Monday, September 24, 2012

Hey Diddle Diddle the Rhyme Behind the Play's Title

“Hey diddle diddle” is a fantasy rhyme designed to delight children with impossible images such "the Cow jumped over the Moon!" The phrase "Hey diddle diddle" can be found in the works of Shakespeare and was a colloquialism used in much the same vein as "hey nonny no" which can be found in traditional English folk ballads. The original title was "High Diddle Diddle" but this has been altered to "Hey Diddle Diddle" over the years with changes to the English language. The first known date of publication for the words of the “Hey diddle diddle” rhyme is 1765.

Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport
And the dish ran away with the spoon!

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Construction Update the Second!

Huge progress is being made at our new home in Redwood City.

We've gone from rough frames:

To solid walls!

That orange piece of equipment in the front is a scissors lift - it's a platform that lifts people up and down. Necessary when you're doing silly things like building an all new mezzanine. 

That little window up there is for the tech booth. The stage manager and various tech folk will sit up there during a show to run the lights and sound and program all the whizz bang effects that go into prettying up a show. 

Here's a look at the interior of the new theatre from the point of view of an actor standing on the currently imaginary stage: 

They've even got the new mezzanine up and safe enough for Executive Artistic Director Meredith Hagedorn to check out the view from the future balcony. We might have some fun VIP seating up there some day. 

I love  that on the wall across from Meredith you can see where the old staircase was.

Boom! Gone! 

And last but not least, here's a look back toward the front of the building from the new hallway. Note the size of that part of the lobby and that we've moved the front door front and center! 

It's starting to look like an actual theatre! If you come see our current show, The Little Dog Laughed (and you SHOULD because it's HILARIOUS. Don't take my word for it, here's a great review) there's a nice scale model in the lobby - check it out because it's pretty darn cool. And you'll get a better idea of what we're buildling toward. We are still fundraising for the build so if you have a few bucks, please donate in the buckets in the lobby when you're at the show or contact me (Kim) at for more information! See you at the show! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

50 Shades of Little Dog Laughed

I was doing some research on The Little Dog Laughed for some background and ran across an interview with the playwright, Douglas Carter Beane, from 2009. Here's the excerpt that initially interested me.

Julie White won a Tony for playing the ruthless agent in Little Dog Laughed who's desperate to keep her movie star client in the closet
Which, by the way, is so dated!  I joke. Certain reviewers say the play is so dated and I think, "Do you want the list?" What I was making fun of was the rules. At one point, the character says,  "I think I want to come out as a gay actor" and his agent says, "Are you British?  Are you knighted? If not, shut up!"  Now you can be on television, but you have to be the comedic character, you can't be the romantic character. So there are certain rules to it. 

And I was feeling that as a culture, maybe we've made progress in this arena. Neil Patrick Harris is probably the most visibly "out" actor in Hollywood, and he's been terrifically successful on the television comedy How I Met Your Mother as (straight) lothario Barney Stinson. Matt Bomer, the leading man on the cable television show White Collar,  recently came out as a happily partnered gay man in a long term relationship. He plays the (straight) hunk Neil Caffrey on his show to little outrage. Or so I thought until I read an online rant by Brett Easton Ellis, the author of, among other novels, American Psycho.

Here's the backstory. Ellis was up to write the screenplay for the film adaptation of the book Fifty Shades of Grey (and we're not even going to talk about that). Ellis had been publicly talking about how much he wanted the job, was fantasy casting online with his fans, and so on. Then Ellis announced that he'd met with the producers and he was out of the running. A number of ladies are suggesting that Matt Bomer could easily take on the lead role of Christian Grey. Ellis started Tweeting that, basically, no, Bomer couldn't be Christian Grey because he "comes off totally gay in White Collar." He then said "I am NOT discriminating Matt Bomer because of his sexuality. Fifty Shades of Grey demands an actor that is genuinely into women. Get it?!?" Ellis also Tweeted that "Hollywood is the most homophobic place in the entire world."

So maybe Beane's 2009 interview stands.

I think it's kind of funny, Christian Bale played Patrick Bateman in the film adaptation of American Psycho and nobody thought "you know, he's not really a serial killer." We have actors regularly playing superheroes, vampires, doctors, and scientists and nobody bats an eye. (I mean, Denise Richards played a nuclear physicist named Christmas Jones in that James Bond movie.) It's called acting - you're playing a part. Does an actors' personal life really matter? If a woman hasn't had children should she never play a mom? Where's the distinction made? Why is it that "playing it straight" still raises some eyebrows?

Watch the play and tell me what YOU think.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Construction Update

We broke ground at our new facility on Broadway in downtown Redwood City a few weeks ago and our contractor, Louis, is just building like crazy and it's starting to look like, you know, a theatre!

We started like this, at the July Sneak Peek event:

The staircase is on the left, there's a half balcony with office space, and under the stairs are offices. There's HVAC piping all over the place for the heating and cooling systems.

Then demolition happened. First the carpeting was pulled up.

 Then the HVAC piping came down.

