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A Sorcerific Singthrough!

Written by Peryn Reeves-Darby

Last Saturday, the cast and a few excited staff members all made their way through the slush and the wind to the very first rehearsal of the semester. One by one we filed in. Upperclassman rushed to say “hello” to old friends from past shows, while the nervous freshmen eagerly introduced themselves, excited to make new friends. Continue reading “A Sorcerific Singthrough!”

Mikado 2016 Historical Note & FAQ

Written by Ashley Zhou ’17 and Kat C. Zhou ’17

We distributed this document at the box office during the run of the show. Some of the responses to the FAQ have been revised slightly in order to clarify and enrich my original answers, which were written in haste before opening. 

A Brief Historical Note

The history of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, as with so many beloved Victorian cultural artifacts, is a history of imperialism: Western imperial powers’ thirst for dominance in an economic system they saw as a zero-sum game, the ever-growing urgency to find more trading partners, the dehumanization of non-white peoples as justification for conquest couched in paternalistic rhetoric of civilizing missions and Christianization. Of Commodore Matthew Perry docking gunboats in Tokyo Bay and calling the result of his actions, even to this day, an “opening,” as if to read choice into Japan’s forced entry into Western-controlled systems of trade and to turn away from the violence of that historical moment. Of the political upheaval of the Meiji Restoration, a direct response to this act of U.S. imperialism, and the economic consequences of the new government on Japanese people, many of whom emigrated, in the first large-scale Japanese migration to the U.S., to find opportunities on the West Coast or in Hawai’i, itself under the rule of white settler colonists.

Continue reading “Mikado 2016 Historical Note & FAQ”

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Mikado Opening

Written by Kat C. Zhou ’17

Beware this is a long post! See section headers to find specific content.

This has been a whirlwind process, one that has even hit national news! I wanted to use this blog post to share some of my thoughts on what the show does, and what it might continue to think about for the future. I hope also to include voices (reactions from both longtime G&S fans and students on campus) besides my own in this post.

I spent time looking through the Crimson archives to see if I could find information on previous HRG&SP production of The Mikado. I believe that there have been 12 production of The Mikado in HRG&SP history, and as far as I can see, this is the first non-yellowface production (loosely categorizing the anime Mikado of 1997 as a form of yellowface), making the fall 2016 production of The Mikado a historically unprecedented one!

It is a paradox (a paradox!) to live in the present, surrounded by reminders of history, knowing that the present is constantly slipping away into the past. What might it mean to forget and to remember? This is a central question that has haunted me throughout the entire production process of The Mikado, and it is a question to continue to grapple with even after we have opened, even years from now.

Continue reading “Mikado Opening”

Farewell, Ruddigore

Apologies for missing last week’s blog post! This week’s post is brought to you by Allegra C. Caldera ’17, one of the producers for next semester’s production of H.M.S. Pinafore! Thank you all so much for coming to see Ruddigore! We are so excited to start working on Pinafore. See you soon!


 

Written by Allegra Caldera

What a great weekend! Thank you so much to everyone who attended our production of Ruddigore; or, The Witch’s Curse, and congratulations to the cast, staff and orchestra on a successful run. Closing weekend was long, but rewarding.

Backstage tour led by Raymond W.S. Ng ’17 after the Milk and Cookies Matinee

We had a lively Milk and Cookies Matinee Saturday afternoon. During the backstage tour Raymond W.S. Ng ’17, one Ruddigore’s producers, explained some of the secrets of our life-sized, hand-painted ‘ghost portraits.’ If you, too, want to know how our amazing paint team captured the actors so well, or just how dark it is inside a ‘ghost box’ – well, you’ll just have to come to a backstage tour to find out!

Later on Saturday evening, we hosted a reunion-filled Alumni Night – capped off with the traditional trip to the Kong, for Chinese food and cross-generational conversation. I was lucky enough to sit with several recent alumni, who had inspiring (and cautionary) tales of life and theatre post-Harvard.

Continue reading “Farewell, Ruddigore”

Ruddigorigins

Written by Emma Adler

Ruddigore; or, The Witch’s Curse, was the tenth penned of Gilbert and Sullivan’s fourteen comic operas. Like all of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works from Trial by Jury onward, Ruddigore debuted at the Savoy Theater, under the auspices of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. Premiering in 1887, Ruddigore followed fast on the heels of The Mikado; this would prove to have a detrimental effect on the opera’s critical reception, causing many to dismiss the ghostly comic opera as not on a par with its predecessor. The New York Times review noted: “When the curtain fell there was a hissing – the first ever heard in the Savoy Theatre.”

