Thursday, June 25, 2015

BREAKING NEWS…SCR’S “Encore!” Gala

On June 17, SCR’s always exuberant Gala Committee members got together as a group to riff on everyone’s favorite subject “Encore!”, the Season-opening Gala, planned for Saturday, September 12. According to Chair Socorro Vasquez, while much work on the event takes place at sub-committee meetings, when everyone gathers at the theatre to share plans and brainstorm new ideas, a special synergy ignites.

And there were lots of great sparks at the recent meeting. Leading off, Designer Tom Buderwitz showed his preliminary designs for the three spaces—the cocktail reception area in Plaza Park with colored elements overhead and the SCR building as a backdrop, the elegant ballroom for dining and dancing, and the vibrant rooftop pavilion and pool deck, dubbed “Club Encore,” where guests will enjoy an after-hours club.

Among the exciting news briefs, Socorro announced that South Coast Plaza’s David Yurman will be a Gala sponsor, hosting the traditional wrap luncheon in the fall, as well as a special in-store event in November. Hosted by Yvonne and Damien Jordan, a percentage of the event’s proceeds will benefit the Gala—just in time for holiday gifts!



Having trouble viewing the slideshow? Try watching it here.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Meet Inmigrantes Teatro Artistic Director Raymundo Garduño

Miguel Ángel Rodriguez, Andrés Franco and Ariadnalí de La Peña in Kikiricaja. Photo by Alejandro Montalvo.
A year ago—at a theatre conference in San Diego—something incredible happened: attendees had the chance to cross the border into Tijuana, where they witnessed Inmigrantes Teatro’s work. SCR Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Dialogue/Diálogos Community Project Director Sara Guerrero were there and came away captivated by the company’s remarkable physical comedy, which transcended language and culture; next came the decision to invite them to SCR. Now one year later, Inmigrante Teatro's Kikiricaja: Una Historia de Payasos comes Studio SCR.

Kikiricaja Director Raymundo Garduño founded Inmigrantes Teatro in 2005 and serves as artistic director. The company made its debut with the play Naufragios (Shipwreck). Its other productions include the improv show, Los Improductivos (The Improductives), and Inmolación (Immolation). Inmolación was selected by Centro Cultural Tijuana as part of its Education Series Program and represented Baja California in the 2012 International Borders Theatre Festival and at the 2013 FESARES Baja California State Theatre Festival. Earlier this year, Inmigrantes Teatro presented Kikiricaja at La Jolla Playhouse.

We talked with Garduño to find out more about Inmigrantes Teatro and the show that comes to SCR's Nicholas Studio June 18-21:

Raymundo Garduño 
Why is your company called Inmigrantes Teatro?
Because, curiously, most of our founding members are immigrants. That is, none of us were born in Tijuana. The name also inspires a feeling of a traveler. We always wanted to tour our work as well. Hence, the name.

Why do shows for young audiences?
We always thought that a child’s first experience should be the best one. We aspire to create audiences by giving to children and youth good theatrical experiences that will always make them come back.

Was Inmigrantes Teatro the first to perform Kikiricaja
Kikiricaja is the result of a collaboration with Teatro Paraíso, one of the most important theatre companies for young audiences in Spain (and Europe). They already had produced the play in the ‘80s. I invited them to perform at a theatre festival for children that I produce every year. I became good friends with the company and, when we were looking for a script to produce, Teatro Paraíso’s director suggested Kikiricaja. Now we are the only company in the world with exclusive rights to produce it.

What lessons can be learned from Kikiricaja?
I always thought that Kikiricaja was a play about friendship, about the courage of having a friend. I don’t think that the  function of children's theatre isn't to teach or lecture, much less theatre for young audiences. To me, theatre should be a moving experience, a way to tell a story. What each person gains from that experience, or the way they reflect on it, may be the result of how well we tell a moving story. But I do think that Kikiricaja is a moving tale of friendship.

What makes you most proud about your theatre company? 
I think that our success in disseminating our work has made me proud—first in performing our work outside of our state and, then outside of our country. We also have a commitment to the audiences for whom our work is targeted: young people. It is not an easy job to work for children and youth, and I think we do it with lots of ethic and, most importantly respect, for them.

About Kikiricaja: Una Historia de Payasos

Loosely translated as “Cock-a-doodle-doo Box: A History of Clowns,” Kikiricaja: Una Historia de Payasos is a three-person play, performed entirely in Spanish, that tells the story of friends Bartolomeus and Comino, who live in beautiful wooden boxes where they dream, eat, play and invent worlds. Full of moments of happiness and sadness, fights and reconciliations, travel and adventure, this delightful piece shows how friendships can help us face the fears that make us feel small, as well as celebrate the hopes that make us feel like giants. A family-friendly show, Kikiricaja is recommended for ages 7 and above. This piece is performed entirely in Spanish. Fluency in Spanish is not required. Presented in association with La Jolla Playhouse.

