Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg, on MACBETH

Never, ever miss a Cal Shakes Grove Talk. Self has been to a few of these, all delivered by Philippa Kelly, and each is enthralling. Kelly is a superb speaker. She ties in history, puts the play in context, and makes the playgoing experience so rich!

Self learned yesterday that Macbeth was written in 1606.

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She was reminded that a boy played Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s time. Imagine lines like “Milk my breast” from the lips of a boy! Plus the high voice! Self thought about this while observing Liz Sklar’s performance as Lady Macbeth — that is a powerful role that demands an actor equally powerful. A boy just doesn’t cut it.

This evening, self is reading Kelly’s essay in the program brochure. The essay’s title is Can We Forgive Ourselves?

  • Actions can be imagined; but “if it (is) done when ’tis done,” an action has consequences — and if we are thinking and feeling beings, consequences can’t be ignored.

After listening to Kelly, self saw the play as a true horror story. Macbeth and his wife see ghosts everywhere. At the start of the play, they are young and beautiful. By its end they’ve both been driven round the bend. And it is TRAGIC.

Self realizes she has never, ever seen young Macbeth or Lady Macbeth. Until yesterday. It’s not Romeo and Juliet, but Liz Sklar’s Lady Macbeth is LIT!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens Artists Challenge # 65: PICK A PLACE

  • “Each of us at some point has visited a place that holds special memories.” — Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 65

This was an easy post for self to write. She just got back from attending Cal Shakes’ Macbeth. The Grove Talk by Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg is a Don’t-Miss.

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Philippa Kelly Giving Her Grove Talk, Before MACBETH

Have been watching plays here every summer since 2001 (Romeo and Juliet: Adam Scott played Romeo).

Tonight’s Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were played by a couple who suddenly put everything into a new light. All hail, Rey Lucas and Liz Sklar, for bringing the sexy back to a play first performed in 1606. These two are the youngest actors self has ever seen play Mr. and Mrs. Spot-on, the casting! For the first time, self understood the heat between the two;  she could see the similarities to film noir. In addition, because self and her party were seated third row from the stage, she could see every change of expression on the actors’ faces; it felt so intimate.

Also, for the first time ever, self heard Macbeth call someone a “whey-face.” lol lol lol

Her one complaint might be that The Weird Sisters were not witchy. Or not witchy enough. Of course self got very excited at hearing the immortal lines: Double double, toil and trouble. She just wishes there were an actual cauldron.

She wonders if there was ever a production where The Weird Sisters were replaced by giant hand puppets. During intermission, she eavesdropped on the people behind her who were describing a performance of Macbeth at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “There was a big pool of blood right in the center of the stage. And whenever a character did something bloody, they would supply themselves from the pool.”

That, in self’s humble opinion, sounds gimmicky to the extreme.

Philippa Kelly’s pre-show Grove Talk was fascinating — self wished she took notes. It revolved around the unmasking of identity, and how paradoxical it is that when people remark that “someone has changed” it usually means that the person’s true identity is finally being unmasked and undone.

Gregory also made self aware of the fact that the first actor to play Lady Macbeth was a boy, because back then women were banned from taking roles in the theater.  Women’s parts were played by boys whose voices hadn’t yet broken. Has there even been a modern staging of Macbeth where they use a boy for Lady Macbeth? She thinks not, but it would certainly give the play a whole new spin.

P.S. The Bruns Amphitheater was FREEZING and self needed to rent blankets. Her lips got totally chapped and her hands were frozen. For some reason, all self had on was a denim jacket and a scarf.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Preparing, OSSW Day One

Drove up to Mendocino, which as the crow flies is only 200 miles from Redwood City, but always takes self at least FIVE HOURS.

On the way, she stopped by Yorkville Market and had lunch:

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And then she mulled over the writing exercises she should start tomorrow with.

Should she have the students practice writing one very, very, very long, run-on sentence? With points to whoever can come up with the most run-on sentence?

Or, for fun, should she have them write a piece that’s all bad grammar and deliberately wrong spelling? Hamberder, anyone? Smocking guns?

Should she have them write a piece that’s all dialogue?

Should she ask them to capture every nuance of a piece of reality . . . in one sentence?

Should she have them practice writing a conversation that grows from an association of ideas (like a Harold Pinter play?)

Should she have them practice delaying the outcome for as long as possible?

She can’t decide. She’ll have to sleep on it.

BTW, this is one of the plays being presented by the Mendocino Theatre Company in 2019:

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Mendocino Theatre Company, 2019 Season

Stay tuned.

