S. A. Shipley's "StarCrossed" "Portrays the best part of Shakespearian wit with a prequel twist."--Anon.

 
 

 

              Director Tony Caballero's blog for StarCrossed opening Feb 10, 2006

 
January 27, 2006
 
It's been a rollercoaster all around, but the work they're doing looks incredible!
I'll email James about putting your address info into the program.  I think I had already instructed him to include the StarCrossed website, but will doublecheck.
As to the postcard design... yours truly.
The reservation line is now open  323/525-0600 x2.  Will you have people here Opening Weekend?
I think we're using some of the blurb from the site that had been used in the press release(will also check with James and email you a copy), and were going to insert it into the program.  Do you have a specific bio you's like us to use?  If so, send it this weekend so we can prep the pages.
 
I have tonight off.  Then I live at the theatre until we open.
Sleep...?  I remember that.  I hope to meet it again someday...
 
Tony
 
January 27, 2006
 
Okay, here's the postcard.  It's at the printers as we speak, and is rapidly making it's way through the internet as well.
 
Strange couple of weeks these past few.  We lost our Orangina the first week of January(will explain in detail when I see you), and scrambled for another.  Went looking for a replacement and found a jewel.  A veteran of the LA Women's Shakespeare Festival and Shakespeare and Company out of Mass., and she has raised the level more than I dreamed possible.  Her presence and intese desire to make it work has only served to kick it up higher than my original choice might have.  I think you'll like her very much.  She seems to fit exactly the way we discussed the character back in November:  earthy, bawdy, full opf wisdom, piss and vinegar.  A powerful sensual presence... kind of reminds me of you!  Must have been fate!
 
Anyways, we start renovation of the stage next week, after the inaugural Film Sunday event at the Theatre.  Major painting and draping.  We've abandoned a lot of the "theatrical" things we discussed, because, as the actors get deeper and deeper into it, and the performances become richer with each rehearsal, I realized (again!) that your words are the most powerful thing up there, and any cheap "trick" I could stage would probably only detract from them. 
 
So the actors are giving wonderous emotional life to the piece, and I think you will be proud of what you see.
 
Will write again soon.
Tony

January 11, 2006
Okay, I lied.  I have one more change to run by you (in bold):

Act 1, Sc 5:
ORANGINA
A bare bottom child dancing in the halls may charm the heart and set the house aglow. But a woman, to be valued, must be chaste.
 
CATHERINE
Who will chase me?  I never see a soul
But you, diSenna, and my family.
 
ORANGINA
(Cut)Your chastity. That's a bit of real estate 'twill cost a pretty penny. Well sold, all honors come to you and me. Poorly lost; so shall you be, and I.(end cut) Soon enough you'll be chasedÖ And then be chaste no longer. It's a world where a woman's 'tween her legs must be given o'er to someone by someone. Unless 'tis snatched (laughs) by some rogue as mine was. A pity, as itís a toy is a joy as no other. 'Tis the value of chastity that it's to be bought, sold or given away, and which it is'll set your course for good and all.
 
CATHERINE
But what's chastity?
 
ORANGINA
Why something to be lost. Why keep it? For to give it away proper. Who has it? Only she who longs to lose it.  For 'tis not chastity, if none would have it. So what's its use but to drive men mad so they part with their treasure, their freedom, their very soul, should they be able to part your legs and relieve you of your weightless burden. 'Tis a prize to him who gets it and no loss to she who loses it. Except, should she lose it poorly, she will find its bosom companion, her blessed honor, also lost. And the loss of that be a great ruin.
 
Starting the speech at this later point will more cleanly play off C's prior line of "who will chase...?" and allows her next line of What;'s chastity to play off O's line immediately prior.  And the information being cut is very ably echoed throughout the two speeches that follow.
 
Is this something you could live with?
Let me know.  And stay dry up there!

January 11, 2006
Thanks for the quick response!  Here are the revisions I'm encating based on our emails:

1) Rosalie says "what's soon?"  or "What comes soon?" instead of "Hate what?"
 2)  we're deleting the last tag of Montague's duplicated speeches.
 
3) Moving DiSenna's aside as follows:
 
ORANGINA
All in Verona finger out the months.
She gave an early birth.
 
DISENNA
When I look in that infant face I see
We were too late, the child is Capuletís.
 
ORANGINA
Why even the good Lawrence donít know that!
 
DISENNA
How can he not?
 
ORANGINA
Heís eyeless. 
 
disenna
But Iím not.
 
Orangina
Be not so cruel, as ruin all the lives.
What you do know, there's no else that knows.
 
disenna
(aside to himself) But if he were her husband, all her joy
Would sicken me with envy. As it stands
She waits for me and for the song I bring.
If she were Capuletís, then I would be
Just a beloved brother. Nothing more.(end aside)
 
Capulet (O.S.)
Good sir, Iíll have my wife.
 
