Monday, July 23, 2012

Or Else What Follows? - 7.23.12

Twelfth Night opens this Saturday!
Summer is our busiest time of the year here at ADK Shakes. There are things going on just about every day, which makes it a bit difficult to keep up with my posting on here. Here's a recap of our weekend:

On Friday, we toured down to Congress Park in beautiful Saratoga Springs. We set up by the War Memorial to perform selections from The Twelve Labors of Hercules, and we learned quickly that some feathered friends would play an important role in our performance. Long lines of ducks marched right through our makeshift stage, which was pretty hilarious. Patrick particularly enjoyed scattering them with the Nemean Lion's entrance. Perhaps my favorite part of the day, however, was even before we got to the park -- I was on the radio!! In case you missed out, I gave an interview about ADK Shakespeare's third summer season on The Eight O'Clock Hour on North Country Public Radio. But don't worry, you can listen to the broadcast right here!

Saturday brought beautiful weather and an adventure down to Albany to pick up our NYC contingent of actors who traveled via bus to the capital. Almost everyone has now arrived, and we had a delicious dinner at our rental house in Wevertown.

Sunday was all about workshops (as is today!), and we are hunkering down at the Schroon Lake Central School to work on sonnets, verse speaking, and spatial awareness with Leslie Reidel (of the University of Delaware and the Enchantment Theatre Company). We are so fortunate to have Leslie returning to do workshops again this season. If I can find some time, I'd love to write a more detailed post on the experience of doing these workshops. I've found them so valuable in my own work as an actor, and I see a monumental difference in the work of others as well. And I have to say, I love it!

The rest of the week is rising action until we open Twelfth Night on Saturday evening -- 7:30 p.m. at the Boathouse Theater. Our first rehearsal for this show is Thursday, followed by one of our final Hercules performances in Ticonderoga. We'll be performing at 4:00 p.m. as part of their Arts Week festivities! Friday will be our long intensive rehearsal day all driving towards our evening opening performance on Saturday. Sunday we cap the week off with our very first tour to Caroga Lake -- we will be at the outdoor amphitheater on Main Street at 2:30 p.m. I'm already super proud of this ensemble and the amazing show I know they are going to put on -- don't miss our opening weekend of mainstage performances!

Reserve your tickets now at and view our full performance schedule right here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Herculean week!

I couldn't be more thankful. We had an especially fantastic performance of The Twelve Labors of Hercules this morning! An amazing audience of 70 people laughed, applauded, and enjoyed the show today. All the actors felt especially "on" and the energy was completely contagious. I love shows like this!

Today's show was a wonderful cherry on the cake of yesterday's Meet and Greet. We had a great time chatting with many members of the community, snacking on some delicious treats, and running for cover from the insane thunderstorm that hit in the middle of Hippolyta whooping Hercules's you-know-what. We rolled with the punches and really enjoyed lighting candles and gathering in the beautiful parlor at the Paradox House Gallery Retreat. It was an evening to remember! Here are some pictures from the selected scenes we performed:
Deinos, the man-eating mare of Diomedes
Hercules moves rivers and puts the ram in the ramalamadingdong
Eurystheus discourages Iolaus
This evening we are working on some Hydra repairs and probably running some Twelfth Night and Hamlet lines. The main stage company arrival has felt so far away all month, but they will all be joining us here on Saturday -- a few short days away. I can't believe it's here already! Before they arrive, I have a paper to write on Romeo and Juliet for class. It certainly is an interesting experience to have my head in the production zone as well as the critical scholar zone. We'll be studying Hamlet and Twelfth Night for class too, so I'm particularly looking forward to what my different mode of thinking will bring to the performances.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Or Else What Follows? - 7.16.12

Tomorrow afternoon we are holding our annual Meet and Greet fundraiser for our summer festival season. This year, we are graciously hosted by the Paradox House Gallery Retreat in Severance, NY, and you can have the chance to mingle with the acting company and crew of our children's show The Twelve Labors of Hercules.

Meet the author, Jessica Hackett, who has done a beautiful job marrying lessons for children about friendship, cooperation, and loyalty with more complex, political themes, all written through the historical lens of Octavius (more familiar to us as Augustus Caesar) and Agrippa. Also in attendance will be the acting company of the show: Mitchell Conway (Agrippa/Hercules), Rachel Ritacco (Athena, ensemble), and Aaron White (Octavius/Iolaus), as well as myself (Hera, ensemble) and Patrick Siler (Zeus, ensemble) who is also our Executive Director.

You'll get to meet the cast, enjoy some scenes from the show, and browse our Silent Auction of items donated by the company in order to benefit our summer season. This is our single fundraising opportunity for the season, and we need your help! ADK Shakespeare did not receive any grant funding this year, and yet our season is bigger than ever as we continue to grow to meet demand. Help us out with a donation to support the amazing work happening right here in your community.

