Our studious audience members likely got their postgraduate degrees in "normal" subjects — psychology, anthropology, any-other-ology, so it is only natural that many who work with Berkeley Rep got theirs in theatre. This season, we are fortunate that our Doctor in Spite of Himself coproduction with Yale Repertory Theatre has not only brought us 90 minutes of slapstick comedy, but also a handful of talented student designers. For this piece, I concentrated on two disciplines (my favorites), sound and costumes, sitting down with both Ken Goodwin and Kristin Fiebig to hear a little bit about the paths that lead them to the prestigious Yale School of Drama program, what they see in their futures, and why they’ve loved studying theatre.
My big interest in K and K's experiences on A Doctor in Spite of Himself is a comparison of doing the show in school vs. at Berkeley Rep. While some craftspeople are against the "coproduction," these two young faces are fans of reviving a work for a new audience. They both saw the experience as a chance to take the play they had done, and (much like the directors and actors) make it even better. Of course there were challenges as well. Yale built upon the groundwork that many of the performers built in Seattle (where the play began), but with every venue change comes handful of technical changes as well as script and blocking adjustments. We have a balcony and different sound system than Yale, and while the designers and actors are the same, it's a whole new crew, and there is always a learning curve. Both K and K, however, had only great things to say about our staff and their experience here. (Go us!)
Like all Mafia members, Ken and Kristen are well-versed in theatrical elements. At Yale Rep, work-study jobs employ students at the theatre! On one show, Kristen worked deck crew and learned to operate the fly rail. While he mostly sticks to sound, Ken does all sorts of odd work like packing the truck that brought the Doctor set from back east to our loading-dock doors. Those Yalies are a close-knit bunch, and their bottom line is to get their theatremakin' on. They start their classes at 8:30 or 9:00am; start production work, fittings, meetings, rehearsals around 2:00pm; and when they finish around midnight, they are given three choices:
a. Do your homework.
c. Do more theatre.
It is impossible to do it all in the world of graduate theatrical studies, and if there is one thing their time in Berkeley has given K and K, it's the itch to get out there and "do it for real." Both Kristin and Ken plan to pick up work in New York after graduation, but not until they do a handful more shows and get their diplomas this summer. And you never know, perhaps our eyes and ears haven’t seen the last of these soon-to-be grads, because you know how the Mafia works, "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." -- Godfather Part 3
K&K’s Berkeley highlights:
Kristen loves Berkeley’s gelato and walking up and down College Ave.
Ken can’t get enough of Cancun, Triple Rock, and did some serious shopping at Rasputin.
OK, I have criticized many Berkeley Rep productions, so when they put something good on-stage, I need to step up to the plate and commend it, which I actually am very happy to do because I enjoy good theater much more than bad theater.
A Doctor in Spite of Himself was not merely good, it was fabulous---a brilliant modernization of Moliere, a playwright I always have enjoyed. It was fast-moving, fun, funny, infinitely entertaining and full of hilarious inside, but accessible jokes. And while I frequently have criticized the acting in Berkeley Rep productions for being uneven, the acting in this one was spotless---every single one of the actors hit the ball out of the park in their portrayals [I am starting to run out of baseball metaphors].
I recognize that this play was commissioned and developed not by the Berkeley Rep, but by the Intiman Theater in Seattle, and the Berkeley Rep brought the production down from Seattle. Nevertheless, I give the Rep credit for making a very good choice and sharing it with us.
I have been going to REP plays since 1974. Lots of new plays and experimental theatre as well as the standards. This was the worst script I have ever heard....BUT great production values otherwise. I did manage to fall asleep twice...a first for me, despite all the noise. Attended with another "theatre buff" who pretty much agreed with me. Blunt but honest. ETH
Great, and very funny - but two of the costumes were so over the top that I felt they were a distraction - Big Daddy could be about two inches smaller in the waist, and the bouncing babe could have lost an inch or two, and still bounced. The puppetry-and-people visual transfers was geniusly inspired.
Moliere malpractice for me, without his charming language. Too much bawd -broad pie-in the face (or chest) humor, without nuance or substance. Yet I loved Epp's The Miser and (at OSH) The Imaginary Invalid, as well as Scapin at ACT. I did find the chorale delightful.
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