Monday, July 26, 2010

Sign Language Interpreting for the Theatre

Contributed by Jamie Fidler, TerpTheatre Team Member
Two Gentlemen of Verona Understudy/Theatre Liaison

Shakespeare. The open air. Groovy 60’s fun! This experience of collaborating with Water Works Theatre has been enjoyable for all of us at TerpTheatre. As the understudy for our performing interpreters (Dan McDougall & Shelly Tocco) I’ve been able to watch the entire production come to fruition - despite spotty rain, pesky bugs, and complex Shakespearean language. The cast and crew have been a real pleasure to work. Dan and Shelly have stretched their brains trying to be creative with the language and also with the actors. I look forward to the performances when the Deaf and hearing audiences alike will be able to finally see the actors and interpreters color a new world of Shakespeare that, I’m sure, will be a good time had by all!

The July 25th and August 6th performances of The Two Gentlemen of Verona will be interpreted by TerpTheatre. Visit to order tickets.

To learn more about what we do, visit

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Magic of Starr Jaycee Park

Contributed by Scott Myers, WWT Director of Public Relations

This weekend I sat in Starr Jaycee Park and watched something magical happen.

I've seen it nine times now and every time I am amazed at what happens when the cast of Water Works' annual Shakespeare In The Park in Royal Oak transitions from rehearsals off site to the first rehearsal on the stage in the park.

The truth is that it's always a bit of a mess. At the first park rehearsal no one knows exactly how they're going to get to and from the stage, what the sound is going to be like, where the lights are going to hit, where the audience will sit and if a frisbee will land on the stage from the park's disc golf course.

And yet it's at this moment that the magic of doing theatre outdoors under the stars begins to happen.

This weekend the woods started to come to life again. The bottoms of the leaves were illuminated by the stage lights, the sounds of footsteps began echoing through the branches and the laughter of the cast & crew filled the air. Sitting there in the park watching it take place, I couldn't help but envy the adventure of which this cast and crew were about to embark.

Over the next few days paths will begin to emerge from the grass around the theatre, the imprints of the cast making their way to and from the stage. They will find stories that aren't written, experiences the audience will watch before and after each character appears. A commaradarie will overcome the staff as together they bring a new shape, form, and energy to a work of art hundreds of years old, pulled into living color before our eyes, wrapping around the audience from the bleachers to the blankets down front.

The light will dance across the stage, the laughter, songs, and dancing will fill the air, the smells of popcorn and bug spray will waft through the park, and then three weeks later,only the paths will remain until the leaves begin to fall like Shakespeare's words falling back into place on his old pages.

History is made in Royal Oak, one Summer at a time.

It really is quite magical.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Enjoying the Rehearsals

Contributed by Sara Wolf, playing the role of Julia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona

I am loving the rehearsal process. It is equal parts creativity and mischief and I love that A LOT. I'm enjoying the scene work, the way we are playing with the script, and discovering Julia. I enjoy IMMENSELY the people I work with, and I like being a part of this team. Did I mention there is a dog? There is a dog which is a major bonus. I think this show is going to have a lot to offer everyone- I'm so looking forward to playing for them. Dancing, acting, playing, DOG; this is great!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Director's View

By Barton Bund, Water Works Theatre 2010 Director of The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Working on The Two Gentlemen of Verona is like discovering a new play by your favorite writer. The guy is brilliant, we all know this, and we know some of his plays so well that we have a hard time seeing new productions. We compare it with others we have seen, or as actors, we tend to judge productions based on the different choices we would have made. At least I do.

This is different, because there isn’t some incredibly well-known legendary production starring John Gielgud. Even though I am sure he played all the roles in this show at various points in his life. We get to go in fresh. With young actors. We have so little frame of reference, so little historical whatnot to cling to, that we get to create a whole new world for ourselves.

Our Verona is a small town, a provincial dead end. Moving to Milan means stepping into the world of art, culture, fashion, and women. Very desirable for a young man with nothing to lose. We have set our production in the mid-1960s, a time of change. Think about maybe a few years after Mad Men, but just slightly before the Summer of Love. A world on the brink of change. And I don’t just mean the fashions. The politics, and the politics between men and women, were in flux. A perfect fit for Two Gentlemen.

These women are independent. They travel alone, they choose their mates, they run the entire cycle of life. And by cross-gender casting the role of the Duke, and playing her as a very hip, progressive modern gal, we have established a wonderful dynamic. This is the sexual revolution. But boys mature slower than girls. Men still struggle with women’s lib, just as much now as ever before.

The play is as good as Twelfth Night or Much Ado About Nothing. It gets done a lot less often, and it’s because it’s deceptive and complex. It’s like a screwball comedy with all the slapstick and sex jokes, but with a brain. Think of The 40 Year-Old Virgin. A guy comedy on the surface, with all the Animal House/Trading Places/Soul Man kind of low humor. And now imagine it written by the guy who wrote Antony and Cleopatra. What you get is a comedy with a capital C, but you also get some complicated insights into the nature of love, and why love is so darned complicated.

When two people fall in love, they are tossing a boulder into a still pond. The ripples are felt everywhere. All the odds are stacked against them. It is possible that the real love story here is between our two gentlemen. They try to remain friends, but when they fall in love with two terrific women, they act like fools. They make all the wrong choices, and plunge everyone into peril.

I love the play, and I’m so glad to have young actors with me who are willing to try anything. We have to get pretty silly in order to get a very serious point across. And what is our point? By the end, I’m not really sure. We get our hearts broken, but we had fun, didn’t we? As Marvin Gaye wisely said, “That’s the way love is, baby. Sho nuff how it is.”