 I think it works better at the end of the exchange after Orangina has confirmed his worst suspicions.  It feels weightier there, and is nicely interrupted by Capulet's vocal entrance, as if the OS dialogue punctuates his thoughts.  I'm going to stage it that DiSenna has a chance to look closely at the babe as Orangina takes it out, which is the catalyst for his dark thoughts.  What I want to get across is that this dark idea is newly blooming in him in this very scene, based on his sudden hunch and Catherine's responses.  Comments?

January 10, 2006
We've gotten through Act One, and now that the holidays are finally over, we're beginning to attack Act 2.  So the sleepless nights are starting as I wonder what I'm forgetting in each scene.  I know that the words will take care of everything, but I don't want them to get lost at any point. The cast does have some questions about certain lines.  I'm pasting them in so you can see where they occur.  They're mostly small, but we won't edit on our own:
 Act 1, Sc 1:
 
BERNADINE
And yet I hate it!
 
CATHERINE
What mean you, Nurse? You "swear it ain't the dress"?
 
ORANGINA
The trouble is the fit of the marriage, not the frock. That's the trouble. And you, the flower of the House diSenna, take this as a bad lesson of how you must be when your day come. Which will be happenin' soon I think.
 
Enter ROSALIE.
 
ROSALIE
Hate what?  O Bernadine, so beautiful!
 
[Question:  How does Roaslie hear the "hate" line?  Cath and Org have lines and then Ros enters.  Can she instead reference something like "What will be happening soon...?" or "What comes soon?" in direct ref to the end of O's line?]

Act 1, Scene 4:
 
MONTAGUE
Tíwas her misfortune that she is a maid.
But if you represent her well, her luck
Is good. For to my home and hearth she will
Bring light. And to her I shall bring a heart
And all the comforts my estate allow.

CAPULET
I remember her gapped teeth and nose -

LAWRENCE
And haystack hair no comb could tame.

CAPULET
Ah you and I recall the dear the same.

MONTAGUE
It's time for ripening. If she shall be
The fruit of summer harvest, I shall reap.
I'll brother you, diSen.  I like you well
For in your words, I've always found good sense.

MONTAGUE
Iíve set my mind to see Catírina now
How she has grown and if she be the one
To grace my heart and home.
 
[Question:  Montague has two lines in a row here.  Can one be cut?  Most likely the second as Heart and Home are both referenced four lines earlier.]

Act 2, Sc 9:
DISENNA
Iíll count the months.

ORANGINA
All in Verona finger out the months.
She gave an early birth.

DISENNA
(to ORANGINA) When I look in that infant face I see
We were too late, the child is Capuletís.
(aside to himself) But if he were her husband, all her joy
Would sicken me with envy. As it stands
She waits for me and for the song I bring.
If she were Capuletís, then I would be
Just a beloved brother. Nothing more.(end aside)

ORANGINA
Why even the good Lawrence donít know that!
 
[We know that O's line here refers to DiSenna's "child is Capulet's" line, but his aside seems to put too much time between that line and O's response.  I'm afraid the audience might not make the connection as easily.  Is there anyway to have his aside come earlier, then have this tete-a-tete with O. be the confirmation?]
Do these make sense?  Please let me know.  Our first Act 2 rehearsal is Wednesday.  Tomorrow night, we're working on 1.8 and 1.9 to refresh and reblock.

December 6, 2005

 
We are now finally, completely, and irrevocably fully cast, and this ponderous glorious beast is shuffling into life.
 
1st full readthru was last night and went nicely.  Already, I can see the character's personalities beginning to take shape through the actors words.
 
Planning the postcards and posters now.  Opening Night is nine weeks from this Friday!!!  Pray for our souls...
 
Tony


Here's Catherine, for example...

November 23, 2005

Quick update - we are now 3/4 cast - still looking for DiSenna and Montague.
...Wait 'til you see the (cast) we've got now!
 
Going up north for the Holiday but should be reachable by cell if you need to.
Have a great Thanksgiving!

Auditions are proceeding well. I think that most female parts are cast, and I'm deciding on an Orangina tomorrow night. Will be mixing and matching actors for Cap, Montague and DiSenna at callbacks to see what combination works best. Thank you for the offer of posting another audition ad, but I think we're close now.

Here are my notes on Act 2: 

(okay, I lied - one more Act 1 note) - Bare Bottom speech is on page 69. and runs like this:

ORANGINA -Moonlight shined a bare bottom on this sweet strand of Neptuneís shore. Yer fatherís watch surprise Ďem then bare backs ride the waves. In my tumbliní days I left many a shirt. ORANGINA -But you neednít know that yet. You're too young.

