Wednesday, September 28
SPANISH COLONIAL SYSTEM
In the 200 year history of the Spanish Colonial Casta system the categorizations grew and expanded as new generations of mestizaje required new classifications. Ultimately the beginning of the 1800s saw over one hun-dred different racial variations. Paintings like “Las Cas-tas” are visual reminders of the attempt to visually cate-gorize the categories of racial identification.
Wednesday, September 21
THE ROMANTIC CALIFORNIO ERA
Wednesday, September 14
HISTORY OF MOLIERE AND THE IMAGINARY INVALID
--From NYU’s School of Medicine Literature Arts Medicine Database
Wednesday, September 7
by Salomon Maya
As I write this we are starting the 3rd week of rehearsals for Manifest Destinitis, gone is the pomp and circumstance of the first meeting. If there is one thing I take from this experience is that it is truly hard work. Rehearsals now step up into a form of light speed, something that some actors may not be accustomed to. Being off book isn’t a suggested date, rather a necessity. The phrase “I can’t block you if you have a script in your hands” never rings more true than on this project as characters are moving all around the stage.
In prior theatre projects. I felt like I could “get away” with just being as close to a character as I could be. After working on Manifest, I now am ashamed to even call my prior work genuine. Our director demands truthfulness and genuine performances on stage, no matter how “wacky” the character. For example, one of my characters in Manifest is a 19th Century Shakespeare Performer reciting the last lines of Romeo and Juliet…in Spanish. Okay, I can do that, I’m a fluent Spanish speaker…let’s rock right? Wrong. As I tried to deliver the lines, Sam kept pushing me to find more of a Shakespearean look to my movement. Full disclosure, the closest to Macbeth I’ve ever been is probably the drive thru window at a McDonald’s ordering McNuggets, suffice to say I will not be seen at the Bard anytime soon. Yet for such a small moment in the play, I was being pushed to make the audience believe that for that moment, I was a true Spanish Shakespearean actor. And let me tell you, as a writer and actor who normally deals in realism…it wasn’t easy. I was given research material on stances and how to deliver the lines properly. As I left that days rehearsal, Herbert (the playwright and actor) came up to me, patted me on the shoulder and said, “comedy is hard.”
Am I on my way to a Kenneth Branagh like career? Heck no, but my advice to any actor reading this is the following:
1. Do your homework. Research your part, come prepared.
2. There is no such thing as a small moment or small part. Every line is important, honor the text.
3. Embrace the stillness of theatre (especially with your hands).
4. Learn your lines as quickly as you can, you’d be amazed as to the different things you’ll find in the character once you have everything to memory.
In the end, as we approach tech week, I am so proud of being part of this project. I truly am a lucky man to come in to rehearse with some of the best artists this city has to offer. I believe this piece will have the audience laughing at the same time pondering the current world we live in. I hope that our characters are not only memorable but genuine for all of our audiences.
Wednesday, August 31
WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT...
Herbert Siguenza joining our San Diego REP staff for the next three years as Playwright-in-Residence, thanks to a grant funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Herbert is well known as one of the founding members of the nationally acclaimed performance group Culture Clash who have written and performed dozens of award-winning plays such as Radio Mambo, Bordertown and American Night: The Ballad of Juan José. Herbert has also developed many of his own plays with us at The REP that have gone on to join the list of our most memorable shows, including: A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, El Henry (in association with La Jolla Playhouse), and Steal Heaven, all of which he also starred in.
Manifest Destinitis is Herbert’s first play of this residency and it is a whopper. Just in time for the election, he has written a farce based on Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid that plays with the political stress and strife we all feel in times of change. It is a mash-up of historical and contemporary issues that is smart and exceedingly funny.
Through our volunteer council Amigos del REP—which Siguenza founded in 2012 to spotlight Latino writers, actors, and directors—we did several public readings of this play as it was developed. Each time we did a reading of this play, the room exploded with laughter. And, as it often is when working with Herbert, it was a joy to watch the piece expand and deepen as he soaked in the feedback, responses, and audience reactions.
