Jeremy chats with theatre professionals Sarah Fallon, Allison Glenzer, Rene Thornton, Jr., and Benjamin Turns about their work during COVID and their work together.
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The show is produced by Claire Martin and Jeremy Fiebig and edited by Ashanti Bennett. Owen Eddy wrote our theme son.
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Hello, welcome to the Sweet Tea Shakespeare Hours where we spend time. Well, by spending it together I’m Claire Martin
I’m Jeremy hello. Umm, I work here at Sweet Tea Shakespeare and I’m here with a bunch of friendly faces that they know each other. I know them, some of them I worked with way back in the day at the American Shakespeare center. Ah, and some of them I did not work with, but I know from having seen them, we like ran and overlapping circles, I guess you would say. Ah, and so we’re here today to just sort of see what’s up it’s to do a little hello, old war stories and pick spear fun.
So I just want to, so we’ve got Rene Sarah Allison and Ben,
Hi, I’m really appreciating how I’ve been watching the news and watching everyone to figure this medium out of being able to be interviewed. And I’m now very much appreciated with all of them and them have true with it and get better at it the last month. I’m Allison I right now doing a lot of a volunteer calling for the democratic party and a four different a protest organizations and doing a lot of online, a registering of pushing for registration of a vote are under straight standing democratic at the end of it and doing a little bit of protesting some of myself in st.
Paul. And then I’m also training for a mini
Mini triathlon. This is not a full triathlon, but I am training and I can I’ve I’m almost ready. I can do all of the components and I will start next week putting them together and doing them at the same time four in the same day or hopefully in the same two days. I don’t know. That’s what I’m Tea Hey, if you need any tips, you know that I had to do one of those for grad school thing that you would, if you’re coming to visit me, I was hoping you would tell me exactly what I’m into my, you know, you’ll help.
Yeah, it’s been, it’s been a hot minute since I did it, but I do have that on my checklist of things that I’ve done. So I’m all about it. It’s going to take me a lot longer than a hot minute, but
Alex Vanik at is watching hi Alex
All right, Ben, it’s your turn. Hey everyone. My name is Ben Curns and I’m living in West Haven, Connecticut right here on long Island sound. And I, I spent the last year as a M on the faculty with Southern Connecticut state university where I was teaching and directing some plays and the summer I’m doing some work with the Elm Shakespeare company and helping to organize some of their online camp activities.
And as well as working with the Shakespeare Academy of Stratford, just up the road in Stratford, Connecticut with my friend Sarah Holden. Excellent. So where would you all mind telling, telling us, like assume that I’m a dope, how, you know each other?
So I’m at, I’m at Rene first because Rene graduated from the university of Delaware’s professional theater training program in the class directly before mine. And he came to visit a few times while I was in school and Sasha is that we did. And so I met him, you know, we would hang out and have a drink at the bar, but I didn’t really know him that well. And then weirdly we both got cast at the same time in 2004 to go to the ASC and that was both of our first season’s there.
And then over the years we got cast opposite when another a lot. And he, he he’s my Los or my lover on stage. That’s what I like to call him. We counted at one point to figure out how many times we had actually been on, you know, been paired it’s a lot of time.
I think we have played lovers 14 times.
That sounds right. That sounds, that sounds right. And you know, Ben, Ben’s up there too. I’m at Penn for the first time in, in Virginia at the ASC and then Allison I met outside of a bar in New York, randomly. We shared a cigarette hanging out with mutual friends years before we actually worked together at the American Shakespeare center.
It was right after I toured. And before she was hired or maybe you just knew you had been hired or they haven’t gone yet. Yeah, I hadn’t, I hadn’t started yet is totally random. It was totally, it was totally random when they were in where we shared a lot of friends because she went to grad school at LSU and a lot of her grad school people worked with me at Colorado shakes before I ever made it to the ASC. But really Virginia is what solidified my relationship with all three of these people.
