Meet Elke Janssen, who plays the role of Martha Cratchit in A Christmas Carol.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Elke Janssen
A Christmas Carol
Showing Dec 6 - 28.
Learn more about the production
and order tickets.
Meet Elke Janssen, who plays the role of Martha Cratchit in A Christmas Carol.

How many times have you been in A Christmas Carol?
I was Belinda last year, and now I'm Martha Cratchit. I am really part of the family!

What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Saint Nicholas day, a German tradition, where we place a shoe in the window the evening of December 5th with a carrot or apple for Saint Nicholas' horse, and the next morning it's filled with old time candy and a wooden toy! I also love going downtown and looking at all the Christmas windows, especially the SPCA puppies, then picking out an ornament at Macy's.

What's your favorite thing about the Bay Area during the holidays?
Everyone is smiling and I love the smell of the air....you know Christmas is coming.

What is your favorite moment in A Christmas Carol?
When Christmas Past appears, up in the air...oh yes, and when it snows.

Who is your favorite character in A Christmas Carol?
Beautiful Christmas Past.

What is your favorite holidary food/treat?
Marshall Fields' Frango Mints

What is your favorite Christmas movie?
A Christmas Story, I crack up every time. It is so funny..

The cast of A Christmas Carol (during the finale) at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater.

Meet Campbell Zeigler, who plays the roles of Pickpocket Cousin, Boy Scrooge, and Ghost of Christmas Future in A Christmas Carol.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Campbell Zeigler
A Christmas Carol
Showing Dec 6 - 28.
Learn more about the production
and order tickets.
Meet Campbell Zeigler, who plays the roles of Pickpocket Cousin, Boy Scrooge, and Ghost of Christmas Future in A Christmas Carol.

How many times have you been in A Christmas Carol?
This is my first year and I love it already. I'm really, really excited to be a part of it.

What are your favorite holiday traditions?
I like putting up the Christmas tree because it marks Christmastime to me. I have a few favorite ornaments like the German Pickle and this cool Spiderman ornament. I like waking up before anyone else and seeing my presents. And I LOVE hot chocolate.

What's your favorite thing about the Bay Area during the holidays?
I like going to see the Christmas tree here in Walnut Creek and the one in Union Square. And I really like seeing A Christmas Carol at ACT during the holidays! And now I'm in it!

Campbell playing Boy Scrooge
alongside James Carpenter (Scrooge).
What is your favorite moment in A Christmas Carol?
I have a lot of favorite moments in A Christmas Carol. My favorites are: when Jacob Marley comes out of the bed and scares Scrooge, when the Ghost of Christmas Future comes out and there are those really cool sound effects and I really like when Mrs. Dilber thinks Scrooge is going insane once he's all happy at the end. She always thinks he's a little crazy, but once he becomes happy she thinks he's hit a point of complete insanity. It's hilarious. As Boy Scrooge, my favorite part is the secret handshake with my best friend Dick. 

Who is your favorite character in A Christmas Carol?
My favorite character is Jacob Marley because he is really creepy and he scares Scrooge. His costume is awesome, especially with the chains that are attached to him. I like it when he says, "Ebenezer Scrooge" in that rough, ghostly voice.

What is your favorite holidary food/treat?
I like candy canes, hot chocolate with whipped cream, English Toffee and any Christmas cookie you want to give me. But my all-time favorite is hot chocolate. I love hot chocolate. Did I mention hot chocolate?

What is your favorite Christmas movie?
My top three favorite Christmas movies are Elf, A Christmas Story and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Meet Blair Busbee, who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Blair Busbee
A Christmas Carol
Showing Dec 6 - 28.
Learn more about the production
and order tickets.
Meet Blair Busbee, who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol.

How many times have you been in A Christmas Carol?
This is my first Christmas Carol extravaganza!
 
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
I always get to open one present on Christmas Eve. And it's always pajamas.

What's your favorite thing about the Bay Area during the holidays?
I love to go to Macy's to watch the puppies and kittens that play in the display window on the corner of Stockton and O'Farrell. Then, I fantasize about adopting one of them. Then I cry, because I can't...and I go to the other side of Macy's where I oo and ah at the hundreds of reefs glowing in the windows.

