Talking About Love

Marketing intern Natalie Sanchez reports back from rehearsals for Twelfth Night.

Love is a complicated thing: how our bodies and minds process it, how we become brave enough to begin to verbalize it, how we share it with the world, how we fight for it. But have you ever fallen in love with someone who only saw you as a friend? And—to make things worse—that friend trusted you so much that they would confess to you their love for another person? They might even be so desperate as to ask you to help them convince their beloved to be with them.

Rami Margron as Orsino, Cindy Im as Viola/Cesario, and Maria Candelaria as Olivia in Cal Shakes and Intersection for the Arts’ coproduction of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, directed by Michelle Hensley; photo by Kevin Berne.

Rami Margron as Orsino, Cindy Im as Viola/Cesario, and Maria Candelaria as Olivia; photo by Kevin Berne.

Rehearsals for Cal Shakes and Intersection for the Arts’ coproduction of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (performing at Intersection February 2—March 2) are happening right now, and many of these questions arise as the actors begin to embody the characters. What could be going on in the head of Viola (Cindy Im) when she is asked by her own beloved, Duke Orsino (Rami Margron), to chase after his love, Olivia (Maria Candelaria)? Why does she agree? And how can these feelings become manifested in one scene, as full of emotions as the first encounter of two women who have such different intentions? I got to watch members of the ensemble work through some of these challenges when I sat in on rehearsals for Act I, scene 5 late last week.

Viola is persistent when passing as Cesario, promising to sleep outside until Lady Olivia lets him in, which she ultimately does, slowly and unintentionally inviting him to her life. “Bring me my veil,” she says to her gentlewoman, having her stand next to her, showing that her guard is up. But she eventually removes the veil, and the unveiling carries meaning to both characters: For Olivia, this is a moment of letting Viola/Cesario in, although, when she shows herself, she turns her face with her hand, asking, with a stern look, “Is it not well done?” For Viola, this is the first time that she gets to look at the face of her rival; in rehearsing this moment, director Michelle Hensley asks Cindy (who plays Viola) to be honest and really say that she is beautiful.

The director states that, among the many feelings that could be going on in her head, Viola might be curious to know why Olivia does not love the Duke.

“For Orsino loves you with adorations, fertile tears, / With groans that thunder love, with sighs of fire” says Viola. “Where does that come from?” asks the director. Possibly from the Duke, Cindy responds. Or it could be talking more about the feelings she has for the Duke. Curious to know more, Maria Candelaria (playing Olivia) makes the character choice to sit on a nearby stool as she backs up: With her body language, she says “it isn’t easy to reject you.”

When the director stops the scene to ask how they are feeling, Cindy shares her thoughts about the moment: “As a man, Viola gets to speak more candidly that she would as a woman.” Meanwhile, Olivia is enchanted, noticing the vulnerability in the way Viola speaks to her of Orsino’s love for her. Maria says, “Even when she is mad at me it is beautiful.” Michelle questions her further: “Why do you tip him?” Maria answers: “It’s courtesy.” As she thinks about it a little more, she says, “She is also trying to keep it together and process what she is feeling. Maybe she is trying to reinstate the social norms.” “But she keeps talking,” Michelle counters. If Olivia wanted Viola/Cesario to leave, she would have let him leave. After Viola leaves, when Olivia talks about what she is feeling, the director says, “Talk to them (the audience). They are here to process this with you.”

Who are you rooting for in this love triangle? Come prepared to help these characters unravel their emotions next month! Information on the cast, the production, and how to buy tickets—all costing $20—can be found here.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions About ALLELUIA, THE ROAD

Alleluia Creative Collaborators

Photos of Alleluia creative collaborators by Joan Osato.

We hope you’re planning on experiencing Luis Alfaro’s Alleluia, The Road at Intersection for the Arts, co-produced by Cal Shakes, Campo Santo, and Intersection. Come ready to take in a new and exciting production in an intimate, immersive environment, with visual arts surrounding you and players performing right next to you.

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions, devised to enhance your visit to Alelluia.

Where do the performances take place? Performances of Alleluia, The Road take place at Intersection for the Arts, not at Cal Shakes’ Bruns Amphitheater.

Where is Intersection for the Arts located? Intersection is located inside the San Francisco Chronicle building at 925 Mission Street, Suite 109, between Fifth and Sixth Streets in downtown San Francisco. The ZIP code is 94103, should you be using a futuristic device to navigate your passage.

How do I get there by car? From the freeway, take the Fifth Street/Downtown exit; turn left onto Harrison; take the first right onto Sixth Street; then, make a right onto Mission.

Is there parking nearby? Some street parking is available in surrounding alleys, but by far the easiest option is the parking garage at Fifth and Mission, directly across from the Chronicle building.

How do I get there by public transportation? Intersection is conveniently located one-and-a-half blocks from the Powell Street BART station (use the BART Trip Planner to ensure a timely arrival!) and numerous MUNI lines, including the 14 Mission.

Exactly which door in the Chronicle building do I enter through, and how is it marked? Intersection is located at the 925 entrance of the Chronicle building, which is up Mission Street, heading toward Sixth Street, and is not to be confused with the 901 entrance that is closer to the Fifth Street corner.

How do I get into the event space? The door to 925 will be unlocked, and signage and/or staff will direct you to the gallery. The box office is located in the gallery, where you will collect your ticket and program before moving on to experience the first part of the Califas visual arts installation before being directed to the show from there.

Is there assigned seating? Nope, this venue features general admission seating.

I know I already bought tickets, but if I want to buy more when I get there, how much will they cost? $30.

How long is the show with intermission? The show is approximately two hours long, plus a 15-minute intermission.