Cal Shakes’ THE WAR OF THE ROSES: FIERCE

Oh, kudos, Cal Shakes. Kudos for everything. For the chart showing the House of Lancaster and the House of York, for the jumbotron messages above the stage (BOO! and RICHARD IS DEAD! were so on point!)

It was a lovely way to spend a late summer afternoon.

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In choosing the seats, self noticed most of the tickets taken were on the LEFT side of the amphitheatre (Section E). She figured that must be because of the sun. When it strikes directly, and you’re sitting there for four hours (yes, the play was four hours: it passes quickly), it is not fun. So she snagged the last three tickets on the left side, which were in the next to last row.

She’s never before sat so far from the stage, but it worked out perfect because this was a large-cast production, with a lot of comings and goings, and from higher up you can really appreciate how every inch of that stage is put to good use.

Self’s only regret was that she did not spring for a button saying, THOU TOAD! ‘Twas only $3.

Both she and son forked up cash for the donation bucket. (This year’s fundraising goal is $150,000)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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The set for The War of The Roses was amazing, as were the costumes. Kudos to Scenic Designer Nina Ball and Costume Designer Anna R. Oliver.

 

#amreading: THE MISSOURI REVIEW, Spring 2012

OMG self hangs on to these literary magazines forever!

This issue of The Missouri Review has a theme: FAMILY.

Speer Morgan expounds in his Foreword:

When one sets about doing harm, the people most likely to be hurt are the ones across the table, if only by reason of proximity. Look up quotes on the word ‘family’ and much of what comes up is either sarcastic or humorous. Hamlet’s stepfather says to him, “My cousin Hamlet, and my son,” and the young prince responds, “A little more than kin, and less than kind,” with both “kin” and “kind” carrying multiple levels of dark irony. This is the norm even when your stepfather/uncle didn’t murder your father and marry your mother. Bring up the issue of relatives, and mockery soon follows. “I had no blood relatives until I made some,” says comedian Andy Dick.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

2017 Favorite Photos

The theme for this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is 2017 Favorites.

Here goes!

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The Prince Albert Memorial on a Beautiful Day in Hyde Park, London, Late October 2017

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Leaving the Globe after a performance of “Tristan and Yseult,” Tuesday 13 June 2017

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The Main House in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Under a Crescent Moon

What. A. Year.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: King Henry the Fourth, Part 2

Prince: Shall I tell thee one thing, Poins?

Poins: Yes, faith, and let it be an excellent good thing.

Prince: It shall serve, among wits of no higher breeding than thine.

Poins: Go to, I stand the push of your one thing that you will tell.

Prince: Marry, I tell thee it is not meet that I should be sad now my father is sick; albeit I could tell to thee, as to one it pleases me for fault of a better to call my friend, I could be sad, and sad indeed too.

Poins: Very hardly, upon such a subject.

Prince: By this hand, thou thinkest me as far in the devil’s book as thou and Falstaff, for obduracy and persistency. Let the end try the man. But I tell thee, my heart bleeds inwardly that my father is so sick; and keeping such vile company as thou art hath in reason taken from me all ostentation of sorrow.

Poins: The reason?

Prince: What wouldst thou think of me if I should weep?

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The Lake at Annaghmakerrig, Early Morning

Cee Neuner: Flower of the Day, 12 October 2017

For Cee Neuner’s Flower of the Day photo prompt:

A shot of the Orinda Hills, last month, as self was leaving Bruns Amphitheatre after watching Measure for Measure:

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Flowers in the photograph are teensy. She thinks those are penstemons.

Pray the California wildfires cease.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

SATISFACTION: Best of Self’s 2017

  • Share a photo of something that brings you satisfaction. It can be monumental, minor, or something in between.

Jen H., The Daily Post

For this post, self decided to kill two birds with one stone. She’ll look back at her fondest memories of 2017 (thus far) — the moments that gave her the most satisfaction.

 

Going to the Globe and seeing Tristan and Yseult; sorting through old photographs of Dearest Mum; seeing the Eiffel Tower up close; reading her story First Causes at Sixth Engine in Washington, DC; watching Mayerling at the Royal Albert Hall; visiting Cork; Tyrone Guthrie Centre

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

More Unusual

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Jessica Dunne exhibit at B. Sakata Garo Gallery, 20th Street, downtown Sacramento

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Self loves bright colors!

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A T-shirt from the gift shop at Shakespeare’s Globe: A Quote from Romeo and Juliet

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