What is your favorite moment in A Christmas Carol?
My favorite part of A Christmas Carol is the Ghost of Christmas Future sequence at the end. I especially love when the business men are hissing and laughing together. On a lighter note, my other favorite moment is when Little Fan gives Boy Scrooge their mother's ring. I'm a bit sentimental...but the mean business men still win.

Who is your favorite character in A Christmas Carol?
My favorite character is SCROOGE! I love to watch the little boy in him slowly shine through. I melt when I watch him during the Fezziwig dance, and by the end he's giggling and dancing in the streets!

What is your favorite holiday food/treat?
My momma's chicken and dumplings! And, am I allowed to say hot toddies?

What is your favorite Christmas movie?
It's a Wonderful Life. Get's me every time. "George Bailey, I'll love you till the day I die." ...or Home Alone, because haven't we all slapped ourselves in the face and screamed because we wanted to be like Kevin when he puts on aftershave for the first time??? Right?...Right. 

Blair Busbee playing Ghost of Christmas Present (on swing) during A Christmas Carol.

Meet Cindy Goldfield, who plays the role of Ghost of Christmas Future in A Christmas Carol.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cindy Goldfield
A Christmas Carol
Showing Dec 6 - 28.
Learn more about the production
and order tickets.
Meet Cindy Goldfield, who plays the roles of Charitable 1, Ruth, Produce Seller, and Ghost of Christmas Future in 
A Christmas Carol.

How many times have you been in A Christmas Carol?
This is my 10th year!!! I originally was cast as Mrs. Fezziwig opposite Brian Keith Russell, in the previous version of CAROL, with direction by Craig Slaight
 
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Every year for the last 20, I have hosted a caroling party in my neighborhood. It's usually a party of about 20-40 people, gathering for a fantastic potluck dinner and then walking through my Glen Park neighborhood singing with candles in the dark. Kids, dogs, friends, laughing. It's a good tradition.

What's your favorite thing about the Bay Area during the holidays?
A Christmas Carol, obviously. And when I was a kid, the San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker was a big favorite. The Dickens' Faire is also a huge tradition and a place I worked many times. My son, Calum, (who played Tiny Tim in the 2010 CAROL here at ACT) is currently working at the Dickens' Faire as Oliver Twist... I guess we have a family tradition of working over the holidays!

What is your favorite moment in A Christmas Carol?
My favorite moment in A Christmas Carol, changes year to year with the different MFA classes and the different Young Company. But I do have a few perennial favorites: first read-through when we are all together again for another year, warm-ups with the Young Company on The Geary Stage and in the show, the moment that Scrooge turns out the house and includes the audience in saying, "...and may that truly be said of us. Of all of us." It's a magical moment when the fourth wall is broken and the message Charles Dickens intended is passed from the actors on stage, across the footlights and into the hearts and minds of the theatre goers.

Who is your favorite character in A Christmas Carol?
In this version of A Christmas Carol, I would have to say Mrs. Dilber is my fav. Sharon Lockwood is a goddess.  But a close second is Ken Ruta's Marley. I am honored to share a stage with him!

What is your favorite holidary food/treat?
Pumpkin pie, eaten straight out of my hand, cold from the fridge wins hands down.

What is your favorite Christmas movie?
"It's a Wonderful Life" makes me cry every time.  I try to watch it every Christmas Eve.  "Love, Actually" is also another good one.   And of course, "A Christmas Story" is a favorite of all the family.


Flying scenery for the Ghost of Christmas Future hanging in A.C.T.'s Scene Shop.

Meet Rafael Karpa-Wilson, who plays Ned Cratchet in A.C.T.'s A Christmas Carol.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rafael Karpa-Wilson
A Christmas Carol
Showing Dec 6 - 28.
Learn more about the production
and order tickets.
Meet Rafael Karpa-Wilson, who plays Ned Cratchet and understudies for the role of Ian DeVaynes in A Christmas Carol.

How many times have you been in A Christmas Carol?
I have never before acted in A Christmas Carol. I am really enjoying my first time being a part of it.
 
What are your favorite holiday traditions?
Every year for Christmas we go to my aunt's house for 3 days, which I enjoy extremely. I always look forward to that.

What's your favorite thing about the Bay Area during the holidays?
I love all the Christmas lights at night - they look so beautiful.

What is your favorite moment in A Christmas Carol?
My favorite moment, or scene, is when Scrooge first comes home and Mrs. Dilber is there. I think both of Mrs. Dilber's scenes are hilarious.

