14 Lines In One Breath???

“When forty winters have besieged thy brow

And dug deep trenches in thy beauty’s field…”

Oh, I’m sorry everyone!  I was just working on my sonnet. 😉  It is so much fun playing around with the sounds and the pauses and the iambic pentameter!  And yes…the class…oh my goodness the CLASS!  I am way in over my head in this talented group of people, but I had so much fun and I absolutely love every minute of it!

First of all, Liz Swain is amazing!  She has so much knowledge that she is waiting to share and so many fun stories that I could sit and listen to her for hours.  She drew all of us into the group, regardless of our previous Shakespeare or theatre experience and met us right where we are.  The people is this class come from a vast majority of places and backgrounds and she matches her teaching style to each of us, praising our successes and helping us pinpoint our biggest points for improvement.  I was really thankful for this since I try to remember too many things at once when I act.  I let my brain run away with me and fall head over heels…well, at least tie my tongue in knots.  And my class mates are the best!  I got really nervous going into the evening, I always do in acting classes, but they welcomed me in and encouraged me as I fumbled along in my ignorance of this bright new world opening up before me.

We ran through some basic Shakespearean writing tools (well basic to people who are more familiar with Shakespeare) and methods of speaking first.  How many of these do you know?  No cheating…just right off the top of your head:  scansion, spondee, caesurae, elision, onomatopoeia and dactyl.  You think I’m making these up…but no.  How many did you get?  Well I knew only one, but now I know them all!  Hurrah for handouts!

When we got up to begin our sonnets, I took one look at my classmates and got so flurried I think I said the whole sonnet in one breath.  No pauses, no emotion, nothing.  Liz patiently slowed me down and pointed out that the sonnet is divided into fourteen lines for a reason (wow! He did that on purpose?) and let me go back over the piece with some technical ideas in mind.  I was blown away by how much more relaxed I felt and how I was able to really focus on what I was saying, an important detail when working with Shakespeare.  Even when I was sitting back just watching the other actors I was able to glean so much helpful information from their artistic choices and thoughtful conversation.  I think I could learn in this class by just sitting in the room and inhaling all the talent there.

So now, armed with my notes, I prepare for week two of sonnets.  I am slowing myself down.  It’s hard, but it does make breathing and not passing out much easier.  I am also on the hunt for a monologue.  The problem is there are just SO many from which to choose!  Which way should I go?  Any suggestions?

–Hanna Mitchell

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U.S. premiere of “Peace in Our Time”

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Lucy Pollak
lucy@lucypr.com (818) 887-1499 (for media only)

U.S. premiere of
Peace in Our Time
by Noël Coward


Complacency or freedom: Which would you choose?
October 20 – December 11

Artwork: Mila Sterling

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA – September 15, 2011 – What would life be like if the Nazis had successfully invaded and occupied Britain? Antaeus, L.A.’s multiple award-winning classical theater company, presents the U.S. premiere of Noël Coward’s rarely produced anti-war drama, Peace In Our Time. Casey Stangl directs the fully double-cast production of a new adaptation, with music, by Barry Creyton. Four gala openings, two with each cast, take place on October 20, 21, 22 and 23, with performances continuing through December 11 at The Antaeus Company‘s interim North Hollywood home at Deaf West Theatre.

Set in a London pub during the 1940s, Peace In Our Time imagines English life under Nazi occupation. Complacency or freedom – which would you choose? Coward conceived the idea while in Paris shortly after the Liberation. He wrote, “I began to suspect that the physical effect of four years of intermittent bombing is far less damaging to the intrinsic character of a nation than the spiritual effect of four years of enemy occupation.”

“This play has a very different feel from the urbane amusements that come to mind when we think of Noël Coward,” suggests Stangl. “Like his other work, it’s provocative and has wonderfully funny moments, but it also reveals his deep sense of patriotism and unabashed love of country. The story of a great nation brought to its knees and finding its way back from that is very potent right now. All these years later we’re still talking about ‘peace in our time,’ but today it seems more elusive than ever.”

Creyton’s adaptation, which Stangl calls a “work of art,” adds emotional resonance to the original by adding nine of Coward’s lesser-known songs. Coward’s distinctive Music Hall style ditties with their incisive and wickedly ironic lyrics give the piece an authentic sensibility, at the same time offering audiences a deeper connection with the characters and their tribulations.

