iambic315 – Los Angeles Drama Club

Shakespeare at GALA

Love’s Labors Lost: A Comedy by William Shakespeare

It’s the Battle of the Sexes!!

Four young men decide to make a pledge to avoid young women … for the sake of becoming more intellectual and contemplative? Really? Any chance that could work? When four young women arrive on the scene, maybe, just maybe, the young women could actually inspire them to become better men. A whole pack of hilarious and crazy characters (including more females roles than pretty much any other Shakespeare play!!)

Read more about Love’s Labors Lost here!

For more than 10 years, Los Angeles Drama Club has been working with Los Angeles youth ages 6-17 from all backgrounds. We use the exploration and performance of Shakespeare’s work to foster self-esteem, creativity, literacy and excellence in every aspect of our Players’ lives.

We begin rehearsals on February 7th, so don’t delay!!!!

Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 pm
Starting February 7th

Final Dress Rehearsal TBD (May 14 or 15)
We will also be scheduling one weekend rehearsal, and several small group/private rehearsal sessions.

Performances (tentative): May 16 & 17

Tuition: $200.00

(We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so we offer a variety of scholarships – click here to apply for a scholarship. Please do not hesitate to apply!)

Please email losangelesdramaclub@gmail.com with any questions ….

We look forward to working with you!

Shakespeare at New West

New West students, join us! No experience necessary! You’ll learn the basics of acting, vocal and movement techniques, and the ins and outs of Shakespeare’s language. Our work will culminate in a full performance of a Shakespeare play.

Mondays from 4 to 6 pm
begins February 4th
Performances: Thursday, May 30 & Friday, May 31
Tuition: $225

LOCATION: 11625 West Pico Boulevard

Full rehearsal schedule:
February 4, 11, 25 (no rehearsal President’s Day, 2/18)
March 4, 11, 18, 25
April 1, 8, 22, 29 (no rehearsal Spring Break, 4/15)
May 6, 13, 20
Dress Tech: Wednesday, May 29th
We will schedule one weekend “retreat” – an extended rehearsal that will be held one of the two weekends prior to the performance.
PLEASE NOTE: Regular attendance is critical!! If you have conflicts with any of the above dates, or if you have any other questions, please email us at losangelesdramaclub@gmail.com prior to registering.

THIS CLASS IS OPEN TO NEW WEST CHARTER STUDENTS ONLY …

Thanks to our generous sponsors

LADC is proud to announce that the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Charitable Foundation is an official sponsor of Shakespeare Youth Festival LA. The Foundation’s generous donation makes it possible for all children to participate in this life-changing experience, and we are grateful for their generosity.

The Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Charitable Foundation’s mission is to follow through with the late Jack Oakie’s wish, “Give the money to the kids,” by scholarships for deserving film and theater students at some of the most prestigious institutions in the country. Mrs. Oakie instructed the Trustees of the Foundation to keep her husband’s legacy alive and enhance the value of visual performing arts education. We are honored that the Foundation will be supporting our theater students – their donation will fund scholarships and financial aid for our bi-annual Shakespeare Youth Festival LA.

Both Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie were active participants in and during the famous Golden Age of Hollywood. Between them, they acted in more than 122 films over a 60-year period. Their contributions to acting and comedy can now be passed on to a new generation with the help of their Foundation scholarships.

Taming of the Shrew Churl

It’s Venus 2020 and women run the show up here. Men are welcome as long as they’re supportive and kind and don’t misbehave. When one does….it makes headlines. Catalino (aka Cat) can’t help himself: he’s wild, a disruptor and he’s angry at the imbalance of power on Venus. It’s been rough. He’s outnumbered by women, including his mother. He’s her firstborn and she must marry him off before her younger son can marry one of his many rich lady fans. Enter Petruchia, an uber-aggressive, over-caffeinated Mary Poppins, and refugee from Earth looking for an equal up here – so rare these days. The men here are not what she’s used to. But she has to play a game in order to prove she can handle him.