And then that, yeah, that’s how I met Sarah. And then Ben was in the touring troupe that started at right after mine. So I guess we were hired in the summer and you guys were, I guess kind of hired or
Let me start. And I think a month after a year or two, yeah,
Like a month after. So that’s when I met Ben. And so we were, they were sort of at the same time, but two different 200 troops. And then I didn’t, I met Rene the first day when I started, when I came back and started with the resident drew and he had already, he had already been there for a while and a new Sarah and, and Ben and everything. And so I met that’s the difference. That’s when I met him. Although he, I thought he was very cute on the pictures of everyone where we got sent the pictures of him.
Oh yeah. Well, Ben Ben was responsible for helping me understand what acting on stage at the Blackfriars was all about because I really had no idea what I was getting myself into when I took the job. I didn’t know. The first time I saw with a theater actually looked like was in my welcome packet that they sent me, there was a postcard of the block fire’s play house and my jaw dropped and I thought it was so beautiful. And, but I had no idea. I hadn’t really done that much research on it.
They offered me roles that I absolutely could not turn down. And I had recently graduated from grad school. So I was, I was rip-roaring to go and also to get out of New York city because I did not enjoy my time there. It was very expensive and very hard. So I was happy to come and play a Porsche in a merchant of Venice. And the Helena in Midsummer and madams were bell in the liaisons. I was jumping to rip roaring to go out and they were doing I’m Henry fore at the time.
And I stopped was the first show I ever saw on the black fire stage. And it was the touring troupe had brought their shows home from the road. And so I got to see all of them performing in front of a live audience and really understanding like, Oh, okay. I had never seen theater like that before. And I didn’t, you know, I certainly wasn’t, you know, their, they don’t train you to do with theatre with the lights on. So watching, watching you guys, you know, ECMO was extremely educational for me. And I was very grateful to see an awesome group of people do it so well and provide such a great example.
Cheers. Sarah Rene Rene answer. We’re like, we’re like ships on the night. Cause they, they got there, you know, as we were, as my last tour was a, a finishing their residency. So they don’t like as, as our true left, theirs came in and then, and then I was gone for, I dunno, like a year and a half, two years and came back and did my residency, my first rent season. That was the first time that Rene I work together and, and, and like sort of the, the earth shifts or at least minded, there’s a little like, you know, I seen him on stage at a Miriam onstage and Jon Harrell onstage and then not.
And then I was on the same cast, his, all of them. And that was that’s that’s, that’s a pretty addictive drug. Yeah. I mean, I, similarly I guess I’m, everyone’s covered Sarah yes. Allie winter’s tale was our first show right together, Sarah and I’s what’s the most lamentable comedy. It’s all stuff. I remember that one that I love about benches. My experience with Ben was at, Sarah mentioned to see his Falstaff, who the hell, this, after a lot of work, this is awesome.
And I remember at the party and at one factor is towards the end of the contract. Oh s**t. Two of us never really had this conversation with an actor before of like the both of us. You’re a f*****g awesome. And I wanna work with you. I’m like, I hope that, and then it did. Yeah. And I should go ahead. Allison I think you’re about to say the same thing as me.
I’ve had very dysfunctional marriages with Ben, quite a few, not as many relationships as Rene in there, but I think we’re probably equaling them for dysfunctional.
Yeah. I think all of our Sarah nice relationships work equally.
I mean, you killed me a lot. You, there was a lot of it. Yeah. Did you ever started saying no, I never, I don’t think I ever killed you, but I was responsible for your heartbreak and the change Lang. So that, that felt like a little bit of sweet revenge, but now I don’t think I’ve ever killed you. It’s funny because a lot of the women, even the strong women that I’ve played, who might do something like that, they usually end up killing themselves like Dido,
You know, she kills herself over you. If Audrey and the maid’s tragedy, she kills herself. But it seems, it seems like these, these women who are such bad asses and they’re like, yeah, I’m gonna, I’m strong and I’m going to do this. And then they end up being their own. The hand of their own demise is by themselves. Okay. I think all of you have killed me or ordered to kill me.
Well we’ve also loved each other.
Yeah. We have, I, you guys are definitely a part of a dream team. Golden time for me at the ASC there are others, other actors who are I consider in that group, but all three of you, for me, it was just magic. Yeah. Yeah. Great. The partnership I’ve had with each of you in different plays are some of the most important and incredibly fulfilling times on stage that I’ve ever had.