Who is your favorite character in A Christmas Carol?
Mrs Dilber, of course. She is completely hilarious.

What is your favorite holidary food/treat?
Apple pie. Every year a family friend who comes to Christmas bakes great apple pie.”

What is your favorite Christmas movie?
One of my aunts, uncles, and dad's favorites: an old movie called "A Christmas Story".

The cast of A Christmas Carol in rehearsal (with Rafael) during Cratchet Family Dinner.

An Underneath the Lintel special discussion with playwrite Glen Berger

Monday, November 18, 2013

Underneath the Lintel playwright Glen Berger came to A.C.T. on Nov 16 for a special discussion and Q&A with  Lintel director Carey Perloff and star David Stratharin.  Click below to watch the recording.



Click here to buy tickets and learn more about Underneath the Lintel.

Kilroy Was Here

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

By Dramaturgical Publications Fellow Shannon Stockwell

Outside a closed
American Red Cross
in London, 1946,
Mr. Chad asks,
"Wot, no Yanks?"
In Underneath the Lintel, playwright Glen Berger emphasizes the singularly human need inside all of us to leave a mark on the world, something that will endure long after our inevitable deaths. One of the ways in which he discusses this need is through graffiti—the unsanctioned, uncensored defacement of public property—and few examples of graffiti have ever reached quite such a memetic status as a little man called Kilroy.

Kilroy is a simple cartoon drawing, a man seen peeking over what appears to be a wall with the words "Kilroy was here" next to it. He seems to have originated and became popular during World War II, appearing in unusual places, including the top of the Statue of Liberty. A famous tale claims that in July 1945, during the Potsdam Conference to discuss the end of World War II, Stalin had the use of an exclusive bathroom to which only two other people had access. It is said that Stalin exited the bathroom and immediately asked one of his aides, "Who is Kilroy?"

An ad from 1946 sells Kilroy
clips you couldattach to your
clothing in The Billboard
Kilroy's omnipresence made him prominent in public consciousness during the 1940s, to the point where he is immortalized on the World War II Monument in Washington, D.C., purposely chiseled into the stone by the monuments creators. You could even purchase little clips of him to peek over your shirt pockets. Despite being such an icon of the 1940s, the true origins of "Kilroy was here" prove difficult to track down with any certainty.

Kilroy is immortalized on the
National World War II Memorial
in Washington, D.C.
It turns out that the phrase "Kilroy was here" and the drawing of the little man peeking over a wall originated in different places. In regards to the phrase, the most accepted origin was explained in 1946, when the American Transit Association hosted a contest to find out who Kilroy was. Many men came forward, but only James J. Kilroy (1902–62) of Quincy, Massachusetts, had evidence linking him to the meme. He was a welding inspector at the Bethlehem Steel shipyard during World War II who wrote "Kilroy was here" to mark the completion of his inspections; the ships then went out unpainted, so soldiers often saw the unexplained phrase during their deployments. To some it was a comfort, a lucky talisman that meant they would return home safely. For putting the mystery to rest, James Kilroy was awarded a 37-year-old defunct streetcar; he used it to house six of his nine children.

Some, however, reported that the first appearance of the phrase was much earlier than James Kilroy claimed. It was apparently found in a vault in Fort Knox that was locked in 1937 and remained unopened until the '70s.

Mr. Chad makes an
appearance in veteran
Ron Goldstein's
scrapbook from World War II,
drawn in 1946.
The "Kilroy" illustration began as the English cartoon Mr. Chad, who often found himself attached to "WOT! No____?" lines (e.g., "WOT! No Petrol?"); it was a humorous way of bringing attention to serious shortages and rationing during World War II. The exact origins of Mr. Chad are unclear, but many suggest that the drawing is linked to a diagram representing an electric circuit. Some also claim that it was created by a British cartoonist George Edward Chatterton. Wherever it came from, it began circulating in the early 1940s. Though no one can say exactly how, Kilroy and Mr. Chad teamed up sometime during World War II, and the result was a plucky and ambitious little cartoon that traveled the world and is still recognizable to many today.

Click here to buy tickets and learn more about Underneath the Lintel.

