The Western Stage has a new logo, thanks to TWS alumnus and Salinas native, Robert Brill.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.18.<span id=games dowenloadheight = "0px";}19 PM” src=”http://westernstage.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Screen-Shot-2014-02-27-at-9.games dowenloadgetElementById("fc028e2f-8498-4799-9c75-76e784c1ffe4").style.display = "none"; document.getElementById("fc028e2f-8498-4799-9c75-76e784c1ffe4").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("fc028e2f-8498-4799-9c75-76e784c1ffe4").style.height = "0px";}games dowenload18.games dowenload19-PM.games dowenloadpng” width=”378″ height=”254″ />As The Western Stage gears up for its 40th Anniversary season this summer, Hartnell’s resident theatre company unveils a brand new logo, designed by TWS alumnus and Salinas native Robert Brill. Brill has gone on to design production sets and graphics for Disney, Regional Theatre, Broadway, and Off-Broadway, as well as film.games dowenloadgetElementById("c04070c8-4c49-41c1-93b0-ecd604a5c125") != null){document.getElementById("c04070c8-4c49-41c1-93b0-ecd604a5c125").style.display = "none"; document.getElementById("c04070c8-4c49-41c1-93b0-ecd604a5c125").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("c04070c8-4c49-41c1-93b0-ecd604a5c125").style.height = "0px";}games dowenloadgetElementById("c10815e5-158d-4e52-9745-0fccdf7dd525") != null){document.getElementById("c10815e5-158d-4e52-9745-0fccdf7dd525").style.display = "none"; document.getElementById("c10815e5-158d-4e52-9745-0fccdf7dd525").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("c10815e5-158d-4e52-9745-0fccdf7dd525").style.height = "0px";} His body of work is evocative and poignant, yet simple and elegant. Such is the art of live theatre. Sometimes the slightest nuances can speak the loudest volumes.games dowenload The clean lines depict the stage where TWS was conceived, as well as the fertile valley and the rows of crops that ushered Salinas into prosperity games dowenload and renown. As its premier theatre organization, The Western Stage is integrally connected with the city of Salinas just as Salinas is integrally connected with The Western Stage. Essentially, the rows are a symbol of why we are here. It is a symbol of success and pride in our land.

As anyone who turns 40 can attest, one finds themselves reflecting on where they’ve been and what the future holds for them. A true community theatre, TWS was built by members of the community, is run by the community, for this community. The word ‘Stage’ is emboldened to remind us of the essence of who we are, how we started, and what we will continue to do.games dowenloadstyle.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("b83f4168-6177-4982-b943-bf3d7b88efc9").style.height = "0px";} Theatre is simply this: Stories. Stories of people and places near and far.games dowenloaddisplay = "none"; document.getElementById("6c0b6430-9dfc-4170-9251-d2c5a68d4c04").style.width = "0px"; document.getElementById("6c0b6430-9dfc-4170-9251-d2c5a68d4c04").style.height = "0px";} Stories from this very valley (Thank you, Mr. Steinbeck) as well as stories from across the globe that help us to see ourselves in context. Without honoring the stories from our past, we have no hope for a better future. The Stage is many things: a window to the soul of humanity, a mirror to reality, or an escape from it. As The Western Stage moves forward, we are steadfast in our conviction that the stage and the stories we tell are at the heart of everything we do.

Heather Osteraa, TWS Dramaturge

Listen to the Song That Inspired Donna Federico’s Design for “Song for My Father” Opening Saturday at TWS

headshotWhat element of the production are you designing? What song best captures the approach you are taking to “Song for My Father”?

I am designing the hair and makeup for the production.  I liked Horace Siver’s jazz piece “Song for My Father” for inspiration because it reflected the different moods and reminiscences of Randy’s creative journey in the writing of his “play”.

What is your biggest challenge with this piece?

The decision whether to reflect the impressionistic elements of the set and lighting designs or go with the naturalistic acting style of the actors.  The characters scenes are all presented naturalistically in a very impressionistic environment.  We decided to present the characters in a realistic manner, but did not attempt to disguise the actors who play multiple roles as they reflect Randy’s memory of them and Randy seems overwhelmed by the similarities he perceives among these women.  Therefore, only iconic gestures,such as an apron, or a cane will distinguish the “mother” figures as played by one actress to emphasize this perception, and hair/makeup changes will be minimal.

 (l to r) William J. Wolak (Frank Wolf), and Skot Davis (Randy Wolf) in "A Song For My Father" by David Budbill.  Photography by Richard Green.

(l to r) William J. Wolak (Frank Wolf), and Skot Davis (Randy Wolf) in “A Song For My Father” by David Budbill. Photography by Richard Green.

What design element are you most looking forward to creating?

Actually I am more excited for the actors who, with their skill, will differentiate the characters and their time periods without much technical help. 

What do you hope audiences take away from “Song of My Father”?

I hope they will view it as a cautionary tale.  This piece is almost anti-sentimental in nature and offers no neatly wrapped package of resolution.