Presented by Los Angeles Drama Club and
the Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne Oakie Charitable Foundation

Saturday, December 8th and Sunday December 9th at 4 pm
JEWEL’S ROOM AT Catch One – 4067 Pico Blvd LA 90019

Pay-what-you-can at the door (Suggested donation: $10)
Advance reservations: $10

THE SHOW IS OVER, BUT WE INVITE YOU TO JOIN US IN MARCH FOR SHAKESPEARE YOUTH FESTIVAL LA 2019! BOX OFFICE OPENS IN FEBRUARY!

Shakespeare in Africa #3: Becoming a Different Person.

Shakespeare in Africa #3: Becoming a Different Person.

I am still headed to a rural African village called Motopi where I will live by myself and work in a local school teaching Shakespeare (what I do at home). I’ve done many daring and rash things in my life. And a lot of very strange and difficult things have happened to me. I survived my childhood and adulthood and it was rarely easy. I don’t do things because they’re easy. Easy never interested me. Well…it’s starting to. But for now, I am programmed to do hard things and to teach others to do them too.

L. A. Drama Club: Our Theatre Company makes Hard look Easy.

I am on my second Luftansa flight from Frankfurt to Johannesburg with one more German woman sitting next to me (German seat partner: mandatory for all international flights). We left off where the German seat partner was balking at my decision to book two African flights within 40 mintues of each other. I don’t have the mental bandwidth to explain — not my decision to book the two flights — yes, my decision to trust an online booking agency. I am realizing that there is no way to “check in” online to Air Botswana, but in person. Old school. I have half an hour to transfer in J-Burg and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m stuck here for 8 more hours and can do nothing but…

Start making a list of what is emerging as The African Way for Westerners.

AW#1: You Think You “Got This.” You don’t.

“I got this.” A popular phrase. So American. Being a rugged individualist, totally self contained, on my own…gets prasied and rewarded, even though it’s an illusion. We urban dwellers are deluded. We believe we’re independent but one strike of an earthquake or hurricane would prove otherwise. I start to consider, “I don’t Got This at all.” Interdependence seems more the African Way. Tribal thinking makes more sense! I know that am going to need help over there. I don’t like the feeling. It means putting others out, being dependent, and trusting. A thought occurs to me: Not Trusting is a sign of privilege. The luxury of not trusting….

Johannesburg Airport. I am walking off the plane and am hit with a blast of hot air — “Welcome to the Land of the Protea.”

A preview of what is to come. Motopi School.

All the self help, 12-step, therapy and bone-crushing life lessons I’ve learned did not bring me the kind of catharsis as did stepping foot on African Soil and allowing that blast of hot air to hit my face. Easy and swift. A new voice. Not the Troubleshooter, not the Naysayer, not the Imposter. This is a wise voice.

You are different. You will never be the same person who fussed all the way here. You have done the work to be ready for this moment. And you get to have it.

After that sets in, I am told to go get my suitcase in baggage claim. I look around in wonder. When last suitcase tumbles onto the carousel, it isn’t mine. I show a woman who works here. She says, no. Your bag has gone to Botswana. A young airport worker looks at my ticket, then at me.

AW #2 : Sometimes things change, and you need to run.

She runs, I run…so fast and so far, I get a side-ache. J-burg is a massive airport. We finally make it to the Air Botswana gate. I could never have found this on my own. She was the only way. Now she is talking to the Check In Lady. There is a problem. A big problem. I am told….

“The flight is closed. You are too late. Come back tomorrow.”

Like making it to Oz …and having the little window open and slam. But this isn’t Oz, it’s Johannesburg. I do not know what I’m doing here. I have a man waiting, a place, a school. I can barely form words.

“There’s a man waiting …he is my only chance. There’s a school the expects me…I’ve been traveling 24 hours…I don’t know what to…”

This is not like me. I always know what to do. I’m the I Know What to Do Girl when it comes to traveling. “I got this.” The Check in Lady looks at me…I’m crying. To make it this far and then…fall apart.

AW #3: If You Fall Apart, Sometimes the Rules are Bended.

“Okay. Go. Just go.”

She just single-handedly changed the rules based on…heartstrings? The woman who ran me over there says, “Hurry! We have to run again.” And we do: down the escalator and out the doors to the outside. To a van! My face still wet from crying, I am now laughing. I’m being gaslit by the universe and it’s funny. My drops of tears, I’ll turn into sparks of fire. And I will.