What’s happening at intermission? Will there be anything I can spend my money on? At intermission we invite you to spend more time with the Califas visual arts installations in both the performance space and the gallery. And there will be both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages for sale.

Will the gallery be open during intermission? See above.

What if I have more questions? Feel free to contact the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666 or boxoffice@calshakes.org between the hours of 10am–12pm or 1–5pm, Monday–Friday.

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What’s Your Tale?

Patricia McGregor’s magical, family-friendly production of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale begins previews tomorrow, culminating the 2013 Cal Shakes season with a profusion of music, movement, miracles—and Triangle Lab activities.

Visit the memory wall to collect an object and tell us what memory it evokes.

Pick up song lyrics at the Triangle Lab activity sign (also inserted in your show program) so you can sing along during the performance.

Stop on the entrance path to see video of spoken-word performances by RAW (Richmond Artists with Talent), part of a Triangle Lab workshop exploring the impact of loss and healing through art.

On October 1 and 11, one hour prior to the performance, join storytellers from The Shout—led by Rami Margron—in the Grove Talk Grove to hear and share stories about faith and forgiveness.

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Share your Califas story

What makes you yearn for home? What are your dreams of a homeland? How does love journey across boundaries?

We invite you to participate in Califas: Roadside Interactions by sharing your story of a journey home—in words or pictures—by using the hashtag #Califas on Twitter or Instagram, or posting to the Triangle Lab’s Facebook page.

 

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The Triangle Lab: What’s in a Name?

A report on the naming of our partnership with Intersection, courtesy of Partnership Project Director Rebecca Novick.

Rebecca NovickLast August, I was invited by Jonathan Moscone and Deborah Cullinan (executive director of Intersection for the Arts) to help develop the partnership they had formed. After a successful collaboration some years ago on Hamlet: Blood in the Brain, Cal Shakes and Intersection wanted to work together on something larger than creating one new play;  with a generous grant from the Andrew Mellon Foundation in-hand, the staff from both organizations had been meeting for some time to determine what this partnership would look like. They had some goals and projects in mind but it was proving harder than they had expected to get started: The two organizations worked in very different ways, both staffs were tremendously busy with their regular work, and little things like different calendar systems and big things like different approaches to season planning were all adding up to insurmountable.

With so much conviction from the leaders of both organizations, and so much talent on the two staffs, I knew it wouldn’t take much to unlock the potential of this partnership, but one thing was puzzling me: I didn’t know what to call the project. What started out as a minor administrative question—what should I write on my file folder? What should I name the folder in my computer?—quickly emerged as a key issue we needed to address. As Shakespeare can tell you, the names of things matter very much, and if you can’t name something, you may not know yet what it is.

Many meetings later, while deep in discussion of the kind of community relationships we wanted to create, I found myself drawing a triangle, showing the connections between a theater, artists, and community members. “That’s it!,”  Jonathan exclaimed. “That’s the name!”  Thus was born the Triangle Lab. A lab (because we’re experimenting) and a triangle because we are examining the triangular relationship between artists, institutions, and communities. We want to find ways to strengthen each side of the triangle and to make sure we are putting equal value on each of the corners. This name proposes that we always consider the community that a play might engage as much as we consider what artists we’re working with, and that we carefully work to connect artists to communities at every stage of the process.

The goal of the Triangle Lab—now a program run jointly by Cal Shakes and Intersection for the Arts—is to learn how to “make new plays together,” that is to say, how to make new plays with theater institutions, artists, and community members working in close collaboration, as equal partners. We’re aiming to expand who participates in theater-making and how they participate.

Our first experiments will invite people, in many different ways, to tell the stories of their places (their homes, the places they come from, the journeys that have brought them to the place they now call home). These experiments will surround and enrich two productions of work by artists who deeply explore place. Spunk (the second show in Cal Shakes’ 2012 season) showcases Zora Neale Hurston’s intricate stories of African-American life during the Harlem Renaissance while Allelulia (to be produced at Intersection in 2013 with Jonathan Moscone directing), by distinguished playwright Luis Alfaro, traces a journey up Highway 99 from Disneyland to San Francisco. Though these plays are stories by renowned artists, in the Triangle Lab we believe that everyone is a storyteller—we want to invite as many people as we can to tell stories about their places. Stay tuned for more information on how you can participate in this exploration.

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Occupy Theater with The Triangle Lab

The Triangle Lab is collecting and presenting performance responses to recent events at #Occupy Oakland. This is an open call for interested theater artists, musicians, dancers, singers, writers or anyone interested in contributing a story to be performed. Performances will take place in Oakland on Wednesday November 2, and will also be made available online.

Performances will be on the street, brief, unamplified,  and various; based on tweets, videos, and other stories coming out of the Occupy movement.

ONLINE
Share a story you’d like to see performed by actor:
Via Ustream
Via Twitter #OccupyTheater @Triangle_Lab
On our Facebook wall
Upload videos to Vimeo group

LIVE
Meeting/Rehearsal Tuesday Nov 1, 6-10pm at Intersection for the Arts

Performance Wednesday Nov 2, 4-4:15pm
Meet at 3:30pm at It’s a Grind Coffee Shop and we will walk over to City Hall together. The performance will take place in the amphitheater in front of City Hall.

To participate live:
Please come to our artist meeting/rehearsal at Intersection for the Arts on Tuesday 11/1, 6-10 pm.  RSVP on our Facebook page

Please bring a 1-3 minute piece; feel free to incorporate any of the story resources collected on our Facebook page.  Please email a script or description of the piece to drasmussen@calshakes.org by midnight on Monday.

Actors wishing to perform assigned material are encouraged to come to the rehearsal as well or you can just show up on Wednesday.

The Triangle Lab: Intersection for the Arts + California Shakespeare Theater + Campo Santo
Experiments in making new plays with diverse communities

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