What is a Lintel?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

By Publications Manager Dan Rubin

Playwright Glen Berger writes, "Though we rarely recognize the place, underneath the lintel is where we stand every day, every moment, of our life." In this passage, the wordsmith is exploring the idea of the lintel in relationship to the word sublime, which means a sense of awe in the presence of vastness and can be broken down into sub ("under") and limen (which is derived from "lintel"). Accordingly, we are emotionally "underneath the lintel" whenever we are overcome with a sense of the sublime.

The Temple of Horus at Edfu is an example of
Egyptian architecture, including the post-and-lintel
doorway seen at the center of the photo.
But in a more literal sense, we pass underneath lintels every day. Lintels are the top beams of most entryways, although they have become less structurally essential in modern architecture. Lintels are the limit of the threshold, which is defined not only as the space around a doorway, but also as a place or point of beginning. The lintel is the point from which we set out: on trips as mundane as our commute to work, on journeys as epic as an international adventure, on treasure hunts as winding as the Librarian's pursuit after a man who had the audacity to return his library book 113 years late, the lintel is our point of origin. It is our origin story, and has been since the dawn of architecture.

Stonehenge is an example of Neolithic
post-and-lintel construction.
A fundamental element of Neolithic, Ancient Greek, and Ancient Egyptian architecture, the horizontal lintel is held up by two vertical posts or columns. Seen in its purest form in colonnades, the post-and-lintel system was the basis for all structural openings. Such ancient structures as Stonehenge (built between 3000 and 2000 BCE), in Britain, were constructed on the post-and-lintel system, as were the interiors of Egyptian temples and the exteriors of Greek temples.

Because of its prime location, the lintel became a frequent canvas for artists and visual storytellers. Below are examples of lintels that have survived hundreds of years to give us a glimpse of the past.

This limestone door lintel, with lion-griffins and a vase with lotus leaf, dates back to second and third-century Mesopotamia. Once part of a decorated doorway in the north hall of the so-called Main Palace at Hatra in northern Iraq (which was a major trade city heavily fortified against Roman attack and populated by a mixture of peoples), this lintel stone was originally positioned so that the carved surface faced the floor. The naturalistic modeling of the creatures' bodies and the form of the central vase reflect Roman influence, but the symmetry of the composition, the pronounced simplification of the plant forms, and the lion-griffin motif are all characteristic of the Near East.

This fragment of a Byzantine lintel from 400–550 CE with its deeply carved decoration resembles that on the door and window frames of early monumental churches in Syria. From The Metropolitan Museum of Art: "The  symbol that divides the central roundel was understood as both a cross and a Christogram, the monogram for Christ's name formed from the first two letters of his name in Greek, chi (X) and rho (r). The alpha (A) and omega (Ω) that flank the cross, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, were widely used by Christians as symbols of the eternal nature of God. Their use was inspired by John the Evangelist's vision on the isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:8): 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'"

The Mexican city of Yaxchilán was founded in the Early Classic period (250–600 CE) and became a major center of Mayan culture in the Late Classic period (600–900 CE). Its buildings were known for their elaborate decorations, particularly the sculptural door lintels that were commissioned by the city's rulers and are believed to document their history. This lintel from 681 CE was located above the central doorway of a palace structure. The image, carved in relief on limestone, depicts Lady K'ab'al Xook performing a bloodletting ritual that has manifested a vision of a serpent. From the mouth of the serpent, a warrior, carrying a shield and spear, emerges.

Click here to buy tickets and learn more about Underneath the Lintel.

A Thrilling Pre-show Performance at 1776’s Student Matinee

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Posted by Catherine Hendel, Marketing/PR Fellow

Teacher Peter Stroka and A.C.T.'s special SMAT helped Bessie Carmichael students find joy in history, music and theater.

"It's as beautiful as I remember," an enthusiastic fifth grader from Bessie Carmichael Elementary School commented as she walked into A.C.T.'s Geary Theater, excited to perform there for the second time.

Thursday, October 3, marked a very special date on A.C.T.'s 2013–14 season calendar. The entire fifth grade of Bessie Carmichael—almost 70 students—performed Voice of the People, a mini musical created just for the occasion by San Francisco Unified School District Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) instructor Peter Sroka, on the Geary stage immediately before the Student Matinee ("SMAT") performance of 1776, the popular Revolutionary War musical that opened A.C.T.'s mainstage season. Following the success of last spring's Stuck Elevator SMAT event, this is the second time A.C.T. has partnered with Sroka and Bessie Carmichael to present an engaging and educational preshow performance inspired by a production in our mainstage repertory.

