Photos by Mary Kay Hickox
There’s nothing like a good ol' fashioned office holiday party. Garlands on the water cooler. Secretaries in short skirts. Drinking so much egg nog that you start dancing on your boss’s desk to Ke$ha’s "Tick Tock"…
Thankfully, the Reptiles celebrate the holidays in a far less cliché style. This year’s festivities were themed Ho-Ho Holiday Hoedown, which meant plaid shirts, denim jackets, and a whole lot of Jack Daniels.
For many years, the Berkeley Rep holidays have been centered around the annual centerpiece competition. Every department (minus the artistic department, which is always too busy writing/reading/directing/or doing something that is somehow more pertinent than building centerpieces) bands together to create a centerpiece for their table at our holiday soiree. While the activity was likely developed as a bonding activity, it has become a stiff competition, resulting in bragging rights and gift cards to various grocery stores so the winning department can celebrate in style with bellies full of Berkeley’s finest produce and baked goods.
Departments tend to cater to their strengths, but when all else fails, a centerpiece that mocks Susie and Tony is always a favorite of the anonymous judges. This year’s centerpieces, as always, demonstrated Berkeley Rep's quality of work standards and level creativity.
The marketing department played off the judges' emotions, making a giant cowboy cut-out, with Les Waters' head, standing on a map of Kentucky. It was accompanied by a piece of wire manipulated to read “so long partner.”
The first-place winners were the scene shop, whose centerpiece featured a lazy susan with a hand-planked floor and a tiny bluegrass band of tools and brushes with googly eyes. Not only was it adorable, but every member of the scene shop and paint department contributed, and their efforts paid off -- I’m just hoping they invite me over when they spend their gift card on beer and meat for their shop BBQ!
Second place went to the prop shop, who could have built their snazzy cowboy boot leg lamp in their sleep. But hey, their excellent craftsmanship deserves to be rewarded!
Third place went to the development department, whose efforts were sneakier than most. They built a still, feeding the judges a delicious blend of apple cider and whisky. Clearly their judgment was instantly clouded, but hey, whatever it takes to win, right?
An honorable mention was given to the facilities department, for a pair of Mylar Christmas trees covered in forks, and a sign that said "Don't fork with Facilities." While they did not receive a gift card, they did receive a roll of toilet paper, stolen from the facilities closet. Clearly their message was ignored.
Other centerpieces featured a gingerbread Susie and Tony, a hay-bale Christmas tree, a humorous jab at the Occupy Movement, gaffers tape garlands, and the beloved guitar from our musical Girlfriend.
While not all were winners in the centerpiece competition, thanks to our fantastic board there were raffle prizes galore including wine, homemade apricot jam, and more grocery gift cards.
And, because we like to party in real style, our own ET (kickass scene shop employee/DJ extraordinaire) kept the music bumping, and the liquor luge kept the cold drinks coming.
‘Til next season, we at Berkeley Rep wish you all a splendid holiday, may Santa bring you a liquor luge of your very own!
Dude, back in my day (oh god, now I sound old), Artistic competed! I was the 2006-2007 Literary intern, and we built a giant volcano. It was awesome, though it won no awards.
I want to see pictures of the centerpieces! They sound so great this year!
I do believe that this is the best performance I have seen at Berkeley Rep. Ever.
Granted, I have only attended performances for the past few years, maybe 3 or 4 per year. But The Wild Bride touched me deeply with the screen play and the cast was beyond superb beyond description.
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