We are also thrilled to be opening and closing our season with two powerhouse Latino/a focused plays. (Make sure not to miss Into the Beautiful North by Karen Zacarías.) Manifest Destinitis is actually our 50th production of a Latino/a -focused play. And there is no one else we would want at the helm as director but Sam Woodhouse. His vision for this play is to really draw the connections to our current political climate to heighten the emotional impact and also the comedy for our audiences.
Sam is eager to start working with a cast of San Diego favorites, many of whom are also members of Amigos del REP. The cast includes: Mark Pinter, Jenn Paredes, Roxane Carrasco, Jacob Caltrider, John Padilla, Richard Trujillo, Salomon Maya, plus Herbert Siguenza as the servant (in drag). We have a powerhouse of a show for you with incredible costumes, set, and music!
Come. Laugh. Invest. Explore.
by Salomon Maya
Almost all of us remember the first day of school. Wearing new crisp clothing mom bought along with manila folders ready to put useless papers in. Call me a dweeb but I always loved the first day of school, even though I could see when the teacher would get to my name in roll call. That’s normally when I’d hear the typical “I’m sorry if I mispronounce your name but is it Sol-o-man?”
That’s pretty much how it feels when arriving to the first rehearsal for a new play. You rekindle friendships with people you’ve worked with and shake the hands of some you’ve never met. That’s how intimate the theatre scene is in San Diego. Even though I had never worked with, let’s say, a Mark Pinter, I had definitely been a huge fan of his prior work having seen him in Clybourne Park (one of the 1st plays I saw at the REP upon moving back to San Diego) and now knowing I’d be sharing the stage with him…well that’s just awesome!
This will be my 5th production with the REP, two cast in a show three working as an understudy, so I felt like a veteran walking into the Creative Rehearsal Space in Chula Vista. The murals encompassing the walls inside a stark reminder of what lay beyond the “happy door” on the right. As an actor walking into the first rehearsal, you always lock eyes with the first person you encounter and embrace. For me it was fellow Amiga del REP Elsa Martinez. We reminisced being in this building a couple years prior when we were understudying for another REP show, In the Time of the Butterflies.
Yet before I can even continue working the room, our Stage Manager called everyone inside the rehearsal space. A large circle of chairs greeted us. As this wasn’t my first rodeo I knew what that meant…the SD Rep tradition of “the question.” The REP has a tradition of asking one question, pertaining to the production we’re gathered for, and for Manifest Destinitis the question asked was if we could recall a moment in our lives when we experienced the California state of mind.
One by one, people introduced themselves, what they would be doing for the production and answered the question. I gave a quick anecdote on my days as a stand-up comedian in Hollywood. Designers, actors, dramaturgs, all sharing what the California state of mind meant to them. Some sharing personal tales, others inspirational credos. In the end, the entire Manifest Destinitis family created a new state of mind, the Manifest State of Mind, a crazy, funny and soulful tale of family, language, culture and surfers. You can’t get more California than that.
In this blog I hope to give you an inside look into the ups and downs of the process, to be as genuine as I can be and express to you everything I’m going through as an actor…to show you my own state of mind.
Jim Carmody is a professor in UCSD's department of theatre and dance, and is a photographer specializing in theatre and dance performances. Jim will be sending us photos every week from the Manifest Destinitis rehearsal hall. Take a sneak peek at our company meeting and first rehearsal!
- Shows: 2018-2019
- Nathan Gunn FLYING SOLO
- The 25th Annual Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival Gala
- The 17th Annual Klezmer Summit
- The Ancient Law (Das alte Gesetz) With Live Score performed by Donald Sosin and Alicia Svigals
- 9th Annual Women of Valor
- Elon Gold: Pro-Semite, An Evening of Comedy with Elon Gold
- Teatro Punto y Coma present The Mudanza, An Unapologetic Bilingual Play
- In Every Generation
- From Rags to Riches! A Musical Journey with Jacquelyne Silver
- Perla Batalla in The House of Cohen
- Losing the Nobel Prize
- Andy Statman: An American Musical Treasure
- Fun Home
- A Dolls House, Part 2
- Hershey Felder, Beethoven
- Special Events
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