And now, the Act 2 notes: page 91 - "Exit Orangina" before Cap enters.
page 93 - "You think I am more fearless than I am." Can this be modified to "You think me more fearless than I am." or does it mess up the rhythm?
page 108: Capulet: "I never thought we'd make fortune you swore would come to us..." Should it be "make THE fortune..."?
page 114: DiSenna pulls Orangina aside. Lines moved to another point. Should this still be here?
page 119: Catherine: "bring dishonor..." is there a piece missing at the opening or just capitalization?
page 130: Capulet tells Rosalie to come home. Can the final one be "We must TO home." "Go" has been used immediately previously, and "to" doesn't mess with the scansion.
page 131: just curiousity: Does Bernadine know?
page 143: Cap's line to Orangina: "If you would go..." - can it be "If you would AWAY..." it flavors it clearer that she's not GOING to the Capulet Household but away from it all.

The only other issue is the Rosalie segments we discussed. On page 122, she's still onstage, then 123 she enters in wedding dress. 125, she's slightly pregnant, and 126, very pregnant. While the passage of "Play-time" makes sense, the actual "stage-time" will be tricky because of the changes in dress to bring this across. Can someone have a covering monologue to give us some time? I'm thinking that Catherine could have a good speech here, something that drives home the cost of honor, the sacrifice of love, and maybe the wavering between the two, that it only takes the slightest push to send one into the other and how she now has to live the rest of her life in that delicate balance. Maybe about how every day she has to fight going to him, but holds back for her son... We've already gotten Cap's POV (the "feed a starving man" sonnet), but Catherine doesn't have a good meaty moment afterwards. It could also get across the passage of time, (changing of the seasons, a cold winter coming, Rosalie's time to bear approaches, etc.) and her mixed feeling towards Rosalie(she is married to the man C loves, after all!). I'm just concerned that we're getting too far away from the main story with this section and an actress could nail the audience with something like this. Just some random thoughts.So on five hours of sleep for the weekend, I am exhausted, exhilerated and just plain nervous as hell, but moving ever forward.

Your faithful director, Tony

November 14, 2005 - Here are my notes for Act 1. They're very brief because I think it already works:

I.2 "And who shall be this fourth...?" "Which Capulet might be..." Do Who and which work together here?

I.5 Can "Wrap up!... etc" come earlier? I'd like the chastity speech to be between the two of them onstage together, not seemingly shouted through the DiSenna house. If not, I think I can stage around it, using the little alcove backstage.

I.8 Orangina's "bare bottom" speech. She also has the next line, but it's broken out into a separate line. Is there a line missing?

That's it for Act 1. Will finish act 2 tonight and alert you to any glaring things that need addressing, but I don't think there will be money. It's already a great script and the only things that we do will be those that make it better (and easier to stage.) Do you still want me to try a director's blog?

We cast this weekend.

I've already selected some of the music I want for the show, and I'm thinking about shooting a small commercial for the production that could be viewed online (in all my voluminous spare time. If it comes to fruition, I will forward it to you.

Hope all is well up there!

June 17, 2005 - Oh my God, Sharyn, you are such a tease!!! Of course I want it right away... Sheesh, like I could wait til the end of the month!

June 06, 2005 - That's great news about the sell-out performances!! Hopefully it's a harbinger of things to come down here!

Am very excited to read the new pages and have started planning out staging of certain scenes (just to get prepared).

I'm planning on initiating a lot of contact with local high schools and colleges.

Okay - So please send me the complete revised work so I can start my book. Looking forward to getting a good headstart and making you proud of us.

Tony

May 13, 2005 - Not sure if you're checking email at this time, but wanted to let you know we are on our way to SF, and look forward to meeting you and seeing the show. I already have ideas and can't wait to see how this production tackles them!

April 29, 2005 - This is the best news I received in a long time!!! Thank you for trusting us with your baby, and I hope we live up to your expectations!!

I will be attending the San Francisco premiere on Saturday, the 14th. Several of my actors and I will be trekking up to the Bay Area that weekend, and I look forward to meeting you there!

Now that you and James have agreed on terms, I wanted to let you know that you can contact me at any time if you have questions or concerns. Can't wait to see how it's grown!

My head is already crowded with ideas on staging!!! It's going to be a long six months, isn't it?

Thanks again for allowing us to participate in this adventure!

March 24, 2005 - Re: your latest play, "StarCrossed."

After reading it carefully, I have to agree with the reviewers that it is a fine and thrilling and very moving piece. As such, I would like to recommend it to our Artistic Director.

I note that is is being staged in San Francisco in May/June. Are the production rights available for down here in Los Angeles this Fall?

Do you have any specific production requirements I would need to be aware of? I'd like to communicate them to our Board as soon as possible, in order to give them a clear picture of what this production would entail.

Please contact me at your earliest convenience with this information. I look forward to hearing from you.

Again, congratulations on a great piece of work!

Tony Caballero
Managing Director - New Works
Attic Theatre Ensemble

   
 

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