Friday, September 25, 2009

Review Cal Shakes: Help Us Make a Difference for Bay Area Youth

Are you a fan of Cal Shakes? Have you been moved by a performance at the Bruns, or touched by an experience you or your child had in one of our camps, classes, Student Discovery Matinees, or talkbacks? If so, please take just a few minutes and share your story with the world by reviewing Cal Shakes on, a website that allows people to post stories of their firsthand experiences with nonprofits of all kinds—think of it a Yelp for the nonprofit sector. Review our educational programs by next Wednesday, September 30 to nominate Cal Shakes for the Youth Thrive Awards and you’ll become eligible to win gift certificates through GreatNonprofits for treats from companies such as Clif Bar, Greystone Bakery, and Birkenstock!

Reviews can help bring attention to the work Cal Shakes does, both overall and specifically in service to young people. Those nonprofits that receive the most positive reviews for their work with young people will be named Youth Thrive Award winners in five different categories. Of course, you can review our other programs, too—and we’d be delighted if you did.

To write a review for Cal Shakes, follow these simple steps.

1. Go to and search for Cal Shakes.
2. Click the “Write a Review” link in the listing in the search results, or click the “Write Reviews” tab that appears in the left column of every page of our profile on the site.
3. Fill in the online review form and submit. You’re done!

Thanks in advance for sharing your Cal Shakes story, and for helping us to continue to bring theater and the works of great playwrights to youth throughout the Bay Area.

Pictured above: Clive Worsley leads a post-performance talkback with students
and the cast of Romeo and Juliet (2009); photo by Jay Yamada.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Midsummer's Afternoon Student Matinee

Hello everyone!

Today’s Student Discovery Matinee was—yes, you guessed it—awesome. The sun was warm but not unbearable; the chaperones were on their game with their groups; the students (a mix of kids who had been in plays, including Midsummer, and some who had never been to a Shakespeare play) reacted heartily but not out of hand; the actors were in fine form; and the Q&A afterward (with nearly all the actors participating) was full of really good questions. Puck transfixed everyone into complete raptness a couple of times, the audience related to the lovers a lot, the Mechanicals started getting laughs just by walking onstage, and the Pyramus and Thisbe play went over brilliantly. You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you know everyone in the room is having a great time together? That was there.

Quotes of the day:
Student #1: (enthusiastically) Man, playing Puck would be the coolest thing ever.
Student #2: (authoritatively) Dude, I played him in 7th grade.

Thanks to everyone who helped today!

Pictured above, L to R: Erin Weaver as Hermia, Doug Hara as Puck (on ladder), Richard Thieriot as Demetrius, and Lindsey Gates as Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream; photo by Kevin Berne.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Cal Shakes 2010 season has been announced!!

And the lineup is (drum roll, please) ...

John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven
By Octavio Solis
Directed by Jonathan Moscone
JUNE 2–27

Mrs. Warren’s Profession
By George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Timothy Near

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Joel Sass

Much Ado About Nothing
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Jonathan Moscone

Season packages on sale now!

Click here play descriptions.
Click here to read a letter from Jonathan Moscone.

And call 510.548.9666 or click here to pick out your series!

Ask Philippa... and Aaron!

Philippa Kelly, Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg and production dramaturg for A Midsummer Night's Dream, invites your questions about the show, with the assistance of director Aaron Posner.

Picture by Jay Yamada.

"I am amazed and know not what to do..." So speaks Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Wonder, amazement, the perplexities of love.... Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jon Moscone says that "magic" in the forest is like a sped-up version of human destiny: that the magical events in the forest of Athens are a fast-forward version of what ACTUALLY happens when people fall in and out of love. We humans pride ourselves on being the most rational of all earth's creatures, and yet the strongest compulsion we havethat of loveisn't about reason at all. Love sends us in directions that may make no sense to anyone else (even our beloved) but we go there anyway.

How did it feel to experience love's mystery in the forest with Aaron Posner and his cast?
Enter your thoughts and questions in the "comments" section below, and Aaron and I will take turns answering.

Midsummer runs through Oct 11, 2009.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

And now, a break from our regularly scheduled program.

The Cupcake Truck came today.

Employees from Cal Shakes and nearby architecture firm Noll & Tam lined up in anticipation.

Three of the five available varieties. Left to right: Red Velvet, Vanilla Vanilla, and Double Chocolate. Not pictured: The Twinkie and S'mores flavors. (I got the S'mores, and highly recommend it.)

Even Managing Directors are indecisive when faced with so many cupcake choices.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Midsummer's Happy Days

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but right now—as the cast and creative team of A Midsummer Night's Dream works overtime during tech rehearsals, in preparation for this Wednesday's first preview—seems like the perfect opportunity.

Here they are: Some of the great minds and hearts behind Midsummer, attending a performance of Happy Days during less stressful times.

Left to right: Richard Thieriot ("Demetrius"), Avery Monsen ("Lysander"), Joan Mankin ("Snug/Philostrate"), Christina Hogan (Production Assistant), Aaron Posner (Director), Keith Randolph Smith ("Oberon/Theseus"), and Kate Jopson (Assistant Director); photo by Jay Yamada.