eccomi

Bard summer, post 2

Although I really do have a number of other assignments to catch up on (one of them being a tiny research in Andes music for my English class on Monday, so uh, if you know anything about Andes music by any chance – angelodifuoco? :) – do give me some hints please before I goof), I couldn't resist writing the blog.
I actually wanted to do it before The Wreckers premiere tonight, because I suspect that after the opening night I might not be able to talk about anything else; and there is a lot to tell.
Now, back to Okla (I guess it's not the last time I'm blabbering about it as you really cannot get it off your mind once you see it).
Yesterday I met Caleb Hamons, who is Associate Producer, and Gideon Lester, who is Director of Theater and Performance here at Bard.
First thing first, Gideon is on my side :) I mean, he himself is a trained dramaturg, and he worked with a number of quite radical drama directors in New York. What actually made him and Caleb come to Bard and stay here is that here you can do risky things and really cultivate the audience that would be more open-minded and curiours.
Bard SummerScape, as well as the regular theatrical and musical life at Bard, is almost entirely donor-based. There is a lot of fundraising to be done by those who run these projects, but as a result the productions are second to independent from box office sales. Which in turns means that you can experiment and prioritize a really creative approach, not bother about having a full house every night, like you would on Broadway.
And as it happens, Caleb explained, the people who study at Bard and can see the shows and hear the concerts during the year have their heads turned. And it's the future audience that we might get – people with open minds, ready to explore new music, not hear the same pieces over and over again, and to see new theatrical productions. It's nice to know there's hope for director's theatre in America ;))
Speaking of the kind of things that become possible here at bard, Gideon told a story of how this production of Oklahoma! came about. Daniel Fish, the director of the production, did this version with Bard students way back in 2007 (lucky them). It clicked (as it should have), and Gideon, who was not at Bard at that time, wanted to move it to the professional stage, but the Rodgers and Hammerstein Estate claimed it to be too radical for Boston, let alone NYC, and forbade it.
And this year finally the stars were in the right positions: people in charge of R&H Estate have changed, and this year's SummerScape is dedicated to Chavez – so there is a good reason to stage a piece written by his contemporaries and viewing the plains from a different point. And they got a green light.
(BTW this is the Fisher Center, where you have two theatres, the small one where Okla was staged called LUMA theatre, and the big one, where we'll be seeing The Wreckers, called Sosnoff Theatre. It was Leon Botstein who raised the funds to build such a beautiful place (and with great acoustics), and look what happened to the old theatre:
No picture of the bricks, sorry, but there are six of nem right behind the stage door.)
What is especially inspiring about it is that you can really do something at Bard not fearing that it will be a flop with the audience, but, you know, it will not be a flop, you meet a lot of people who are ready to accept anything new and think it over.
Now, another thing I would like to tell you about Bard is that it is the most tolerant place on earth. For LGBTQ+ people it's paradize. Nobody actually cares whether you are straight or gay or transgender or queer in any other way, and you are welcome to mention it or not mention it or anything. And no one cares if you wear a dress being biologically male and so on. I mean, such places do exist. It's about as shocking as when I saw all the freedom people are used to in Amsterdam, only there you kind of see all of it on the surface and here it's just embedded into people's heads – sort of, I'm sorry for the garbaldy-goop explanation, but you know, it's kind of less obvious because it just comes so naturally. I went to see the sunset yesterday
(which I do everyday, do check my Instagram) and I just talked to complete strangers, and it was so much fun. You wouldn't believe I did that, given how intimidated I get with people I have never met, but that did happen, honest!
I must thank Brian Mateo ♥ who is personally responsible for this, as he very carefully showed me a nice and quiet place to read; I bet he could foresee it! ;))) And really, everyone here is so amazingly nice I almost feel I don't deserve it (um, wait, no, I do ;)) Hey Jared, I know you are reading this, you are great! ;)))
Back to the Fisher Center (I always write this 'centre' and 'theatre', but I'm working on it!). On Wednesday we had a backstage tour with Vin Roca, who is Production Manager here at Bard. I'll show you some highlights:
This is a view from the stage towards the audience. You can get a peek of the sets for The Wreckers which consists of 320 crates made in a workshop in Virginia. They were then hand-painted here at Bard to make them look aged and washed out by the sea; and built into a 30-feet-high set.
Thadeus Strassberg, who is once again the opera director for the SummerScape, and his team arranged it so that instead of three locations you formally have in the libretto (the town square, the seashore and a cave) you only have one which kind of encompasses all three. There are few set changes (basically most of the crates stay in their place) and several video projections, but it is very dynamic and impressive.
Then, we got to see the costume shop:
Once again, you can get a peek here at something I cannot take a detailed picture of, which is – there at the back, there are Oklahoma! costume designs.
And this is a very nice lady whose name unfortunately slipped my mind:
belta and meethos, you'll love this: she's showing a universal shirt ;) Something that would work for basically any 'old' production. Almost like the universal Spanish costume we had in our book!
Another look of the stage; you can also see the computer-operated machinery. One thing that totally amazed me is how silent they are compared to what we have back home. As you can see, this is very tall; they also have a trap door in the middle of the stage. Not bad, huh?
And last but not least (here comes the headliner, actually):
I got to meet Thadeus and I am afraid I completely monopolized the conversation ;)) I really don't have much time left before a meeting I have at twelve (I am also quite hungry after the fantastic Zumba class I had last night and a Stretch+ class this morning), so I'll just give you a couple of highlights.
A production at the SummerScape is very ephemeral, it only lives through the Festival and then it's gone forever. "Isn't it a bit depressing, doing something that will not last?" said I, to which Thadeus replied: "It's rejuvenating!"
Another thing he said actually reminded me of what Adrian Noble explained when we were talking about Don Carlo. Like, how does the idea of the staging come about? You start from people, said Thadeus, and it's a bit like a zoo: you have tigers and you have lions; now, where would a lion live, what would a tiger need? And that's how it all starts to come to life.
And one last thing. When I asked about the relationship between Pascoe and Avis (spoiler alert!), Thadeus refused to give a straight answer, he actually said "you tell me". And then he explained it that way: he like to have a lot of possibilities in a production, so that each person in the audience could make their own story.
OK, gotta run!