Continue reading “Ruddigorigins”

Ruddigore Sitzprobe!

Written by Laura Peterson

This past Sunday, the cast and orchestra of Ruddigore joined together for the time-

Ruddigore (15) Sitzprobe 1
The ghosts of Ruddigore sing.

honored tradition of Sitzprobe! With our conductor, Sean Rodan, at the helm, the orchestra played through the entire show while the cast sang along. It is amazing to see how many people return to our productions semester after semester. We as the producers and the Board of Directors were extremely pleased with the progress made by all of the musicians throughout the rehearsal process this far, and we cannot wait to see the strides they continue to make between now and opening night on Friday, October 30.

Ruddigore (15) Sitzprobe 3
The whole orchestra, conducted by Sean Rodan ’17
The camaraderie of the cast and orchestra was evident in the applause that followed each and every number. We could see the eyes of the cast sparkling at the full sound of the overture, and the orchestra members were finally able to hear the vocalists they will be accompanying during the run of the show. Among the cast, there were cheers, smiles, and laughter all around as they watched their friends sing thrilling harmonies and glorious patter songs. For many of them, it was the first time they performed their songs for the full cast and G&S board. New cast member, Brad Latilla-Campbell, flourished in his sight-singing of Sir Roderic. Even amidst a few stumbles by singers and instrumentalists alike, everyone was there to support one another and to work through the trouble spots together. We are all extremely excited as Ruddigore approaches, and we hope you will be able to join us for what is sure to be a bewitching experience!

Welcome to Ruddigore!

Written by Kat Zhou

Welcome to a new semester of blog posts! We are so excited to share the show process with you. This week, we held our first rehearsals and now have a set design plan. Elizabeth Pattyn and Rahul Kulka have done an amazing job with their design, and I’m so very excited to see it get built and painted.

I would also love to share with you our poster for this year:

Ruddigore (15) Poster

We look forward to seeing you at our shows! Click below to see the cast and staff list!

Continue reading “Welcome to Ruddigore!”

Iolanthe Photos Now Available!

Hello friends! I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer. I’ve finally put up the production photos from our spring production of Iolanthe. They are available here.

We hope to see to see you this year during our 60th season! We are so very excited for such a big year, starting with Ruddigore this fall and culminating in H.M.S. Pinafore this spring.

As always, please be in touch if you have any questions or concerns!

A Senior Farewell

Apologies for lacks of posts lately! Everyone was in the midst of finals, and then my immune system broke down as soon as I got home, but here we are with a post from graduating senior Christopher Y.M. Marks ’15. The board of directors wishes to bid a fond farewell to Angela S. Berkowitz, C. E. Chiemeka Ezie, Christopher Y.M. Marks, and Rebecca C. Rosen. Congrats also to graduating Iolanthe cast and staff Kait Boudah, Charlie Caplan, Molly Finlayson, and Kim Onah. I would also like to add a special goodbye to Chrissy Rodriguez and Evan Schueckler, who have been such a central part of the technical team, and have been such wonderful mentors to younger technicians. Congratulations to everyone, and best of luck to everyone in their future pursuits! See you at Vic Ball!

This is the last post until the fall! I hope everyone enjoys their summers!

– Kat C. Zhou ’17


Written by Christopher Marks

When you look at it objectively, the Ag is a strange theatrical space. Sight-lines and acoustics are wonky as all get out, the geometry of the stage is bizarre, schlepping large and heavy set pieces (that more often than not I made heavy through over-building them…sorry…) up two flights of stairs is never fun…the list could go on and on. In short, it’s not an ideal theater in almost any sense. And yet, to many productions and many generations of students the Ag has become a safe space where art can be made and friendships formed, its quirks and drawbacks more than outweighed by the sense that Agassiz House has become a home away from home to so many of us.
And so it is, I think, with Gilbert & Sullivan. What we do is rather strange, if you take a second to think about it; we dedicate ourselves to putting up the works of two not very well known British playwrights from the late 19th century, with references and plots that make little sense in today’s cultural context, at a school where up until now there has been no theater program. There is no pressing need for any of us to do theater or to ensure that Gilbert & Sullivan to be performed. And yet, we keep coming back, every semester, to the strange space that is the Ag to put up the strange works that are Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, and I don’t think any of us would have it any other way. And through this strange activity we meet amazing people, form wonderful friendships, and find a safe space in the wild ride that is college.
This is why, I think, we do Gilbert & Sullivan: to be a part of this community. And it is this community that I am going to miss most. It’s been an honor and a privilege working on these shows with you all, and I wish every single one of you all the best.