“When [former artistic director] Jeanie Hackett approached me about adapting Peace in Our Time to include music, a moment’s consideration was all I needed to agree,” says Creyton, who collaborated closely with both The Noël Coward Foundation and Antaeus. “Given that most London pubs of my youth contained a sturdy upright piano, there is a logic to weaving songs into the scenes to provide musical subtext for the action and relationships.”

Written in 1946, Peace in Our Time opened 63 years ago at the Theatre Royal, Brighton (July 15, 1947), moved to the Lyric Theatre, London on July 22, and finally to the Aldwych Theatre on September 29, where it ran for 167 performances. It has never before been performed in the United States – perhaps due to the fact that the cast includes 22 speaking roles. But it’s the large cast, together with the complexity of relationships among the characters, that makes Peace In Our Time an ideal choice for Antaeus with its 100-plus classically trained members and A2 Ensemble of young professionals.
“Part of the Antaeus mission is to train the next generation of classical actors,” notes co-artistic director John Sloan. “All Antaeus productions are fully double cast. This production in particular features a lot of our younger, A2 actors sharing roles with company members who have mentored them, so it will offer an unusually exciting opportunity to see how different the same play can be when performed by two equally excellent but extremely different sets of actors.”

The double-cast ensemble includes 46 actors sharing 22 speaking roles: Josh Clark and Steve Hofvendahl as Fred Shattock; Eve Gordon and Lily Knight as Nora Shattock; Danielle K. Jones and Abby Wilde as Doris Shattock; Jason Dechert and Brian Tichnell as Stevie Shattock; Bill Brochtrup and JD Cullum as Chorley Bannister; Karianne Flaathen and Zoe Perry as Lilly Blake; Drew Doyle and Buck Zachary as Alfie Blake; Emily Chase and Rebekah Tripp as Janet Braid; Anna Mathias and Amelia White as Mrs. Grainger; John Wallace Combs and Philip Proctor as Mr. Grainger; Graham Hamilton, John Francis O’Brien, and Adam Meyer sharing the role of Billy Grainger; Raleigh Holmes and Rebecca Mozo as Lyia Vivian; Daniel Bess and Christopher Guilmet as George Bourne; Jason Henning and Rob Nagle as Albrecht Richter; Mark Doerr and Peter Larney as Dr. Venning; Kendra Chell and Ann Noble as Alma Boughton; Joseph Fuhr and Patrick Wenk-Wolff as Kurt Foster; Etta Devine and Rosalyn Mitchell as Phyllis Mere; Belen Greene and Joanna Strapp as Gladys Mott; Jesse Sharp and Paul Culos as Bobby Paxton; Melinda Peterson and Susan Boyd Joyce as Mrs. Massiter; John Allee and Richard Levinson as Archie; and Chris Clowers as a soldier.

Musical direction for Peace In Our Time is by Richard Levinson; set design is by Tom Buderwitz; lighting design is by Jeremy Pivnick; costume design is by Jessica Olson; sound design is by John Zalewski; properties design is by Heather Ho; and the production stage manager is Cate Cundiff.

In addition to a multitude of stage, film and television credits as an actor (including the role of Hector Hulot in last season’s award-winning Antaeus production of Cousin Bette), Peace In Our Time adaptor Barry Creyton is an author, TV writer, director and playwright, a former BBC World Service broadcaster and recipient of the Kessell Memorial Award for contributions to Australian Theater as Actor, Playwright and Director. His devotion to the work of Noël Coward has lasted as long as his own extensive career in the theater; he has appeared in several of Coward’s plays and performed many of his songs in cabaret. Barry’s London doctor and good friend was Patrick Woodcock, Noël’s doctor, and Gladys Calthrop, Noël’s celebrated designer, was a friend and theater-going companion of his, so it seemed inevitable that he met the Master socially in 1970, just prior to his knighthood. “It was like meeting God,” he says solemnly, “except, I think, that Noël Coward had a better sense of construction.”

Casey Stangl has directed for theaters across the country including South Coast Repertory, The Guthrie Theater, Denver Center Theatre Company, Actors’ Theater of Louisville’s Humana Festival, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Portland Stage, HERE in New York, The Jungle Theater in Minneapolis and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Casey was the founding artistic director of Eye of the Storm Theatre in Minneapolis, a company devoted to new work and for which she was named Minnesota Artist of the Year. She is now based in Los Angeles where her credits include numerous productions at the Falcon Theater, Chalk Repertory’s Flash Festival and the world premiere of Susan Johnston’s How Cissy Grew at the El Portal Theatre, named Best New Play at the 2009 LA Weekly Theater Awards.

