…The F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre… (A converted gymnasium on the campus of Drew University)
…The Kirby Gift Shop… Home of t-shirts, season play scripts, and the William Shakespeare Action Figure
…The Dorothea Young Center for the Arts… (a.k.a The Doyo)
…The Call Board… Information central for rehearsal and crew schedules
…and … The Production Office Crisis Control Center Job description: Everything from hiring designers to waxing theatre seats Home of the heavy lifters
Responsibilities of Production Crew Transporting 300 champagne flutes to the kitchens to be washed for Opening Night receptions Fielding phone calls from designers and theatre staffers Repairing quick-change tents at the outdoor stage after a thunderstorm Tracking receipts, creating expense reports, and submitting financial statements through expensewire.com Hand-sewing Velcro on to a canvas backdrop for a touring production of Twelfth Night (and teaching a Production Intern how to sew) Filling in when apprentices on other crews fail to report for duty or need an extra helping hand (ex. Striking a 40 foot wall and stage platform at the Outdoor Stage)
The Outdoor Stage at The College of Saint Elizabeth home of the Rude Mechanicals And their rehearsal of A Midsummer Nights Dream
I helped raise this lofty wall…and ultimately helped destroy it as well. The View from BACKSTAGE
Northwestern alumnus Dick Wood (pictured in orange) designed the all-weather set Hard at work testing the elastic on the fairy wigs (above) and sewing ornamentation onto fairy sneakers (below)
A Midsummer Nights Donkey …Beating the heat in Jersey in July Surveying the amphitheatre during tech rehearsal. The actors continuously ran up and down the four cement stairwells throughout the theatre.
The Scene Shop: Livingston, New Jersey Mission: to inventory the entire chair collection of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Mission Accomplished.
Opening Night parties… theyre all about networking… and the (donated) Cabot cheese. The Shakespeare Theatre is rumored to have the best opening night parties in the state – Thanks to the Apprentices who arrive early to set up, make sure the pound cake is replenished, and usher revelers home after the actor van leaves. Who put Chris in charge of the keg?
Opening Night parties are the perfect opportunity to chat with the actors, eavesdrop on critics, watch subscribers horde the hors doeuvres, and request a meeting with the artistic director. Cocktail dresses were part of the required wardrobe…
Prospective Juliets rehearsing the balcony scene beneath the sapphire lanterns and above the Shakespearean quote wall. Each Apprentice works one opening night, but all off- duty Apprentices are welcome to enjoy the party.
This picture pretty much sums up the entire summer for me… Note the Apprentices in their party attire taking out the trash…
Before… the castle interior. Even the coat of arms had a name. After… Apprentices maneuvering the Genie lift. This is the way we strike the set, STRIKE the set, strike the SET, this is the way we strike the set so early Sunday morning…
The Bald Soprano directed by Matthew Arbour Greg Jackson, Mary Bacon, and Angela Pierce in The Bald Soprano. Photo by Andrew Murad. The only all-Equity cast of the summer featured a living room set inside a massive shipping crate and a very confused audience. Artistic Director Bonnie Monte was questioned for selecting too modern of a choice for her classical theatre.
Apprentice Performances King Henry VI Part I – Act I, Scene i.
First Apprentice Scene Night: Everything is Everything Leslie Hart and Jason Edward Bobb in Dates and Nuts by Gary Lennon
DesiRed: The Directing Interns Scene Night Seth Gamble and Abbie Isaac in their process of Creating Tableaux
The Trojan Women Chasya Hill as Hecuba Chekhovian angst tableau for Uncle Vanya
Backstage Leslie Hart as Armande in The Learned Ladies Jenny McDowell as Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest Fellow Apprentice Laura Stuarts Pre-Performance Warm-up Routine* *in these pictures, I am wearing Lauras sweater while she is wearing my shoes
Nice Work if You Can Get It Company Cabaret 2007 An Exploration of Gender Identity in Shakespearean Drama Adapted from Mulan The LADIES…
…the MEN. We can hold trays just like they do. Even the casting director admitted our number was a showstopper.
