Dispatch #4 from Inside the R&J Rehearsal Hall: On Quick Changes and Indispensability

The fourth peek inside the Romeo & Juliet rehearsal room from Cal Shakes Blogging Fellow Peter Selawsky.

In my last post, I wrote about watching the cast of Shana Cooper’s Romeo and Juliet perform their initial run-through of the first half of the play on June 14. Since then, rehearsals have focused entirely on blocking and practicing scenes from the second half; on June 20 I was able to see the first run-through of these scenes in order. Just as before, the speed with which the actors assimilate direction and blocking was remarkable, but I was especially impressed by the emotional depth and fluidity to cast was able to achieve in such a short time.

Condensed to suit a cast of seven, the script brings on the calamities of the second half with a merciless suddenness, creating a strong contrast with the good humor and relative expansiveness of the play until Mercutio and Tybalt’s deaths. At the beginning of the play, Romeo has all the time in the world, and doesn’t seem to take the conflicts around him seriously. In its early stages, the play allows for pleasurable digressions and spectacles such as Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech or the Capulets’ party. By contrast, the second half is nightmarish, sped up and out of control with confrontations and miscommunications escalating in rapid succession. After the brief final moments between the lovers near the beginning of the second half, circumstances force them apart and then unite them in death.

As in the first run-through, the pace and logistics of the production require actors to make instantaneous costume changes in front of the audience. Arwen Anderson wears a stocking cap when appearing as Benvolio; we in the audience see her become Lady Capulet by putting on a coat and eyeglasses several times during the play. Perhaps most notably, Dan Hiatt becomes Lord Capulet after a scene talking to Romeo as the Friar; later, Hiatt has two consecutive scenes with Juliet, one as the Friar, one as Capulet. I’ll be writing more about these quick costume changes, and about the costumes in general, in my next post.

At least in this first run, Hiatt’s performance as Capulet was less tempestuous than one familiar with the play might expect. Rather than merely ranting, Capulet reacts with a mixture of controlled rage and exasperated confusion upon discovering that his daughter does not share his wishes for her future. In general, Hiatt’s Capulet gives the sense of a man who is not used to being out of control, and now, therefore, doesn’t know what to do. At the same time, his genuine care for his daughter is apparent, and seems to be confirmed by his anger. All this is re-emphasized in the scene in which the Nurse and parents believe they have found Juliet dead in her bed, as Capulet’s orders—“All things that we ordained festival/Turn from their office to black funeral:/… And all things change them to the contrary”—sound like his determination to take control of the tragedy before even possessing the ability to process it.

With such a small ensemble, each member is indispensable, and all have memorable moments in the second half. Dan Clegg is a highly likeable Romeo and Rebekah Brockman brings a quiet maturity to the role of Juliet; the leads have excellent chemistry together and their shared scenes are delightful. Domenique Lozano (the Nurse, Prince) has a memorable discovery of Juliet’s apparently lifeless body. Nick Gabriel, Tybalt in Act 1, returns to play another foil for Romeo, Juliet’s intended husband Paris; Joseph J. Parks, Mercutio in Act 1, returns as the Apothecary.

Romeo and Juliet begins previews at the Bruns Amphitheater on July 3, opens July 6, and runs through July 28. Tickets are available at the Cal Shakes website.

Big thanks go to Jay Yamada for making this blogging fellowship possible.


HAMLET Rehearsal Blogs: The Process or the Product?

Director of Marketing Janet Magleby and Box Office Manager Robin Dolan offer two perspectives on Hamlet rehearsals.

Thursday, September 6, 2012—one week before tech rehearsals begin.

LeRoy McClain as Hamlet, Julie Eccles as Gertrude, and Adrian Roberts as Claudius; photo by Kevin Berne.

LeRoy McClain as Hamlet, Julie Eccles as Gertrude, and Adrian Roberts as Claudius; photo by Kevin Berne.

It was 9:59 a.m. and more than half the company awaited Stage Manager Laxmi Kumaran’s calling of the start of rehearsal.

They began from the top of the scene, where Claudius (Adrian Roberts) and Gertrude (Julie Eccles) enter center-stage with Hamlet’s university chums, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, hot on their heels. The newly crowned King of Denmark wants a report: “How did you find Hamlet? ….With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?” As actors Jessica Kitchens and Brian Rivera began to explain Hamlet’s overall demeanor, director Liesl Tommy stopped them to request that the cast recite this scene in their own words, which proceeded as such:

Claudius: “So, what’s up with Hamlet?”