The Antaeus Company strives to keep classical theater vibrantly alive by presenting professional productions with a top-flight ensemble company of actors. Taking their company name from the Titan who gained strength by touching the Earth, Antaeus members – many of whom are familiar to movie and television audiences – regain creative strength by returning to the wellspring of their craft: live theater performances of great classical plays. Members of the company and its board span a wide range of age, ethnicity and experience; they have performed on Broadway, at major regional theaters across the country, in film and television, and on local stages, and are the recipients of multiple accolades including Tony, Los Angeles and New York Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, LA Weekly, and Back Stage Garland nominations and awards.
Performances take place October 20 through December 11, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays @ 8 pm and on Sundays @ 2:30 pm except Sunday, October 23 which will be at 4 pm. There will be no performance, on Thursday, Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving). Tickets are $30 on Thursdays and Fridays and $34 on Saturdays and Sundays, except opening weekend performances, which are $40 (Oct. 20 & 21) and $75 (Oct. 22 & 23) and include pre- and post-show receptions. Preview performances take place Oct. 13-19 on the same schedule; tickets to previews are $15.

The Antaeus Company is located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd (inside Deaf West Theatre) in North Hollywood, CA 91601. Free parking is available in the uncovered Citibank lot on Lankershim Blvd. just south of Otsego St. The theater is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call (818) 506-1983 or go to www.antaeus.org.

Details for Calendar Listings
Peace In Our Time

WHAT:
Peace In Our Time – The U.S. premiere of Noël Coward’s drama poses a most intriguing and terrifying question: What if the Nazis had successfully invaded and occupied Britain? Set in a London Pub during the 1940s, this new adaptation by Antaeus company member Barry Creyton incorporates 9 of Coward’s lesser-known songs.

WHO:
Written by Noël Coward
Adapted by Barry Creyton
Directed by Casey Stangl
Musical Direction by Richard Levinson

WHEN:
Previews: Oct. 13 -19
Performances: Oct. 20 – Dec. 11:
Tuesday @ 8 pm: Oct. 18 only (preview)
Wednesday @ 8 pm: Oct. 19 only (preview)
Thursdays @ 8 pm: Oct. 13 (preview), 20 (Press Opening), 27; Nov. 3, 10, 17; Dec. 1, 8 (dark Nov. 24)
Fridays
@ 8 pm: Oct. 14 (preview), 21 (Press Opening), 28; Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25; Dec. 2, 9
Saturdays
@ 8 pm: Oct. 15 (preview), 22 (Gala Opening), 29; Nov. 5, 12, 19, 26; Dec. 3, 10
Sundays
@ 2:30 pm: Oct. 16 (preview). 30; Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27; Dec. 4, 11 (no. 2:30 perf. on Oct. 23)
Sunday @ 4 pm: Oct. 23 only (Gala Opening)

WHERE:
THE ANTAEUS COMPANY@ Deaf West Theatre
5112 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood CA 91601
(one block south of Magnolia; free parking available in Citibank lot on Lankershim Blvd. South of Otsego St.)

HOW:
(818) 506-1983 or www.Antaeus.org

TICKETS:
Thursdays and Fridays: $30
Saturdays and Sundays: $34
Press Openings (All press openings include a post-show reception with the actors):
Friends and Family Openings (October 20 & 21): $40
Gala Openings (October 22 & 23): $75
Previews: $15

###

The Wood Demon

The Cast of the Original Production of "The Wood Demon" at Rest

“Actors climb up Chekhov like a mountain, roped together, sharing the glory if they ever make it to the summit.” While that quote is directly attributed to Ian McKellen, any Antaeus company member would be likely to agree. Much like Antaeus, there are no stars in Chekhov plays. Everybody sinks or swims together. Therefore, it’s no surprise that, twenty years ago, Antaeus’ first full-length production was a Chekhov play, the rarely-performed The Wood Demon. One of Chekhov’s earlier plays, many people consider it to be the precursor to Uncle Vanya. In honor of our twentieth anniversary, we’re bringing the show back this weekend for our Flight of Fancy. Frank Dwyer is returning to CF11, after his production of Othello, to direct.

