Friday, August 15, 2008

Unreasonably Excited

The title of this post refers to the general state the office staff of Cal Shakes was left in after this Tuesday's Twelfth Night Meet & Greet. The podcast of director Mark Rucker's presentation will be posted within hours (click here and look under the "Multimedia" tab; or just check back to this blog), with his idea of Orsino and Olivia as jaded, hedonistic gentry, tales of finding inspiration from our outdoor amphitheater--Rucker's last production of Twelfth Night, 12 years ago, was set in a tropical paradise, bikinis and all--and his reasons for auditioning actors of both genders for each and every role.

What's not on the podcast is Rucker and costume designer Clint Ramos' design presentations: the references to Andy Warhol's Factory and San Francisco's Cockettes and Trocadero Transfer; nightclubs after their heyday's done or even just after the night is over, lit by flouresecence and regret; the freaks lingering around the edges of a privileged party scene; mirror balls on the floor; and the element of performance that runs throughout the characters and scenarios, whether they're dressed up as other genders, other classes, or just falsifying emotion.

And Clint's Studio 54-inspired costume sketches are what really put us all over the top--Olivia as Bianca Jagger (second picture, at left), a joyous Toby Belch in pyjamas, a la the artist Julian Schnabel ...

Orsino as a tuxedoed Halston...

Malvolio as malevolent disco Goth with an Elvis pompadour...

... and Viola as Carrie-meets-Debbie Harry-meets Gwen Stefani (and, in her Cesario drag, as Marlene Dietrich-meets-Grace Jones).

This is sure to be one pretty, pretty show. Stay tuned.

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