Rosencrantz: “He was erratic, he was rambling…”

Gertrude: “Well, did you do anything to draw him out? Did you talk to anything that interests him?”

Just as this improv was unfolding Zainab Jah, who plays Ophelia, walked into the space, confused about the lack of “Shakespeare” being spoken. Everyone chuckles, but they kept on rollin’…

Guildenstern: “Your Majesty, Hamlet was talking about Ophelia a lot.”

Rosencrantz: “He seemed happy to see us!”

Liesl ended the exercise by saying that this version of the scene would be funny to keep in the play, a fact on which all agreed. Then the director pointed out something that had been brought out with the actors’ modern speech—that Claudius’ job in that scene is to calm Gertrude’s fears, to let her know that he cares about Hamlet and is doing everything in his royal power to help her son.

As the scene came to a close, Gertrude embraced Ophelia, telling her that she hoped Hamlet would come around, and that Ophelia’s love would help him get there. Liesl reminded Zainab that she should be completely surprised by Gertrude’s permission to love her son.

LeRoy McClain (Hamlet) arrived for his call time and Liesl immediately set him to work the “To Be or Not to Be” speech. Hamlet entered from upstage left to find a stunned Ophelia center-stage, having just received a surprising blessing from his mother. Zainab let Ophelia feel Hamlet’s eyes on her and looked up—and they were frozen in time. She dropped the book her father Polonius (Dan Hiatt) had given her, and broke down in hysterics.

Next….well, I just can’t tell you what happens…you think you know, but you don’t. You’ll have to see it for yourself. —Janet Magleby


Friday, September 7, 2012—less than one week before tech rehearsals begin.

As we head toward designer run-throughs, dress rehearsals, and previews, everyone gets very excited about seeing the finished product: the actual production that will be performed at the Bruns Amphitheater. Many of us also love to witness the process of how the production is created. We all peek out the front window when the actors practice sword fighting in the parking lot. We laugh when we hear pounding on the walls, or screaming. (“Wonder what scene that is? Ah well, back to selling tickets.” ) We love watching the costume department open their daily deliveries of fabric, or the prop department receiving goodness-knows-what. It’s very funny to read rehearsal reports that spell out how much blood will be used and from what body part it will flow. But the most interesting work to me is what I see when I watch rehearsals.

Quietly slipping into watch two rehearsals of Hamlet this past week, I happened to primarily observe scenes with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. While no scenes in a Shakespeare play are unimportant, they didn’t seem primary to the plot. However, director Liesl Tommy focused on making sure every element was real. Tommy and the actors revealed nuances in the script, hidden depth in character, and a creative, supportive work environment.

There were two directorial corrections Tommy made that involved the same simple blocking, but brought so much to each scene. In Act II, ii, when R & G initially enter the stage having been summoned by the King, Rosencrantz enters first and speaks. Then Guildenstern pushes Rosencrantz to the side to enter the court. Liesl Tommy instructed actor Brian Rivera to make sure that he didn’t look at Rosencrantz as he pushed her aside. “You’re too nice,” she joked, “Don’t look back at her to make sure she’s okay. Just do it; she’ll get it.”  The act of not looking communicated an understanding between the characters, as well as a slight power relationship.

Next, in Act IV, i, Gertrude explains to Claudius that Hamlet has killed Polonius. Actress Julie Eccles began the scene by looking at the King as she told her story. Tommy suggested, however, that Eccles look straight ahead instead, at the furniture. This simple choice made even clearer how distraught Gertrude was.

It’s a gift to get to see such skilled artists creating a piece. Tommy, at times, would get right onstage with the actors, stretching on the floor to see exactly what they were doing. She and Eccles laughed at how much they wished Gertrude noticed more of what was happening around her. Everyone in the room laughed at a scene where Dan Hiatt used his great comedic skills to simply say “uh” while thinking as Polonius.

In Act IV, ii, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern summon Hamlet to the King’s chambers. This was the first time I saw Leroy McClain perform, and it was clear why he’d been chosen to play the role of Hamlet. McClain made fresh choices in blocking, voice inflection, and emotional communication each time they ran the scene, even after he tripped over a set piece. I also got to see a brief part of scene IV, v, where Ophelia begins to go mad. Actress Zainab Jah was riveting, the kind of performer you can’t keep your eyes of when they’re onstage.

