tealin: (catharsis)
So then there was the time Macbeth was crashed by three search-and-rescue helicopters ...

I do believe this is in the original manuscript of the play:

      ... it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
[Exeunt helicopters]
Signifying nothing.

... but dramatic companies so rarely have the budget to put it on faithfully.

Independent Shakespeare Company, you guys are real pros, and it was an honour to be there tonight!
tealin: (catharsis)
I start a lot of these posts with 'If you live in LA ...' but this one is open to everyone.

The Independent Shakespeare Company is awesome. (This is scientifically proven fact: awemeters placed in the audience have measured a significant increase in awe during their shows.) Aside from the amazing talent and conceptual brilliance, though, they are awesome because every summer they make classic theatre available to anyone who can make it to Griffith Park, no matter what their income level or theatre experience. Some people in the audience are global Shakespeare veterans, some have never seen live theatre at all before, never mind Shakespeare, but they all enjoy the shows and, uncommon in LA, meet each other.

As company founder/artistic director/crazy awesome director of Hamlet/Lady Macbeth Melissa puts it, they make these shows free and public because 'we believe these plays belong to everyone, and should be accessible to everyone.'

Aside from putting on the free shows themselves, the ISC does outreach to schools, holds a bilingual pre-show workshop for kids, hosts lectures, and promotes local arts groups by inviting them to perform before the shows start. All in all they are a 100% A+ genuinely public-spirited organization that makes LA a better place to be.

But ...

While the shows are free for you to attend, they aren't free to produce. They have to rent the space from the city and pay for applicable permits, security, utilities, equipment costs, and lawn reseeding at the end of the summer, as well as the costs associated with basic production. In their wonderfulness they believe that professional artists should be paid for their work, and their mostly-union cast and crew get health benefits and a decent wage. The company gets some grant money from arts foundations and city budgets, but as they have been going for ten years now people assume they're an institution and don't need the cash, so this is starting to dry up. It doesn't help, either, that California is the 49th state in the nation for arts funding, just ahead of Kansas which axed all arts grants last year. Most of their operating budget comes from audience donations at the summer shows, but they don't start getting that until after the run has started, and they need the production money now.

So they've got a Causevox campaign running, to get the summer season off the ground. (also, check out the donation gifts, they are cool.) Even small donations are gratefully received – it all adds up! If you've ever been inspired by great theatre, and would like others to share that experience who might not otherwise get the chance, please consider supporting these wonderful people. And if you're in LA this summer, drop by and see a show!

... And if philanthropy and celebration of our cultural heritage is insufficient motivation for you, then do it for me: this company and their shows are pretty much the only thing getting me through summers here in one sane and relatively happy piece.

tealin: (Default)
If you are going to the Independent Shakespeare Company’s benefit vaudeville show tomorrow (which you should, because it will be great, and if there’s anything in LA you should support, it’s the ISC) here are some helpful tips from the Company for tomorrow:

This Sunday, May 19
Show time: 3 - 5pm
Location: Old Zoo, Griffith Park

Download directions & map here

Sundays are busy in Griffith Park! There will be a lot of signs announcing birthday parties so look for the HOT PINK SIGNS with an arrow that says “Free Shakespeare.”
Parking is free.
We suggest giving yourself an extra 30 minutes to find parking and to walk up the hill and to check in at the Will Call Table. (so aim to arrive at 2:30, or before)

There is no need to print your tickets. We have a Will Call/Check-in Table at the top of the hill where we will check off your name.
If you are bringing friends who want to buy tickets at the door, they can do so at this table.

Pack a picnic, roll up a blanket (low back beach chairs are fine too), bring cash to buy goodies and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Concessions will be selling cold drinks and snacks!
Get your picture taken at Vizid’s free photo booth!
Buy raffle tickets for great prizes!
Enter the silent auction for one-of-a-kind sessions with ISC Company Members!
Buy ISC merchandise! There will be Vaudeville t-shirts, buttons, CD’s & posters.
(Note: we can take your credit card but cash is preferable.)

