Showing posts from September, 2017

Intimate Yet Foreign: An Interview with Hamlet Scenic and Costume Designer David Israel Reynoso

By Elspeth Sweatman and Simon Hodgson

The Elsinore of A.C.T.’s Hamlet is a world swirling with rumor and falsehood. It’s filled with kings and courtiers who say one thing and do another. Scenic and Costume Designer David Israel Reynoso wanted the play’s set to reflect this duplicity. His vision incorporates majestic elements—towering walls and ramparts—but hints at the corruption embedded in Shakespeare’s text with heavy, abattoir-style sheeting through which we see images we can’t quite decipher. Is that Polonius we see hiding? Is it Claudius? “The space has a lot of partitions, nooks and crannies where people can spy on each other,” says Reynoso. “This idea that you don’t know where you are in relationship to anything and anyone is at the core of this play’s world.” We sat down with Reynoso to unravel some of the set’s secrets.

This production of Hamlet is set in a world that is polluted, but the inhabitants of this world don’t seem to know it. What was your inspiration for this?

I …

When Tech Meets Art

By A.C.T. Publications Staff

What does the internet know about you? San Franciscans on Market Street were intrigued today by a new installation in the lobby of The Strand Theater—The Glass Room Experience, a series of interactive displays focusing on web privacy and the personal data held by giant tech companies. The installation was backed by internet nonprofit Mozilla and Tactical Technology Collective, a German nonprofit focused on digital security awareness.
This timely tech event comes as part of The Strand’s wider exploration of technology. On Monday, October 2, the theater will join the Goethe-Institut in presenting the Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays (P3M5)—a series of short, newly commissioned works, open to the community, investigating contemporary issues of digital privacy. A.C.T.’s commission, #CAMPTULELAKE by Bay Area playwright Philip Kan Gotanda (After the War, Monstress), juxtaposes the story of a Japanese American girl desperate for privacy amid a 194…

“The Play's the Thing”: An Interview with Hamlet Director Carey Perloff

By Simon Hodgson

As a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford University, Carey Perloff saw her first performance of Hamlet and was hooked. “The draw was Shakespeare’s language,” she says. “It was unbelievably seductive.” For the next 30 years, she crossed continents to see imaginative new renditions of the classic: Peter Brook’s version in Paris starring Adrian Lester, Jonathan Goad at Stratford, Jude Law on Broadway, and Diane Venora at The Public Theater. In her final year as artistic director of A.C.T., Perloff takes on Hamlet for the first time. We sat down to get a glimpse into her process, her passion for Shakespeare, and the story of producing Hamlet at A.C.T.

Why Hamlet now?

As Jan Kott says in Shakespeare: Our Contemporary, Hamlet is a sponge that absorbs all that’s happening politically, socially, and spiritually in a culture. I read the play the morning after Trump’s election, and I could see the landscape of a prince who goes to bed in an ordered kingdom and wakes up in a world where e…

M.F.A. Actors Go Viral in Clickshare

By Taylor Steinbeck

What Happens Next Will Shock You! 17 Tricks That Will Change Your Life! Clickbait titles such as these have infested the internet landscape. Clickshare, the M.F.A. production running September 28–30 at The Strand, aims to expose the clickable content to which we fall prey everyday. This new comedy, directed by Stephen Brackett, centers on Clickshare, a news media company parodying sites like BuzzFeed and TheHuffington Post. At Clickshare, overworked twentysomethings pump out articles about pregnancy rumors and wardrobe malfunctions. But chaos breaks out when a story on Sun Flu—a rapidly spreading disease—goes literally viral.
In 2016, Macquarie Dictionary named “Fake News” the word of the year, and for good reason. With baseless stories blown up by mainstream media, Americans have grown increasingly wary of journalism. “Clickshare is poking fun at what journalism has become, what stories grab people’s attention now,” says third-year M.F.A. actor Justin Edward Keim.…

“To Be or Not to Be”: The Iconic Speech’s Origins, Interpretations, and Impact

By A.C.T. Publications Staff

The opening line of Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy is theater’s most iconic, most referenced quote. What’s less known is the famous speech’s history, with Hamlet’s earliest publications offering varying versions of its language. Also questioned is its meaning—is Hamlet contemplating suicide or is he weighing the consequences of murder? Though definitive answers are unlikely to arise, the questions “To be or not to be” asks have kept audiences, scholars, and actors engaged for centuries.

The first edition, or First Quarto (Q1), of Hamlet was published in 1603. Because the text is much shorter than later editions and its language is less poetic, it is nicknamed the “Bad Quarto” by scholars. “To be or not to be” in Q1 reads as:
To be, or not to be—ay, there’s the point. To die, to sleep—is that all? Ay, all. No, to sleep, to dream—ay, merry, there it goes The soliloquy occurs in the play much earlier—in Act Two, just after Polonius arranges for Hamle…

An Advocate for All: Introducing A.C.T.’s New Young Conservatory Director Jill MacLean