It’s difficult to communicate the richness of observing this work. For me, it builds my appetite to see more of the creative process and product of these artists. While I love the process, I also now can’t wait to see the full production once it is brought to life. —Robin Dolan

Hamlet plays September 19 through October 14 at the stunning outdoor Bruns Amphitheater. Get your tickets today.


Behind the Scenes at the HAMLET Photo Shoot

Director of Marketing Janet Magleby on the Hamlet cast’s publicity photo shoot with director Liesl Tommy and photographer Kevin Berne.

Last week some of Hamlet’s cast members gathered in the Cal Shakes’ green room, in anticipation of our publicity photo shoot Kevin Berne. Zainab Jah, playing Ophelia, inquired as to costumes for the shoot, since the performance versions are still in various stages of design and production. “I guess we’ll be naked!,” somebody teased her. But the costume department did not disappoint, and were ready for the task at hand with simple dresses for the women, military garb for Adrian Roberts (Claudius), and a stylish, slim suit for LeRoy McClain (Hamlet).

Kevin and his wife, Alessandra Mello, were introduced to everyone by Marketing & PR Manager Marilyn Langbehn. And then it was “places!” and right to work: Hamlet director Liesl Tommy had very specific ideas about the feel of the shoot and the positioning of each cast member. First things first, though, we got some tunes bumpin’—Liesl picked a little soulful R&B, which will have a prominent place on the production’s soundscape.

Zainab, Dan Hiatt (Polonius), Julie Eccles (Gertrude), Adrian Roberts (Claudius), Nick Gabriel (Horatio), and LeRoy were all positioned in standing positions as if on an album cover, Hamlet in the foreground with the rest of the “band” strategically placed behind him. A lightning-fast round of 20 shots or more ensued; then Kevin instructed everyone to “wiggle it out” before the cast is given more direction by Liesl. Hamlet was instructed to look right at me, Gertrude at Hamlet, Polonius to look fatherly, Ophelia to rest her head softly on her father’s shoulder softly…consummate professionals, the actors follow their director’s words to a tee.

The cast of Hamlet; photo by Kevin Berne.

Left to right: Zainab Jah as Ophelia, Dan Hiatt as Polonius, LeRoy McClain as Hamlet, Julie Eccles as Gertrude, Adrian Roberts as Claudius, and Nick Gabriel as Horatio; photo by Kevin Berne.

Liesl, Marilyn, and I watched the laptop as the shots appeared in order. We made note of the ones we liked, whispered our insights, and suggested slight adjustments: Subdue some flyaway hair, smooth a wrinkled garment, et cetera.

They wiggled it out once again, and moved to the next round of adjustments: Horatio stands as if he is waiting for the bus. Then Liesl asked him to put his right hand in his pocket. Then his left. How ‘bout just the thumb hanging of the edge? OK, never mind. Back to the first pose!

We all agreed that we had something beautiful in the 30+ shots, so we released Adrian, Julie, and Dan to change for rehearsals. We kept Nick, Zainab, and LeRoy for more shots.

Liesel “shopped” the prop shop for just the right chair; she has an idea for a solo shot with Hamlet.  She picked up a contemporary, Scandinavian piece (hey, this is for the Prince of Denmark, right?) and sets it center-stage. “Sit here, please LeRoy.” He obliged, immediately starting to position himself in striking poses, with exactly the haunted look you expect from the Prince of Procrastination.

Left to right: Nick Gabriel, LeRoy McClain, and Zainab Jah "wiggling it out"; photo by Kevin Berne.

Left to right: Nick Gabriel, LeRoy McClain, and Zainab Jah "wiggling it out"; photo by Kevin Berne.

Next up was Hamlet with the two people he loved the most (or are they?): Ophelia and Horatio. Zainab sat on LeRoy’s lap with Nick on adoringly looks from the side; serious poses were interspersed with laughing, playing around, and “wiggling it out.”

Then everyone was up and standing for vertical shots: Hamlet in the center with Ophelia on his left and Horatio on his right. Hamlet needs his arm around her shoulder, but where? On her shoulder was awkward somehow. On her neck? The back of her head? Finally it landed gently around her waist. More whispers, more laughter; more moments as the cast continued to gel after just six days of rehearsal.

