Photos by Matthew Bunker, Berkeley High School 2013
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 email@example.com to reserve a spot!
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.
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.
By Darcy Davis, Acalanes High School, Teen Council Membership chair
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.
By Shari McDonald, education fellow
Teen Council’s fall Masquerade Murder Mystery turned Berkeley Rep School of Theatre into a melting pot of theatre lovers and local band groupies. Eighty teens gathered to take part in an interactive play followed by a live band performance from the group Local Hero, comprised of Berkeley High and College Prep teens. Students from all across the Bay Area showed up for this theatrical fest of murder, delectable treats, and rocking tunes!
Teen Council members dress to impress.
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.
Sierra 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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!
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.
By Marcelo Gutierrez
Member, Berkeley Rep Teen Council
Last weekend I attended the 2011 TCG national conference, this time held in downtown L.A. Let me tell you something, be excited for the future of art and technology! The relationship between art and technology was a major theme throughout the three-day long conference, and my eyes were opened to a whole new world of possibilities.
On Thursday, I attended the breakout session called "Earning your Social Media MFA: 90 Months in 90 Minutes" presented by Devon Smith. The presentation was absolutely amazing, and I was introduced to a world of social media that can honorably present art and bring it into the future. She spoke about Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Kickstarter, YouTube, Groupon, and many other social media sites that I had never heard of. She went into detail about each one of these sites and shared the many wonders and opportunities that come with these tools, for example, the many resources Facebook has created for nonprofits at Facebook.com/nonprofits and all the apps available for smartphones, like Google Goggles, which allows you to use your phone camera to instantly access a Wikipedia page on what you're seeing, and an app that suggests who you should meet and talk to at social gatherings based on work and personal interests.
Many people complain that technology is taking away creativity and credibility from art. Devon emphasized that social media is a tool ready for our use, a tool that can enhance, spread, and promote your theatre, art, music, books, fashion designs all over the world like never before. Artists can use these tools to bring their work to an entirely new level. In the new global landscape of the internet and social media, artists no longer need a publicist, they are their own publicist. Programs like Twitter, Facebook, and blogs allow you to connect to a global audience instantly in a more direct and personal manner. The painter, George Condo, who recently designed new album art for Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, had an exhibition at the MoMa in New York earlier this year. To promote it, massive posters were put up all over New York with one of his images and the name of his exhibit. But what was really innovative about these posters was that it included a QR code. When people with smartphones took a picture of the code, it took them to a live Twitter feed relating to his exhibition.
Everything today is on a global scale! The technology today is absolutely beautiful and groundbreaking. Use it! It's free! No matter where you live, what skin color you have, how rich/poor you are, you can have and take part in any of these global networking sites and share your voice as a global citizen.
By Taylor Greenthal
Member, Berkeley Rep Teen Council
During my entire time at the Theatre Communications Group conference, my mind was exhausted from the endless analyzing and synthesizing of facts, opinions, and hypotheses that were constantly circulating around me. Through the incredible whirlwind that was the conference, I needed to find a focus, a path to help me navigate through all the discussions and really become engrossed in one major issue that mattered most to me. Of course, after my experiences with arts education at TCG last year and the newly formed Arts Advocacy Committee with Teen Council this year, I tried to seek out the discussions and people trying to make a difference in that area of the field. I was pleasantly surprised with this year’s theme of the conference, the hopeful, progressive mindset of “What if…?”. With this future-based theme, so many more plenary sessions, breakout discussions, and casual conversation revolved around us: the young people, Generation Y, “Digital Natives,” etc. I like to think that the teen voice at the conference last year reminded enough people that theatre isn’t just for the older generations, and that in fact, the theatre industry needs to learn more about and include younger generations in order to keep the industry relevent and popular. I hope that as a result of our presence last year, teens helped shift the conversation from the problems of today to the possibility of the future.
By Regina V. Fields
Member, Berkeley Rep Teen Council
This past weekend, seven teens from Berkeley Rep’s Teen Council attended the Theatre Communications Group (TCG) conference in Los Angeles, joined by three members of Steppenwolf’s Young Adult Council. This was only the second year in TCG’s history that teens have participated in this national conference. It was an incredible experience; it opened my horizons in terms of what I can do in the field of theatre, I met some amazing theatre professionals, and I had the opportunity to contribute to the conversation about engaging teens in the theatre.
The major theme of the conference was “What If” (e.g., what if we imagined the theatre field of the next 50 years, and began making visible progress today?) and ways the theatre industry can and will evolve in years to come. But I noticed that teens, the people who will be around to make those changes within the theatre industry, were left out of the conversation. Though we were often talked about and referred to as the “next generation,” we were never actually included in these important dialogues.