Friday, September 22, 2006

Short Oder Stories Opens

Short Order Stories by Renee Calarco (yes my sister) opened last night in Virginia at Charter Theatre. We have a truly great cast: Lee Mikeska Gardner, Andy Brownstein, Chris Stezin, Kerri Seymour, Anne Veal, Michael Grew, and Timmy Ray James. Thanks to Keith Bridges and everyone at Charter for giving Renee and I this opportunity to work together.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lincolnesque Opens

Lincolnesque by John Strand opened last night at The Old Globe in San Diego. It was an incredible experience from moment one. The entire staff at the Old Globe was amazing, welcoming, and supportive. I had a dream design team: Mike Fagin on set, Anne Kennedy on costumes, Chris Rynne on lights, and Lindsay Jones on sound. And I could not ask for a more talented, inventive, joyous cast than that of T. Ryder Smith, Leo Marks, James Sutorius, and Magaly Colimon.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Opening Night

Wow! That's all I have to say. Tonight was incredible. Truly extraordinary, moving, joyous...

Earlier in the day Chris and I did some more shopping. Oy! I don't know how I'm going to get everything home, but it was worth it. I'm very excited by the purchases.

We went over to the theatre and after handing out some gifts, the entire company gathered for a traditional Shinto prayer ceremony, where a blessing is said for the theatre/production. It was very beautiful and moving and I felt honored to be included in the ceremony.

The house was basically full and I must say I was nervous. As many times as I've been through opening nights of R&J, it still is basically terrifying. I was reminded of how personal the show is for me- how much of me is in it. It represents so much of what I love about and want to achieve in the theatre: the desire for doing pieces that attempt to move an audience and that embrace theatricality. And this cast is just extraordinary. They're sooo passionate. None of them have ever done Shakespeare before, and they all just dove in head first and wrestled the play to the ground. I am so proud of how much they've grown in the show. In the sourvenir program (which is by far the most beautiful I have ever seen-- I'm bring back several copies), Ryuta Sato, who plays Juliet says in an interview, "I don't see any language barrier (with Joe). His notes come straight into my heart. I tend to feel scared when I see high walls in front of me and tend to run away from them, but I feel very comfortable with this play and am confronting the walls, saying, 'I'll overcome you!'" When I read that, (my interpreter Mariko generously translated the program into English for me) I was so moved. It's just so open and honest. That is what all four guys are like. And it shows on stage. The show just overflows with emotion and honesty. I was very nervous during the first 15 minutes as always. I was warned that the Japanese audience is very quiet, and they were at the beginning. But once we got into Juliet's entrance scene with the Nurse and Lady Capulet, there was a lot of laughter and I saw that the audience was really with the show and were following it. The silence from then on was sooo attentive-- the kind of silence you want in theatre. During act two there was a lot of crying going on in the audience. At the end of the show the applause was loud and enthusiastic. I was brought up on stage, which I've never done. I wish I had had the presence of mind to take out my camera and take a picture of the audience LOL. It was very surreal and I wish I had been a little more "present" for that moment. It's something I'm working on. I walked into the wings with the guys and after hugging each of them and doing a groug hug, we realized the audience was still applauding so I sent them out for another bow which they richly deserved. Several people asked me for my autograph as I walked into the lobby after the show which was nice. Then we had drinks and some food in the lobby. There were several toasts and a lot of pictures. I started to feel very melancholy. It was an extraordinary experience doing this show here- life changing really. And I'm going to miss the production and everyone involved with it. Everyone involved with the production was so generous and lovely and it was incredible to see that opening night audience respond as they did. I wish I could take in more of it. But off to the next job.

I really want to come back to Japan!!

Monday, January 31, 2005

Day of Opening

Well we open tonight. The final dress went very well. For the afternoon dress yesterday there was a ton of press there. So different than in the States and very cool. They shot the show and then did a sort of "press conference" interview session with the cast. I saw a proof of the sourvenir program and it's gorgeous.

Chris went off to see Kabuki this morning and I am going to meet him later and we're going to do some final shopping.

I can't believe I leave tomorrow. I'm looking forward to starting on the Disney project. It will be fun to start a new show. I love R&J and as I watch it I feel a great deal of pride in the show. The show changed my life and has given me unbelieavable opportunities. Sometimes I forget that. On the days when I get frustrated, I forget that.

more later

more pictures are up on my site. The typos of some of the names will be fixed asap :-)