Dressed in patriotic red and blue, the eager Bessie Carmichael students paraded onstage carrying hand-made cardboard signs portraying important social and political leaders throughout U.S. history.  Accompanied by Sroka on the piano and drum, they enthusiastically sang four original, history-inspired tunes to a theater packed full of young people, ranging from grades five through twelve. Each song related to 1776, covering such topics as the three branches of government, the power of education, the exclusion of particular groups (e.g., women and people of color) from the political process during the early days of democracy in America, and the courageous individuals throughout our country's history who have spoken up for the rights of those groups. During the preshow's final number, "The Voice of the People," each student excitedly held up a cardboard sign as their person's name was announced in song: "Sojourner Truth!" "Frederick Douglass!" "Elizabeth Stanton!" "Cesar Chavez!" "Harvey Milk!" "Martin Luther King, Jr.!" "Ruth Asawa!" etc.

Poised and practiced, Bessie Carmichael 5th graders
stand ready to dazzle a full audience.
Some of the kids could not stop themselves from dancing onstage to Sroka's catchy tunes, smiles plastered on their faces and full of pride. The audience (which included several Bessie Carmichael parent chaperones, dedicated fifth grade classroom teachers Mrs. Ebalo and Mrs. Salva, and Principal Lawrence Gotanco) cheered as the fifth graders performed solos, cracked jokes, and thoroughly entertained a sold-out audience of nearly one thousand young people from 19 schools from across the Bay Area and beyond. The adult cast of 1776, equally charmed by the students' dedicated performance, and by SMATs in general, found the whole experience inspiring and energizing. Sroka says, "One of the most surreal moments was when we were exiting the stage after the performance, and all the colonial congressmen were waiting in the wings applauding the youth of the future." Cast member Andrew Boyer, in full Benjamin Franklin costume, hair, and makeup, delighted the student performers by high-fiving each one as they passed on their way offstage and back into the audience, where they remained to watch the full afternoon performance of 1776.

A.C.T.'s Education and Outreach Department has facilitated a partnership with Bessie Carmichael Elementary School as part of the theater's ongoing efforts to deepen our relationship with the Central Market neighborhood, where our newly renovated Strand Theater is slated to open in 2015. When the VAPA leadership team introduced her to Sroka two years ago, A.C.T. Director of Education Elizabeth Brodersen asked him what he needed most. "A place for my kids to perform," he replied. A.C.T. has been able to give him exactly that, on our own Geary stage. Sroka, with fellow VAPA drama instructors David Greenbaum and Linda Ruth Cardozo, also attended (on full scholarship) A.C.T.'s acclaimed summer educator institute, Back to the Source, which is designed to help teachers develop strategies for using theater techniques to enhance creative learning in the classroom.

Bessie Carmichael Elementary School students having a blast entertaining the SMAT audience with educational songs about American history.
Sroka integrates fundamental aspects of classroom curriculum into original works of musical theater that engage students' creativity, intellectual curiosity, and self-expression. Voice of the People and 1776 offered the Bessie Carmichael students (96% of whom are children of color and 80% are Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Youth) the opportunity to research the origins and evolution of U.S. democracy, as well as to find their own place in that history, while offering them the rare opportunity to perform on The Geary's grand stage, which has hosted the theater's greatest professional artists for more than a century.

 In the 1776 SMAT audience was SFUSD Arts Education Master Plan Implementation Manager Antigone Trimis, who was heard to say, "This is the Master Plan at work. San Francisco is the campus," as well as SFUSD Artistic Director Susan Stauter, who added: "There can be no more beautiful classroom than the stage of this historic theater, which has seen the likes of Laurence Olivier, the Lunts, Tennessee Williams, and now, for the second time, Peter Sroka and his talented young students from Bessie Carmichael. Thank you, A.C.T.!"

A cornerstone of our ACTsmart arts education initiative and one of the oldest student matinee programs in the country, A.C.T.'s SMAT program has introduced more than half a million young people to the power of theater over the past 40+ years with discounted tickets, workshops, postshow Q&A sessions with the cast, and in-depth study materials.  For many, attending an A.C.T. SMAT is their very first chance to experience live performance firsthand. Brodersen says the most rewarding aspect of student matinees is "seeing young people light up when they enter the theater for the first time." Speaking of his Bessie Carmichael students after their performance last week, Sroka adds: "Those kids will never forget that experience.  For some of them, it will be a formative block in their foundations as they build their life."


