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Cal Shakes Tempts Audience with Cows and Crouching Tigers

Posted By Robert Frawley On Jun 13, 2012 @ 4:56 pm In Arts | Comments Disabled

Stage

Some college students think that theater is boring and dead. Us Cloggers disagree. We went to see the California Shakespeare Theater’s outdoor production of “The Tempest” in Orinda, CA. The play is anything but dull and always entertaining, even if it’s not for the right reasons.

Before we go down “Snarky Road” we must say that the set was beautiful and the actors were awesome. Nicholas Pelczar, who played both Prince Ferdinand and the drunken clown Trinculo, stole the show with his timing and audience interaction. Now that the niceties are over, it’s time for the fun stuff.

Theater audiences like to show off

The Cal Shakes Theater has picnic tables where the audience can eat dinner before the show. Being broke collegPicnic Bage students we brought Chinese takeout and cheap beer. Others brought deluxe, SkyMall looking picnic baskets complete with wine glasses, cutlery and soup ladles (pictured right). Also, among our group were several English majors who decided to repeat the play’s lines aloud along with the actors to show how cultured they are. FYI — no one cares that you memorized the speech for your Shakespeare class with that poet laureate. Enough said.

There are cows living in the hills behind the stage

Perhaps one of the most entertaining parts of the evening was when the cows started a mooing match amongst themselves. The winning cow had a particularly glottal moo like the sound Wookie makes [1] in “Star Wars”. The actors pretended like there was no mooing at all (we guessed they’re used to it) while we were all laughing hysterically with every mooOO.

The choreography

Choreographer Erika Chong Shuch did some amazing dance work. Yet, throughout the show the backup dancers (dressed in black) lift up the actors to create the effect that the players are flying, jumping long distances or floating in midair without any support. Halfway through the show, it dawned on us that this was “Crouching Tiger Hidden Shakespeare … we got some stern looks for our giggling.

Go see this show before it stops playing at the end of June, and bring a warm blanket because it gets cold out there!

P.S. There is a really cool “Fear the Bard” (Fear the Beard) T-shirt on sale at the gift shop.

Fear the beard - Get it?

Fear the beard - Get it?

Image source: Robert Frawley (all), Daily Cal


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[1] the sound Wookie makes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8aEDaeBMyI

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