As we released the remaining actors, Fight Director Dave Maier called Nick over to begin sword fight choreography with Nicholas Pelczar (Laertes, Lucianus). Director Tommy moved onto the next job, carefully hand-setting props on the empty rehearsal hall floor. I can’t tell what I saw her putting out—you’ll want to see it for yourself.

Hamlet plays September 19 through October 14 at the stunning outdoor Bruns Amphitheater. Get your tickets today.



Gathering strong forces to blow the wind in our direction.

The very latest in an ongoing series of dispatches from inside the rehearsal process for Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, written by the show’s director (and Cal Shakes’ Artistic Director) Jonathan Moscone.

Thursday July 30, 2009

Sorry I’ve not been blogging the last couple of days, but we’ve had some real change of currents over here. Due to personal reasons, Marsha Mason left our show, which is both sad and disappointing. But I respect her decision. It threw us into a bit of whirlwind, as I’m sure you can imagine, everyone at the Theater. First thing, find a replacement. Two weeks into rehearsal (out of four weeks total—yikes, oh my frikkin’ yikes).

But we were blessed with an actress who has stepped into the role, starting yesterday. Her name is Patty Gallagher (pictured at right), and many or most of you don’t know who she is, but she is heaven-sent. Having performed the role of Winnie already (which she will again next year in India), Patty knows the bulk of the lines, which believe me, are brutal to learn (see previous blogs). But even more of a blessing is her spirit—she is ready to go, jumping into that mound with the entirety of her energy, her talent, her mind, her heart, everything. She is simply astounding, and I am not saying this to put a positive spin on all this. We’ve lost serious time, to be sure, and just because Patty knows a lot of the script does not mean we are just putting her in. We are creating a Winnie around her, one that comes from her unique spirit and perspective as an actor and as a woman. And with half the time. But she is open to everything we explore. She makes bold choices and has discovered so much already, and on top of all that, has inspired my connection to the piece. She’s done the same for dear Dan Hiatt, the great Willie, who has changed relationships to his Winnie with serious aplomb. And grace.

Another blessing: The fabulous Joan Mankin (pictured at right), one of our Associate Artists and a treasure, is understudying the role of Winnie and will be performing the role at certain performances later in the run. (Check our website for more details on that.) So we have two great actresses assaying this role, shoring each other up, and proving that not only does the show go on, but that crisis can actually mean opportunity. I am not rosy about this—that is, I am not seeing this through rose-colored glasses. Marsha will be missed. And we are behind. But we’ve gathered strong forces to blow the wind in our direction. With the full staff at my side, we made it through this, and I might venture to say that we’re stronger because of it.

Change is inevitable. Things will happen. Stuff out of our control. It’s how we handle it that makes us who we are. And my belief in the spirit that guides the theater, and ours in particular, is fortified, if not restored.

Tomorrow I will talk more about how the process is unearthing new truths about this play—how funny it really is, and how heartbreaking it is. Patty is teaching me that. Marsha did, too. We are going to work every day, every night, through opening, to make this piece come alive. I am daunted—a little—but I am ready to go. We all are.

Ruby Keeler would be proud.



Full of disappointed wishes and dreams, but enduring nonetheless.

The latest in a series of dispatches from inside the rehearsal process for Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, written by the show’s director (and Cal Shakes’ Artistic Director) Jonathan Moscone.

Wednesday July 22, 2009

Yesterday we had an unexpected day off cause Marsha was sick, so she needed to stay home and recover. Today we dove back in and much to our surprise, made a lot of really interesting headway.

Marsha is a deeply intuitive actress. She is a kind of wonder. She travels in such interesting, authentic directions that reveal humor and sadness, alternately and simultaneously. But then she stops and says “I just don’t get why I’m saying this.” In attempt to try to answer, she forces me to help her as an actor of the piece, not a studier of the piece. It’s one thing to understand what a moment is about, in Beckett, or Shakespeare, or in any poetic universe, but it is another thing to find the “hook” into how to play it, that is, from the character’s perspective.

We have a small but astounding room of minds working on this play, all coming at it from different places, but all working on the same thing: how to bring this play home, to make it connect to us, and therefore (we hope!) to the audiences. And Dan Hiatt—what can I say, what an actor, what a person. He really feeds Marsha even when his character is curled up in a hole, outside of view of the audience. But Marsha can see him, and that means everything to her—it allows her to connect to another human in this seemingly “one-woman” show.

