Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Caeneus & Poseidon: An Interview With Regina Kohl

Regina, who plays one of our Nereids, shares a bit about herself in the next of our interviews. Thanks so much, Regina!
Which character do you play?
I am playing one of the Nereids.

What are you most looking forward to about playing this character? Is there anything that is particularly challenging about playing this character?
I found the process of forging out my character interesting. The script is written in such a way that the Nereids’ lines can be said either simultaneously or in turn. We decided to split some of the lines between the three actresses who play the Nereids, thereby establishing three independent characters. It was interesting to see how these characters took shape and how different they turned out to be in the end. This also gave me a chance to find my character’s story within the text and show how she transitions from a person who is completely dependent on Poseidon to someone who stands up for herself and others, and frees herself from the shackles of dependency and physical violence. I am looking forward to telling her story to the audience.

Have you been involved with Dragon Theatre before? How?
This is the first production at the Dragon Theatre I am involved with, and I am very excited about this opportunity.

What other theatre projects do you have coming up?
I was cast in the role of Polonius in ‘Hamlet’ produced by Silicon Valley Shakespeare, and will be performing at Sanborn-Skyline County Park from late July onwards.

How do you prepare for a role? Is there anything special you do to get into the mindset of a character you're playing? 
First of all, I do a lot of text work. What information about the character can I find in the text? What do I say about myself? What do others say about me? I ask the obvious questions, like who am I? where am I? what and who surrounds me? etc. I break the text down in units and try to find out what my objectives are, what are the obstacles that prevent me from achieving my objectives? How do I try to achieve my objectives? I find such a detailed analysis of the text very useful.

I also tend to get off book really quickly, so that I can explore how the character moves without being hindered by the textbook in front of my face during rehearsals.
In general, I do a lot of research into the background story (era of a play, historical facts etc). When I am exploring a character I also think about people I know or knew who might have elements in their characters I can use. I also look into myself and see what experience can help me form my character. I also love watching and observing people. There are always certain characteristics, habits, traits you can use for certain roles.

What is your dream role?
I have quite a few and am constantly adding new ones to my list. Some roles I would love to play are Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart ...

Who’s your favorite mythological character? (doesn’t have to be Greek)
I have to admit that I don’t really have a favorite mythological character.

Anything else you'd like to share with us?
I am very excited about being part of this show. The script is marvelous and I can share the stage with very talented actors and actresses. This is a story worth telling and I hope we’ll be doing it justice.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Caeneus & Poseidon: Meet Poseidon

The Greek god Poseidon was known as Neptune in the Roman pantheon. A son of Kronos and Rhea, as one of the greater gods Poseidon was king of the sea, creator of earthquakes, floods, drought, and horses. He's generally depicted as holding a three pronged trident and is often shown riding in a horse drawn chariot.

Poseidon had five other siblings: Zeus, Hades, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia. Poseidon eventually married the marine goddess Amphitrite, and together they had the fish-tailed god Triton.

Poseidon was generally portrayed as one of the most mercurial of the gods. One would assume that might reflect the mercurial nature of the ocean. He generally didn't get along with his siblings, Zeus in particular, who was generally considered the most powerful of the gods. He was also jealous of Athena, who bested him in a contest to become the patron god of the city now called Athens. The gods were asked to show their power. Poseidon wanted to show his benevolence so he struck the Acropolis and up sprang a salt water stream. Athena, however, created an olive tree, which was much more useful and therefore she won the right to become the patron god of Athens.

Poseidon often had a retinue of Nereids, the fifty daughters of Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea. They were water nymphs who often appeared to help stranded sailors. The best known Nereid is Thetis, the mother of Achilles.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Caeneus & Poseidon: An Interview With Mylissa Malley

Mylissa Malley, who plays one of our sea nymphs, tells us about herself and her process as an actor in our next interview. Thanks Mylissa!

Which character do you play?
One of the Nerieds, as recently named by myself, Omi.

What are you most looking forward to about playing this character? Is there anything that is particularly challenging about playing this character?
This is my first time playing a character who really only cares about herself, and what benefits and pleases her. I don't want to give away any spoilers but I'd say that should my character have any changes of heart and not be in it solely for herself, finding that hypothetical place would be the most challenging. I've having a lot of fun playing a character who likes to annoy other characters for fun, and sink ships. She's big on sinking ships.