I echo that 100% and we’ll also say that I’ve worked now with a few companies since leaving the ASC and it has made a clearer what a special moment we got to participate is and how lucky are. Absolutely. Absolutely.
So can, can I ask for those folks who might be listening, who don’t know what the ASC is or how it works from your pointing a little bit now to ensemble, and this is the, the repertory and the idea of coming back, working with the same people over and over again, you talk a little bit about that and about sort of ASC broadly and what it does and what kind of theater it makes.
Well, I mean, I don’t know that any of us are particularly well versed on the current state of the American Shakespeare center, but they could speak to what it was when we were there, which was a company that was based in original practices. As Sarah mentioned, the theater, there’s the world’s only the patient Blackfriars play house. And the mission was about taking that style and the practice that Shakespeare this company has and what can we learn from those?
And the company was equal parts, or even before the theater was built about that Turing ability to bring to colleges, whatever, a place that you were in, whether it be an actual theater or the event, you know, whatever kind of coffee bar they could make shifted into a space, but making sure that those practices like the lights being on like the actors, having communication or it with the audience or in different sparse set the, using the language to create where you were bringing that out on tour.
And then also then using the Blackfriars to show how that would have been done within the architecture of the time. I should also maybe clarify, cause
I know we’ve already mentioned <inaudible> so if people don’t know what that is, the very first Renaissance season happened in 2005, and that was a further exploration about what lets get a little bit closer to maybe what they were doing in Shakespeare’s day. So that’s 12 actors, no directors, no designers. So the actors are directing themselves in each other and their picking out of their own costumes. And there are making the decisions for what goes on stage and in some of the most chaotic time. And also some of the most exhilarating time when, when I was at the ASC, the very first one was a nightmare and I had stopped doing them for a few years after that I was like, yes, I will be a part of this experiment.
And then it was horrible. And I said, yeah, I’ll come back. And a few years, once you get some kinks, figure it out. So I think, I actually think that 2009 season, yeah, that was my first. That was my first return to the Redlands. Is it a three for a year break and between it, but just so people understand what that is. Cause I imagine that will probably come up again rent season.
And I’d like to mention too that in the period that the four of us were there, I think one of the other big structural and institutional change is that the company went through was the, the huge increase in performance of life music. Like just in the time that I was there. You know, I remember on my first to where you were maybe preparing two to three songs for a show and by the time I left, you were expected to a craft closer to, you know, 10 in terms of, you know, like six per and then what, you know, whatever else happened to the show or whatever.
But that I think is like something that now is associated with the company that sort of came to fruition during this quartets, a tenure ship over there.
We did pretty good. We summed that up. Of course
Everyone understands. So can I ask you why Shakespeare, what, what drew each of you to Shakespeare what’s kept you in it? What do you think? What’s your favorite? Yeah. What do you think
For me? I’ll I’ll start, I have very little experience with a Shakespeare before actually going to grad school. So I had been in two Shakespeare shows. My first one was the summer when I was 17, before I started college and I was in much ado about nothing. And I played the messenger who comes in and act one and I was a funeral dancer as well. And you may say, well, a funeral dancer Shakespeare didn’t right. That and you will be correct. He did not, but I danced with a torch and a, and a Cape around heroes monument.
And that was my big introduction to Shakespeare now going grad school. Part of the reason that I went, where I went, which the university of Delaware only it’s now defunct, but they only focused on the classics. So you really were being trained to be a classical actor and they made it a point to say, we’re not training film actors. We’re not training teachers. We are training you for life in LA, by theater doing the classics. And that’s when I really, really got into it. And then getting the job at the ASC after that Shakespeare I was in full immersion with the classics and the Shakespeare.