Debbie Philp, the owner of True North Yoga, came to see our opening performance with her son last week and posted a rave review on The Schroon Laker. I was especially proud that Debbie wrote on the complexity of the play and its relevance for both young and older children, as well as adults. This is exactly the message that we were hoping would come through in the performance of Hercules. And Hercules is only the first offering of the season. Our mainstage season opens with Twelfth Night at the end of the month, followed swiftly by Hamlet and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Please support our programming! Tell your friends about our performances and come check us out at tomorrow's Meet and Greet.

If you missed last week's performances of The Twelve Labors of Hercules, don't worry! The company returns this Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. to the Boathouse Theater in Schroon Lake. Last week's house was packed, so be sure to arrive at 10:30 when the house opens to get the best seats! On Thursday, we will be touring to the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek for an 11:00 a.m. show. Friday brings us to the War Memorial at Congress Park in Saratoga Springs from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Meet the stars of Hercules, see what goes on behind the scenes, and maybe even treat yourself to one of our really cool t-shirts featuring Hungry Will.

If you are unable to attend the Meet and Greet, but would still like to make a tax-deductible donation to support Adirondack Shakespeare, you can make a secure donation through PayPal by visiting our home page:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Friends, ye Romans, gather here

What an exciting morning! The Twelve Labors of Hercules performed for the first time this morning to an audience of 65 parents, grandparents, children and friends of the company. And they were absolutely spellbound!

Openings are a complete roller coaster of emotion. There is excitement and nerves. Who will come see it? Will I remember all my lines and cues? I don't feel ready for performance yet. What if I forget to set this prop? I'm nervous about this line that I never ever get right. And then the audience arrives. They are glowing with excitement, here early to make sure they get a good seat. They're fans from seeing Midsummer or Theseus last summer. They giggle in all the right places. They even talk to us during the show -- and afterwards! They come to tell us which of the monsters was their favorite. To grab up brochures so they can come to see another show. To say "Thank you for bringing this to our town. We're glad you're here." 

Thank you for welcoming us to your town. For being the most terrific opening audience I could ask for. For laughing and smiling. For listening, for imagining, for playing with us. We can't do it without you!

The cast of Hercules (L-R: Patrick Siler, Mitch Conway, Tara Bradway, Aaron White. Center: Rachel Ritacco

We hope to see you again very soon. Our next performance of Hercules is tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. the Indian Lake Theater in Indian Lake. You can reserve your tickets now at On Friday, we'll be traveling to Mid's Park in Lake Placid for a day at the park. Saturday, you can find us in Shepard Park in Lake George Village, and Sunday we'll be hanging out in Rogers Memorial Park in Bolton Landing. We hope to see you there!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Or Else What Follows? - 7.9.12

An exciting week is ahead of us -- The Twelve Labors of Hercules opens on Wednesday at the Boathouse Theater in Schroon Lake village at 11:00 a.m. Join us! This show promises to be absolutely amazing. The masks and monsters alone are going to be quite incredible. I think the grown-ups are going to enjoy this just as much as the kids.

After we open on Wednesday morning, we'll be doing a little more poster-hanging around the area. Look for our blue ADK t-shirts wandering around Bolton Landing and Ticonderoga. Thursday morning brings us to Indian Lake, where we will perform at the Theater on Main Street at 11:00 a.m. We're excited to perform at Indian Lake Theater again this summer. We toured The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) here last season and really enjoyed the audience and the town. Thanks for welcoming us back!

Friday the 13th brings us to Lake Placid for the first time this season. We will be performing scenes from the show every half hour in Mid's Park. Join us starting at 10:00 a.m. -- come visit with the actors, hear about how we constructed our masks and monsters, and pick up one of our t-shirts as a souvenir. We'll be returning to Lake Placid in August -- you can see the full production at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts on August 15 at 10:30 a.m. as part of LPCA's Young and Fun Series.

It's so wonderful to have the kids' show company here settling in! Keep an eye out for our Meet the Company posts, which will be starting up later this week. Get to know the actors of The Twelve Labors of Hercules!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hercules rehearsal {day 1}

It begins! All of our company members (for the children's show, that is) have arrived, and we begin rehearsals today. We'll have a full day ahead of us -- starting with building Rachel's base mask for Athena. Throughout the day, we'll be working a lot on our lines. This is the first time we have gotten to hear the script aloud, and I have to say that I am really looking forward to seeing this up on its feet this Wednesday.

Before then, though, we have monsters to finish, battles to choreograph, and lines to polish. The Nemean Lion is coming along -- he looks absolutely amazing, and so much cooler than I could possibly have envisioned.
Aaron has been working at adding more color and shading to the lion today. Yellow and gold have been added to the reddish-brown base. Patrick painted the eyeballs today, as well.