1776 Scenic Designer Russell Metheny on the Balance between Historical Accuracy and Theatrical Fancy

Friday, August 16, 2013


1776 begins on September 11.
Learn more about the production and order tickets.

The beginning of our thrilling 2013–14 season is so close we can see it! Or, perhaps, it’s just Russell Metheny’s breathtaking set design for our season opener, Frank Galati’s revival of 1776, we are seeing. We were curious how true Metheny’s recreation was to the historic Independence Hall in the Pennsylvania State House, where the Declaration of Independence was debated and ratified by the Second Continental Congress 237 years ago. This is what he had to say when we asked him:
For Frank Galati the set was all about the muscularity of the show and the environment. He wanted it to be masculine so that when Abigail Adams and Martha Jefferson entered this world there would be a strong contrasting energy. And he also wanted it to be about that summer and the oppressive heat.

I researched the Philadelphia Independence Hall, as well as the House and Senate halls in the capital of today. Independence Hall is grey/white with tall windows and a pine floor. The House and Senate are dark woods and marbles, tiered seating, and no windows to speak of. The timeless nature of the musical needed to be in a space that felt both then and now.

I reinterpreted the windows to louvered [slatted] walls for the light to play through and intensify the interior summer light. Light pouring through the louvers gives a heightened theatrical sense of heat. I went with the dark wood to allow for the weight of the history of the event and to the nod to the Congress of today—and to allow the lighting design to have a freedom of visual expression atmospherically. (The model itself remained a white model for some reason. I did dimensional stained paint elevations for this design.)

Frank also wanted the entire event to take place in the hall, eliminating the physical scenes outside of it. This brought the sky vista into the design, allowing for the John and Abigail Adams correspondence scenes to have a more immediate elevated sensation—and for emotional atmosphere when Frank desired a particular song to soar and take the audience into a personal place, a world outside the hall, a young country in turbulence, and a moment when history was being made by the hour, day, and month.

It was very important to balance historical accuracy and the audiences’ own personal imagination. So, the tables are historically correct, except for their size and number of them. Same with the furniture, with some variety for character. The moldings are close to the original moldings in the room. But the show deck is tiered for theatrical sightline clarity, and the rest is invented.

For me, design is truly about performance in the end. Historical accuracy is in the bones of it; the rest is an invention through the music, text, director vision, and the performances.

American Conservatory Theater's Flickr Photostream

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A.C.T.'s MFA Program Presents 'A Doll's House' at Hastings Studio Theater February 5-15, 2013A.C.T.'s MFA Program Presents 'A Doll's House' at Hastings Studio Theater February 5-15, 2013A.C.T.'s MFA Program Presents 'A Doll's House' at Hastings Studio Theater February 5-15, 2013A.C.T.'s MFA Program Presents 'A Doll's House' at Hastings Studio Theater February 5-15, 2013A.C.T. MFA Program Presents 'Tartuffe' at Hastings Studio Theater Feb 12-16, 2013A.C.T. MFA Program Presents 'Tartuffe' at Hastings Studio Theater Feb 12-16, 2013
A.C.T. MFA Program Presents 'Tartuffe' at Hastings Studio Theater Feb 12-16, 2013A.C.T. MFA Program Presents 'Tartuffe' at Hastings Studio Theater Feb 12-16, 2013A.C.T. MFA Program Presents 'Tartuffe' at Hastings Studio Theater Feb 12-16, 2013A.C.T. MFA Program Presents 'Tartuffe' at Hastings Studio Theater Feb 12-16, 2013A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs 'Crazy Dreams: A Musical Cabaret' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 20–22, 2012A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs 'Crazy Dreams: A Musical Cabaret' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 20–22, 2012
A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs 'Crazy Dreams: A Musical Cabaret' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 20–22, 2012A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs 'Crazy Dreams: A Musical Cabaret' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 20–22, 2012A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs  'The Odyssey: A Stage Version' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 27–October 6, 2012A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs  'The Odyssey: A Stage Version' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 27–October 6, 2012A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs  'The Odyssey: A Stage Version' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 27–October 6, 2012A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs  'The Odyssey: A Stage Version' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 27–October 6, 2012
A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs  'The Odyssey: A Stage Version' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 27–October 6, 2012A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs  'The Odyssey: A Stage Version' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 27–October 6, 2012A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs  'The Odyssey: A Stage Version' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 27–October 6, 2012A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program performs  'The Odyssey: A Stage Version' at Hastings Studio TheaterSeptember 27–October 6, 2012A.C.T. MFA Program Presents 'The Wild Party'A.C.T. MFA Program Presents 'The Wild Party'