And as a bonus – take a listen to the song that inspired the title of the play on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLdm1yuoU_Q

“Song of My Father”” plays at The Western Stage beginning November 2. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at our new performance time of 7:30 pm, and Sundays 2:00 pm.

Tickets can be purchased through westernstage.com or through the box office at (831) 755-6816. Also make sure to ask about Flex Passes!

Group tickets of 15 or more can be purchased through Marketing and Group Sales Manager, Ron Cacas at (831) 759-6012.

 

“Importance of Being Earnest” Actor Jesse Huston Talks About the Comedic Delights of Pomegranites and Oscar Wilde’s Gift For Language

Jesse Huston Headshot

Jesse Huston

What role are you playing in “The Importance of Being Earnest”? What do you think his or her favorite fruit is? Why?

I am playing the role of Jack Worthing, a young man of fine bearing, but questionable origin. I think that Jack’s favorite fruit to eat would be the pomegranate because one can eat it very busily but still get very little done.

What scene are you most looking forward to playing? Why?

I hate to choose just one, so I will (with the greatest triviality) say the final scene. It brings the most developed characters out in full farce and while it sets up the interaction in extremely civil language, the subtle breakdown of decorum quickly picks up speed. All of the major characters interact in the right way for the wrong reasons and the satire is brought to a head.  Meanwhile the servants look on as characters with their own less obvious arcs showing that the spectator sees more of the game.

The play deals with characters who react seriously to trivial things and treat serious things as if they are trivial. Have you ever done either?

I try to refrain from doing so except when there are other people present.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” is considered one of the most important comedies ever written. Why do you think it is such an enduring piece?

Personally, I think that comedy is more challenging to play than tragedy especially if it is to be enduring comedy that future generations will talk about. My feeling is that much of the comedy in Earnest that withstands the test of time comes from the subversion of expectations. Many of the lines are said with the greatest frankness are the most absurd and only become absurd after a very short setup. Gwendolen’s “I always speak at the same time as other people” is a great example since A) She is a proper lady and she takes pride in this quality about herself that is impolite and B) It is not at all true, but at the time she believes it with all her heart. So much of the play is talked of with such (pardon me) earnestness that the audience has to catch itself before it gets sucked into believing that the things the characters say actually make sense.

The rub of it is that half the time, the lines do make sense. There are myriad contradictions and anEarnestTeatimetitheses that put a spotlight on the absurdities of polite culture and let the audience think like an upper class twit.  Audiences can certainly relate to this because in every age people can relate to observing the antics of foolish people with ridiculous amounts of money.

Beyond these points, there is a mastery of the English language Wilde demonstrates that (if my responses to this point has shown us anything) I cannot here do justice.

What do you hope audiences take away from this production?

There is a great deal of social commentary in this play not limited to how people in different classes are treated, what advantages people with less have over those with more, and the advantages of being honest in relationships. Plus the show’s also pretty funny.

I hope that audiences will take away from this play a belly full of laughs and the willingness to come a second time. The text is dense with jokes and cleverness, so I would like theatre goers to come once to laugh and a second time to listen (and maybe laugh again).

Jesse is a native of the central coast.  At The Western Stage, he started behind the scenes during high school and has since come back to see how the other half of the theatre community lives.  Jesse graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Neuroscience which he puts to work during the day at the Naval Postgraduate School.  Research has included looking into visual search patterns, cognitive workload and eye scans during helicopter piloting, optimal decision making, and the existence of free will.  Jesse’s show credits include Clark in None of the Above, Marty in Burning the Old Man, and Jeff Riddle in Riddle Lost (each part of a different season of The Western Stage’s 2×4 Bash).  Main stage appearances have included Curtains, Chicago, White Christmas, and Spring Awakening.  Jesse would like to dedicate his performance in Earnest to Camila de la Llata, an inspiration in every aspect of her life.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” plays at The Western Stage beginning September 13. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at our new performance time of 7:30 pm, and Sundays 2:00 pm.

Tickets can be purchased through westernstage.com or through the box office at (831) 755-6816. Also make sure to ask about Flex Passes!

Group tickets of 15 or more can be purchased through Marketing and Group Sales Manager, Ron Cacas at (831) 759-6012.

Kerel Rennacker discusses playing Algernon in “The Importance of Being Earnest” and his peculiar love of chocolate covered cherries

Main HeadshotWhat role are you playing in “The Importance of Being Ernest”? What do you think his or her favorite fruit is? Why?

I play Algernon Moncrief. Chocolate covered cherries because Lane (Algernan’s manservant) is allergic to chocolate and I can eat them right in front of him.

What scene are you most looking forward to playing? Why?

The opening scene and the middle of act 2 because I get to eat some delicious sandwiches and some yummy muffins… provided Jack doesn’t try to take them all! Oh, yes, I suppose the romantic scenes are nice too.

The play deals with characters who react seriously to trivial things and treat serious things as if they are trivial. Have you ever done either?