Questions? Call us at 818-710-6306. [They are very nice, do not be afraid of calling.]
tealin: (faci-glee)

This Sunday (May 19) at 3:00pm at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park, the Independent Shakespeare Company is holding a benefit show, for the purpose of raising enough funds to put on their summer season of FREE awesome intelligent accessible Shakespeare. They've assembled a festive picnic basket of vaudeville-themed talent, including

- John C. Reilly (yes, that one) who will be headlining with the ISC's house band the Pinchtones
- The Lampshades, a comedy lounge act consisting of Kate Flannery of The Office and Scot Robinson of Anchorman
- Helen Slater, film and TV actress, but in this case songstress extraordinaire
- Mariachi Flor Angelina
- ¡Aparato! (described as "post-punk(y), socially conscious ethereal rock performed with traditional Mexican instruments" which is pretty intriguing if you ask me)
- Nick Bottom and the Rude Mechanicals (the amateur theatre troupe from A Midsummer Night's Dream) in a rendition (truly the only appropriate word) of Macbeth
- assorted tumblers, tricksters and "razzle-dazzlers" (this is a family-friendly show so that can only mean so many things)

Considering this is a fundraiser, the single ticket price of $30 is really surprisingly low, and $60 for a family* is practically a bargain. Please come join in the fun – you're not only getting fresh air, and afternoon out with your fellow citizens, and a really great show, but you're helping to make possible one of the best things in Los Angeles, which unlike most attractions around here has at its core the principle of being freely available to all.
*two adults and as many children as you can manage; there will be no DNA testing at the park
tealin: (catharsis)
... give or take a few. Who's counting? Not me.

My happy place.


Feb. 1st, 2013 11:20 am
tealin: (catharsis)
If you are looking out for the next totally addictive musical soundtrack ...

You can help make it into a real thing that you can play on your very own music-playback device! It's sort of like a Kickstarter but with a different name! Did I mention this play and the Independent Shakespeare Company are awesome!! (The video doesn't really do it justice, as there is no substitute for being there, but it is a glimpse!)

Have some more exclamation marks!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

You can hear two sample songs here!
tealin: (catharsis)
It’s been a year since the Independent Shakespeare Company’s run of Hamlet, and I had a hankering, so I tried to listen to the library’s recording, but I couldn’t even get through the first CD because

Why, ISC, whyyy ... why are you so gooood ... I will never enjoy another Hamlet again ....
tealin: (catharsis)
I've been listening to the ISC's CD of Shakespeare songs (which is excellent by the way) ... which has on it the songs Ophelia sings when she's crazy ... which reminded me of the awesome performances in their production of Hamlet nearly a whole year ago (o woe!) in their studio ... aaaand the doodle pad kinda filled up.

If there's any intent behind this, beyond the compulsion to jot down the images in my head, it's trying to find a 'design' for these specific parts so that every time I draw those actors in a different role they don't look exactly the same.

But mostly it's compulsion.
tealin: (catharsis)
Are you on the U.S. East Coast?

Do you like Shakespeare? (or perhaps ... would you like to like Shakespeare?)

The Resident Ensemble Players at the University of Delaware are putting on Hamlet. Why do I know about this, or care, way out in L.A.? Because at least two of the core members of the ISC came out of this school, and as far as I have gathered, it is very much aesthetically and philosophically aligned with the awesomeness that is Independent Shakespeare, so chances are high that this production will be very much worth seeing!

Have I mentioned how much I love the ISC's Hamlet? No? Well —

(Okay, okay, I'll spare you ... for now ...)
tealin: (catharsis)
The ISC has added a few shows to their run of Red Barn, which I know I have mentioned before but is an awesome original period murder mystery* musical. So now you can see it TONIGHT! (there is still time to buy tickets; the show's at 8) TOMORROW! (though that's a fundraiser, just so you know) SUNDAY AFTERNOON! And also November 29, December 1 and 2. Once you see it you will know why this photo, which they just posted on their Facebook, is so delightful in a creepytastic way:

They've also put up a YouTube video of one of the songs, to go with the recordings of two other ones.

If you're near LA, do try to catch this show! It's not every day (or year) you can get in on an actually-really-good new musical.