I hug the airport worker who changed the fate of this journey. Years holding onto the idea that abandoment was the norm for me…she somehow erased it. Gone in one final act. I’m feeling quite alive. My first half hour in Africa included a sprinting marathon, a nervous breakdown and two serious plot twists.

Boarding Air Botswana tram, I now meet my fellow passengers on this flight to Maun. Australian and British tourists in crisp Safari costumes…er, outfits. They look like they’re playing the part of wealthy tourists on Safari for a movie shoot, when I realize…. they are wealthy toursits on Safari. We board the plane and I am next to a bickering British couple. “This is the tiniest plane on the planet.” I might not have her money, but I grin, just glad I’m not her.

AW #4: There are Bugs in this World. If you forgot, we will remind you.

When the Attendant announces that insecticide — ‘with no adverse side effects’ — will now be sprayed up and down the aisles, the women bury their heads, horrified. I grin again. My bionic ear records more conversations. They are excited they can be in Botswana versus Kenya — for the exclusivity and the Okavango Delta. They will go on game drives. I wonder will I even see an elephant? I am relieved to hear there is no hunting allowed in Botswana. I look down the entire time. Africa from the sky.

Botswana from the sky.

Long, needle-thin roads and a windy river….I feel peaceful. I drift to sleep.

We land on the tarmac and are guided to customs where everything goes HAYWIRE! Forms filled wrong, glasses lost, luggage missing, passport snagged…I am asked to “give an address where I’m staying”! It occurs to me, I have no idea where I’m staying. It’s all up to Brooks. The “two email” man. But they won’t let me go out to find him.

I’m in a Shakespeare comedy: epic problems — hilarious only to spectators. Then, just like at the ticket gate in J-burg, they change their minds and let me go look for Brooks.

I turn a corner and there he is, holding a sign with my name. Instantly, he is pulled into my mini drama. We get right into action. Brooks puts a search out for my lost luggage. But I still can’t put the address where I’m staying. Why? Brooks tells me:

AW #5: Sometimes there won’t be an address.

We sort of…make one up. I think to myself no addresses in Motopi but if all goes well, perhaps the address of the youngest Shakespeare troupe in Africa.

Brooks and Machine save the day!

We leave the Maun airport and cross the street to an open air Indian place Tandurei. Instantly, cousins, nephews, brothers of Brooks…pass by or sit wth us. I meet “Machine” — brother of Brooks. He is a teacher and he is curious about his students learning Shakespeare. They want their kids to speak more English. It gives them an edge. Swana is only spoken in Botswana, so if they want to leave, they better know English.

AW #6: Sometimes you won’t have your clothes. And it’s actually fun.

I have no clothes because my suitcase is missing. Brooks takes me to a store and I now get to re-invent my entire African wardrobe that I so painstakingly chose before leaving. For 26$ I had plenty. Food is next. I will need food for the village. At the grocery store I notice most items are imported from South Africa. Nothing local. Granola, milk in a box, potatoes, carrots, bottled water and tea biscuits. Brooks looks skeptical. “Not enough. There is nothing where you are going.” Nothing?

AW #7: Know that you are dependent on protein bars unless you’re one of those rich Safari guests.

Lunch, brought from home. #Bison

I remember my friend telling me to pack beef jerky and protein bars. I think, really? I packed 5 “buffalo bars” which ended up being my lunch every day. Brooks was right. There was no food unless I knew how to kill an animal and cook it.

We drive away and Brooks cuts up a small road and weaves through some sporadic homes. We check on a house Brooks is building so he can rent it out and retire as a Game Drive guide. This is where I first encounter the Botswana House Spider: the size of my hand. I really really dislike spiders. This is a challenge. He lets me know, they are in all the houses. They are part of the walls… He tells me about this American teenager whining, “OMG, Mom, I wanna go home, like right now!” I vow to face my arachnophobia and overcome it. I mean… do I have a choice?

AW #8: See AW #4 !

Weaving Spiders, come not Near!

We pick up a woman called “Chicken” who owns the house where I will stay. She is riding along to let me in the house. Chicken explains that she is a widow and she left her home in the village and moved here to Maun after her husband died. So now I will live in her empty house in the village.

