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Category archive: School of Theatre

Support teens supporting the arts!

posted by School of Theatre on Mon, Apr 9, 2012
in School of Theatre , Teen Council

If you see Red in the next few weeks, you may see members of Berkeley Rep’s Teen Council in the lobby with buckets and blue plastic bracelets bearing the phrase: ClaimyourARTS. These bracelets are a fun gift for those who support the School of Theatre’s ClaimyourARTS initiative, which is sending 10 Teen Council members to Washington, D.C. and Boston to advocate for arts education.

The initiative began on February 12 when the School of Theatre hosted a teen arts-advocacy conference, which sought to excite and educate Bay Area teens about arts advocacy. Negi Esfandiari, one of the teens who will be traveling to Boston as a Teen Council representative, writes about her experience at the conference below.


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Teen Night celebrates young directors

posted by School of Theatre on Wed, Mar 7, 2012
in School of Theatre , Teen Council

Photos by Matthew Bunker, Berkeley High School 2013

Teen Night for A Doctor In Spite of Himself on February 10 was a chance for young directors to engage in an evening of mentorship and celebration of their craft.










Sierra Baggins (left), a Teen One-Acts Festival director, welcomes attendees to Teen Night.















Sierra's partner-in-crime and fellow Teen One-Acts Festival director Georgia Cartharis conducts an interview with…









Jen Wineman, assistant director of A Doctor in Spite of Himself and recent MFA graduate of Yale School of Drama.

After meeting Jen and seeing her work on A Doctor in Spite of Himself, the teens can’t wait to show what they’ve got at the Teen One-Acts Festival coming up at the end of March!

Have a teen who you think would be interested in attending Teen Night? Our next event is Friday, March 16. Teens will meet and interview Director Les Waters and attend his production of Red. Interested teens can email to reserve a spot!


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Ghost Light: An intimate encounter with grief

posted by School of Theatre on Wed, Jan 18, 2012
in School of Theatre , Teen Council

By Negi Esfandiari, Berkeley High School

There are many different ways to confront death, whether it is leaning on someone’s shoulder or grieving alone. Seeing this idea played out on stage is one of my favorite aspects of Berkeley Rep’s new production of Ghost Light, which is based on Jonathan Moscone’s own confrontation with his father’s death. I never thought I would see art and death come together in such a beautiful marriage. Although Ghost Light has many admirable qualities, the most captivating was how Mr. Moscone took something so close to his heart and prepared it for hundreds of strangers to watch.

Negi interviews Ghost Light actor, Tyler James Myers, at Teen Night.

Negi interviews Ghost Light actor, Tyler James Myers, at Teen Night.

Last Friday evening, the many Teen Night participants, myself included, made their way to the Thrust Stage, chatting and wondering what they were about to experience. As I read an interview with director Jon Moscone and playwright Tony Taccone in the Ghost Light edition of Berkeley Rep Magazine, I suddenly noticed that they were both in the house. Then the lights went down, and the play began.

I have found myself tearing up during many plays, but until Ghost Light I had never experienced crying out of sympathy, or grief over the loss of a character before. How the actual Jon Moscone was able to watch this play without falling apart (especially when his father’s “ghost” makes an appearance), I have no idea.

The experience was exceptional. The way Ghost Light affected the audience was unlike any other audience reaction I’ve seen. The fact that it was so personal, to the point where it could potentially be painful or traumatic for its creator, was a feat indeed. It will definitely grab every audience, and perhaps inspire them to face their own experiences with loss. There was a barrier broken down in Ghost Light: the chasm between complete strangers, and the intimacy of one’s private life. Truly, it made all the difference.

Negi is a Junior at Berkeley High School.  She is a Teen Council Events Chair and was an actor in last year’s Teen One-Acts Festival. 

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Meet the literary fellow

posted by Karen McKevitt on Tue, Jan 10, 2012
in School of Theatre

By Julie McCormick

Greetings from the literary department! I’m Julie, this year’s Peter Sloss Literary and Dramaturgy Fellow. I’m writing from what I like to fondly refer to as the “lit cave,” a tangerine-colored office that I share with Madeleine Oldham (Berkeley Rep’s resident dramaturg and director of the Ground Floor), roughly 30 feet of shelving filled with plays, and a 13-year-old wiener dog named Hilary.


