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!”→
The cast and crew of H.M.S Pinafore are getting well into the swing of rehearsals and design meetings as we steer the show further into the semester. Star painter and artist Elizabeth Pattyn (MassArt) crafted a stunning poster for us that will soon be catching the eyes of everyone around campus. Our directors are hard at work teaching music and developing characters with our exceptionally talented cast, while designers are cementing their creative visions for the show. At production meeting this past Friday, G&S alumni and seasoned set designer Evan Schueckler ’15 unveiled another terrific design that will surely wow audiences as the curtains open each night. His work on The Gondoliers in autumn 2014 was a masterpiece in perspective and design for the tricky Agassiz stage. We think he’s done it again with Pinafore and can’t wait for you to join us aboard the HMS in just five and a half weeks!
We would also like to announce the launch of our official Diamond Jubilee page! Check it out for details of special events and more information about the big weekend of celebration!
As we depart from our 1920s style Ruddigore, gears are in motion here at HRG&SP in preparation for H.M.S. Pinafore and our 60th anniversary this spring! As we welcome Peryn E. A. Reeves-Darby and Michaela J. Kane on Board, we are very excited for what next semester brings. With experience as both an actor and our most recent stage manager, Peryn has continually been a valuable member of our community. Likewise, Michaela’s previous technical experience and dedication to the organization provides a rewarding addition to our Board. We look forward to working with them more in the future!
As Pinafore is quickly approaching, we have also selected our director and music director for the upcoming semester. With the directorial prowess of Olivia Munk and musical expertise of Jacob Moscona-Skolnik, everyone is in for a high quality theatrical experience!
With our highly-talented designers and technicians, we are very excited to once again transform the Agassiz stage into a nautical wonder! We hope everyone else is stoked for this upcoming project and keep an eye out for additional updates in the coming months!
Again, if any alums are interested in being involved in Pinafore for our 60th anniversary, please reach out to the producers at email@example.com. We would love to hear from you!
This past Sunday, the cast and orchestra of Ruddigore joined together for the time-
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.
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 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:
We look forward to seeing you at our shows! Click below to see the cast and staff list!
This week’s post comes from Christopher Y.M. Marks ’15, who has been a tech powerhouse in the HRG&SP community, as well as the larger theater community at Harvard.
Written by Chris Marks
As spring break comes to a close and opening night draws near, the final touches are being put onto all of the tech elements for Iolanthe. Construction is nearly finished, the final set pieces are being painted, the last light cues are being programmed, and final alterations and repairs are being made to the costumes. The final product will be the culmination of the work of over thirty undergraduate designers and technicians who have been working for the past several months to bring everything to life.
The tech process starts during the break between semesters, when the stage director begins working with designers to translate the director’s overall vision for the show into practical ideas and concepts. All of the designers need to balance several things when coming up with their plans; the director’s vision for the show, the budget, the features and quirks (oh so many quirks) of Agassiz theater, and more. By a couple of weeks into the semester, the designers create detailed plans that get presented to the entire staff and are approved by the producers, directors, and OFA staff.
Then, it is time to turn those plans into reality. This is my favorite part of the process; all of the planning and organization begins to pay off, and we have the chance to do what we do best: create things. Carpenters and painters begin to spend long nights in the Ag woodshop and the Horner Room constructing and painting set pieces (while eating cookies and jamming out to eclectic build and paint playlists). Costumers begin to inhabit the costume shop, sewing and fitting everything from dresses and suits to fairy wings while singing along to Disney soundtracks. Props mistresses start hunting down some props online (leading to some really strange Amazon.com recommendations in the aftermath of the show) and creating others from scratch. Lighting designers hang, cable, and gel light fixtures while spending a lot of quality time on the rolling scaffolding. All of these activities pick up steam in the days after Load In, the day we get to begin putting things on the stage in earnest. This is the time when the broad strokes of the tech elements rapidly take shape and assume substance.
Now, we are at the stage of adding finishing touches to everything. While all of the big things are done, there is a seemingly never-ending list of small finishing touches (or, as I like to call them, fiddly-bits) to accomplish: masking sight lines, paint touch ups, costume fixes, and more. The list always frustrates me; no matter how many items you can check off, there’s always more to do, and it doesn’t seem like any progress is being made… until you reach the moment when you look up and realize, “Oh my goodness, it actually looks FINISHED!” If this moment comes before the day of opening, then that is a bonus.