The road to Motopi is filled with potholes: cars swerve and it’s a comical sight. We stop at a Checkpoint where we get out of the car and step into a wet box of dirty water and bicarbonate of soda which — magically wards off Hoof & Mouth disease at the county border. The virus wiped out Botswana’s beef industry years back. The thing is….the water is contaminated with the bottom of everyone’s shoes. But it wasn’t my place to start pointing things out.

AW #9: If you step in a box of water and bicarbonate of soda before crossing the border, you are magically sterilized.

The trees are epic and line both sides of the road. The sky is wide and filled with animated clouds, all telling stories. Magic is not hard to find in this African sky.

It’s my first of many drives with Brooks, where we talk about many many things. I am being taken to the school of his childhood. These are the kids he wants to help. He comes to talk to them about Why We don’t Shoot Elephants.

We pull up to Chicken’s house, where I will stay. And here I am. This spot— in this village — is about everything I’ve done in my life up to this point. It all has come together for this moment. I meet my neighbor Pinky, a mother who also cleans the local school. We all visit but I am showing obvious tand the electical system. After they leave, I accidentally shut off the breakers and Pinky must come to the rescue. Silly American…. “I don’t got this. “

I will report to the school 8:30am tomorrow, meet the teachers, the principal and the kids and get to work.

12pm — Everyone gone. Just me and one misquito terrorizing in my bedroom. I’m under the sheet, totally, but he will burrow through, I know it. Brooks had taught me to Doom the Room. I really resisted the thought of spraying chemicals above my pillow….but at 1am, sleep deprived in this hot bedroom, all bets are off. I “Doom the Room” and run outside.

I stop and look at the sky. Two stars fall within 10 minutes. I haven’t seen a falling star in decades. I go back to my bedroom. The pesty misquito is apparently….doomed.

I go to sleep… a different person than who I was at LAX. At Frankfurt. At J-Burg, and drifting off, I wonder who will I be tomorrow?

Next. Shakespeare in Africa #4: If You Come, They will Build it.

I never expected this.

 

 

*At the time this was written, Ian Khama was President. On April 1, his term ended.

Announcing our 2018-2019 Season

We are excited to announce our 2018-2019 Shakespeare Youth Festival LA season! If you are new to Los Angeles Drama Club, then you must click here to schedule a phone interview before registering. We look forward to speaking with you.

SYFLA Fall – Taming of the Shrew Churl

What happens when Petruchia, a single-minded young woman, determined to marry well, meets Jake, otherwise known as the Shrew … er, that is, the Churl? His younger brother Bianco has all the girls in a tizzy, but thanks to the messed up social order of the land, they can’t do anything about it until Jake is married off. We’re subverted the established opinions and “schools of thought” on the already controversial “Taming of the Shrew” by reversing the genders, turning conventional concepts on their 16th century heads.
4th through 9th grade

LEARN MORE


YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS WORKSHOP

Our young playwrights will work at the center of a creative team of professional writers, directors and actors and will receive true professional support and a glimpse into the process of play making!  The young playwrights will hone their one-act plays over the course of the workshop, working from the initial isolation of writing to the collaborative process involved in making their script into a living, breathing play. The workshop will culminate in a script-in-hand public reading of their new plays.
7th grade and up

LEARN MORE


SYFLA Winter/Spring – As You Like It

Evil Duke Frederick is not a nice guy. After a rigged wrestling match goes sour, Rosalind and friends escape the rigidity and nastiness of the cruel city, where they were the victims of arbitrary and unfair rules, for the Forest of Arden, where “Do Unto Others” is the law of the land, and where a cast of eccentric characters are all just trying to find someone to love. Our youngest Players will have a great challenge exploring one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies!
2nd through 7th grade

LEARN MORE


SYFLA Winter/Spring – Cymbeline

Whatever your favorite Shakespearean plot device may be, it probably shows up in Cymbeline! Mistaken identity? Check. Girls dressed as boys? Check. Long lost family members reuniting? Check. Young lovers torn apart by class issues? Check. Nefarious tricksters? Check. Battle scenes? Check. Gods descending from Olympus at the last minute to set things right? Yes, that, too! We can’t wait to explore all the fantastic characters in this Shakespeare Smoothie.
4th through 9th grade

