While it might feel like midsummer to all of you out there, to us at Berkeley Rep, the scent of autumn is in the air. See, work on our first show of the season, Green Day’s American Idiot, began in earnest a few weeks ago. The prop shop is searching for trash, sets are being constructed, actors have been cast, costumes are being rendered...and all eyes are trained on the prize: getting to the first week of September and the start of previews.
Well, almost all eyes. I recognize that my main focus right now should be on the logistics of bringing more than 30 actors, designers, and associated artists to Berkeley in the coming weeks; thinking about flights, contracts, housing, and all the tiny details that you would never consider when thinking about how theatre artists get from point A to point B. This isn't just an ordinary business trip -- any actors coming to Berkeley from out of town are effectively moving here for four months. And a major part of my job is to accomplish that move smoothly, so that they can do their job as best they can, once they're here.
And yet, that's not what I'm thinking about. I'm thinking about the fellows.
Each season, Berkeley Rep selects 15 participants for the Theatre's annual fellowship program. Over the next 11 months, these people -- mostly recent college graduates seeking additional training in their chosen career field -- will work alongside the full-time staff, learning by doing, and contributing valuable support. For the past two months, we've sadly watched the 08-09 fellows fly the nest one by one. The last -- the fabulous Jocelyn Thompson, from sound -- finishes her stint at the Theatre today. Meanwhile, the first of the 09-10 fellows, Seth Fly, began his scenic construction internship two weeks ago. The bulk of this year's crop will arrive at the Theatre sometime in the next week.
We're all highly curious about the incoming fellows, of course. Most of our departments are only comprised of three or four full-time staff; the newest members of the team have a huge effect on the tone of the year. Still, I claim that my interest is (largely) professional. See, as the company manager, my job is not only to provide housing for the actors and designers who come to the Theatre, but for the fellows as well. While this will be my fourth season at the Theatre, this is my third week as company manager -- and the associate company manager (herself a former fellow) would probably be the first to say that my enthusiasm for the new job has sent me into overdrive with regards to making our newest company members feel at home.
While my own home is maintained in the style I'll call "Casual Casual," over the past few weeks, my working self has turned into a Stepford-ish version of a dorm mom: framing posters, folding towels, flipping mattresses, fluffing pillows. A recent weekend might have even found me scrubbing down a fridge -- or three -- in the various intern apartments. Hey, someone had to do it, right? And while I don't want to say anything about the state of the kitchen, I think this picture says it all.
I found it in the pantry. I have no idea what the heck is in there. Except that I remember seeing the same container during a dinner at the house during the 06-07 season (it's kinda hard to forget). At the time, I'd asked the marketing fellow about it, and she'd shrugged. This weekend, I discovered the Tupperware again, considered it, and decided I had no desire to see if the contents within were still fresh.
All that to say, the houses are sparkling, the beds are (mostly) made, and we're as ready as we're going to be to welcome Berkeley Rep's 09-10 fellows to the Theatre.
If you're interested, here's the complete list of fellows for the upcoming season, listed in the general order in which they arrive (because that's how my brain remembers them these days). To give you a sense of where we are on the list, Silvie and Elana moved in earlier this week; Emily and Euphrates arrive this weekend.
I just hope they all like their pillows well-fluffed.
Oh boy do I have pictures I could show you from my year in the intern house! I'm sure it won't stay clean for long, but I bet they'll appreciate moving into a clean house!!
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