But it’s nothing of the sort. The marriage is so palpable in the script and we keep striving to unearth it, Dan, Marsha and I, to find the connection between husband and wife, Willie and Winnie, even as they don’t seem to connect. They are married all these years, and despite Winnie’s constant fears, Willie is not leaving her. It’s beautiful. Full of disappointed wishes and dreams, but enduring nonetheless.

Beckett is so brave in facing the difficult questions of relationships and memory and being a living, thinking, feeling person, and finding a way to endure with humor, wit, and a whole bevy of mechanisms that are part of all of us. Such big stuff.

We ended the day with the “cement” part of the rehearsal—that is, routing in the beginning of the play which is chock full of business and lines all playing off each other. It’s brutal and will be so till we conquer it. Learning how to do this play is about doing this play, if that makes any sense. It’s a mindblower to be sure, but so rich, so challenging, and if today is any indication, pretty delightful to experience and shape.

Meanwhile, Caela, Seren, and Edgar in props are experimenting with the umbrella catching fire. Love it.

See you again soon.


Associate Artist Round-Up Addendum

Earlier this week we posted an “Associate Artist Round-Up” to our news page. No sooner had I checked its formatting on the website than additional ones started rolling in from the rest of our artistic family. So go there, read the first one, and then come back here and read these. (Or vice versa–it makes no nevermind to me).

Nancy Carlin is directing Sands Hall’s adaptation of Little Women for Foothill Theatre Company in Nevada City, CA; the production runs Nov 20-Dec 28.

As mentioned in the original news item, Jim Carpenter is going into closing week of Rock ‘N’ Roll at A.C.T. After that, he and wife Cass will be taking a short trip up to Ashland, OR as a 35th Anniversary present to themselves; shortly thereafter Jim goes back to A.C.T. reprising his role as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

Joan Mankin, who has been posting to this blog from China, will be back in the USA on October 20. She has two main projects upon her return: to begin work on a piece with the third-year students at the A.C.T. Conservatory, a collaboration with Glide Church which will will attempt to address the situation of homeless people; and to direct a show about conservation of our resources with clowns from the S.F. Circus Center, to tour elementary schools all over Alameda County.

Lynne Soffer has been in Arizona since August rehearsing and performing in Enchanted April, directed by Timothy Near. Next up is dialect and text coaching at Berkeley Rep and Marin Theatre Company.

Dan Hiatt will be playing Rutherford Selig in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at Berkeley Rep, directed by Delroy Lindo and running Oct. 31-Dec. 14.

Clive Worsley is finishing up residencies in Fruitvale Elementary and Charlotte Wood Middle schools, while directing Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Clackervilles for Orinda Intermediate School’s Bulldog Theatre. And of course, he’s still “steering the ship” as Artistic Director of Town Hall Theatre.

Have you seen our Associate Artists anywhere (besides Cal Shakes) recently? Do you plan on attending any of the above mentioned productions? Let us know in the Comments section!


Dan Hiatt talks Vanya to Chad Jones

“It’s almost like maybe I’m even sort of looking back on the time when I was Vanya’s age–I’m maybe a few years older than he is–from the vantage point of having gone through what he’s going through,” Hiatt says. “You get through that, and you reach a place where you’re pretty comfortable and happy. I’m there, Vanya isn’t. Looking back on all this angst, it’s better to have been through it than to have to imagine it entirely. The advantage of being older is not having to go through it in life while you’re working on the role.”

Read more on Chad Jones’ Theater Dogs blog.


Maybe your curse and the farm’s curse has mated and gone into a gopher hole like a pair of rattlesnakes.

There were actual actors roaming the halls for most of last week, starting Tuesday; once I got over the shock of it, I started asking after what was going on. I mean, I love me some Dan Hiatt, Nancy Carlin, and Catherine Castellanos, but I’m not used to seeing them just ambling about during the off-season, not to mention that Catherine (who, in my humble–oops, I mean, IMHO–stole the show as Queen Margaret in Richard III this season) was doing her ambling in a full-leg cast, thanks to an injury sustained during the San Jose Rep production of The Triumph of Love.