Watch our video to learn more about the show.

Learn more and buy tickets.

Conozca a Raymundo Garduño, el Director Artístico de Inmigrantes Teatro

Miguel Ángel Rodriguez, Andrés Franco y Ariadnalí de La Peña en Kikiricaja. Fotografía: Alejandro Montalvo.
Hace un año—en un congreso de teatro en San Diego—algo increíble ocurrió: los asistentes tuvieron la oportunidad de cruzar la frontera a Tijuana, donde presenciaron el trabajo de Inmigrantes Teatro. El director artístico de SCR, Marc Masterson, y la directora del proyecto comunitario Dialogue/Diálogos, Sara Guerrero, estuvieron ahí cautivados por la extraordinaria comedia física de la compañía, la cual trasciende lenguaje y cultura. Fue ahí donde decidieron invitarlos a SCR. Ahora, un año después, llega Inmigrantes Teatro con su producción de Kikiricaja: Una Historia de Payasos a formar parte de la temporada de Studio SCR.

Fundada en 2005 por Raymundo Garduño, la compañía inició con la obra Naufragios. Otras producciones de su repertorio incluyen el show de improvisación, Los Improductivos, e Inmolación. Inmolación fue seleccionada por Centro Cultural Tijuana como parte de su Programa de Teatro Escolar y representó a Baja California en el Festival Internacional de Teatro en las Fronteras 2012 y en el Festival estatal de teatro de Baja California 2013.

Hablamos con Garduño para aprender un poco más sobre Inmigrantes Teatro y su producción Kikiricaja: Una Historia de Payasos, que vendrá a SCR el 18-21 de junio.


Raymundo Garduño
¿Por qué se llama Inmigrantes Teatro la compañía? 
Porque cuando inició la Compañía—los que la iniciamos—curiosamente la mayoría éramos inmigrantes, es decir ninguno era nacido en Tijuana. También es un poco el sentido del viajero, siempre quisimos ser un grupo que viajara con su trabajo. Por eso decidimos llamarnos así.

¿Por qué realizan teatro para niños y jóvenes?
Siempre hemos pensado en que la primera experiencia de un niño en el teatro debe ser la mejor. Creo que la mejor manera de crear público es darles una buena experiencia teatral a los niños y jóvenes para que quieran volver siempre a las salas.

¿Fueron ustedes los primeros en presentar la obra Kikiricaja?
Kikiricaja es el resultado de la colaboración con la compañía española Teatro Paraíso, uno de los grupos de teatro para niños más importantes de España (y Europa). Ellos habían montado esa obra allá por los ‘80s. Yo los invité a venir a un festival de teatro para niños que hago cada año y nos hicimos muy amigos. Y buscando un texto para montar, el director de aquella compañía me propuso hacer Kikiricaja. Ahora somos la única compañía en el mundo que la puede montar. Tenemos los derechos en exclusividad.

¿Hay alguna lección que debemos aprender al ver Kikiricaja?
Siempre he pensado que Kikiricaja es una obra sobre la amistad, sobre el valor de tener un amigo. Creo que la función del teatro no es enseñar o aleccionar, sobre todo el teatro para niños. Para mí el teatro debe ser una experiencia conmovedora, una manera de contar una historia. Lo que cada quien se lleve de esa experiencia o la manera en que lo reflexione es lo que pueda resultar de nuestra capacidad de contar una historia que conmueva. Pero si creo que Kikiricaja conmueve desde el lado de la amistad.

¿Cuál es tu más grande orgullo del trabajo de Inmigrantes Teatro?
Creo que el lograr la difusión de nuestro trabajo—primero fuera de nuestro estado y después fuera de nuestro país—además del compromiso que tenemos con el público al que dirigimos nuestro trabajo. No es una labor sencilla trabajar para niños y jóvenes, y creo que lo hacemos con mucha ética y sobre todo respeto hacia ellos.

Kikiricaja: Una Historia de Payasos

Una obra de Teatro conformada por tres personas en donde se cuenta ingeniosamente la historia de Bartolomeus y Comino, quienes viven en unas cajas preciosas donde sueñan, comen, juegan y hasta inventan mundos. Una historia de amistad que está llena de grandes y pequeños momentos de alegría y tristeza, peleas y reconciliaciones, viajes y aventura. Este espectáculo nos mostrará como las relaciones de amistad pueden ayudarnos a enfrentar aquellos miedos que nos hacen sentir pequeños; así como también, celebrar las ilusiones que nos hacen sentir como gigantes. Esta función es apta para toda la familia, se recomienda para niños de 7 años en adelante. Kikiraja se presentará completamente en español.

Watch our video to learn more about the show.

Learn more and buy tickets.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Get Into the “Act” This Summer

Could you do it—be an actor? South Coast Repertory gives you the perfect opportunity to find out through summer acting classes for kids, teens and adults.

