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Showing posts from January, 2009

Remembering Sylvia

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posted by James Wagner, A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program alumnus

Earlier this month A.C.T. lost a friend, supporter, and longtime library volunteer, Sylvia Coe Tolk. Master of Fine Arts Program alumnus James Wagner reflects on her life, their friendship, and her lasting importance to the A.C.T. community.

Usually death is a sad occasion; appropriately so. But when I heard that Sylvia Tolk had passed, surprisingly, I felt a tinge of grief overwhelmed mostly with relief and fulfillment. And not just mild fulfillment, but fulfillment of the kind that comes after a world-class seven-course meal. Not because I’m mean-spirited or cold-hearted, mind you, though I can be both at times, but because I sensed that Sylvia had lived a full long life wherein she did finally arrive at a satisfying dessert. It seemed time for her to get up, thank her guests, and leave the table; to wash up, put on her favorite PJs, and crawl into a pillow-laden infinite rest. Isn’t that what we all want? We all know…

I Still Want to Be Rich and Famous

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posted by Stephen DeRosa, Rich and Famouscast member

As I grew older I thought my dreams would become more practical or at least loftier. And I suppose I do indeed dream of world peace and paying off my student loans, but I still can’t shake off that “Rich and Famous” thing. At the end of the day it’s not really why I became an actor (I mean who wouldn’t love a profession where one can wear four wigs in under two hours), but I don’t believe any actor who says he or she wouldn’t love to walk the red carpet, particularly for a film that millions upon millions of people celebrated. That said, I’d even be excited to be invited to the afterparty or make loads of money for a commercial that nobody remembers. I guess I have gotten practical or just more desperate.

Well, HELLO!!! My name is Steve DeRosa and I’m guest blogging here today. Can I take a second and say that this theater is MAGNIFICENT?! And not just the exquisite building itself, but everyone backstage, administration, everyone i…

Singer’s Choice

posted by Craig Slaight, A.C.T. Young Conservatory Director

I believe that we don’t ask young people for their point of view often enough.

When you’re in the business of training young people in the arts, you had better listen keenly for their point of view, offer a platform for it to be heard, and nurture it unflaggingly. In recent years, this has become very important in our work in the A.C.T. Young Conservatory. And let me tell you, young people have unique and compelling points of view—about art, life, and their dangling future. Where our musical program here is concerned, we’re trying to provide dynamic training and offer a platform to young people’s view in the material that they work on. Case in point . . .

One day A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff mentioned that she felt that the main house on Geary Street needed to become more representative of all that we do at A.C.T., and challenged each of us on the artistic team to think of ways in which to do this. It gave me an ins…

A Quirky Jewel

posted by Michael Paller, A.C.T. Dramaturg

Working on Rich and Famous by John Guare is like recovering a lost jewel. A many-faceted and quirky jewel, but a jewel. It was produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival in 1976 after an earlier version was performed at the Academy Festival Theatre in Chicago and the Williamstown Theatre in 1974. It had a subsequent production in 1977 at Trinity Repertory in Providence, then—silence. Nothing. Since then, there’s been no major production of this play until now.

It’s hard to know why some plays succeed in finding an audience the first time out and others have to wait for another moment. Some plays are presented by the wrong people—producers, directors, actors—some for an audience not attuned to the playwright’s wavelength. Sometimes, the story the playwright’s telling is ahead of the audience’s sensibilities when it comes to form or content.

For whatever reason this play by one of America’s most consistently inventive and theatrical playwrig…

A Costumer’s Handbook

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posted by David Draper, A.C.T. Costume Shop Manager

Today we are doing final fixes on the costumes for Rich and Famous. Last Thursday was the first preview performance, and no major changes were requested. We still have some finishing to do: satin bindings on two of the tuxedo jackets, jewels on Leanara’s dress . . . but the end is in sight.

This show is the tricky slot in the season schedule. A Christmas Carol has a shorter—if jam-packed—run than most shows, and keeps us busy right up to its opening each year. Add in the holidays, and the build time for Show #4 [Rich and Famous] is tight.

The holiday season also brings some special obstacles to confront. Shopping locally means contending with the hordes of amateurs who clog the stores and walkways. Doing business online can also be a headache, with shipping departments backed up, inventories not at their fullest, and short-staffing everywhere. Then we get into the shipping companies who put on extra people who apparently just don’t ca…