LEARN MORE


SYFLA Winter/Spring – Henry IV

Our combining of Part I and Part II, custom crafted for our teen ensemble, will not only explore King Henry IV, his renegade son and heir to the throne Hal, and Hal’s roguish friend Falstaff, but will also highlight the women in the story – Mistress Quickly, Doll Tearsheet, Lady Percy, and Lady Mortimer.
8th through 12th grade

LEARN MORE

 

LADC Players in Whitley Heights

It was a gorgeous Sunday morning, and the park behind the Hollywood Heritage Museum was filled with Shakespeare. Several dozen neighborhood residents turned out for “Shakespeare in Our Park,” sponsored by the Whitley Heights Civic Association. After a rousing opening, featuring some stirring sword fighting by Master Teacher Kila Packett as Shakespeare and Brandon Nagle as Marlowe, our troupe performed selections from several Shakespeare plays, and, in between, got the audience into the act learning Shakespeare insults, theater games and even some Stage Combat moves.

We were honored to have a representative from Councilman David Ryu’s office, who presented Blaire and Julia with Certificates of Recognition from the City of Los Angeles.

Thank you to Greg Orson and Patty Dryden for making this stellar event possible!

If you are interested in Los Angeles Drama Club performing at your school, community center, festival, etc, please email us for more information!!

 

Taming of the Shrew Churl

What happens when Petruchia, a single-minded young woman, determined to marry well, meets Jake, otherwise known as the Shrew … er, that is, the Churl? His younger brother Bianco has all the girls in a tizzy, but thanks to the messed up social order of the land, they can’t do anything about it until Jake is married off. We’re subverted the established opinions and “schools of thought” on the already controversial “Taming of the Shrew” by reversing the genders, turning conventional concepts on their 16th century heads.

COST: $550 
(We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so we offer a variety of scholarships – click here to apply for a scholarship. Please do not hesitate to apply!)

September 12 to December 9
Ages – 4th grade to 9th grade

Rehearsals: Wednesdays – 4 to 6 pm
Additional Tech rehearsals:
Marathon – Sunday, November 18 (Time TBD)
Dress/Techs – Monday, November 26 and Thursday, November 29 (3:30 to 6:30 pm)
Regular attendance is critical – when a Player misses a rehearsal, it impacts the entire cast. Please note any conflicts when registering. 

Performances – December 8 & 9 (Time TBD)

Young Playwrights Workshop

Our young playwrights will work at the center of a creative team of professional writers, directors and actors and will receive true professional support and a glimpse into the process of play making!  The young playwrights will hone their one-act plays over the course of the workshop, working from the initial isolation of writing to the collaborative process involved in making their script into a living, breathing play. The workshop will culminate in a script-in-hand public reading of their new plays.

COST: $550 
(We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so we offer a variety of scholarships – click here to apply for a scholarship. Please do not hesitate to apply!)

September 10 to November 5
7th grade and up

Meets: Mondays – 4 to 6 pm
Showcase – Sunday, November 11th (Time TBD)

Cymbeline

Whatever your favorite Shakespearean plot device may be, it probably shows up in Cymbeline! Mistaken identity? Check. Girls dressed as boys? Check. Long lost family members reuniting? Check. Young lovers torn apart by class issues? Check. Nefarious tricksters? Check. Battle scenes? Check. Gods descending from Olympus at the last minute to set things right? Yes, that, too! We can’t wait to explore all the fantastic characters in this Shakespeare Smoothie.

COST: $625 
(We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so we offer a variety of scholarships – click here to apply for a scholarship. Please do not hesitate to apply!)

October 20 to March 31 (no rehearsal Thanksgiving weekend, Winter Break Dec. 16 – Jan 6)
Ages – 4th grade to 9th grade

Rehearsals: Saturdays – 1 to 3 pm
Additional Tech / Extended rehearsals:
Marathon – Saturday, March 2 (11:00 am to 3:00 pm)
Dress Techs – Wednesday, March 6, Monday, March 11 and Thursday, March 14 (3:30 – 6:30 pm)
Performances – March 16 & 17, March 23 & 24 (Time TBD)
Regular attendance is critical – when a Player misses a rehearsal, it impacts the entire cast. Please note any conflicts when registering. 

THIS SESSION IS FULL. PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU’D LIKE TO BE PLACED ON THE WAITING LIST.

