Review: Fantasy Meets Reality in A Noise Within’s THE TEMPEST

The Tempest - ANW

Deborah Strang as Prospero. Photos by Craig Schwartz

The dueling forces of light and dark are constantly at play in the fantasy-meets-reality world of A Noise Within’s The Tempest, the first production of its 2014-15 season. Deborah Strang takes on the role of Prospero in a gender-switch that now finds mother and daughter (rather than father and daughter) stranded on an island some twelve years after Prospero’s brother Antonio (Time Winters) has usurped her power in Milan and set them both adrift in a boat to die at sea. Unfortunately for Antonio, they didn’t die, and now the time has come for Prospero to restore her daughter to her rightful place, forgive the injustices done to them, and complete a circle of life.

As with every ANW production, the stagecraft and theatrical effects are striking and never fail to impress. Lightness comes in the form of whimsical touches: a storybook cutout set design with giant construction paper-like trees, fanciful white dresses and enormous hats for the ladies, a ping pong match between the lovers, and songs delicately sung by chanteuse Eliza Kiss.  More

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A Noise Within Opens a REVOLUTIONary Season with THE TEMPEST

ANW TempestA Noise Within will open its 2014-2015 REVOLUTIONary season with Shakespeare’s The Tempest, directed by Timothy Douglas in his ANW debut. The show opens on Saturday, September 13 and runs through Saturday, November 22, 2014. This will be the third production of The Tempest for A Noise Within, which also mounted the play in 1993 and 2006; going against the grain in true revolutionary form, Prospero will be cast with a woman in the role, ANW favorite Deborah Strang.

Shakespeare’s final major work, The Tempest occupies an in-between world that straddles the fine line between the ethereal (magic, fairies, and hybrid humans) and the real (love, freedom, and the power of nature). It tells the tragicomic tale of Prospero, The Duke of Milan, and his daughter, Miranda, who are marooned on an island due to the machinations of Prospero’s brother, Antonio. When Antonio’s ship is run aground by a massive storm, he and his comrades must navigate an isle rife with spirits and temptation. It is a morality tale about the rulers and the ruled, and how those roles can shift over time.  More

Audition Update: A Noise Within, Lovers & Madmen Productions

A Noise Within has scheduled Equity Principal auditions for its 2014-15 season on November 13 from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm for Julius Caesar and Figaro. Sign in begins at 9:00 am. Please prepare a contemporary monologue no more than 2 minutes in length and have a Shakespearean monologue ready if asked. Contract is LOA/LORT salary pending (previous reh. min. $290/wk). Auditions will take place at A Noise Within, 3352 E. Foothill Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107. Please park in the Metro Station parking structure behind the theatre. www.actorsequity.org

Lovers & Madmen Productions and director Michael Matthys are holding auditions for A Midsummer Night’s Dream on August 9 & 10, with callbacks on August 10. Shows will be performed at Plummer Park as part of the City of West Hollywood’s Free Theatre in the Park Series. Rehearsals begin September 2nd and performances run Saturdays, Oct. 11 & 18 at 3:30 and Sundays, Oct. 19 & 2 at 2:00. There is a possibility of additional performances at other venues TBA. The company is especially interested in actors that are process-driven, movement based, and that have a love for Shakespeare’s language. To submit electronically (by August 9) and for a breakdown of roles and more info, go to Actors Access. www.actorsaccess.com

A Noise Within’s Summer Camp is Open for Enrollment

ANW all the world's a stage

A Noise Within will once again offer a weeklong day camp, All the World’s A Stage, for younger children ages 6-9, from July 21-25.

All the World’s A Stage introduces the stage and Shakespeare, helps them build social skills and encourages full-time fun. The week’s activities include acting classes, stage combat, costuming and scene-making workshops and crafting galore. Kids also learn improv, acting techniques, and vocal and movement exercises, along with technical theater knowledge. The camp culminates in a final performance of their version of a Shakespeare play. Along the way, campers acquire teamwork skills and confidence and develop their creativity to the fullest.