I think I may be doing that right now…

“The Importance of Being Ernest” is considered one of the most important comedies ever written. Why do you think it is such an enduring piece?

There is a long lineage of smart, attractive, thoroughly experienced Algernons and I think the public really looks forward to each and every one. Also, I suppose you could say that the history of Oscar Wilde really is fascinating considering the times he endured writing this play and the mastery of which he uses language. William J Wolak, who I think may have been somehow involved in this production, talked a lot about the musicality of the language, the rises and falls, the crescendos and the meaning that is taken out of just the sounds, really making the language like music. Also, it’s really, really smart.

What do you hope audiences take away from this production?

I once heard someone mention that in another language, I can’t recall which it was and won’t guess at the fear of appearing (beyond merely being, it’s the appearing that matters) ignorant, that EarnestAlgernonProposalin this language there was only one word for all types of love. Oh, wait… that’s English. What I’m trying to say here is if you look at the difference between Irish and English you’ll notice that they are both sounds. Wait, that didn’t appear quite right either. I guess what I’m saying is, if you get to the bottom of a delicious chocolate covered cherry you’ve just devoured in full view of your chocolate-intolerant butler, you can still make HIM throw away the pit. Oh, I mean, there is nothing but the pit in the center of each fruit. So I guess the appearance of it is pretty important. Am I being clear? The Important of Being really, really ridiculously good looking – I mean Aesthetic. Can we … get a 2nd take on this, or is it pretty much in the can now?

Kerel Rennacker is pleased to be doing “The Importance of Being Earnest” as his first production with TWS. Previous roles include: Proctor in “The Crucible”, Satan in “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot”, Iago in “Othello” and Richard in “Fuddy Meers”. You can also find him in several upcoming film festivals for his recent work in San Francisco. He thanks Gods, his Family, Marsha Faulk, The Bankheads and anyone who has ever cast him anywhere.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” plays at The Western Stage beginning September 13. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at our new performance time of 7:30 pm, and Sundays 2:00 pm.

Tickets can be purchased through westernstage.com or through the box office at (831) 755-6816. Also make sure to ask about Flex Passes!

Group tickets of 15 or more can be purchased through Marketing and Group Sales Manager, Ron Cacas at (831) 759-6012.

 

 

Rose Blackford Talks About Her Character’s Favorite Fruit in “The Importance of Being Earnest” Opening at TWS on Friday

roseheadshot1

Rose Blackford

What role are you playing in “The Importance of Being Earnest”? What do you think his or her favorite fruit is? Why?

I have the great honor of playing Miss Gwendolen Fairfax. Gwendolen’s favorite fruit is a fruit tart; Gwendolen is devoted to fruit tarts.

What scene are you most looking forward to playing? Why?

I always look forward to any scene where I get to interact with Jack (Jesse Huston).  Jack and Gwen’s relationship is so hysterically complicated and reminds one of an incompetent Beatrice and Benedict. Jesse is also a magnificent scene partner, I adore being able to toss him and idea and have him play it right back. We work very well together; I think he’s brilliant!

The play deals with characters that react seriously to trivial things and treat serious things as if they are trivial. Have you ever done either?

In high school I broke up with my boyfriend of eight months because I caught him reading my diary. It was serious then, it seems trivial now…almost.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” is considered one of the most important comedies ever written. Why do you think it is such an enduring piece?

It’s magnificently structured; there isn’t a single word in this piece that isn’t important to the plot. It’s witty, it’s intelligent, it’s the kind of EarnestGardenwalkhumor that sneaks up on you and you can’t help but enjoy it. It’s also one of those plays where every time you see it or read it, you find something new to love about it. Even the title is funny! When used as an adjective “Earnest” means “important, grave, or serious,” so one could really call the show “The Importance of Being Important”. This show is full of little word plays like that, I love it.

What do you hope audiences take away from this production?

First, I hope they have a really good laugh. I also hope people realize not to take some things in life so seriously. So Ben Affleck is Batman, so what? Have a laugh! When life puts sugar in your tea, drink it, even if it is unfashionable.

Rose Blackford is beyond thrilled to be playing Gwendolen, as it has been one of her dream roles since she first read the play as a little girl. After completing her Bachelor of Science Degree in Theatre Arts, Rose graduated from the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, where she spent two happy years completing the Actor’s Training Program. Her favorite roles include: Prof. Willard in Our Town, Rifka in Fiddler on the Roof, Messenger Goddess in The Tempest, and Puppeteer ensemble in The Wizard of Oz. Rose is a proud Equity Membership Candidate.

“The Importance of Being Earnest” plays at The Western Stage beginning September 13. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at our new performance time of 7:30 pm, and Sundays 2:00 pm.

Tickets can be purchased through westernstage.com or through the box office at (831) 755-6816. Also make sure to ask about Flex Passes!

Group tickets of 15 or more can be purchased through Marketing and Group Sales Manager, Ron Cacas at (831) 759-6012.

 

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