As I wrap up my time at Antaeus, I’m constantly impressed by the amount of history this organization has and how it’s managed to stay an important part of the Los Angeles theater scene. The amount of passion these company members have for the work they do here helps me understand the crazy little dude on the logo: keeping one foot in the world of theater truly does help these actors stay relevant.

There are three chances this weekend to see The Wood Demon: Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2:30pm and 7:30pm. Saturday’s performance is preceded by the Flight of Fancy prix fixe dinner at The Federal and a symposium on translating Chekhov for a modern audience with Frank Dwyer and Founding Members Dakin Matthews and Lillian Groag. Come celebrate twenty years of this fantastic company! We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Summer Intern and Columbia University MFA Candidate Jen Hoguet is keeping you up-to-date on all things ClassicsFest this summer at Antaeus. She can be reached via twitter @JHoToGo …..

Tweeting in the Theater.. Yay or Nay?

Trying to find innovative ways to market classic theater is no mean feat and it’s something we all struggle with Antaeus. As I was checking in with Kendra Chell, who is appearing in next week’s performance of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” our conversation couldn’t help but stray to her day job as Company and Administrative Manager of Antaeus. That means the duty typically falls to her figure out how to attract new audiences to Antaeus shows. If you follow us on twitter, you’ve been following her. In addition to being a talented actress (If you don’t believe me, watch her steal the scenes she has in “Long Day’s…”), Kendra is passionate about Antaeus shows reaching as wide an audience as possible. As the person who sits next to her, I can vouch for how hard she works in pursuit of this goal.

Kendra Chell in 2008's ClassicsFest production of The Rover

One of Kendra’s latest ideas is our Tuesday Night Tweet Night. All Tuesday nights during ClassicsFest are Company Nights, open only to Antaeus Company members. These Company Nights are a great way for everybody to come together and support each other’s work. Plus, it’s always nice to have an audience to laugh and cheer during the final dress rehearsal (I accidentally typed “stress rehearsal,” which I think is Freudian.). We’re taking advantage of these evenings, an amalgamation of an actual performance and a rehearsal, to try out live tweeting. Every Tuesday night, we have a crew of Antaeus tweeters, give or take a few special guests, live tweet the performance. This means they tweet their comments on the show as it’s actually happening. Maybe they quote a line, maybe they note a particularly fantastic performance of a scene, maybe they just want to remind all people in the tweetverse that Harry Groener, who is playing Feste in “Twelfth Night,” recurred on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” They can tweet whatever they want, so long as they tag it with the hashtag “#cf11” which allows all the tweets to be linked up (Check out Tweeting 101 and Twitter Glossary if this is all Greek to you.). In order to keep disruption to a minimum, all the tweeters sit in the back row, so the light won’t bother other audience members or actors on stage, and they keep the phones on silent.

Kendra was inspired by other theaters around the country to bring Tweet Nights to Antaeus and I think it’s a great idea. Already, it’s inspired discussions on twitter about Antaeus and we think these discussions are encouraging new people to check out our theater. Unfortunately, not every actor agrees and there’s been some unexpectedly passionate pushback from the company. “I think people liken it to answering their phone or a phone going off in the theater, which I’m not a fan of either,”  Kendra said, “but there have been some very very strong reactions that do surprise me, bordering on absolute fury, and it’s been interesting.” However, management has taken the stance that we need to forge ahead with this new initiative and we’ve done everything possible to make the actors understand why it is we’re trying this and why we think it’s important. As Kendra put it, “on the whole, people have been supportive once we’ve had our conversations about it though and once I explain that it brings awareness to the company and about ClassicsFest and doesn’t degrade their art.”

Kendra is appearing in “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” which will be our third go at the Tuesday Night Tweet Night and I asked if she was nervous to be on the other side of the twitter feed, so to speak. “As the person that’s implemented it, I feel pretty okay with, though if they got to sit in the front row and tweet whenever wherever, as opposed to a controlled environment on a designated evening, I’d have a problem with it. It’s interesting with ‘Long Day’s…’ because it’s a long, heartbreaking play, whereas the other two shows we’ve already done are on the lighter side. I’m curious to see what they choose to comment on.”

What do you think about Tuesday Night Tweet Night? We’d love to hear your thoughts! And if you’re interested in becoming a Tuesday Night Tweeter, please DM our twitter account @AntaeusCompany.

Summer Intern and Columbia University MFA Candidate Jen Hoguet is keeping you up-to-date on all things ClassicsFest this summer at Antaeus. She can be reached via email at jen@antaeus.org or followed on twitter @JHoToGo …..