*OK, it's not really a mystery because it's pretty clear whodunit, but it's that sort of thing, y'know.
tealin: (writing)
Chase is offering $5m in grants to charities and community organizations, and the ISC is in the running! Their free Shakespeare festival in LA every summer opens up great theatre to people who would never otherwise get to experience it . . . but because they don’t charge admission, they’re always on thin ice, financially. Getting this grant would put them on much more solid footing after this summer’s season, and set them up well for next year.

. . . And on a more personal note, their brilliant productions are responsible for most of the Shakespeare art on this blog, and make living in LA bearable, so if you like what you’ve seen, and would like to support my mental and emotional well-being in this strange depressing land, cast your vote before Sunday!

It is, alas, a Facebook contest, so I can't stuff the ballot, but if you have a Facebook account you can vote on my behalf ... please?

If you have a Chase online account, you can cast a second vote by logging in here: www.ChaseGiving.com
tealin: (catharsis)
ANGELENOS! Have you still not discovered the most wonderful thing about your city? Fear not! You have one remaining weekend in which to do so! And I shall endeavour to make it as easy as possible for you, with the limited time at my disposal.

The stage is set up at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park, so your first step is to get to Griffith Park, specifically Crystal Springs Drive, on the east side of the park, between the pony rides and the golf course. If you follow the signs for the Merry-Go-Round, you will find yourself in the right area. This is where it gets a little confusing, so I made a map:

There is a little bit of walking! Don't let this scare you! It is only a very little, and there are trees and stuff, so get that blood flowing.

If you are using GPS, or are taking a taxi, or just like to know these things, the 'address' at the intersection of Crystal Springs and Griffith Park is officially 4690 Crystal Springs Dr. GPS probably won't get you all the way to the Old Zoo, but if you get as far as 4690 Crystal Springs, the signs will take you the rest of the way.

If you are taking the bus, the 96 goes through the park and will drop you off pretty close, but it stops running before the shows are over, so you'll have to taxi back.

If you are biking, it's flatter and shorter to turn up Griffith Park Dr instead of the fire road that takes you to parking. There are trees and signs and at least one railing which you can lock your bike to, when you get up to the picnic area. BRING A HEADLIGHT, and a tail light if you've got one. The ride back in either direction is long and mostly unlit until you exit the park.

As it's the last weekend, everyone and their dog will be cramming it in at the last minute. Last Saturday there were over 1800 people in the audience! You'll probably want to get there early – the shows start at 7, so aim for 6 at the latest – so make a picnic of it. If you go to Comedy of Errors, you can enjoy a performance by the 'house band' while you wait, or you can arrive, put down your blanket, and have a nice walk around the Old Zoo. The sun will have gone behind the hill at that point so you don't have to worry about roasting.
If you are a small party and don't mind sitting on the ground, there are always open patches in the front section, because people come early with their picnics and space themselves fairly widely. If you take a moment and look for an open patch, you can get PRIME SEATS right before showtime.
The later you arrive, the farther away you will probably have to park (unless you bus or bike). Swings and roundabouts!

a) Something to sit on – either a folding chair or a blanketish thing to protect your bum from prickly or damp grass. If you bring a chair you will have to sit behind the lights, but those are not bad seats at all.
b) Something warm to wear – Even though it's been pretty hot, it cools off a lot at night. Bring something warmer than you think you'll need – better not to end up using it than spend the second half of the show shivering.
c) Something to eat – whatever you like. They sell gourmet cupcakes, Cliff bars, and kettle corn at the concessions stand if you get the nibbles while you're there. I can personally vouch for the excellence of the chocolate cupcakes.
d) A friend (or not, it's up to you)

NO! It's FREE! You just walk in and sit down and consume some fantastic live theatre. If you like what you see and want to support the company, they sell t-shirts and CDs as well as concessions, and you can always drop something nice in the buckets at the end of the show and make the actors smile. But you do not need to buy tickets either before or at the door, because the show is FREE!

