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Showing posts from March, 2011

Celebrating Harold Pinter

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posted by Zachary Moull, A.C.T. Dramaturgy Fellow 

The late, great Harold Pinter, Nobel laureate and one of the 20th century’s most influential playwrights, died of cancer in 2008. Since then, A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff has been searching for the perfect opportunity to commemorate Pinter, with whom she worked closely for many years. On March 20, during the run of her own production of Pinter’s play The Homecoming, the A.C.T. community finally came together for an event that became known internally as the “Pinter Celebration.” Our goal was to create a space for theatergoers and -makers in the Bay Area to gather together and share their appreciation for the life and work of this extraordinary artist.
—The A.C.T. Intern Blog Quadrumvirate

The celebration began after the Sunday matinee performance of The Homecoming with “Pursuing Pinter,” a roundtable discussion among Perloff, Michael Krasny of San Francisco State University and KQED’s Forum, and noted Pinter scholar Austin Qui…

Will on Wheels: The A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program Takes Shakespeare to Bay Area Schools

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posted by Emily Hoffman,A.C.T. Publications Fellow 

In Shakespeare’s early comic play of mistaken identity, Antipholus and his servant Dromio, in search of their long-lost twin brothers (also, it turns out, named Antipholus and Dromio), arrive in the Greek city of Ephesus (the home, it turns out, of said long-lost brothers), only to be mistaken for the other Antipholus and Dromio (who, it turns out,  are unaware that they have twin brothers). A Comedy of Errors ensues.

This is the complex story that the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program class of 2012 has been taking to ten middle and high schools around the Bay Area this week and last, in its fifth annual Will on Wheels performance tour. And, amazingly, the school kids are totally getting it. Shakespeare’s language can be difficult enough to understand even in plays without twins, let alone multiple sets of twins. But thanks to the combination of director Domenique Lozano’s inventive staging and the M.F.A. Program students’ energy, co…

Rehearsing in the Dark

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posted by Zachary Moull,A.C.T. Dramaturgy Fellow 

Dramaturgy Fellow Zach Moull had the privilege of sitting in on rehearsals of The Homecoming, Harold Pinter’s masterpiece of family warfare, which opens at the American Conservatory Theater this week. The play is thick with sex and menace; to create an atmosphere that would help the actors bring those qualities to life, director Carey Perloff made an unorthodox choice in the rehearsal room.
—The A.C.T. Intern Blog Quadrumvirate

Preparing Pinter’s The Homecoming

For more than four weeks, the cast of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming rehearsed in the dark. The play, set entirely within the confines of an East London house, calls for little natural light. The action largely occurs in the evening or at dawn, and the central scenes of the first act—in which Teddy and Ruth arrive at the house unannounced— take place in the dead of night. So before rehearsals began, director Carey Perloff asked the stage-management team to hang blackout curtains o…

Countdown to Litter: A Timeline of the Birth of a New Play

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posted by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, playwright 

In the summer of 2009, A.C.T. presented Bay Area playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb with a challenge: write an ensemble-based play for the 12 actors in our Master of Fine Arts Program’s class of 2011. He considered a number of dozen-character-play ideas, but finally settled on a tale about 12 siblings. Not just siblings, but dodecatuplets. And not just dodecatuplets, but the Framingham Dodecatuplets, childhood stars who have watched their fame fade along with their cuteness as they transitioned into young adulthood. Litter, as the play became titled, was born.

The 36-year-old playwright grew up in Mill Valley and attended A.C.T. productions throughout high school (A Christmas Carol was a memorable favorite). As an undergraduate actor at Brown University, Nachtrieb started writing solo performance pieces for himself. After graduating, he returned to the Bay Area, where he became involved with the sketch comedy troupe Killing My Lobster and began w…

“Devising” a “Classic”

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posted by Mark Jackson 

The students in the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program have a lot of resources at their fingertips. Not only are they taught and directed by current and former A.C.T. core acting company members and associate artists like René Augesen, Gregory Wallace, and Marco Barricelli, they also get a chance to work with a rotating set of Bay Area theater professionals who run the gamut from artistic directors to choreographers to performance artists.

This season, the class of 2013 has worked with Erika Chong Shuch, director of the Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project; Dan Wolf of the hip-hop group Felonious; and, now, with Mark Jackson, award-winning director, theatrical innovator, and company member of Art Street Theatre and Shotgun Players.

Al Saiyid, an adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s Le Cid, directed by Jackson and performed by the M.F.A. Program class of 2013, opens this week in A.C.T.’s Hastings Studio Theater. Le Cid, a 1636 French tragicomedy, follows the story of …