And for me, the reason that I kept coming back was it’s the language is so rich and so diverse. And the, these are extraordinary people in an Epic circumstances, you know? And how often do you get the chance to play that? And to imagine what that would be like in to share that with an audience. And I’ve had the good fortune of repeating a lot of roles as well, and I never got tired of them and I was always learning, learning new things when I came back to them, which was very exciting for me. So I think, you know, there are a lot of other authors that maybe I wouldn’t, you know, I don’t, I don’t want to do David Ives over and over again, or, you know, but there’s something about the richness of the language for Shakespeare that kept me coming back.
I did. My first Shakespeare play in my first semester in undergrad and I had, you know, I only read it in high school beforehand and, and, and I went out for it only because it was like the first play they were doing and it was Romeo and Juliet and I was a freshman and I got cast as Paris and the director made a big point to tell me, like, you’re really lucky to be playing the character with a name, but, you know, but I, I regularly remember that.
I remember like I would go to rehearsals, but I wasn’t called for, because I had never been in a theater that, that was that big. And, you know, there were actress who are really very good and I was standing in the wings, watching them. They are rehearsals the opening scene, and this is the play. I, you know, I didn’t really know it was a play that I hadn’t read in high school. So I mean, like, if you can imagine, like I was going in and watching this for our first of all, and I didn’t know what was gonna happen and up in volume came in and he was like, you know, heartful is put up your swords, you know, not what you do and that when the table came out and he was like, you know, drawn, or where does he say, is this a, you know, turn a leap in volume low and look upon the death.
And I remember I had like, literally I had goosebumps was just like watching in the wings. And I think one of the things that was really exciting to me was I was like, I don’t need a lexicon to enjoy this. Like I know what he means when he says turn and the lack of how am I debt? Then they started fighting and I was like, Oh, all I want to do is, and what they’re doing. So yeah, that, and then I think like, Sarah, I, you know, I got, when I got the job at ASC, then shut into a Shakespeare.
I was like, Happy to have a job. And then, ah, and then Ralph, who is one of the cofounders, Ralph Cohen, he came to our, our truth and he, he gave a talk on Henry the fifth and he, he finished this lecture on Henry the fifth and it was as, Oh, he had an effect, given the ones the more onto the breech, the speech, you know, I had never heard of anyone heard anyone sort of speak about the text and the way that he talked about it and made it so relatable.
So contemporary. And I remember like a, it was a, it was a big experience that day, hearing that talk. Cause I was like, I I’m, you know, when that thing was done, I was, I was twice as happy to have to be where I was. And twice as happy to sort of carry the flag, I’ll say favorites for later,
I went to, for undergrad, I went to a Clemson university and there was this wonderful dr. Andreas, that was just a wonderful Shakespeare professor and kind of started at Clemson it’s own sort of Shakespeare class school. And he loved to a company called Shanandoah Shakespeare express a adored them and thought they hung the moon. And, but it was a really great class. It was all closed circuit. We tried to television on the desk and we keep, he would have different companies so that we could watch their performances and everything, but he would bring, and so the SSC would come all of the time and I loved Shakespeare.
I was already an English major. I was already a real, you know, reader of, I love Shakespeare stuff. This was a romantic, I guess, but he, I was on scholarship and I had to stay out in the lobby during shows sometimes that we’re from other companies to take old people in the golf cart, to their cars. That was like my job. And so I was peeking watching a show that the ASC nine and this guy came through the lobby and he was like, you know, you can just walk in and the lights are on, it’s no big deal. And I said, I know, but I got to take the old people in the golf cart and not allowed to leave the lobby.
And there are so great. And I just started platting and he’s listening to me and he goes, well, I’m Jim Warren, I’m the artistic director. And I think you might work for me someday. And he shook my hand and I was like, Oh, I can’t, you know, and then, but he kept up with me and I ended up being in a show at Clemson during the festival. So he saw it, he, he made a point to come see it. It was a, I was Adriana and you know, a, in comedy of errors and then he would all, and then I, I was a finalist for Irene Ryan for a couple of, you know, every year.