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Teen Council is wild about "The Wild Bride!"

posted by School of Theatre on Tue, Dec 13, 2011
in Our shows , School of Theatre , Teen Council

By Darcy Davis, Acalanes High School, Teen Council Membership chair

Phil's Sliders









Teen Night attendees enjoy Phil's Sliders before the show!  Thanks to Phil's Sliders for the delicious food!

Finally. It was here. The Wild Bride. The ad campaign alone had Teen Council clamoring for tickets, and after months of images of colorful dancers whirling through stage lights, Teen Night had come.

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Scripts, speeches, and sliders – Teen Night at "New Book"

posted by School of Theatre on Tue, Nov 1, 2011
in Our shows , School of Theatre , Teen Council

By Sierra Baggins, Teen Council member

Teen Night at Berkeley Rep starts with a room full of excited teens nibbling on mini burgers and tater tots (catered by the incredible Phil's Sliders!). As their plates empty and the School of Theatre falls quiet with the dimming of the lights, they know that their evening at the theatre is about to begin in earnest.

SierraSierra interviews Julie and Brandon

First, teens get to interview theatre professionals about being behind the scenes at Berkeley Rep and about the life of an artist.  I am a Teen Council regular and have seen my fair share of Teen Night interviews, but they never get old. What I like about the Teen Night interview is that the guest speaker is not always the show’s director -- we talk to people from all areas of the theatre. Stories from people on stage are always interesting, but getting to hear about productions from every angle makes the interviews that much better. With New Book, we attended a Teen Council Tech Tour of the set, then interviewed two of Berkeley Rep’s 2011-12 season fellows, Julie McCormick (literary) and Brandon Wienbrenner (artistic), both of whom worked with the show intimately.

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Berkeley Rep is Proud to Present. . . in the Library!

posted by Pauline Luppert on Mon, Oct 24, 2011
in Events , Our shows , School of Theatre

Do you know about Berkeley Rep's docent presentations?

Docent blog post

Free docent presentations offer a look inside each play and its development at Berkeley Rep. An engrossing 30-minute presentation begins one hour before most Tuesday and Thursday 8pm performances.

But wait there's more!

Berkeley Rep also brings docent presentations to you, in select public libraries, senior centers, and other community sites.This week there will be presentations for both shows currently playing at Berkeley Rep, Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup and How to Write a New Book for the Bible.

Here are the details:


Monday, 10/24 – 10:30am
Event: Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup Off-Site Docent Talk – Marion Fay
Location: Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley
Docent: Charlotte Martinelli
Monday, 10/24 – 1pm
Event: Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup Off-Site Docent Talk – Marion Fay
Location: Northbrae Community Church, 941 The Alameda, Berkeley
Docent: Joy Lancaster; Backup: Charlotte Martinelli

Tuesday, 10/25 – 7-7:30pm
Event: Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup Pre-Show Docent Talk
Location: Upper Roda Lobby
Docent: Nancy Fenton

Wednesday, 10/26 – 1pm
Event: Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup Off-Site Docent Talk – Marion Fay
Location: Alameda Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Avenue, Alameda, CA 94501
Docent: Nancy Fenton

Thursday, 10/27 – 1-1:30pm
Event: Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup Pre-Show Docent Talk (special group request)
Location: Upper Roda Lobby
Docent: Nancy Fenton


Tuesday, 10/25 – 7-7:30pm
Event: How to Write a New Book for the Bible Pre-Show Docent Talk
Location: Addison Attic
Docent: Marc Seleznow

Wednesday, 10/26 – 2pm
Event: How to Write a New Book for the Bible Off-Site Docent Talk – Moraga Library
Location: Moraga Library, 1500 Saint Marys Rd, Moraga, CA 94556
Docent: Emika Abe

Thursday, 10/27 – 7-7:30pm
Event: How to Write a New Book for the Bible Pre-Show Docent Talk
Location: Addison Attic
Docent: David Tabb

Sunday, 10/30 – 4:20pm
Event: How to Write a New Book for the Bible Post-Show Docent Discussion
Location: Addison Attic
Docents: David Tabb & Thalia Dorwick


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Take center stage with the Teen Council's Annual One-Acts Festival

posted by Kyle Sircus on Tue, Oct 11, 2011
in School of Theatre , Teen Council

Berkeley Rep is looking for fresh, young, talented teens -- and you could be one of them! Local teens will get to light up the Berkeley Rep marquee in the 10th Annual Teen One-Acts Festival next March. But the submission deadlines are coming up soon, so read on!

