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Showing posts from December, 2009

A New Family

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posted by Omozé Idehenre, A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2010 
Omozé bonds with the Carol kids during the annual latke party.
The word carol is defined as “a song of joy” and/or “to sing in a lively and joyous manner.” When I think of A Christmas Carol, I think of the chance to perform this particular custom during this special and particular period of time. Caroling is an opportunity to let go of all the stress you’ve retained throughout the year and put it to something useful before the New Year. It is a joy one is fortunate to receive when people take the attention off of themselves and give it to others. How great it is to know that, no matter what, we all can get the chance to let our hearts sing in a joyous manner again and again.

Participating in A.C.T.’s production of A Christmas Carol has truly been an incredible experience. I’ve been saying this A LOT, but it has felt like a vacation of sorts. Much of this, I feel, has to do with getting the opportunity to wor…

Revisiting Phèdre

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posted by Claire Lautier, cast member of Phèdre

Claire Lautier plays Aricie in Phèdre, a new translation of Racine’s 17th-century French tragedy directed by A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff in a coproduction between A.C.T. and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada. Presented at Stratford last summer, Phèdre arrives at the American Conservatory Theater in January. Lautier will travel to San Francisco along with many members of the original cast to revisit Racine’s classic drama at A.C.T.

As I write this, I’m sitting in a public place in the midst of squawking televisions, ringtones, a dozen cell phone conversations, background music, loudspeaker announcements, engines and horns, beeps and chirps, fluorescent lights, flashing screens, diesel fumes, and the rhythmic bouncing of my seat as the person down the bench from me jiggles his legs frantically while listening to an iPod and playing a video game. And I think to myself, I should write that blog entry for Phèdre. …

Christmas Produce

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posted by Shelley Carter, A.C.T. Artistic Intern
Two Turkish figs (Isabella Ateshian and Rachel Share-Sapolsky) in the 2007 production of A Christmas Carol.
“Too big to be a fig. Maybe an onion though,” says veteran A.C.T. Casting Director Meryl Shaw.
“Or even a plum?” offers A Christmas Carol Casting Consultant Greg Hubbard.

From outside the door of the casting office, I wondered what mystery fruit my two bosses could be discussing. Surely something exotic.

“Hey, Shelley, could you come help us with this produce?” Meryl called.

Expecting to see them peering over a small tropical fruit, I was surprised to see them huddled around the picture of a small adorable child. As the new artistic intern at A.C.T., I’ll admit there is a lot of casting terminology for me to learn, but I was highly perplexed by their farmers’ market vocabulary.

“It’s just that we have a zillion onions. I’m tearing up all ready,” says Meryl.

I furrow my brow and nod, playing along. Very pale and onionlike, I…

Holding Back My Tears as a "Carol Mom"

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posted by Susan Berston
Each year, A.C.T.’s annual production of A Christmas Carol features almost two dozen young actors as young as eight, who are all students in A.C.T.’s acclaimed Young Conservatory. Susan Berston, whose 12-year-old son, Samuel, appears as Ned Cratchit in this year’s production, writes about the rewards and challenges of being a first-time “Carol mom.”

Hearing the joy in my son’s voice, listening to him sing Christmas carols in early November, and noticing a pronounced bounce in his step, I have pondered whether being a “Carol mom” is almost as exciting as being in his shoes. My son, Samuel, has always loved to act both “on- and offstage” since the age of four, but it wasn’t until a year ago in Betty Schneider’s musical theater class in A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory that he realized there were other more serious, like-minded “singing, dancing, and acting” kids like himself. Ms. Schneider is a talented vocal and acting coach, with a magic and gentle influence unparal…