As You Like It

Evil Duke Frederick is not a nice guy. After a rigged wrestling match goes sour, Rosalind and friends escape the rigidity and nastiness of the cruel city, where they were the victims of arbitrary and unfair rules, for the Forest of Arden, where “Do Unto Others” is the law of the land, and where a cast of eccentric characters are all just trying to find someone to love. Our youngest Players will have a great challenge exploring one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies!

COST: $625 
(We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so we offer a variety of scholarships – click here to apply for a scholarship. Please do not hesitate to apply!)

October 20 to March 17 (no rehearsal Thanksgiving weekend, Winter Break Dec. 16 – Jan 6)
Ages – 2nd grade to 7th grade

Rehearsals: Saturdays – 3 to 5 pm
Additional Tech rehearsals:
Saturday, March 2 – 3:00 to 6:30 pm (regular class session extended)
Monday, March 4 and Thursday, March 7 – 3:30 – 6:30 pm
Regular attendance is critical – when a Player misses a rehearsal, it impacts the entire cast. Please note any conflicts when registering. 

Performances – March 9 & 10, March 16 & 17 (Time TBD)

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED – PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PERFORMANCES!!

Henry IV

Our combining of Part I and Part II, custom crafted for our teen ensemble, will not only explore King Henry IV, his renegade son and heir to the throne Hal, and Hal’s roguish friend Falstaff, but will also highlight the women in the story – Mistress Quickly, Doll Tearsheet, Lady Percy, and Lady Mortimer.

COST: $625 
(We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so we offer a variety of scholarships – click here to apply for a scholarship. Please do not hesitate to apply!)

October 23 to March 31 (Winter Break Dec. 16 – Jan 6)
Ages – 8th grade to 12th grade

Rehearsals: Tuesdays – 4:30 to 6:30 pm or 5 to 7 pm (contingent on space)
Additional Tech rehearsals:
Marathon – Sunday, March 3rd (Time TBD)
Dress Techs – Wednesday, March 13, Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21 (3:30 – 6:30 pm)
Regular attendance is critical – when a Player misses a rehearsal, it impacts the entire cast. Please note any conflicts when registering. 

Performances – March 23 & 24, March 30 & 31 (Time TBD)

Shakespeare in Africa #2: The Unlikely Spot Where I Found Hope for Humanity. Germany.

Installment #2 – Shakespeare in Africa.

I’m on my way to attempt to launch a Shakespeare Troupe with kids in a rural village in Botswana, Africa. But right now, I sit in seat 23D over New Jersey pondering my bad life choices and wondering why, on every flight I’ve ever taken, there’s a German woman next to me who’s been all over the world. This flight is no exception. “Ana” in 23C has been to Botswana and thirty other countries in Africa. Listening to Ana pauses my overactive brain. She looks a lot like the wife of the relative from Stuttgart who turned in my grandmother for communist agitation in ‘36. Maybe she’s their daughter. I decide not to bring it up. Then I smile, proud of my improved sense of discretion.

My racing brain slows down the further away we get from Los Angeles. Now my thoughts go from panic over packing to …bad life choices.

I should have stayed in New York. Nah. 

Thoughts over New York:  Is it normal to have regets for bad life choices? I made so many. Should I have left New York let him convince me to leave New York. Should I have stayed in New York? … Nah.

“Would you like a beverage?”

I stare at the Styrofoam cups at my eyeline. Cups for you and me to sip 8 ounces of unnecessary beverage, then toss. Where do they go and how many thousands are discarded in a day? Who decided on Styrofoam? Bad choice. We are such invaders on this planet. I’m 9 and a vegan. I’m worried about cows and where the world’s trash goes…I recall my dad’s response that “someone is running things and they have it under control and everything is going to work out.” I knew he was wrong then. You see, I need to by cynical, it keeps the pain away.

Is Greenland underserved? Maybe they need Shakespeare here.

Thoughts over Greenland : Who lives on that ice? Are there kids in Greenland? What’s it like to be 18 here? Do they stare into cell phones there? Should I start a Shakespeare Youth troupe here? If everything is going to melt here, maybe this is where I should live. Sounds like a good choice right now.

Nothing bad happens in the Cotswalds.

