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Showing posts from October, 2008

The Unreasonable Investment

posted by Rusty Rueff, A.C.T. Trustee

In these trying and turbulent financial days, decisions are being made about where one places one’s financial bets. Do we hang in the market, or do we just retreat and bury Mason jars of money in our backyards? My wife, Patti, and I have been having lots of discussions about this broadly, and personally, as we watch the nonprofit organizations that we support suffer under the pull-back of donations due to the economy and the nearly one billion dollars that have been donated for the presidential election. We are the recipients of many requests for donations, and we are doing our best to dig deep, and in some cases double down from prior year donations, to ensure that the nonprofit organizations that we care about do not implode during this difficult time. Some would say that we are being foolish in continuing to fund the arts at the same level or greater than the past. To many, these look like unreasonable investments. But as the writer and playwri…

"The GODS, Enjoy Themselves in an ORGY."

posted by Cat Walleck, Master of Fine Arts Program Class of 2009

These were the first words I read on page 1 of Good Breeding last spring, when we first got our copies of the script that was to be our first third-year M.F.A. project. I have, for the last two and a half years, spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours poring over my body—learning all about the myriad of ways I can use it as my instrument—but it wasn’t until I got to Good Breeding that I truly realized just to what extent I would need to be “available” to my audience.

Melissa Smith, our conservatory director, is famous amongst us for her provocative saying: “Real acting is like standing completely naked in a room full of strangers, and turning around—slowly.” Of course, this intimidating and sexy woman announcing this to a bunch of nervous first-years was shattering enough, and then to imagine oneself having the courage, the generosity, and the killer rear view to pull off such a stunt is potentially debilitating. Or, maybe…

"Where would I find a Plastic Person?"

posted by Carey Perloff, A.C.T. Artistic Director

Of the many wild and unexpected things that occurred during our rehearsals of Rock ’n’ Roll (like Russian tanks rolling into South Ossetia claiming “fraternal assistance” on the day we began rehearsals, an eerie echo of the August 21, 1968, Russian occupation of Prague), none was more surreal than going with the cast to Slim’s at midnight on October 9 to hear The Plastic People of the Universe play. I couldn’t even fathom that they were still together—this was the group of “long-haired weirdo hippies” that by bizarre circumstance triggered the trial that humiliated the Czech Communist Party in 1977, and led to the formation of Charter 77. So what the hell were they doing in San Francisco in 2008?

There’s an incredibly moving moment in Rock ’n’ Roll in which Jan tells Nigel that the Plastics are over—they had been asked to compromise one time too many and finally broke apart. Turns out that 20 years later, in 1997, Václav Havel brought…

Welcome to the A.C.T. Blog

On any given night at the American Conservatory Theater, the role of the audience is played by a distinct and varied group of people. A thousand pairs of eyes, a thousand held breaths, a thousand different reactions that can alter and inform the action that takes place on the stage. The cliché that there would be no theater if there were no audience is in fact true, and as our audience, each of you is a permanent and integral part of the artistic process at A.C.T. But it is also true that if there were not a vast cast of artists, artisans, trustees, staff, faculty, and students to work behind the scenes, there would be no A.C.T. In this forum we hope to pull back the curtain and give you, our audience, the opportunity to look into our shops, stages, studios, and offices and interact with the myriad people who make live theater happen at A.C.T.

Each week, a member of the A.C.T. community will initiate a post about the role he or she plays as a part of this organization. You will have t…