P.S. Here's me, my pink shoes and James Bagwell:
I wish I could take more of his classes. Well, maybe I'll be a conductor in another life.
Yeah, but not in a crappy translation I could do through Google translate :(
Thank you!
A hint: Spanish-English presumably works better than Spanish-Russian, because English would in any case be the intermediate language. The English translations in Google Translate have got quite readable recently.
Scientific text are actually easier to read than novels, poetry or colloquial language, so, if you know French and can get through an Italian text without putting too much effort into it, you might try the original sources - just to see how it goes.

By the by: pink shoes with pink shirt looks better than pink, black & blue, if you ask me.

I'l comment on hte rest of your entry later, when I've got somewhat more time.
Anything-English works better on Google translate, that's true; and I've recently read that Serail article in Hungarian through Google translate and it was quite good, actually. I mean, I don't know how accurate it was, but the English looked rather congenial.

Pink shoes for the win! As you can see, I even took them to the other side of the pond. Should tell you something about my affection for them.
I might actually start a blog about where these pink shoes go ;))))
Seriously though, I know the colour is contraversial, but these are about the most comfortable thing to wear, especially in this weather (we have at least 100F everyday, and sometimes more).

Congrats on your passport! And know what? A year ago on this day we were in Munich together ;)
Yeah!

100F? I'd be starving. Am I right to suppose it's not only hot, but also humid?

Thanks!
And there's no Instagram picture in your Facebook account commemorating our first meeting? Shame on you, Aya! :)))
It is moist, but not extremely humid. What is hard to bear is that the air is so still, there's hardly a light breeze.

Fixed that! ;)
Lol the universal shirt, it reminds me of the LARP community immediately. Everyone has a universal shirt and a universal fantasy cloak - I still have one at home, I believe.
[I think it's better to comment in English, right? Not very pleasant when you read a post but then the comments are in Russian...]
What's LARP? (Too lazy to Google ;)) Upd: Silly me, I know the abbreviation, why did I forget it all of a sudden?

I think it doesn't matter much, but it kills me to reply from my mobile (LJ doesn't have any convenient app for commenting AFAIK), so I'll have to answer in English anyway!

Edited at 2015-07-24 06:32 pm (UTC)
Oh I could just say "those guys with wooden swords" but the swords tend to be from epoxy these days (or from latex outside Russia. Honestly, latex swords are a thing). :))

Please keep posting, that's really fun and Instagram pics can't tell everything!
Latex swords. Well lubricated. Now I see where they got this whole GoT thing.

I will! We have 'The Wreckers' opening night tonight, then we have Opera Talk on Sunday, so there will be quite a lot to tell!
How's the music, by the way? I once downloaded a recording of an opera by Ethel Smith (it might have been "The Wreckers" or another one), but I never heard it.
I hope to write a longish post about it, but long story short, nothing new, but it kind of grows on you anyway. Like, not something exceptional, but it's good.
Универсальная рубашка рулит!
И вообще, мне все у вас там нравится.

Edited at 2015-07-26 04:24 pm (UTC)