ClassicsFest 2011 Opens Tonight!

It’s Opening Night! Not just for “The Doctor’s Dilemma,” but for ClassicsFest 2011! We couldn’t be more excited here in the office as we put together the finishing touches on an exciting summer. From food trucks to tweet nights to ticket deals, be sure to follow us on Twitter to keep up with the special events happening at each performance (@AntaeusTheater).

This week, I spoke to Jessica Olson, the costume designer of ClassicsFest, to hear how things are going with next week’s show, “Twelfth Night.” I also checked back in with Robert Pine to see how he was feeling about “The Doctor’s Dilemma” opening night, especially after the compressed rehearsal period. “Obviously, there are compromises that have to be made as we get closer to doing this for an audience since our time is short,” Robert commented. “But we make discoveries every day.  I am quite pleased with where we are now and think by the time we have an audience we will have a most entertaining show.” He wasn’t feeling any pressure about the opening until I made the mistake of commenting on it. Oops.

Alexandra Goodman and Joe Delafield in last year's ClassicsFest production of "Arcadia," assistant costume designed by Jessica Olson (photo by Ehrin Marlow)

As for “Twelfth Night,” they’re one week away from their opening night and Jessica’s keeping busy, working on this show as well as the other ClassicsFest shows. “On a Classicsfest production, a costume designer is presented with a variety of challenges,” she noted. “For one thing, you have over six shows to costume. This includes working with that many different directors & stage managers all of whom have vastly differing work and artistic styles. Luckily, the design team remains the same, so that work dynamic is a constant. For ‘Twelfth Night’ in particular, I face several challenges.”

Jessica has been working with Claudia Weill, the director of “Twelfth Night,” to help determine the concept for this production, since Shakespeare plays can fit well into so many different time periods – a blessing and a curse. As Jessica describes it, “choosing a concept/era that fits not only the play, but also the cast, theater, & message the director wishes to convey can be tricky. For this play in particular you have the challenge of presenting the class differences between a variety of different character groups that interface with one another. Another obvious and immediate challenge is how to make Viola & Sebastian similar enough in appearance to be mistaken for one another. And of course, there is the famous trick on Malvolio that involves him being ‘cross-gartered’ a plot device that has challenged costumers for centuries. Cross gartering belongs to a very specific time period. If the play is not set in that time period, the costume designer must come up with a solution that works in that era. Finally, Claudia would like Viola & the Captain to appear in wet garments when they begin the show. Wet clothing always presents a challenge as it must be dried so no mold grows, and must not drip so that the floor does not become hazardous. It’s also a health concern for the actors appearing repeatedly in wet garments.”

“It’s wonderful to have an opportunity to work with all these directors,” Jessica told me, “It’s an excellent way to meet and network and it allows all of us to work on classical pieces that are not frequently produced. Additionally, it allows me to work at Antaeus, a theatre of which I am a passionate supporter, and of course, it’s rewarding because I get to spend my time doing something I love.” We’re so excited to kick off an amazing summer filled with fantastic productions and wonderful collaborators, all as passionate and talented as Jessica and Robert.

Summer Intern and Columbia University MFA Candidate Jen Hoguet is keeping you up-to-date on all things ClassicsFest this summer at Antaeus. She can be reached via email at jen@antaeus.org or followed on twitter @JHoToGo …..

The Process of a Work in Process

Opening ClassicsFest 2011 is The Doctor’s Dilemma, George Bernard Shaw’s take on whether or not medicine should be a profit-driven business. Over one hundred years later, the debate is still raging and we’re thrilled to present Shaw’s perspective.

Featured in this production is Antaeus Company Member, Robert Pine, pictured at left with Nike Doukas in last season’s Cousin Bette (photo by Michele K. Short). Robert’s impressive career encompasses work on stage, in film and in tv, but he is probably best known to audiences as Sgt. Joe Gertraer from CHIPS. In The Doctor’s Dilemma, Robert plays Sir Patrick Cullen, a distinguished doctor, skeptical of his friend and fellow physician, Sir Colenso Ridgeon, and his supposed cure for consumption.