According to A Noise Within’s Education and Community Outreach Director, Alicia Green, “Our program is very nearly one-of-a-kind, as most summer theatre camps are designed for older children. All the World’s A Stage is unique in the skill level and social interaction it brings to children in this age range–and they appreciate the chance to work with real professionals in the theatrical arts, while learning and having fun.”  More

Celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday!

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How are YOU celebrating Shakespeare’s 450th birthday? If you haven’t made plans, check out how some of our local theatre companies are honoring Sir William and join in!
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“…there was a star danced, and under that was I born.”  –Much Ado About Nothing
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On the big day, April 23, be on the lookout for the Salty Shakespeare folks who will be doing a flash mob run-through all over the campus of Whittier College. Be especially observant in the lunchroom where, rumor has it, Polonius will be killed. The dress-run is in preparation for a full flash of what the company affectionately calls “Hamlet’s Greatest Hits” that will take place the next day. www.saltyshakespeare.com

Also on the 23rd, Long Beach Shakespeare Company will celebrate by presenting a night of Shakespeare sonnets, with everyone in attendance receiving a book of the complete sonnets as a free gift. www.lbshakespeare.org

The comedy series Complete Works will premiere all five of its episodes on Hulu on Shakespeare’s birthday, April 23. www.completeworks.tv  More

A Noise Within Announces REVOLUTIONARY 2014-15 Season

A Noise Within

A Noise Within, led by producing artistic directors Geoff Elliott and Julia Rodriguez-Elliott, announces its 23rd season of classic theater in Southern California. Informed by the climate of social and economic upheaval in which we live, the season’s theme – reflected in a kaleidoscopic palette of plays – is REVOLUTION.

“We have always crafted overarching themes for our repertory seasons,” says Geoff Elliott, “but none has presented itself as organically and viscerally as this year’s.” Julia Rodriguez-Elliott reinforces this notion, adding, “In many ways, the idea of REVOLUTION had entered our collective consciousness in ways that all but dared us not to embrace it. As a director, I am especially energized by the concept of ‘disorderly conduct’ – both because it appears as a theme in every one of these plays, and because wherever we look, it is rearing its head in the forms of civic, social, and political unrest.” The company’s revolutionary season will include: More

Review: A Noise Within’s Dark World of MACBETH

Elijah Alexander and Jules Willcox. Photos by Craig Schwartz

Elijah Alexander and Jules Willcox. Photos by Craig Schwartz

The bleak and barren world in A Noise Within’s Macbeth is as much an outward visual of the inner state of Shakespeare’s title character as it is the setting for the story itself. Moody, shrouded in shadows, and sparsely but strikingly accented, it has the look and feel of a timeless purgatory.

The design team’s color palette rarely strays into anything brighter than black and dark earth tones but, when it does, its dramatic flourishes are striking: a vermilion gown for Lady Macbeth (costumed by Jenny Foldenauer), a macabre funhouse-inspired mouth literally at the gate of hell attended by the Porter (rendered by Susan Gratch), and crayon colored puppet witches (constructed by Sean T. Cawelti) manipulated by tall, slender men in black. Gratch (who is also responsible for the lighting in addition to the scenic design) uses a blood red fog to illuminate the witches and overhead instruments to cast shadows over the warriors, creating an effect that turns their eyes into empty, black sockets making them look like walking wraiths. [pictured below left Elijah Alexander, and right, Alexander with Leith Burke as Banquo]

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L-R: Jeremy Rabb (Celebrant Witch 3), Thom Rivera (Celebrant Witch 2), & Amin El Gamal (Celebrant Witch 1)

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A Noise Within Announces Summer With Shakespeare 2014

