By Elliott Levy
At Berkeley Rep, we're always looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. You've seen our recycling and compost bins, we turn the lights on in our admin offices only when necessary, our shops always think about how to reuse and recycle materials -- and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
We've been particpating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star™ energy-benchmarking service. Participation in Energy Benchmarking allows us to view our facilities' energy consumption compared to facilities similar in size, usage, and climate across the nation. This information enables us to identify areas where we can conserve and how to do so most effectively. Of our applicable facilities, we have achieved an organization-wide rating of 91 on a scale of 100, with 50 being the national average. This outstanding rating has qualified our facilities for Energy Star™ Certification.
Last month our efforts were recognized when the city of Berkeley gave us certificates of Energy Efficiency Excellence signed by Mayor Tom Bates and Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, for "helping Berkeley meet its ambitious Climate Action Plan goals." We're thrilled with the awards, but we'll always continue to look for new and more ways to be energy efficient!
By Emily Radler, Teen Council member
On November 4, Teen Council hosted its second CLAIM Conference in Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre. The Conference was part of the claimyourARTS ("CLAIM") initiative, which allows teens to speak out about the importance of arts in education. The CLAIM Conference gives dozens of Bay Area teens, including myself, a chance to raise our voices for the arts.
The conference started off with a teen-generated slideshow featuring facts and figures reminding us why arts in schools are a must, not a maybe. From the slideshow as well as events later in the day, we learned that student involvement in the arts is linked to higher academic performance, increased standardized test scores, greater involvement in community service, and lower dropout rates. These facts, among many others, were things I didn't know until I participated with my team, the Ferocious Watermelons, in a series of competitive CLAIM games. The games taught us that it is important to act fast when it comes to standing up for our arts, and we learned how to support our position with factual information.
By Amanda Spector, education fellow
So much of how we experience theatre has to do with what we see. Berkeley Rep's Teen Council was lucky enough to meet with Daniel Ostling, the Tony Award-nominated set designer, before seeing Mary Zimmerman’s The White Snake, which is now playing here at Berkeley Rep. Aesthetically, the set designer creates the playing space for the actors and is instrumental in bringing the show to life. Daniel has collaborated with Mary on a number of productions, and shared with Teen Council what it means to start with a book, a myth, or a simple story and to end up with a stunning work of art.
Teen Council member Emily Radler interviewed Daniel as part of Teen Night, which is a discounted night of theatre at Berkeley Rep for Bay Area teens. The event includes an exclusive interview and dinner before the show. Here's a video of the interview, where Daniel shares insight about the creative process.
One of our graphics department's most important tasks is creating the artwork for each show. This artwork appears on all marketing materials: the show program, posters, ads, postcards, and more. Good artwork doesn't give everything about the show away, but it does draw the viewer in.
The past couple of shows (An Iliad and Chinglish) and almost all of last season's shows involved artwork that was created on the computer or with production photos. Depending on the show, it is easier to use an iconic photo (like In Paris), or a type-based logo (such as Ghost Light) for our marketing purposes. Computer-generated artwork — which is readily altered and manipulated for all of the marketing materials — makes our lives as graphic designers a little easier.
Cheshire, our art director, had a very clear image in his mind of what he wanted for The White Snake, Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of the classic Chinese fable. Although we had access to production photos from the world premiere in Ashland, we wanted to create our own image of a particular scene in the play.
To celebrate, Scenic Charge Artist Lisa Lazar shares a fun tip about prepping some scenery for the show. Take it away, Lisa!
I have been tending to the scenery for our upcoming production of The White Snake. This show is a co-production with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and we're using their scenery, costumes, and props.
We're absolutely overwhelmed by how much our audiences love An Iliad! Of course we think Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare's contemporary adaptation of the story of the Trojan War is pretty awesome, but here's what people like you say:
"This was theatre at its best — satisfying on so many levels. Please convey our deepest appreciation to Henry Woronicz for giving us so much."
"We were deeply moved by An Iliad. The acting was superb and the production fantastic!"
"One of the best Berkeley Rep productions I've seen. Have recommended it to two friends. One has seen it already, one is going next week. Wish my kids weren't off at college or I'd take them as well."
"A bravura performance! A real treat to see an actor so varied in his vocal and physical prowess."
"It was absolutely incredible! The acting by Henry Woronicz was not to be believed! He certainly deserved the standing ovation!!! What an amazing adaptation to today’s world. Thank you for a very thought-provoking experience."
By Frances Maples, Teen Council member
An Iliad, a powerful, provocative play based on Homer’s The Iliad was eye-opening for 75 Bay Area teens who attended the show early in October. Before the performance, Frances Maples interviewed acclaimed director and writer, Lisa Peterson, asking the artist about her creative processes and inspirations.
Mary Zimmerman's White Snake opens in less than three weeks -- and it's her seventh show here at Berkeley Rep! She's among our most frequent guest directors, and she's a favorite with our patrons (and the critics).
To celebrate, let's take a look at the past six shows at the Theatre...
The Arabian Nights (2008-09, encore 2010)
Mary Zimmerman breathes new life into the tale of 1,001 nights.
"First rate entertainment... Zimmerman has a genius for building stage spectaculars from the most basic, old-fashioned materials." -- San Francisco Chronicle
Even in previews, An Iliad earned standing ovations and more than several teary eyes as actor Henry Woronicz captivated audiences with a contemporary retelling of the Trojan War.
It officially opened on Wednesday -- and the reviews are in! Here's what the critics say:
Artistic Director Tony Taccone and Managing Director Susan Medak both scored awards recently. We already told you about Susan's award. On Friday, Tony picks up the Margo Jones Award!
Recipients of this award have demonstrated a significant impact, understanding, and affirmation of the craft of playwriting and have encouraged the living theatre everywhere. Past recipients include Joseph Papp, Lloyd Richards, and Christopher Durang and Marsha Norman.