And he always sort of be at that SCTC thing. And he, he just kept up with me and then I went to grad school and he, he just, and then I got a postcard when I was finishing grad school that said, alright, you get in New York, its this day, come, come and see where he, let me see what you got. And I said, okay. And so, and that I got cast at that scene and a, for the, for the tour. And I played all men except for a lady Monte,
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In that show that you saw in Columbus. It was because she was there all week. It was like three different shows. And I loved her cause I had gotten to see the Richard and I was like obsessed with her. So I was speaking, but it was the, it was the 12th night that I had to work the lobby for. So, which also Jim’s wife was in. So I was like, yeah. So, so then I guess then once working for ASC and that live audience and the laboratory, that was that stage in how much I learned.
Cause in grad school I’ve worked for Shakespeare and company and then tried by them. So I had a real deep love of the language and using the language emotionally and felt very well trained in my classical theater program and, and shake and co. But I feel like though the way that we’ve worked then in that, that building and those practices taught me so viscerally how to attack the language and with a discipline, but also a vulnerability that just really stuck with me and changed my life and made me a door being a part of the laboratory.
It felt like every single time it was an experiment in how we could, within that containment of those practices truly be boundless and the creativity.
Yes. It’s funny. I mean, like,
I just have to say like, these are three of the people are I’d love like a, these are three have the best actors that I have ever worked with Allie. And what’s funny Sarah is sort of Sarah is interaction kind of hits it the best I could tell all three of those stories. I know all three of those stories, we’ve all sat in so many talk backs together. A hundred percent. I tell all through books where they could tell mine when I was 15, when I was in high school, my, our school district had a summer Shakespeare program that they sponsored.
And so my first Shakespeare was in the summer. I played over on a and then the next summer I got to play Shylock and merchants. So those were my first introductions to Shakespeare. So I went to a The BFA at the training program, the university of Utah, that specifically focused on the classics because there was something that was lining up with what felt good to me, I’ll write to me or my course of my time there. One of the discoveries that I made was that as an actor who was an after a color, I found Shakespeare a pre and a place for me that in contemporary drama plays television film, the examples of the kind of work that would be available to me were not great.
I did not want to do any of those things. What I did want to do, let’s play the kinds of parts that SHEEX, I mean, I started with Oberon and Shylock for a second. So I want to do more. I want, I want to wrestle with that language. I know what that feels like. I want gum. I just kind of kept pushing out in the night. Sarah mentioned in grad school. A and so, and that program was a very specifically classic based.
I would also like your viewers to know that Allison and Rene have both completed the Canon. That’s a big deal. It’s a big deal.
The BFD is our, a democratic nominee would say yes. So yeah,
To that end. Cause it, Allie, you mentioned it a little bit earlier about us. She played mostly men that first season. And like one of the things I thought was really, I ended up taking for granted about the ASC was how much cross gender casting to be had there. And it happened so much women, more often women played men than men, women. Sure. Shakespeare female roles. And there there’s just so many more, but I, you know, I did 118 place at the ASC and every single one of them had written same post.
And so I took it for granted. This is something that happened all of the time and to get your statement down, to see companies like break their arm, to pass themselves and for casting one woman one, are you kidding me? We’ve been doing that for years
In my first season. I was Jake’s. And as you like it Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet and the clown in winter stale get out. I mean, and people who are like, Oh, we gave her, you know, Cause you know, Romeo could have a girlfriend.
Yeah. It was. I think, I mean it, and then it with, you know, Ben played the nurse, which was wonderful and, and I played the fryer and that was a beautiful experience to watch him. I mean, just you him change the, the dress and the outfit and everything. And so not getting that as much, watching a man transform into such a wonderful lady that I kind of wanted to just lay on her breasts and tell her that, you know, am I okay?
But, but Sarah and I so many times, you know, you got to transform, you know, to so many different warriors, clowns, drunk men in bars, you know,
What are you laughing about? I’m sorry. It’s like, there’s two things that just jumped out. She was like, Sarah is also been a man. I was like, Sarah wore pants and like simulated sex with a suitcase. Everyone watched her happen a bunch of times. I don’t know that that’s high art, but it did. Tim sailor says, hello. Hi Tim.
We got to do a lot of a really fabulous, you know, love, loving things like Sarah and her suitcase there.