Summer With Shakespeare - A Noise WithinClassical repertory theatre company A Noise Within, will offer its Summer With Shakespeare youth camp June 23 – July 12, 2014, (Monday-Friday 10am – 4pm) for youth aged 10-18. The conservatory-style program of acting, improvisation, stage diction, text analysis, kinetic exercises, and stage combat is led by classically trained, professional actors, choreographers, and designers. This three-week, intensive camp challenges kids to be both scholars and performers by enhancing their acting and public speaking skills, building their self-confidence on the stage, and gaining experience in theater craft. Participants will:

  • Demystify Shakespeare with classes led by professional acting coaches
  • Meet fellow young artists through ensemble scene work
  • Master the language of the Bard through monologues
  • Get crafty with the art of mask making and more
  • Take charge of the stage in stage-combat workshops
  • Perform on ANW’s main stage, just like the professionals

Attendees are placed in age appropriate groups and perform for an audience on ANW’s main stage at a culminating presentation of scenes and monologues from Shakespeare’s plays on Saturday, July 12th at noon. Cost: $850 (not including Summer with Shakespeare t-shirt or tickets to the Final Performance.)

ANW also holds the week-long day camp All the World’s A Stage, for younger children ages 6-9, July 21-25. This camp serves curious children who are introduced to the stage and Shakespeare, while building social skills and having fun. The week’s activities include acting classes, stage combat, costuming and scene-making workshops and crafting galore. Cost: $360 includes snacks and supplies. For more details, contact Alicia Green, Director of Education, at (626) 356-3104 or education@anoisewithin.org.

Elijah Alexander Goes Deep Into the Psyche of Macbeth

Elijah Alexander as Macbeth. Photo credit: Craig Schwartz

Elijah Alexander in A Noise Within’s Macbeth. Photo credit: Craig Schwartz

Stepping into the role of Macbeth is not for the faint of heart. It’s a dark spiral of a ride that requires an actor to completely immerse himself in the evolution of evil within a character. Classically-trained actor, Elijah Alexander, talks about his journey preparing to play the role for A Noise Within and what he’s learned from touring the country in this fascinating in-depth interview.

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known villains. What appeals to you about playing such a complicated character?

E: It is, indeed, a complicated one but a wonderfully complicated one because you get to delve into his imagination and his intuition in a very intense and surgical way. You get to play the spectrum because Macbeth’s journey is both an evolution and a devolution. It’s open to interpretation but the director, Larry Carpenter, and I think that for this production Macbeth becomes more self-actualized as the play progresses and not less. It wasn’t interesting to me to write it off as madness or insanity. That’s too easy. We wanted to discover what it was that Macbeth was becoming as the play progresses. Does he become a tyrant, and if so, is it by choice? Is it by accident? Is it by mystical support? Is it by his own willful intention? What are his choices and what are not his choices. Does he have a hand in his own destiny or not? Those are the questions that this role, and this play, asks and demands of the actor. For any actor it is wonderfully challenging and a lot of fun.  More

Larry Carpenter’s Dark Vision for A Noise Within’s MACBETH

A Noise Within continues its 2013-14 season with Macbeth, opening on Saturday, March 15 at 8pm. Directed by Tony Award nominee Larry Carpenter, this marks the first time in eleven years that the company has presented Shakespeare’s dark tragedy, which portrays the violent ambition of Macbeth and his wife, whose ascension to the Scottish throne through bloody means, ultimately causes their own demise.

Larry Carpenter talks about his vision: “I’ve directed a lot of Shakespeare, but this play is the one I keep returning to: fantastically well-constructed, it contains some of the Bard’s absolute best poetry. Macbeth is a present tense event where the characters dance with evil forces, and my staging includes the audience as participants. I am struck by the counterpoints of barrenness (which allows evil in) and fertility (that safeguards the future of the kingdom), and by Macbeth’s driving egoism. In many ways, his narcissism and grandiosity–coupled with an unwavering ambition for power and notoriety–mirror aspects of our current American condition and character.”  More

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