I spoke to Robert about his experience thus far working on a ClassicsFest Work in Process. He noted that, “as opposed to a full out production, the approach is basically the same except for the obligation to memorize the lines which in regards to time is a significant difference.” Learning lines is definitely not one of Robert’s favorite activities, but working on the show script in hand doesn’t keep Robert or the rest of the cast from going in depth with the play. As Robert describes it, “exploring the text is always the first thing in any consideration of a play and Antaeus has always stressed the text which is why I like working with this company so much. Usually when we start we sit around a table and slowly go through the play and stop frequently to ask questions and explore whatever might arise.  That could be a discussion of the period, the particular customs, the language or the ideas which the text stimulates.  Anything is up for grabs.  I have always loved this part of the process.” The great thing about ClassicsFest is the depth of the process for these workshop productions. Antaeus actors don’t do anything halfway and part of the thrill of seeing a Work in Process is the ability to focus on the world class acting, with few distractions.

In short, to use Robert’s own words, “The Doctor’s Dilemma deals with timeless issues such as class differences, the super-inflated egos of self important men and hypocrisy.  All are put on a skewer and roasted by Shaw’s considerable wit and intelligence.  All of this contributes to a very enjoyable journey.” I personally can’t wait to take the journey of The Doctor’s Dilemma – and the journey of ClassicsFest 2011! It’s going to be a great summer.

Summer Intern and Columbia University MFA Candidate Jen Hoguet is keeping you up-to-date on all things ClassicsFest this summer at Antaeus. She can be reached via email at jen@antaeus.org or followed on twitter @JHoToGo …

Adieu, My True Court Friend: Saying Goodbye to the Malcontent

At approximately 5:30 on Sunday, June 19th, JD Cullum spoke the closing words of THE MALCONTENT for the last time.

Abby backstage.

As the Cuckolds cast had the honor of the first opening performance of THE MALCONTENT, it seems only fair that the Wittols had that of the last show. The beginning of that afternoon had a slow and heavy quality about it as the Wittols cast assembled at the theater for the final time; I don’t think I’ve ever seen us less frenetic than that, lounging about, lethargic and depressed, awaiting the final dance call at 45 minutes before curtain. In shows past, nearly all the men would be fully dressed by then, and the women wearing wig-caps, corsets, and petticoats at the very least, and we’d run through our dance-steps at a full sprint; this time it seemed none of us had yet discarded our streetclothes, and I could have sworn we’d all only just rolled out of bed as we ambled onto the stage and nodded hello to one another. Matters were hardly helped by the computer in the sound booth which elected to crash in lieu of playing our music for us. But Deirdre Murphy (Artistic Coordinator for Antaeus, and our third in a line of stalwart stage managers) managed to get the beast cooperating again, and at last, the last of all dance calls began.

It is at this point that I must pause my play-by-play of that afternoon. You see, the moments before the cast clears the stage and the auditorium is opened to the audience are sacred and private, and really oughtn’t to be laid open to the viewing public in a medium so mundane as a mere blog. Exposing these things in cold detail would be a sin comparably egregious to denouncing Santa Claus to a room full of sick orphans. The naked truth is that the moments a cast has onstage together before the audience sees them are a powerful brand of secret magic. These are, to tell bare fact, the moments of camaraderie that separate the actor from the spectator, the moments of raucous laughter that fuel the opening scene, the moments that reinforce our united efforts to breathe life into the words of a playwright long dead but not to be forgotten.

Abby assists Saundra McClain with her wig. Photo: Geoffrey Wade

…These are the moments that at least one of us has incriminating pictures of (Laura), and which, even now, send me into crippling bouts of giggles.

As such, I shall leave these un-illuminated moments to your own imagination and resume at the moments after. I’ll only add that the direct result of this legendary dance call was a complete banishment of our general melancholy; we bolted upstairs with a burst of energy and frantically dressed as the final half hour ticked itself away and the house began to fill. Miraculously, all was in readiness when the call came for ‘Places.’

***

The last performance in any run is a cast’s last chance to give the audience, and each other, a well-told story, and I think we really made it count; as the final show unfolded, it became clear that we had all truly brought our last show with us to the theater. Our responses to each other were raw and unexpected, and the actors spoke their lines with an honesty and reality that belonged to the first time rather than the last. The audience was quick and generous with their laughter, and easily kept up with us as we navigated the complex twists and turns of Marston’s dialogue and plot. My favorite moment of the show was, as it has always been, that fabulous little sigh of appreciation that sometimes escapes the entire audience as they hear the final rhyming couplet of the play, just before the applause rings out; that’s when I truly feel we have been successful. Somehow, it’s more honest than applause all by itself.

