Musings: Yesterday’s Cal Shakes’ Performance of “Romeo and Juliet”

Musing # 1:  The emphasis in this production was entirely on physicality:  No background scenery, barely any props, the thing to focus on was the actors’ bodies.  To project an air of urgency, the actors (only seven, all of whom remained onstage during the play’s approximately two-hour and twenty minute running time) had frequently to give the impression of running, without actually running.  Do you know how hard that is to do, dear blog readers?  The stage was not very large.  Self marveled at the scene where Juliet (played by a tiny little girl, with absolutely amazing expressiveness, whose name is Rebekah Brockman) has to run with a white sheet held high above her head.  And another scene where Benvolio (played by a woman — nice bit of non-traditional casting there) had to run towards the bodies of the slain Mercutio and Tybalt, and really this was when self realized that there is an art to miming running, miming running and then stopping short.  If one can just imagine a moving truck coming to a screeching halt, that was Read the rest of this entry »

The (Orinda) Hills Are Alive

The cast started walking onstage and self had to switch off her camera. But not before squeezing off one quick shot of the stage, the hills.

Cal Shakes' production of "Romeo and Juliet," July 2013

Cal Shakes’ production of “Romeo and Juliet,” July 2013

During the tragic death scene, which takes place in the mausoleum of the Capulets, a mournful mooing was heard in the distance.  At first, people looked confused:  was that the oddest sound effect ever?  When it dawned on people that an actual cow was doing the moo-ing, people broke out in smiles.

This lone cow kept up the moo-ing all through the Q & A that followed.

The Picnic Grounds at Cal Shakes, just before the 4 p.m. performance of "Romeo and Juliet"

The Picnic Grounds at Cal Shakes, just before the 4 p.m. performance of “Romeo and Juliet”

We were eight.  It had been four years since the last time.

The Picnic Table!

The Picnic Table!

Jessika provided the flowers.  We were early:  got there 45 minutes before the grounds opened.  The Man headed straight for the picnic tables and found one under a nice, shady tree.

Petit-Fours were provided by Jessika and Pepe.  Thanks a bunch, guys!

Petit-Fours were provided by Jessika and Pepe. Thanks a bunch, guys!

The play was great.  And not just because it was by the Inimitable Bard.  Because of the energy and physicality of the entire cast (seven actors; most playing multiple roles), the youth of the leads, the hills behind, the minimalist set and, yes, the mooing of the invisible cow.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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