I want to point out too. So watching us,
She says she can’t comment, but she loves, she loves it and wants to be with us. Merriam is part of the crew as well. The dream team crew next time Miriam. Yeah.
Will get it done. Rene an wore dresses along with Chris Johnston and the Tempest. Yes. I’ve seen that happen twice in a rich, which I’m Richard, in which to this day remains the only mid performance standing ovation I’ve ever seen. Never again. I’ve never, I’ve never since the time.
That was truly beautiful thing to witness this in a sequined dresses. It was thanks to the whole. So I’m wondering, I’m wondering, do you guys have, do you have rolls that are in the Shakespeare Canon that you would like to play that you haven’t gotten to that you there? Cause I mean to you in leu and Rene have done all the plays, but AR is there a role that’s still out there for you that you go, Ooh, I really want to get my chances with that one.
It’s funny you say that because I, since leaving the ASC is not a thing I bring up, but inevitably will then read and see that I have done all that s**t. And then, then people somehow translate to be the place where someone will be like, well Rene’s what are you playing, Joe a*****e over there and f*****g backstage pounded on the sheet.
I would love, I know. It’s great. I would love to do a Leer. I just, I dunno. I just, I there’s something about it. We got lots of time. You got that one. It would probably be in my backyard, but you know, he’s outside a lot.
Theatre is only happening in backyards,
You know, so it’s all, it will work out just fine. And you know, he’s, you know, he wouldn’t even notice that people where there anyway, so and so, but, or, or just to be a part of it. And then there’s one that I just never, never seen a Juliet do what I would do with it. And I, I know I’m too old. I never was going to get cast in that I always was to curvy and older looking at it never was going to happen, but nobody’s ever done it, right?
No, that way about it, about Romeo. So maybe we should, are you guys,
So, you know, I love to tackle it, maybe fail too, but you know, I’m like my, at least I would fail different than everybody else. Always Satan’s to fail is the same.
To it and read this? I want to play Henry the fifth. Yeah. Yeah. Great. I would really like to tackle that one. I think, I mean, most of the female roles or the traditionally, you know, I’ve gotten to, I’ve been lucky enough to get to do all of the biggies. You know, the Juliette is the one that I missed out on as well. I just never, well, Romeo and Juliet as a play of my six that I had left before I’ve finished the cannon Romeo and Juliet to the one, one of the ones I’ve never been in
Six is my number two. Oh yeah. Yep.
Very close. Yeah. You can taste it, but not, you know, it’s is it doable? It’s doable. Let’s see. Explain this. I mean, and, and we, you know, Ben we’ve crossed off Henry the eighth, which is a Tea you know, like we’ve done. Yeah. I’ve done time in, I’ve done Henry. You’re the ones that actually people were never going to get, you know? But like you could, you could lady Capulet tomorrow. Yes. I believe, I believe that is true. Well, maybe not COVID times, but
Right. Insert here, but anybody who missed Sarah is Katherine and Henry, the eighth is missed out there. They taught me in that role, in that play. It’s extraordinary. It’s a shame that the play doesn’t get done often. Sarah thank you. It’s funny. I was just, I was just pulling speeches for this class that I’m teaching on Monday and like, where, you know, we’re trying to do this by a crash course in like, versus in text. And so we’re like, well, we need a speech, like with a, a good use of in Germany.
And I was like, sounds like Katherine of Aragon, Gertrude and her Miami. Like, I don’t even know. I don’t even care about men, which is like, those three words with women alone will teach you a little something about like black line endings, how to play with line and things. And like, whether you jump over or not, you know, but it was fun to read that speech again. Plus we open that show with a f*****g and Henry the eighth.
Yeah, Henry the eighth. I am, I am. That’s a long time
Was a kid. It was a moment
Jeremy didn’t pull out. No, no, it was delightful. My mouth was a little open. I think
All of our scenes, like the West wing.
We tried to move like they fit.
I was up on pre-show alley.
Oh, that was a great pre-show. Yup.
So what are you up to now? I know it’s COVID time, but do you guys have projects going on that you are excited about and want to talk about?