As it is a holiday weekend and the last of the run, I would advise going on Thursday or Friday, not only to beat the crowds but because it is omedy of Errors, which is my fave this year. That play is also on Saturday, and the season closes out with one last performance of Midsummer Night's Dream on Sunday night.
tealin: (Default)

Well, here's 90 of them, for a start: Photos from the Independent Shakespeare Company's Comedy of Errors
For maximum experiential replication, flip through the photos while listening to this music, some of which they use in the show.

Remaining shows: August 10 (today!), 11 (tomorrow!), 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 30, 31, and Sept. 1, all at 7pm.

BE THERE OR BE A RECTANGULAR THYNG – and get there early or you'll be sitting at the back.

... though if you are in a small party, there are quite often comfortable gaps between picnic blankets at the front, so keep an eye out and you may be rewarded with great seats.
tealin: (Default)
It's been a year now since the Independent Shakespeare Company ruined me for all other Shakespeare ever* ... and now that they have successfully knocked off the competition in bard-related matters, they've started on dramatic entertainment in general. I saw the trailer for Dreamworks' upcoming Rise of the Guardians and all I could think was how much better the ISC's Puck, from A Midsummer Night's Dream, would have been as Jack Frost.

Unfortunately there is no extant video of his performance, so I can't give you a direct comparison, but they have just posted their photo album for the show so maybe you can get some idea ...

There's at least one show of Midsummer each week from now until Sept. 2nd! Check out their calendar and go! (And/or see one of the other shows, they're all good, and Winter's Tale closes this weekend so you should get on that one ...)

*Remarkably, I have enjoyed moments of The Hollow Crown so far, but this is definitely an anomaly and likely due in large part to my not having seen them do any history plays ... There will be a lengthy post on the Henry IVs at some point when I can be bothered to sit down and write it but now is not that time.
tealin: (catharsis)
I watched the first installment of The Hollow Crown, Richard II. While I did like it I am constitutionally incapable of taking anything seriously, and I couldn't help noticing a certain familiar strain in Ben Whishaw's performance ...

... though I think he bears a little more resemblance to Captain Haddock than Mr Whishaw, there, apologies.

That and the fact I'd been mistakenly misled by Simon Schama into thinking Jack Cade was in Richard II, when he's really in Henry IV Part II, resulting in completely unnecessary disappointment when he failed to turn up. (Though checking IMDb, that character isn't in the cast list for the Hollow Crown adaptation so maybe I should dock my expectations now...) I liked it, though! Which is something, given that the ISC in their awesomeness have ruined anyone else's Shakespeare for me forever, it seems. For that matter, they've gone beyond Shakespeare and have now spoiled me for Rise of the Guardians, whose trailer I saw last week and all I could think was how much better the Puck from their Midsummer Night's Dream/Atolychus from Winter's Tale would be as Jack Frost. ISCCCC!! [fistshake]

The summer season is ON, by the way. Old Zoo, Griffith Park, Thursday-Sunday, 7pm, their performance calendar can be found here or via their Facebook page. Be there if you are physically capable of doing so!
tealin: (catharsis)
Good morning, Internet, and a glorious 25th of May to you all!

As any regular follower of this blog will know, I am hopelessly addicted to the Independent Shakespeare Company – in fact one might even say I am dependent, ahaha, in more ways than one, as they are a substantial part of what makes living in LA worthwhile.

Their main event in the year is the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival, in which they give away phenomenally fantastic theatre for free! Of course, it takes money to mount the festival, and while they do take donations during the run, there are expenses that have to be paid up front, such as directors' fees, equipment rental downpayments, licenses, etc., so they've been running a Kickstarter campaign. They aim to raise $20,000 and they are, currently, less than $200 away ... so this is me asking you to help push them over the top. At this point even the smallest contribution makes a big difference – and of course if they go over $20,000, they get to use the surplus, too.

I really can't overstate how wonderful this company is – not only are they excellent performers but they do a lot of community and schools outreach as well. You can see audience testimonials on their Kickstarter page – I'm right in line with the beardy man! Back when I first encountered them I made a quip in response to their signage [above] that I didn't know Shakespeare was in prison, but I didn't know at the time that, really he was, and they really do set him free! If you're within travelling distance of LA I really highly recommend you drop in on the festival, which runs Thursdays through Sundays, June 28-Sept 2 – you won't regret it!
tealin: (catharsis)
Friday links list again ...