Photo: Geoffrey Wade

We took our bows and filed offstage, where we unlaced our corsets and rolled down our tights for the last time. After the show, we filled the library with food, friends, and lots of wine late into the night to give THE MALCONTENT a proper send-off into Antaeus history. Then, one by one, we left the theater as we had arrived: lethargic and depressed.

Photo: Karianne Flaathen

The post-show slump is an inevitable consequence of a career in theater; the next few weeks for many of us will be punctuated by irritability, manic energy, intensely anti-social and ultra-social behavior, and ridiculously large tantrums over ridiculously small things as we struggle to re-adjust to a life without the play. Luckily, many of us have Classicsfest looming on the horizon to keep us from going utterly insane, but that does not completely mask the fact that THE MALCONTENT is over and done. As you can no doubt tell, I’m intensely proud to have been a part of this play. It was no small feat to bring this show to life and could only ever have been so well accomplished by the best and brightest creative minds in town. I count myself extremely lucky to have worked among them. We were blessed with a patient yet firm director, a deliciously lavish and innovative design team, a brilliant and indispensable backstage crew, and a crowd of some of the most intelligent, talented, and all-around fun actors one could ever possibly find. What a pity and a joy that theater is a timeless but temporary art form; though the message of the play itself and the memory of having performed it is untouchable by time, the performing of it must and has come to an end. Though we are not saying ‘goodbye’ to each other, the sad truth is that we must say goodbye to these words and the characters who said them.

Then again, they can say ‘goodbye’ to us, too:

“Farewell. Lean thoughtfulness, a sallow meditation, suck thy veins dry! Distemperance rob thy sleep! The heart’s disquiet is revenge most deep.” — Malevole/Altofront, played by JD Cullum and Bo Foxworth, Act I Scene 3

“Thou shalt see instantly what spirit my temper holds. Farewell; Remember, I forget thee not; farewell.” — Pietro, played by Bill Brochtrup, Mark Doerr, and Geoffrey Wade, Act I Scene 3

“I shall now leave you with my always best wishes; only let’s hold betwixt us a firm correspondence, a mutual-friendly-reciprocal kind of steady-unanimous-heartily leagued…” — Bilioso, played by John Achorn and Paul Willson, Act I Scene 4

“I take my leave, sweet lord.” — Celso, played by Christopher Guilmet and Joe Holt, Act I Scene 4

“So soon? ‘Tis wonder…” — Equato, played by Christopher Parsons and Buck Zachary, Act IV, Scene 2

“Good night, sentinel.” — Emilia, played by Joanna Strapp and Abby Wilde, Act II Scene 4

“‘Night, dear Maquerelle.” — Bianca, played by Blythe Auffarth and Marisol Ramirez, Act II Scene 4

“Good rest, most prosperously-graced ladies. May my posset’s operation send you my wit honesty, and me your youth and beauty; the pleasingest rest.” — Maquerelle, played by Saundra McClain and Lynn Milgrim, Act II Scene 4

“Sleep, sleep, whilst we contrive our mischief’s birth… Farewell, to bed. Ay, kiss thy pillow, dream…” — Mendoza, played by Ramon deOcampo and Adrian LaTourelle, Act II Scene 5

“Faith, my lord, I did but dream. And dreams, you say, prove not always true.” — Prepasso, played by Joe Fuhr and Jason Thomas, Act III, Scene 4

“His love is lifeless that for love fears breath; the worst that’s due to sin, O, would ’twere death!” — Ferneze, played by Alex Knox and Adam Meyer, Act I Scene 6

“O joy, triumph in my just grief; death is the end of woes and tears’ relief…Joy to thy ghost, sweet lord, pardon to me.” — Aurelia, played by Laura Wernette and Jules Willcox, Act IV Scene 5

“Would your grief would as soon leave you as we to quietness.” — Ferrardo, played by John Allee and Jim Kane, Act III, Scene 4

“I’ll mourn no more; come, girt my brows with flowers; revel and dance, soul, now thy wish thou hast!” — Maria, played by Ann Noble and Devon Sorvari, Act V Scene 5

“And as for me, I here assume my right, to the which I hope all’s pleased. To all, good night.” — Malevole/Altofront, played by JD Cullum and Bo Foxworth, Act 5 Scene 5

End of play.

Abby takes her bow. Photo: Geoffrey Wade

A2 Ensemble Member, Abby Wilde, shares her experiences working on our production of The Malcontent. This is the final installment.

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