Tuesday afternoon the following email arrived from Associate Artistic Director Joy Meads:

“As you may have noticed from the actors and playwright walking around, we are conducting our first workshop for PASTURES OF HEAVEN this week. We’ll be working on one of the stories (number 4, the turalecito story) using exercises drawn from Word For Word’s practice and inspired by the RSC’s development of Nicholas Nickleby. We’d like to invite you to drop in and observe the workshop at any point this week.”

Pastures of Heaven (or, as Joy, who has a bit of a volume control problem, puts it, PASTURES OF HEAVEN) is the latest piece our New Works/New Communities program is sinking its teeth into. With NW/NC, Cal Shakes partners up with community groups, other theater companies, and various and sundry other orgs to adapt and create new theater with roots in the classics. In 2006, we partnered with partnered with Campo Santo (the resident company at SF’s Intersection for the Arts) and playwright Naomi Iizuka to create Hamlet: Blood in the Brain; and, in 2006/2007 with playwright Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, MFA students at A.C.T., and community organizations working with homeless LGBT youth in San Francisco to reimagine A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Now, with playwright Octavio Solis, Word for Word Performing Arts Company, and community organizations still TBA, we’re adapting John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven.

I am using the following method. The manuscript is made up of stories, each one complete in itself, having its rise, climax and ending. Each story deals with a family or an individual. Each story deals with a family or an idividual. They are tied together by the common locality and by the contact with the [central family].

– John Steinbeck in the introduction to The Pastures of Heaven

Pastures is an anthology of interconnected stories, stories that unfold in the farming community of early twentieth-century Salinas. It is hard to imagine a collection of short fiction being easily adaptable to the stage, even a collection so interrelated by place and persons. Because short stories vary–in their main characters, and usually in their tone–from each other. And because, any time you’re adapting something written for the page to be performed on the stage, you’re dealing with exposition that was not created to be spoken. Luckily, there are things like set design, sound, lighting, and costumes to add to the conversation. And even luckier is our partnership with Word for Word, a professional ensemble whose mission is to stage short stories in their entirety., and our commissioning of Octavio Solis, who has also been working on an adaptation of Don Quixote for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

And, even luckier, perhaps, is that Pastures of Heaven features dialogue like this:

Maybe your curse and the farm’s curse has mated and gone into a gopher hole like a pair of rattlesnakes. Maybe there’ll be a lot of baby curses crawling around the pastures the first thing we know.

Oh, yeah.

But of course, the performance is still some time away, and the adaptation’s just begun. So on Friday, I sat in on a little of the workshop. And this is a little of what I saw:

Actor Dan Hiatt reading passages from a book called Grow It, by Richard W. Langer, and attempting to explain, somewhat, the difficulties of farming. (Left to right: Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, the back of playwright Octavio Solis’s head, Word for Word company member Patricia Silver, the back of Word for Word co-Artistic Director JoAnne Winter’s head, and Hiatt.)

Octavio listening intently as a workshop participant showed pictures of a 1930s-era one-room schoolhouse, while talking about how this schoolhouse would have had no segregation, and that1930 was a watershed year for educational theory, when educational conservatives and progressives squared off over who should be educated (the most gifted or the least), and how and what to teach to them.

It’s a fascinating process, and on Saturday NW/NC held rehearsals at Z Space in San Francisco. Joy told me on the phone today that “it went great!” She’s usually more verbose, but she’s otherwise occupied, having just finished her last week at Cal Shakes, and therefore being in the midst of packing for chillier climes. In fact, I shouldn’t let you think that the Pastures workshop was all that happened last week.
Because it wasn’t.

On Friday, most of us ditched work early to meet up at the Townhouse, an Emeryville bar and restaurant that (as my former coworker Vicky would say) is both hoity and toity. We drank, we ate hors d’oeuvres, and things happened.

Jon Moscone delivered a very funny, sweet toast to Joy while Daunielle moved furniture around.
Joy made a speech that I, apparently, found quite amusing.
And Cal Shakes Board Vice President Nancy Kaible presented to us a song that her daughter had written for her friends moving to Chicago, and then adapted for Joy’s going-away.
She fiddled with the wee boom box a bit, and we asked the staff to turn down the nonthreatening jazz that was playing over the Townhouse’s sound system.
And then? Well… the following is a bit unsafe for workplace consumption. Unless you work somewhere cool like Cal Shakes, that is.
And then we laughed.
And laughed, and laughed.
Joy may have even cried a little.