Have you been involved with Dragon Theatre before? How?
I participated in a Monday Night Play Space event with my new murder mystery company The Clue Collective. We test ran a show there with this fantastic program they have on Mondays. It gave us a lot of good information going forward both for the business aspect of the company, and the entertainment aspect of the play.

What other theatre projects do you have coming up?
Immediately after Caeneus and Poseidon closes I go into rehearsals for Evita at Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre, in Pleasanton. We'll be performing end of April through May 14.

How do you prepare for a role? Is there anything special you do to get into the mindset of a character you're playing? 
I always start with the text. What does this character want, and why. Is there anything she says where she gives a clear opinion on anything. I use that information for figure out how I can connect her to myself, and my life, and build out from there. For shows, I always do a physical warm up, in the space I'll be performing in, while listening to a playlist of music that I feel defines the character.

What is your dream role?
Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

Who’s your favorite mythological character? (doesn’t have to be Greek)
I really like the myths of mermaids and selkies, so it's great that I get to play with ocean mythological creatures in this show.

Anything else you'd like to share with us?
When I'm not on stage I rock climb, and I'm really thrilled to have a set to climb all over. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Caeneus & Poseidon: An Interview with David Donovan

Next up, we hear from David Donovan, our set designer! Watch our website to check out photos of our set in the coming days - it's under construction now.

What is your role in this production?
Scenic Designer

Can you tell us a bit about your background and experience? How did you get into this aspect of theatre?
I've loved theater since high school, where I played in several musicals (My Fair Lady, Oklahoma, Big River, Anything Goes) and one play (Neil Simon's Fools).  I got interested in Architecture in 2007 while doing my PhD in Astronomy.  Later, in 2011, I entered UC Berkeley's [IN]Arch program with the intention of doing a Master's in Architecture.  I did a summer term in Architecture at California College of the Arts but left the program to return to my career in Engineering.  My love for spatial design didn't subside, however, and I found that scenic design allowed me to scratch the creative itch without quitting my day job.  I am very happy to be working with the Caeneus & Poseidon production team on my second show as set designer!
In what capacities have you been involved with Dragon Theatre before?
My first scenic design was for the Dragon's Second Stages production of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie directed by Jenny Hollingworth in June 2016.  Though the Dragon's "diamond thrust" stage is very challenging to design for, there's something about the intimacy of the space and the constraints of working almost in the round that brings out creative thinking.  It's clear that the community really loves and supports the space, and that's a great environment in which to work.

What is your favorite part of what you do? What is the most challenging thing about what you do?
I love the process of moving from a list of scenes to imagining how to bring them to life in the spatial conditions of the stage.  The transition from rough plan sketches to designing the 3d model is really fun.  

I think the most challenging part (aside from determining colors, where I still have a lot to learn) is working out the scene transitions.  Transforming the stage from a city to the seashore or from a bar to the deck of a barge in under a few minutes is a big interconnected puzzle.  Working out the transitions between the final two scenes can have repercussions on the design for Act 1, Scene 1, and I have to consider not only the scene at hand but how it fits into the entire show.
Are there any moments or scenes in this play that pose a particular challenge for you?
The two biggest challenges for me in this play were conveying the seashore and dealing with two character-swallowing earthquakes.

For the seashore, I researched actual beaches in Thessaly, Greece, where the play is set, and realized that the cliffs came down very close to the shore.  This was the key to the idea of the staircase pieces, which could ambiguously serve as steps to a building, a hill in the countryside, and rocks leading to the shore depending on how they are approached by the actors.

For the earthquakes, I realized that the set alone would not be enough to convey Poseidon's magic -- I could only provide a place for the swallowed actor to exit.  Fortunately, we have a great creative team on the show and I worked with Leanna (Lighting Design), Josh (Sound Design), and Amy (Director) to establish a multi-sensory language to bring the earthquakes to life.
What other theatre projects do you have coming up?
Nothing lined up at the moment.  If you hear of anything let me know!

Who’s your favorite mythological character? (Doesn’t have to be Greek)
I've always been a big fan of Hermes (Mercury), the messenger.  The first manned space program is named for him, and he gets to run around causing mischief in a winged shoes and hat.

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself? 
I am happy to be working with such a great production team, and I'm excited to bring more prominence to this little-known myth that explores the beautiful spectrum of human gender!