Then walls started coming down.

The offices under the stairs are basically where the backstage will be.

Looking to the front from the back of the building. That open space on the right WAS office space. 

And the side staircase came out and the framing for the walls went up.

Louis conferring with our architects from Chiu Lao Architecture Design.

The mezzanine walls were gutted because we're expanding it. We'll have an office, a classroom, the tech booth, and a small balcony upstairs when we're done.

All of the walls are getting framed out so the shape of the theatre is becoming more clear.

This is the view from the current front door. 

This is the view of the new lobby.

The framing for the upstairs.

This is the back wall of the theatre where the fixed seats will go.

Not bad for only a few weeks work! We're making great progress on our fundraising efforts but still have a ways to go. If you can help us with a gift, please visit our fundraising page for details on how you can help build the next generation of the Dragon Theatre in downtown Redwood City!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fun Facts About Redwood City

Since we're starting to spend more time downtown, I wanted to learn a little more about our new home. Here's what I've learned about Redwood City so far...

Redwood City's Slogan

Redwood City's slogan, emblazoned on arches across Broadway at the east and west entrances to downtown, is "Climate Best By Government Test." This is based on a climatological survey conducted by the United States and German governments prior to World War I. The area centered on Redwood City tied for the world's best climate with the Canary Islands and North Africa's Mediterranean Coast.

Education in Redwood City

Sequoia High School is a high school in downtown Redwood City, California, United States. Established in 1895, it is the oldest high school in the San Francisco Bay Area between San Francisco and San Jose. It was founded as a preparatory school for Stanford University. Today, it is one of the few schools to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme within the Bay Area.

The present-day campus is located on the grounds of the former estate of Horace Hawes, author of the legislative bill that created San Mateo County. The grounds include a Japanese tea garden and is surrounded by a number of historical trees; the Giant Sequoia, Monkey-puzzle tree, Australian Tea tree, Ginkgo biloba trees, Cork Oak tree and many others.

Sequoia High School is part of the Sequoia Union High School District.

On September 13, 2007 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Sequoia High School to sign bill SB 33, which prohibits persons who are under the age of 18 years from using a wireless telephone or other mobile service device while operating a motor vehicle.

Law and Order in Redwood City
The Scott Peterson trial was held in Redwood City.

In 1976, Patty Hearst was held at the San Mateo County jail, as it was the most secure facility in the Bay Area at the time. Hearst, the heiress and granddaughter of the legendary newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped by a radical group, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), and made national headlines when she joined the group in a series of crimes.

Author Ken Kesey spent time in the San Mateo County jail in 1967 for possession of marijuana. During his incarceration he wrote Kesey’s Jail Journal.

In addition to the new 20-screen theatre, major improvements were made to the historical courthouse located on Broadway. In the late 30's an addition was built in front of the original structure, obscuring the view. It was torn down as part of the revitalization project. The building has been replaced with a large courtyard flanked by water fountains on either side, leading to the main steps of the courthouse. The courthouse's glass dome is lit at night and changes colors every 11 seconds.

On Location in Redwood City
Harold and Maude was filmed at various Northern California locations. There is a scene of Maude liberating a "poor tree that can't breathe" which was filmed in front of the San Mateo County Government Center in downtown.

The courthouse scenes of Mrs. Doubtfire were filmed at the Redwood City courthouse.

Famous Redwood City Residents

  • Gary Beban: 1967 Heisman Trophy winner, briefly played professional football for the Washington Redskins.
  • Ray Dolby: 1951 Founder of Dolby Laboratories, producer of Dolby Sound used in nearly every movie.
  • Spencer Folau: 1991 Super Bowl Championship Team with the Baltimore Ravens.
  • Tim Genis: 1984 Boston Symphony Lead Timpanist
  • Roger Dennis "Denny" Hansen: Rhodes Scholar All American Swimmer @ Sequoia, Yale University, Subject of Calvin Trillin's Remembering Denny (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1993; the true story of a golden boy's rise and fall),
  • Charles Johnson: professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors.
  • Paul McClellan: Major League Baseball (MLB) player for the San Francisco Giants.
  • Gordon Moore: 1946 Co-founder of Intel Corporation, best known for Moore's Law.
  • Paul Noce: former MLB player with the Chicago Cubs.
  • Kenny Ortega: 1968 Emmy Award winner and Director and Choreographer for the High School Musical franchise. Longtime choreographer for Michael Jackson. Directed and choreographed the film Newsies.
  • Eric Dane (in school as Eric Feldman): Former Student 1987–1990 — Actor on Grey's Anatomy and Marley & Me.
  • Dick Sharon: former MLB player.
  • Dick Stuart: former MLB player with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Bob Svihus: 1961 Played with the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets from 1965–1973.
  • Tim Twietmeyer: Ultramarathon runner, best known for his completing the Western States Endurance Run more than 25 times in under 24 hours.
  • Linda Cardellini: actress born in Redwood City, best known for her roles in ER and Freaks & Geeks.

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