Thoughts over Britain: London is losing its iconic skyline…a ferris wheel? High-rises? Britain controlled the world for five minutes — and in that five minutes, borders changed, tribes disrupted, the future altered forever. Bad choices, Britain. Look at you now. Look at all of us now. 

“Would you like a beverage?”

“Not until you stop using Styrofoam.” Um…Did I just say that? Good or bad choice? I realize “choice” is incorrect. We all have choices, what we make are decisions. Then it hits me. What if it was every single bad decision from the very beginning — that got me here, in seat 23D, on my way to Botswana, Africa? 

Train to Altstadt, Frankfurt. 

Hope for Humanity found in Frankfurt Coffee House 

I’m onto something. If I can think this way, I won’t carry the world on my shoulders anymore. I leave the airport for a long layover and Frankfurt is snowing. I grab a train to Old Town and walk for hours on cobblestones. I’m seeing with newish eyes. Light shimmers on the snow, colors seem brighter, the air in my lungs is crisper. I feel every cell in my body on this walk over the bridge. I land in a coffee house to write about it in my journal. It’s warm and soft. I sit on a purple velvet sofa, dumping my heavy bags and sipping espresso. Suddenly I feel…hopeful. What’s happening?! The colors and fabrics, the lighting, warm tones…but it’s something else. SOUND. Everyone is talking. I’d forgotten this sound in this context. People are talking to each other over coffee.

In Wackers Kaffee I realize…people still talk. 

With the exception of Shakespeaere rehearsals in our theatre, my days are quiet. If I’m writing in a coffee house, no one talks! We stare into screens. Starbucks is a library without books. Talk in Groundworks, you offend the budding screenwriter next to you. Not here. I’m in awe as I listen to multi conversations in multi languages. It heartens me – Germany is filled with people conversing, smiling, responding. If people still talk in coffee houses it means revolutions can still be plotted. It means not everyone is on Snapchat. It means we still matter to each other. If I never make it to Africa … I can still go home with this new hope. I feel good about people for the first time in years. I get it. I have a choice: cynicism and isolation or hope for humanity. Today in the coffee house in Frankfurt, hope for humanity is my decision.

I’m relaxed. I’m in the moment. I know how I want to think now. Life is an adventure. Every day. The Troubleshooter in my brain got wind of this and feels the need to crash the party. In a gentle tone… Can you please….see if you got an email from Air Botswana? You should have been alerted to check in. Damn you. I search on my phone. Nothing. I can’t think about this, nor can I solve it. Time to return to the airport.

On the plane now. I meet my Frankfurt to J-burg seat partner. “Petra” has been to Botswana and 20 other countries in Africa. Petra laughs when I ask her about Air Botswana. She laughs when I ask if I can check in online. She laughs when I tell her I have 30 minutes to transfer at J-burg. Petra is German. She laughs as she says, “You are learning the African way: Make all the plans you like! Just be ready for what happens…”

I let my German seat partner laugh all she wants. I have a beautiful life. If I made a bad decision by in booking two African flights back to back, well…it’s only going to lead to a future miracle.

Next Up: Shakespeare in Africa #3: How to Be a Different Person.

 

“Shakespeare in Africa? What Do You Think You’re Doing?”

From the Journal of Miss Blaire.  LAX.  March 18, 2018. 3 pm.


I’m headed to Africa based on two emails. Two. Emails. That’s what no one else really knows.

The final performances of our ’18 Season (King Lear and my own play, Illspoken: The People vs. William Shakespeare), are actually happening right this very friggin’ minute. I feel strange. I’ve never missed a performance in 13 years of running the Shakespeare Youth Fest! It’s weird not being backstage right now. Like I’ve lost a toddler that’s made a mad dash into the crowd. Aren’t I supposed to be shushing the players or teasing hair or getting Zane’s bloody eyepatch to look red not pink. Making sure Aaron doesn’t touch the set so it falls on ‘Mma again (pictured left). It’s closing night, why am I sitting here at Bradley Terminal waiting to board a three-pronged flight from L.A. to the bottom of Africa? By myself. Why am I crying? Why am I so sad?  Am I scared?  Why am I doing this? I’ve been sick for weeks and I can’t seem to recover. I cough and get weak and lose energy. I was told to cancel this trip (by people who cancel things). But I don’t. I’d sooner die than back down. I was supposed to go with two other women who have been here before. One is my oldest friend. But they had serious things happen and they couldn’t go. How much caffeine was I spinning on when I asked to go to Botswana by myself? And not on Safari, but to launch a performing arts program from scratch at a rural primary school?  No Safari. The voice of multiple people are in my head, now.  “Excuse me.  Shakespeare in Africa? I mean culturally, that makes no sense. More Western thought? And who cares about Shakespeare when they have to deal with clean water and food scarcity? Plus…you’re not James Shapiro, you’re not the RSC or OSF or  The Globe. What do you think you’re doing?”