Sunday, January 30, 2005

First Tech

I was going to write more about Kyoto tonight but we had tech today and I'm a bit tired. Suffice to say (for now) that we went to To-ji and Daigo-ji which seemed epic in size and also more rustic than the temples I had seen the day before. Daigo-ji is up in the mountains and the grounds are sprawling and felt practically deserted the day were were there. Weather-wise, it felt like spring. As we climbed and climbed we came across a beautiful path that if you followed for an hour you got to the top of the mountain. Mariko didn't have her hiking shoes. Neither did I actually but I did start the trek on my own, knowing I couldn't do the whole climb because of time constraints and because I felt bad leaving Mariko down at the bottom of the hill--- though she wholeheartedly encouraged me to go up. It was this day that truly convinced me to come back to Japan-- I want to climb that mountain damnit! :-) And I want to explore more of Kyoto and other parts of the "real" Japan. LOL that phrase... Ive heard it several times since Ive been here.....
Then.... a bit more shopping. oy. And then some lovely tea and sweets. We shared carrott cake, apple crisp/pie, and some sundae concoction. All were delicious.
Then we picked up the luggage and hit the train again. Back to tokyo and the hustle and bustle and the lights of Shibuya. It was saturday night so..... It was pretty wild.
I wasnt going to write anything about Kyoto before bed... alas... but more later. this was just the nuts and bolts.

TEch today went really well. Got through the whole show. Chris' lights look as gorgeous as ever.

more later

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Two Days in Kyoto

What a couple of days I've just had! My interpreter, Mariko, Chris Lee and I went to Kyoto. Everyone had told me that I must go-- "If you're in Japan, you have to get out of Tokyo and see the real Japan. Go to Kyoto." Boy, am I ever glad I did. It's unbelievable. Kyoto has 1600 temples and hundreds of shrines and I really felt like I was seeing some of the true history of this ancient culture.

We left Tokyo on Friday morning and took the high speed train to Kyoto. As we zipped along we saw Mount Fuji towering in the distance but I unfortunately did not get a picture of it.

We got to Kyoto and stayed at the Rhiga Royal which was lovely and very convenient-- and we spent no time in the rooms except to sleep.

Our first stop was Sanjusangen-do. It was originally built in the 12th century but was restored after a fire in 1249. The most amazing thing about it is the 1000 (!!!) gold plated, full size, buddhas-- 500 hundred on either side of a larger than life (to say the least) one. In front of the statues are figures of different buddhist deities. It was overwhelming and gorgeous. No pictures are allowed, and no picture could do it justice anyway. Mariko informed us that the "official" color of Japan had been red but when Zen Buddhism took hold-- such garish display fell out of favor. You could see the original color peaking out. I lit a candle and said a little prayer for my friend RoseAnne's father while I was there also.

We then went to Kinkaku-ji which is the home of the Golden Palace. It is breathtaking and I'm pretty proud of my camera skills on this one. The grounds are gorgeous and just inhaling and exhaling the clean air was soooo relaxing. We also had some tea in the tea house on the grounds. We also lucked out on the weather--- it was sunny and warm. It was here that I started to feel a true relaxation take over. Just to be out of the city-- but to be surrounded by such history and beauty and to be in Japan (!!)

Next stop-- Ryoam-ji which is a zen buddhist temple and has a very famous rock garden. I can't describe the quiet. It was so very peaceful and the simplicty of the garden (which tried to capture in pictures) just lulled me in to a kind of ultra relaxed state. The smell of the wood of the buildings was extraordinary and we enjoyed a long leisurely strong around the beautiful lily pond. I thought of my father a good deal of the day and of how much he would love to be seeing the things I was seeing. The rock garden made me think of him most, probably because of the garden he so lovingly tends at home.

Then it was on to Kiyomizu-dera which is.... well... we got there toward the end of the day during sunset and it was just breathtaking... again- the color of the buildings was just amazing. And the sun just turned everything golden. Everywhere I looked there was beauty. I'll never forget it.

All the way down the hill from kiyomizu is incredible shopping and I did a good deal of it LOL. I don't know how I'm going to get everything home.

We ran back to the hotel to check in and i took a quick shower and then it was off to dinner. Mariko picked a fantastic place and we had a traditional Japanese dinner though I have not been nearly as adventurous with the food as I could or should be.

We then took a walk around the Gion district-- lots of dark wood and bright red lanterns--- gorgeous.

Look for pictures on my website
And I will write about our day 2 tomorrow.

We start tech tomorrow too so.....

I will also write more about what being in Kyoto felt like. It was extraordinary and made me think about a lot of things, like patience and peace and healing.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Chris Lee is here! He is the lighting designer for R&J. It is nice to have a familiar face here. He was given a lovely welcome dinner by the staff last night.

The show is going very very well. The runs the last few days have been fantastic. The guys really seem to be embracing the show.

Chris and I tried to do a little sightseeing this morning. I got us lost on the way to the Imperial Palace... BUT.... we got there and just as we stepped onto the grounds, we were stopped and told we had to wait because the Emperor's car was about to drive by. So the car drove by and the window rolled down and the Emperor and Empress waved (!!) Aparently this is very rare-- I mean to see them drive by and wave. Thank god I got us lost !! The grounds were beautiful and I wish we could have spent more time but we were already going to cut it close getting to rehearsal. We ended up being late-- I was mortified but... alas...

A great day all around.