The final episode of Fatherland is up, so you can now listen to all five. The end here is something really special (if chilling), but of course you really need to get through everything leading up to it for the full effect. It's an uncommon but remarkable thing to make the journey with some characters who discover something you've always known – it makes it new again, in a way, and gives you a whole different perspective.

The requisite Day 6 link takes you to an episode that's a couple of weeks old now, but I link to it mainly for the interview with Slavoj Zizek, which, no matter what you think on the topics discussed, is very interesting. And he has a theory that the Avengers are exemplary Marxist entertainment. Good times!

If you are within reach of LA and are looking for something AWESOME to do tomorrow, the Independent Shakespeare Company is putting on a benefit performance to fund their FREE summer festival. The show is As You Like It, it's at 4pm (preceded by two hours of bonus entertainment from various arts groups and a small circus troupe), at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park, and you can get tickets HERE. Or, if last-minute awesomeness is more your thing, they will be selling tickets at the "door."

And if you're not in LA, or are but are unable to come, and like the idea of free awesome theatre for all, many people would be very grateful for a contribution to the ISC's Kickstarter campaign – on that page you can see 1. a video of them being awesome and 2. a wide range of random strangers testifying to their awesomeness. I am with you, guy with a beard! Right on!
tealin: (catharsis)

Los Angeles peeps, yous so lucky, you can go see Nickleby at the ISC studio – well, more properly, Nicholas Nickleby at Mr Squeers' School, which is only the first (tiny) part of the Dickens novel, but performed from Dickens' very own prompt book! ... Well, a copy of it. He used to do reading tours where he would act out bits of his novels with only a lectern and a book (which he rarely referred to) and this rendition of Nicholas Nickleby is the one he did, which hasn't been performed (as far as anyone knows) for 150 years.

I saw it last night and can in all honesty proclaim it excellent – replete with character comedy and pathos and all that good kind of stuff they just don't make like they used to. Well, okay, they do sometimes, but it's always a surprise to see it done well in a new story, and it shouldn't be, y'know?

Tickets for the ONE REMAINING SHOW can be purchased HERE!

What, what's this? Armando Iannucci explaining what makes Dickens so great? I love both of these things! Thanks, BBC!

In other news, the ISC has officially announced their summer festival lineup:

Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival 2012

Say 'Yes' to Quality!


Feb. 15th, 2012 06:50 pm
tealin: (catharsis)
The Independent Shakespeare Company could not have picked a better time to open their show – the last* week of production for the thing I was on was the first week of their run. I got through the week on coffee, nerves, and brilliantly executed Shakespearean tragedy alone. This is how I appeared to the rest of the studio:

*turned out to be second-to-last, but was still the most intense

Now that I have an abundance of spare time on my hands, I can finally do the doodles I've been wanting to do, in some cases since I first saw the show in August.

DOODLES! And yammering. )

If you are lucky enough to live within driving distance of LA (how often do I say that, eh?) you still have a chance to see this show, because they've extended the run to March 17th – it's Saturday and Sunday this weekend, then Saturdays after that, all shows at 5pm.

GO HERE >>>>> iscla.org <<<<< and get yourself a ridiculously underpriced ticket to some serious quality. GO! I am not joking about this, you do not want to miss it.

ETA: I FORGOT! How could I forget? Interviews and suchlike!
Hamlet interviews his Mom and Dad - Or, rather, David Melville interviews Bernadette Sullivan and Luis Gallindo. There is much of interest and amusement ... and Louis L'Amour! (You'll get it when you see it.)
Melissa Chalsma on KCSN - I think this interview might only be available till Sunday ... anyway, the co-founder and Artistic Director of the ISC talks about the company, its ethos and origins, its place in the LA theatre scene, etc.
David Melville (again) on Hamlet and the ISC's future - Interesting anecdotes and exploration of how one runs a theatre in 'the new economy', especially when the biggest event in the calendar is offering professional entertainment for free.


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