I it’s funny for the cricket noise. If we had had this conversation two weeks ago, I would have been like, no, my ass is staring at my walls. That’s all I do these days. But then in the last week, all of a sudden, everybody decided that they needed to do a reading right now. I don’t know what was happened last week of June, but everybody decided to it was time. Ah, and so I’m currently rehearsing three classes with a quintessence theatre in Philadelphia, mid-summer live stream and which we read tomorrow.
That’s why it wasn’t my brain yet. I am also speaking of ASC, I am in a reading of a brand new play by Jenna Holden, a few. What’s also a company, a member of ASC for a while that Jim Warren is actually directing and there is some old ASC folks and that a quick fill since they are high times a day are there. And it’s great to see them as well. And let’s the other thing that I’m reading right now. Oh, and then for San Diego read a book, I am reading a JQ, a Aaron poster shake you a and a new sort of companion piece.
And he’s writing to that are doing that.
That’s a lot when you say rehearsing right now, like, does that like, is that like this or like zoom or? Okay, so you just sort of read it over.
Yeah. It’s, you know, the first thing on zoom, its not in the area is not right. It’s stuff about ideal. That’s not, and it’s weird because I’m now rehearsing with a company. They all know each other, like I showed up on the ASC or a state and I’m the one knew guy and looked at him, no I’ve witnessed. Then people go through that. And it’s interesting. Cause I went through it in the fall when I joined credit and I’m going through it and now this group means, and it’s maybe even feared or by the fact that guests were all in rehearsal at the end of the day, it still in my office alone staring at it.
Is there the hope that you will be doing this together in a space? In the fall. Okay. Okay. And what is fall like as early as September,
A late September, October,
And then let me know right there in everything you do is online. Like every teaching thing is over the computer or can you meet in small groups or teaching?
Oh, sorry. Looking at it. And I couldn’t tell
I’m sorry. It’s my, my picture is sort of alternates between all of you. This the spring like rape, you know like mid-March the campus closed? So we did everything on online and for me it was because I actually had directed
A play and we closed the week before the quarantine began. So we were like really glad in that sort of counted as one of my classes for that semester. And then the other one was more of like a, an intro to theater theater history class. So it was pretty easy to do online and it was not a performance based class, a for the fall they were talking about perhaps doing some kind of hybrid thing where something like some class days, our online and sometimes we meet the good news is, is that like for the first time at working at this university, normally the acting class that I teach is like the intro to acting class and I have 20 students in it.
And this time I’m teaching like an act in to class on a, a, a Shakespeare workshop in, I have six each shot, which is like, that’s like a grad school of science class or, or at least you’re a mother. And it means that we can like spread out and like, we can, we can meet. There is still some question about whether or not we’re going to have to do masks or whatever the drag is that I was a slotted to direct a play for the main stage next year.
And we’re now we’ve swapped that out so that the, the big fall in musical is going to be in the spring. And in hopes that like we can do that one more traditionally as the musical tends to be a big recruiter. Ah, and my play we’re actually going to do as a straight radio player. And I don’t mean like a visual player where you see the people recording. I mean, like we’re gonna record and booths and then we’re gonna put it out like as a link that you can just download and listen to as you go.
And that’s going to be, the shadows is going to be a, a newer translation of Ibsen’s a enemy of the people. Right. Sounds right up your alley.
Sarah in Texas does is looking back. Texas has a real bad. Yeah. And then texts is going up. Like you guys are trying to win the lottery
The big numbers. We’d like letters here when he in the COVID race. Well, every day, last week, except for Wednesday, we set a new record. So setting records every day for our not only number, a positive test cases, but also the number of hospitalizations. So a that’s been, that’s been on an a seven day trends since then with one, one day. And the exception here’s County, which is not where I am, it’s Houston. So it’s for our South. There, there they are considering maybe going back on lockdown or a, because governor Abbott refuses to make any regulations statewide.