There is a certain joy to seeing a project come together, watching as piles of lumber, cans of paint, rolls of fabric, and sheets of lighting gel become the fairies’ forest and the streets of London. I’ve been involved with many productions over the years, and no matter the show, the people I’m working with, or the challenges the crew faces, this sense of accomplishment always makes it worthwhile. It always takes a lot of effort, many late nights in the theater, and a truly ridiculous number of emails to make it happen, but at the end of the day we will have transformed the stage into a different universe. And that is ultimately what technical theater is all about: creating a new world on the stage for the cast to inhabit, and giving context to the story that the performers will tell.
My apologies for the missing blog posts of the past two weeks! Things have gotten so busy in preparation for our opening, which is just under two weeks away. We are now officially loaded into the Agassiz theater, and are putting the last touches to the set during spring break.
This week’s blog post is written by Allegra C. Caldera, ’17 (director of The Gondoliers and cast member of Patience and Pirates) about being in the orchestra. This semester, we have a lot of board members playing in the orchestra. Matthew J. O’Connor, ’17 will be returning as a bassoonist, and I myself have picked up the oboe. It’s been so exciting to explore different aspects of the show, and I think we’ve put together an amazingly talented group of people for the show.
We hope to see all of you at some point during the run of Iolanthe! If you are just as excited as we are, listen to “The Law is the True Embodiment,” a song from the show that features the cello brilliantly.
Kat C. Zhou, ’17
Written by Allegra Caldera
I didn’t bring my cello up to Harvard freshman year, thinking I would focus on theatre and my classes. But I missed having the ability to play. So this year I made the eight-hour drive up to school with my cello in the back seat. And instead of directing or performing in this spring’s production of Iolanthe, I’ve decided to take on a new role – orchestra member.
Under the gifted direction of Sam Wu (‘17), our orchestra has spent the last month preparing for this spring’s eight performance of Iolanthe. Though our first rehearsals were stalled by snow-day closures (thanks, blizzards Juno and Neptune!) we’ve managed to catch up without much trouble. Sitzprobe was great, because we got to learn how the cast’s voices complement and fill out the instrumental accompaniment on our first or second time playing through each song. (Although I learned that, sadly, as an orchestra member, you miss most of the sung jokes.)
Re-remembering what it’s like to cart around a cello hasn’t been without its misadventures. Last week, I got to our final Sunday rehearsal a few minutes late (I’d been printing show posters). I pulled out my cello quietly – only to realize that the changing weather had gotten to it. All my strings were wildly out of tune. After over 15 minutes of tuning, I’d almost gotten all four strings… when my A string suddenly snapped. Then I realized I didn’t have a spare. Oh well – I’m home for spring break now, and can hop over to Potter’s Violins for a new A. In fact, I’m going to grab an extra full set of strings, just in case!
While the cast is hard at work mastering the music and diving into blocking the show, the staff is gearing up to hammer, paint, and sew the show together. The staff meets each week with the producers of the show to go over what’s happening, and to make sure all the various departments are on the same page. We’ve got an army of designers, assistants, and other technicians working to make sure the show goes off without a hitch.
We’re all very excited to see what they create this semester and to share it with you in a few weeks time!
Without further ado, I present to you our talented and terrific staff:
Kat C. Zhou
Brad A. Latilla-Campbell
Emma R. Adler
C.E. Chiemeka Ezie
Lead Designers & Technical Staff
The HRG&SP board of directors is very excited to announce that starting with this spring semester, we will be blogging every Saturday. We’ll be posting with updates from the show, or with more details about the production process for those curious about what goes on behind the scenes of an HRG&SP production.
Written by Kat Zhou
We’re kicking off our Saturday posts with the announcement of the cast list for the spring production of Iolanthe; or, The Peer and the Peri. On Friday, we held our first rehearsal, and much fun was had all around. We are looking forward to seeing where we are in less than two month’s time! We hope to see many of you at our shows.
Without further ado, I would like to announce the cast list for the show!
Aaron Slipper, ’18
Charlie Caplan, ’15
Joey Goodknight, ‘G4
Trevor Byrne, ’17
Rahul Kulka, G1Laura Peterson, ’16
Kim Onah, ’15
Julia Belanoff, ’18
Nina Srivastava, ’18
Alice Newkirk, ’17
Camille Crossot, ’16