Do you have a story you're burning to tell? You can submit a play and get people talking about your ideas.
Do you crave the limelight? You can audition for a role in the fully produced plays written by your peers.
Do you want to share your artistic vision with the world? Take some classes and then try your hand at directing. Are you interested in knowing how the show gets to opening night? Find out by becoming a producer or working on the technical end of things.

Through classes with Berkeley Rep's resident dramaturg, Madeleine Oldham, and our new artistic associate, Mina Morita, as well as by close mentorship by Berkeley Rep's artistic and administrative team, teens will work together to produce wholly original world premieres of two plays.

If you or someone you know is interested in getting involved, visit the Teen One-Acts website, email, or call (510) 647-2973 for more information. The deadlines for play submissions and other applications fall in early November, so sharpen your pencils and get cracking. You never know -- this could be the start of something big for you!

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Happy California Arts Day!

posted by Karen McKevitt on Fri, Oct 7, 2011
in News , School of Theatre

Happy California Arts Day from Berkeley Rep!

This year’s California Arts Day theme is “driving creativity.” 

We know what the theme intends: creative cars driving speedily down the highway of artistic enlightenment. 

But driving isn’t always easy and, these days, it doesn’t always have the most positive connotations.  The word alone ignites thoughts of high gas prices, traffic, and parking frustrations.

It’s the same with the arts. Funding is tight and schools are pushing out art requirements in an effort to meet standards.  We all know the spiel. 

So for California Arts Day, let’s focus on those who are keeping us driving -- inventing the “hybrid cars” of the arts. 

Thank your teachers, politicians, and local artists who keep driving creativity in California even when that parking space seems pretty impossible to find. 

We certainly do!  Thanks California for continuing to “drive creativity!”  

Join our California Arts Day Facebook/Twitter* campaign by posting the following phrase:

“FILL IN THE BLANK drives me in the arts! Repost this status with what drives you to celebrate California’s Arts Day!”

*If you’re tweeting, be sure to use #BerkRepArtsDay as your hashtag.  


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The Glamour of Old Hollywood: A New World for Teens

posted by School of Theatre on Thu, Sep 22, 2011
in School of Theatre , Teen Council

By Gisela Feied

One of the best parts of being a part of Berkeley Rep’s Teen Council is that it allows a teenager like me to see beautiful plays at an amazing theatre. Attending Teen Night for Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup on September 9 was no exception.


As I walked in through the doors of the School of Theatre, I instantly felt the welcoming smiles of Teen Council members and School of Theatre staff. The food was to die for (adorable mini burgers from Phil’s Sliders -- thanks Phil's!). As we enjoyed our dinner, we talked to Ray Garcia and Salvatore Vassallo, the two back-up dancers in Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup. It was very easy and fun to ask them questions about their performing arts training, including their triple-threat status being singers, actors, and dancers.  And, of course, what was it like working with Rita Moreno? It was extremely exciting to hear about how Salvatore has toured the world with stars like Cher and Britney Spears! Ray was asked about his experience in the Broadway production of Rent! In the show we would get visual proof of how gifted and skilled they truly are. 

After interviewing Ray and Sal, we walked together to the theatre with tickets in hand and found our seats. As the lights went down and the curtain came up we leaned forward in our chairs and were enchanted to see Rita Moreno standing centerstage, looking out over the audience. Throughout the performance there was in intensity in watching Rita’s life unfold as a one-woman show. Seeing her life was like a seeing a new world! From an early age she realized she was a performer, and at 16 she got her first contract. She got to meet people like Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, and Elvis Presley. Not to mention the fact that she played Anita in the movie version of West Side Story! She spoke about how frustrating and unfair it was to be cast in many movies and plays based on a stereotype of her ethnicity, despite her incredible talents.

Intermission was the longest 15 minutes of my life. After the show, I was completely speechless. We could only listen to the each other try to formulate thoughts into words. It was useless, but we all knew what the others were feeling, because we felt it too. It also connected us to a whole world that, until that night, I, and many of my peers, hadn’t been exposed to. That new world was the glamour of old Hollywood. Seeing this show made me more confident in my pursuit to become a working actor one day.  What an amazing show.  It will stay with me for the rest of my life -- I can’t wait for the next Teen Night! 

An aspiring actress and stage combatant, Gisela Feied is a junior at Oakland School for the Arts. A Teen Council regular, Gisela has participated in many Teen Council programs, including acting in the Teen One-Acts Festival and winning the title of Top Fundraiser at last year’s Teen Council Dramathon. 

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