He’s leaving it up to mayors and other people to decide what’s best for their city or for their area. So, so far nobody’s doing that. And what I’ve, what I’ve noticed is not from the get, go from the middle of March, they only, the only place that I’ve rarely been at the store, right? I mean, that’s, that’s where I go. I do go to the grocery store, not nearly as frequently as I used to. And I, at the beginning of this, maybe 35 to 40% of people would have masks on right. A, about two weeks in, they started requiring the employees at the stores to wear masks that wasn’t happening for like the first month almost.
And in the last three weeks or so those numbers have gone down. It’s now 15 to 20% of the people that I see out, have a mask on it’s it’s very scary. People are very selfish. And for the most part, Texans just seem to be, they’re done with it. They’re over it. And they, since its over in their mind, they are just going to go back to normal. I mean bar’s this week and go upset at bars and restaurants can go up to 75% capacity. Even though we’re breaking these records, we’re bumping it up to phase three.
So yeah. Is crazy. It’s very nice here. Yeah. There’s I would almost rather be anywhere else right now. I mean, honestly, well Florida’s not looking so great and Arizona is not looking so great.
You don’t Carolina is a write up there with you. I must say I was going to say Jeremy is to take our assault rifles to the capital and a breath on each other. That’s what we do here. Yeah.
That’s a great idea. That’s a great idea. It’s it’s scary. Cause you can’t, you can’t force people to do the right thing. You can’t force people to have a social conscience and if they don’t, if they don’t care about possibly infecting your grandfather or you or whatever, I don’t know how you, I don’t know how you change that and people, I, I don’t think you can shame them into it. I don’t, you know, I, it’s very difficult when you see all these. When I see old people, old people without masks and I’m like, you guys are the ones that if you’re over 75, your chances of dying.
If you get this or 10000%, that’s the number you are 10,000 times more likely to die from COVID if you were, or is that any by it? And I did get inspired with Shakespeare with all of these people that I thought of so many times we would work on crowd scenes and a mom and, and, and things like that. And I w I really wanted to work on, and I pulled it out to work on Marc Anthony, speech, friends, Romans, countrymen, but try to make it about changing the mind of the sort of anti mask, anti, you know, sort of like, I’m not here to, you know, braise democracy just to bury it, you know, sort of an, I don’t know, but I had this dream that I would be able to use the rhetoric and the rhetorical
Ability of that speech to somehow change completely sort of a mob mentality. That seems completely dictated just to the cult of personality. And I was going to use Shakespeare to do it. And then I just went for a swim, well, you’re training for that many triathlon. I mean, you got to get back into training, but it is, it is interesting how much of this feels, I don’t know if it is because of all the Shakespeare that we created or, or because of all of that we had to read, but it does seem tremendously like, Oh no, that’s where I know Kings did that.
You know, what are you saying? That is very much addictive now. And it’s so much I can do like, well, I can vote you a Shakespeare play. That is very, revelent a relevant to that right now, especially is very true.
Yeah. We’ve had practice at the end of the world, I guess you would say. Yeah. Well, I want to thank you all for being here. It’s just a delight to see all of you in one place. Again, I, so I was those of you who don’t know out their, in the, in, in, in whatever internet world, I was a student, I was a student most of the time that I, that I saw these people, Allie was just coming in as I was leaving as a student. And, and I think the first thing I was have been was a Henry four-part one where he played a false staff and maybe wrong about that.
But it was a, I was a student man. And then I worked with, with Rene and Sarah on ’em as you like it, Mac be the Tempest and the fellow 2006. Ah, and I still know every word of those plays because of their work really. I mean, like I like, and what, what I want to say is that, that like I’ve gone on and, you know, I teach now and I direct plays and, and produce here at Sweet Tea Shakespeare. And, and the thing that comes back to me all the time is like, I cannot think about any production that we would do ever if I’ve seen any of you and our other friends in it, it’s like, that’s the dream, that’s the thing is built on.
Does that make sense? Any time you touch a play again? I think that’s true for, for a lot of things, but it’s especially true about all of you. And so thank you. Thank you. Seriously. Take care of yourselves. Maybe we’ll do this again. We’ll shuffle the couch, Miriam. Your welcome to join us, Tim. Your welcome to join us. Thank you all.
Thank you. Thank you for inviting this time with these people that I love friends the next time.
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