After a whole week of feeling the post-show blues, the HRG&SP community gathered on Saturday for our annual Spring Tea! This year’s tea was hosted at The Signet and featured piles of scones, cucumber sandwiches, the famous coronation chicken, and of course, tea.
Friends, believe me, if you were not here for our Friday show (or rather, lack of show), you missed out on a truly surreal and (in retrospect) kind of funny situation. For the senior board members of HRG&SP, it certainly made for an eventful final opening night! Allegra Caldera ’17 recounts the tale.
Written by Allegra Caldera
Last Friday, well-dressed audience members made their way across Radcliffe Yard for the first night of The Sorcerer. The cast chatted and applied makeup downstairs in the dressing rooms, and orchestra members warmed up with exercises and scales. Little did they know what the old (dare I say haunted?) Agassiz Theater had in store… DISASTER. Kind of. Disaster turned inspiration? Disast-piration?
Happy Ides of March! Yesterday, Brad A. Latilla-Campbell ’16 notified me of yet another G&S reference he’d found in The West Wing. Clearly, Aaron Sorkin is a fellow Savoyard. Coincidentally, our blog post this week also features a Gilbert & Sullivan cultural reference, albeit of a … vastly different medium.
Written by Ned Sanger
Gilbert and Sullivan show their plump faces all over. I ran into them just recently in a rather unexpected place: chapter five of Ulysses. Leopold Bloom, the book’s protagonist and a cuckold, is perambulating around Dublin when he happens to spot a lady across the street. She is about to get into a cab and he knows she will need to lift her dress when she does it, allowing naughty Bloom to catch a glimpse of her silk stockings, or perhaps even a slice of upper-calf if he is lucky. Promptly he sidles into a better vantage point and focuses his attention—“Silk flash rich stockings white. Watch!”—but his efforts are all for naught: at the very moment of the grand reveal, with Bloom just about ready to combust, a tramcar rounds the corner, obstructs his view, obscures the calf, and deprives him of his peeping pleasures. “Paradise and the peri,” he wails, before slogging the rest of the dreary way to church: “Always happens like that.” Continue reading “Did Gilbert and Sullivan Wear Silk Stockings?”→
As spring break quickly approaches, HRG&SP and The Sorcerer team continue to prep for opening night! Staff members and cast have been working arduously throughout February in order to prepare for load-in.
This week brings TWO mini blog posts with production updates.
Written by Alex Raun, February 22, 2017
Last Friday, the lumber came in for the Sorcerer set, and the lighting design has been finalized! With build and lights underway now, be looking out for potential sneak peaks at the set in the coming weeks. Additionally, the Sorcerer cast and staff have been busy at rehearsals! Check out this video from last week’s orchestra rehearsal. While Johnnie conducts, Yuki Koide ‘17 is working on the challenging skill of playing her instrument while spinning in an office chair! Continue reading “A Tale of Two Blog Posts”→
The thick snow blanketing Cambridge two weeks ago might have brought the city to a stop, but it could not stop HRG&SP’s The Sorcerer from getting underway. Both the cast and the orchestra of The Sorcerer carried on, undeterred by the cold, wind, and occasional thunder and lightning.
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!”→
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.
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.
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.
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.