Scheming Sisters: Shakespeare Scene Night Heather Gorby as Regan and Leslie Hart as Goneril in the opening scene of King Lear
WANTED: photos Missing images of my Private Lives scene from Night at the Fights and my Learned Ladies scene from Desired. …because I was busy taking the pictures…
Henry VI Part I SPTP coordinator and stage combat guru Stephen Davis worked harder for us than any other Shakespeare staffer, thus we designed a t-shirt (Top 10 Reasons Why We Love Stephen Davis) in his honor and presented it to him at the final dress rehearsal.
The entire Apprentice Company onstage – standing above the visage of King Henry V* *The design for the floor is based on a picture of Hollywood actor David Conrad, star of the NJ Shakespeare season opener, Henry V
The Duke of Alencon squares off against the Duke of Winchester The Duke of Alencon claims the throne. (NB: This occurs in Shakespeares unpublished sequel, Prince of the Blood)
The coffin of King Henry V Sussex and Margaret of Anjou
Henry Vs funeral The future Henry VI is doing double duty as an extra soldier to the right of the coffin.
The famous Temple Garden scene, where the Duke of Somerset confronts the Duke of York, beginning the War of the Roses.
STRIKE! The very last day… Marcus gives in to exhaustion. Victoria surveys the stage we mopped. Twice.
Masterclass! Ballroom Dancing with Jeff Virchow and Tory Talbot
Stage Makeup with the multi-talented Stephen Davis Before AFTER!!!
Other Masterclasses… Included: –A talk back with the cast of The Plays the Thing –A Q&A session with the young professionals in A Midsummer Nights Dream -6 hours worth of workshopping scenes with artistic director Bonnie J. Monte -Epic Theatre with Devon Allen
Applying those stage combat skills… Although we never actually had a day off, we were occasionally able to reward a particularly demanding day of crew work with a summertime treat…
The Nautilus Diner: Rehearsal Hall and Cast Party Central …because no Immersion Experience in New Jersey is complete without an authentic Jersey diner. Seven Belgian Waffles please!
Parting Thoughts from Bonnie J. Monte At the beginning of July, I introduced myself to Bonnie Monte and asked if I could set up a meeting with her to find out more about her responsibilities as an artistic director – –Her influence around the theatre was legendary and her employees both feared and revered her…I wanted to find out firsthand how Bonnie created such a spectacular theatre. Due to extenuating circumstance, my meeting request was honored several weeks after the completion of my apprenticeship, and I returned to Madison with questions prepared for the woman directly responsible for the most informative six hours of my summer experience… …I was not disappointed.
Before I could ask my first question, Bonnie said shed tell me a little bit about her job first, and perhaps she might address some of my thoughts right off the bat…she then spoke for 45 minutes straight about her life in the theatre. She described an artistic director as the biggest picture person She articulated a huge responsibility to her audience and the burden of honoring their emotions and intellect She explained that women see things differently, and how she seeks to be strong and compassionate as well as blunt and honest She reinforced that the artistic director is the person people go to, and how an artistic director encompasses ALL the art forms She explained that a Great Performances broadcast of The Seagull changed her life She expressed the value of working ones way up and training as an artistic director through assisting other artistic directors in venues one would ultimately like to work Her most important criteria for the position is being willing to do whatever it takes when no-one else will do the job
I sought to advance my own life in the theatre through the wealth of experiences available to me in Madison that are not a part of the Northwestern theatre curriculum. I sought to establish and broaden my network of contacts and collaborators within the theatrical world and experience firsthand the life of a professional regional theatre. I sought a different kind of intensive training and the opportunity to work as an ensemble with a diverse group of actors who share my passion for classical theatre. Not only did I experience these benefits and enhance my skill set as an actor while exercising my organizational talents in the Production Office, I fully realized that what I want more than any one major accomplishment onstage or behind the scenes is a life in the theatre. If my own experience as an intern for Great Performances last summer and my most recent theatrical endeavor as an assistant director for Prof. David Bells Main Stage production of the Shakespearean musical comedy The Boys from Syracuse are any indication, my interest in striving for the ultimate job of artistic director continually strengthens. Ideally, many more performance opportunities will lie along my path, but now that I have realized that acting alone will not always sustain my artistic and intellectual needs, I have an even higher goal in mind – to create, enable, and nurture theatre for appreciative audiences. In applying for a Northwestern Immersion Grant for an Apprenticeship at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey,
Thank you, Bonnie J. Monte… and Thank you, Northwestern. Leslie Hart Northwestern University School of Communication Theatre, Class of 2008 November 2007