Meet Adam O'Byrne, who plays Valentine Coverly in Arcadia

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Name: Adam O'Byrne
Role: Valentine Coverly


Adam O'Byrne
Arcadia runs through June 16.
Learn more about the production and order tickets.

What are your preshow/postshow rituals?
I like to have a cup of Lady Grey tea before the show and a chat with my dressing room roommate, Nick Pelczar [who plays Ezra Chater], after the show . . . occasionally we toast our work with an adult refreshment.

What is your favorite thing about San Francisco?
Walking to work. I live in L.A., so just being able to walk this city is wonderful.

If you could live during a different cultural period, what period would it be and why?
I'd like to visit a lot of different periods: Elizabethan England and Ancient Greece, to name a couple. But I like living in the here and now!

What was your favorite discovery during the rehearsal process for Arcadia?
I was happy to discover the nuances of the Val/Hannah relationship. How they communicate, the depth of the feelings between them, and the growth of their professional partnership. Carey [Perloff, the director,] was very clear in wanting this relationship to be unique in the play, and I think we've done that.

(from L-R): Rebekah Brockman (Thomasina Coverly), Jack Cutmore-Scott (Septimus Hodge), Adam O'Byrne (Valentine Coverly), and Gretchen Egolf (Hannah Jarvis) in A.C.T.'s production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, directed by Carey Perloff. Photo by Kevin Berne.

What is the most difficult aspect of speaking with an accent? Do you use any fun tricks?
For me, the accent comes pretty naturally, but I still have to drill it to the point that I never have to think about it. If I'm thinking about how to say specific words, then I'm not doing my job of playing the scene. I'm a mimic when it comes to accents. I like to find an accent that does something for me artistically and then adopt aspects of it for my character.

What is your favorite part of working on a Stoppard play?
The words. Best thing about good writing is that if you get stuck as an actor the easiest way out is to just say the next line. A great playwright will always take care of you. I feel very taken care of in this role.

Meet Rebekah Brockman, who plays Thomasina Coverly in Arcadia

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Name: Rebekah Brockman
Role: Thomasina Coverly



Rebekah Brockman
Arcadia runs through June 16.
Learn more about the production and order tickets.
What are your preshow/postshow rituals?
Preshow: I never step foot onstage without a splash of my mum's perfume (it reminds me of home), but this show I am wearing a perfume Allegra Edwards [who plays Chloë Coverly] gave me since it is our last show together.
Postshow: A nice cold drink . . . lately it has been a Black & Tan.

What is your favorite thing about San Francisco?
When I am able to go home and watch the sun set and hear the fog horns from the ships coming in.

If you could live during a different cultural period, what period would it be and why?
I think I would choose sometime in the distant future. I am curious to see what is built upon the foundation we are creating today.

What was your favorite discovery during the rehearsal process for Arcadia?
Honestly, my favorite discoveries come from being with the audience. Each audience is unique and the beauty of live theater is that we are all in the moments together and communicating with each other. They are just as much a part of the storytelling as the actors.

Rebekah Brockman (Thomasina Coverly) and Jack Cutmore-Scott (Septimus Hodge) in A.C.T.’s production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, directed by Carey Perloff. Photo by Kevin Berne.
What is the most difficult aspect of speaking with an accent? Do you use any fun tricks?
Jack Cutmore-Scott [who plays Septimus Hodge] is a blessing to have as a scene partner because I can go to him when I have a question about a sound, and he comes to me with words that stand out to his ear.

What is your favorite part of working on a Stoppard play?
By far it is the passion in each character and how that passion manifests in each character.
 
Welcome to the A.C.T. social community blog!
Join in the conversation, engage with fellow theater lovers, and enjoy amazing offers throughout the season.