Tomorrow we'll be adding his raffia mane and perhaps some bristly whiskers. We've got some foam cones (from the floral arrangement section of A.C. Moore) that Aaron has trimmed down for his nasty, big, pointy teeth.

Here's Aaron working on the shoulders. They're constructed from drum heads, with straps for me to wear around my own shoulders. The raffia gives the suggestion of bulk, and will hang down to cover my hands. You'll get to see a sneak peek of us working the lion in tomorrow's post!

Somehow I have a feeling that the Nemean Lion will be my favorite of all the monsters. I wuv him!

Don't miss this production -- we open on Wednesday morning at the Boathouse Theater in Schroon Lake village. The house opens at 10:30 a.m. and the show starts at 11:00 a.m. Reserve your tickets in advance at!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Nemean Lion is born

Things are coming up so rapidly! One of our company members, Aaron, arrived on Thursday evening, and the rest of our group arrives later on today. I'm so excited and nervous to have the season starting up for reals.

As I type, I just completed our Orientation Meeting for Part One of the Kingship Cycle. I cannot wait to get to work with these folks -- what an amazing group of actors. These shows are going to be epic (in multiple ways).

I'm also listening to the pleasant buzz of the Dremel tool as Aaron sculpts foam for our Hercules monsters. This is so exciting, people! Our Nemean Lion began as little more than a huge sheet of foam. Patrick and I cut some chunks from it a few nights ago, and he began sculpting the beast's eye. The design is based on the Chinese lions (which I had always assumed were dragons), and it is turning out to be absolutely stunning. This guy is fierce! Check out this sneak preview:
We will be adding raffia for a mane, and we're starting to construct his shoulders and legs today. This is one awesome monster.

Also on our list is the Lernean Hydra, the man-eating mare of Diomedes, and the Stymphalian birds. It's coming together! I can't wait to share this production with our audience on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

ADK Shakes will be hanging out in Schroon Lake Village all day today, unless we are driving away by the threat of thunderstorms. We're keeping our fingers crossed that 30% chance of thundershowers will just miss us altogether.

Stop by and visit us -- we'll be working on some masks for Hercules at the table today, and we'll have a lovely collection of t-shirts, season passes, and cds as well as our brochures so you can make your plans to see ADK Shakes in action in a just a few short weeks.

I might also be hunkered down with some reading as my summer class starts in five days, and I'm going to need to get a jump on my assignments before the company begins arriving on Saturday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Or Else What Follows? - 7.2.12

Busy day today! This morning Patrick and I hung posters at some of our favorite locations in Schroon Lake Village. The town has been painted red in advance of the 4th of July celebrations coming up on Wednesday.

ADK Shakes will be there manning a table just in front of True North Yoga -- hands down, our favorite yoga studio anywhere. (We had our first class of the season just last Thursday, and we were super bummed to be too late to make this morning's class.) If you are in the Schroon Lake area, definitely drop in for a class. You'll love it! You can pick up a schedule on Wednesday when you come to visit our table.

We have a beautiful series of promo materials this year -- large size season posters and Hercules posters, a smaller sized poster for Hercules, as well as a brochure featuring all our artwork and our full schedule.

We'll be selling season passes: $35 - for unlimited access to our performances. This is an amazing deal -- if you are planning to come see more than one show, pick this up. (The only thing it does not cover is paid admission to the Scaroon Manor state park facility, because, well, that's run by the state DEC and not by us.) Visit the table for more details. We also have some cd's featuring music from our first season and some brand new t-shirts. And since you asked for it -- we have KIDS' sizes this year! This shirt features our beloved Hungry Will mascot on the front with a quote from Hamlet: "Eat a crocodile? I'll do it."

I'm looking forward to spending the day in the sunshine on Main Street in Schroon Lake on Wednesday and to chatting with everyone about our upcoming season. It's been wonderful to be back in town and seeing familiar faces. What a particular treat to hear wonderful thing about the company, about last year's productions, and the excitement folks are feeling about the shows this year. I absolutely cannot wait to see you all at our performances at the Boathouse, the Manor, and the Center for the Arts and all around the region.

And now, an endnote. I just added the title "Or else what follows?" to this post, which is a quote from Henry V. In the very back of my head I often tuck ideas on what to write about, and I've been toying with the idea of a weekly series for a long long time. Tonight, inspiration has struck. Not sure that "Or else what follows?" is the perfect title for such a series, but I like the idea of posting on what's coming up in my world "this week." So, here it is. What follows this week is Wednesday's Fourth of July celebration and parade in Schroon Lake, hanging more posters up in the Saranac Region, sending out multitudes of emails to build steam for the season offerings, cleaning the cabin for the kid's show company, a meeting with an environmental advocate on Friday, an orientation meeting for the Kingship Cycle Part One, and last but not least the long-awaited arrival of the Hercules company on Saturday evening!
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