SCR’s Theatre Conservatory is a great way to learn how acting can help not only creative expression, but build confidence and self-esteem.

“The two-week commitment from kids and teens gives them a chance to see what acting and theatre are all about,” says Hisa Takakuwa, conservatory director. “It’s a great experience for kids who enjoy expressing themselves and for those who may be shy and would like to come out of their shell in an environment that is safe and supportive.”

The Summer Acting Workshops for kids and teens include voice, movement and character development.

Each day includes about two hours of acting work with a “home room” teacher, where  age-specific groups learn together. A guest artist joins the students for a “Putting It Together” workshop that explores the process of creating a theatre production, from the script and casting, through design and rehearsal and finally to the actual production. The emphasis is on how the process works, rather than creating a show.

At the end of the sessions, students share what they’ve learned with an audience made up of their family and friends. It’s a chance to share the learning process with parents and give some insight into how SCR’s Theatre Conservatory works.

Specialty courses for teens include musical theatre and teen improv. Classes for kids and teens start July 13 and July 27.

Kids and teens can also enroll in fall acting classes, building on what they learned during the summer.

In SCR classes for adults, many people take them to become more comfortable and confident in public speaking situations or meetings.

“We have a number of attorneys who take our improv classes because that helps them think on their feet and learn to trust their instincts. 

“I had one student tell me that she wished she had started taking classes as a child because her self confidence in social situations was always low,” recalls Takakuwa. “She felt that just taking the beginning acting class built up her confidence so much.”

Acting classes include fundaments of acting, scene study and improvisation.

Summer session for adults runs June 16-Aug. 4.

Learn more and register.

Matt McGrath: The Actor Behind the Devious Stache

Wyatt Fenner and Matt McGrath in Peter and the Starcatcher.  Photo by Debora Robinson.
Matt McGrath
This will be the fifth time that actor Matt McGrath has been on South Coast Repertory’s stages. He has been chameleon-like in each role he’s taken on. Stealing scenes and leaving audiences laughing until it hurts, McGrath excels in Peter and the Starcatcher as Black Stache, the pirate you can’t help but love.

Between the swashbuckling and shipwrecks, McGrath took time to talk about his first trip in Neverland, his approach as an actor and how this show affected him.

What first drew you to performing?
My local piano teacher happened to be the Mistress of the Children’s Chorus at the Metropolitan Opera and the David H. Koch Theater. After stepping on stage in front of 4,500 people to perform, I knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

What was one of your earliest experiences performing a Peter Pan story?
I was cast in the role of Slightly Soiled in the Broadway production of Peter Pan, with Sandy Duncan. I took over for the actor Chris Farr. The original Lost Boys had outgrown the pirates and the Indians, so we were the second string of young actors. Then, I graduated to the role of John Darling for the national tour and went around the country for two years in the early ‘80s.

Matt McGrath and Kasey Mahaffy. Photo by Debora Robinson.
So you’ve come full circle playing Black Stache in Peter and the Starcatcher at SCR. Does Peter Pan hold a special place in your heart?
It really is a story that resonates with so many people because it’s about the psyche. Playwright Rick Elice has brought a novel to the stage for the child in all of our hearts, so that we can fly again. This is so tangible when you play this piece in front of a live audience. A prequel to Peter Pan? It’s as if Captain Hook were to post a "Throwback Thursday" on Facebook! And honestly, who can’t relate to the boy who doesn't care to grow up?

You’ve tackled a variety of roles from Hedwig (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) to the Emcee (Cabaret) to Lonny (Boys Don’t Cry). How do you approach each character?  
Gosh, I’ve done some intense projects, huh? I try to bring as much of myself to every role, of course. Stick to what you know, as the saying goes. Some portrayals are more successful than others and this is why a casting director is so important. Fortunately, SCR has one of the best—Joanne DeNaut. And in my role as Black Stache, I’m helping director Art Manke tell this story the way he envisions it.

What do you love most about playing Black Stache?
Truly, it is being with this group of actors. Art Manke has brought us together in such a way that has really astonished me. I'm always game to try new things: approaches to text, exercises in the rehearsal space, and the like, but I’ve never really been a "joiner" per se. This process for this play has changed that in me; I would follow these people anywhere. That may scare some of them when they read this!

Why do you think this show resonates so well with children and adults alike?
Well, it plays with our darkest fears, doesn’t it? Like Oliver Twist, it starts with the idea of not having parents and, therefore, not having a home. Although, this version doesn't have Peter Pan literally wrestling with his shadow in the Darling family’s nursery, he deals with a wrestles with the shadow that is Black Stache. He offers the idea of being constantly at sea with a ticking clock nipping at one’s heels. So, what does "Pan" mean and what is he supposed to be other than fun and frolic? Like reading in general, it teaches us about empathy and the importance of helping others. Even though no one has ever helped Peter, he learns to help someone else—Molly—and look at what they accomplish against all odds.

Learn more about the show and buy tickets