but actually performing on a big public stage—that was just insane. So when we went on a tour of the Bruns Amphitheater less than a week before we performed there, it started to hit us.

We were performing at Cal Shakes.

I mean, it wasn’t new news. We’d known about it for months. But when we were walking the stage, going over blocking, figuring out how to set the stage—it was actually real. We were really going to perform on the Bruns Amphitheater stage. People—about 500 of them—were really going to come see us perform. This was really happening. It was also really, really cold, and on the night of the show, incredibly windy.

In the hours before we got called for the start of the show, the backstage area was buzzing. People in their dressing rooms were taking pictures with their mirrors (we have slightly modified bathrooms at school and get rather overly excited anytime there are professional dressing rooms), resting, frantically going over lines, and—in my case—figuring out which costume I was going to wear. Everyone was talking and yelling about everything under the sun, finding props, and doing last minute runs of blocking.

And then came the call for places.

By 7pm, it was already pretty cold out. We stood at the entrances to the amphitheater, in character, for about half an hour before we moved to the stage. Personally, I think it was the best show we’ve done yet. We seemed to find new dimensions to our characters throughout the show. Throughout the show, we had to make a few emergency changes—one being me standing behind the mirror we use for one scene, so the winds wouldn’t knock it over onto one of the characters—but in the end, everything worked out great.

We were down one actor, Rafa Moraga (Fate/Funeral Home Employee), who was out of town, and I was playing his part, so I had rehearsed it before plenty of times, but just for me, performing that scene was a whole different experience. The show was unlike any we’d ever performed before, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that it was absolutely amazing (thank you so much, Cal Shakes!) and it just made it even more excited (if that’s possible) for Scotland!

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