Los Angeles Drama Club is anything but cute.

With Imposter Syndrome now fully set in as I sit in the terminal. I’m trying to remember, did anyone actually say this to me? No. But I’m sure it’s what all the WhiteSplainers are thinking.  Then, “Oh yeah. No one is thinking about you. Get over it.”  I think I’m taking on shades of Lear himself….”Who am I to my kids?”  The insanity is interrupted by a text from Regan (actually our player, Julia E). “Lear’s going amazing. Best ever.”

Great show. As always.

Yay. Now I can add FOMO on top of Imposter Syndrome. Why can’t I be content, let alone happy? 

It is because I’m a jaded grouch or is it because “no artist is pleased”? I am actually very happy for our Players and I am wise enough to know all the crazy monkey mind talk is fear. I feel like Gloucester at the edge of the cliff. (Even my eye is messed up today). I started this entire “thing” – whatever it is, and even back then I didn’t know what the “plan” was except to get two 5 year-olds to speak Shakespeare. It was an experiment that suddenly  mushroomed into hundreds of kids and 27 plays in the Canon already performed… thirty minutes until boarding….okay. I want this nagging voice to leave me the !$*%!! alone before I walk onto that plane.  I have thirty minutes to write a push back and purge it forever.  Setting alarm with Siri for 4:15pm.  Go:

Why do anything? Why try? If I were nine and a visitor was coming to my school from as far away as southern Africa to share customs, teach a dance, impart the language of Swana, tell stories and legends of their ancestors, act out their folk lore – how would I feel? (….excited, honored, ignited. curious, open, grateful).  So why wouldn’t they feel the same? This is about universal stories. New stimulation. Theatre games bringing connection. Self discovery. Play. I am allowed to show up and play. I am not a colonizer. I am not a celebrity going into a village for photo ops. I am not a tourist on safari. I am an artist who loves young people and theatre and Shakespeare. And I don’t need to be in the Royal Shakespeare to be a champion of the Underdogs, the Forgotten, the Ignored, the Abandoned and the Other 99% of the world.  I am the person to do this. If we fail, we fail. But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail!  Thanks, Lady M.  And thanks for your concern Imposter Syndrome, but I don’t need you on this trip.  You’re staying home. I’m sure you’ll pick me up at the airport…

Jesse, Marieke, Vivian, Sebastian in King Lear

That push back took 9 minutes to write.  With 21 minutes to spare, I’m off to get my last Starbucks. Maybe ever.

6pm. Over Detroit.

Or thereabouts. I left “Who do you think you are?” back at the airport but Nature abhors a vacuum so a new personality has surfaced. The Troubleshooter. The Troubleshooter has accepted that it’s a done deal. The Troubleshooter (my Mother from the grave I’m sure) has caught on to my little secret which no one knows… This trip to the bottom of Africa  hinges on two emails between me and Mr. Brooks Kamanakao: who I don’t know.  Why am I not panicking? Brooks was referred to me via my friend Dee Dee. I trust Dee Dee and Dee Dee trusts Brooks. His last email: “See you at the airport.”

At this point I am ready to arrive in Maun and have no one be there and deal with it. But right now I’m trapped in a tiny seat in Coach with my mother’s voice. An onslaught of: “Where are you staying?… Find a hospital … What if he isn’t at the airport? … You didn’t learn one word of Swana … Did you forget the malaria pills? … Have your passport around your neck.”

I can’t. I won’t. Yap all you want, Troubleshooter.  We’re going to just sit here in coach and stare at the seat in front of us that’s practically rammed into our knees…with all these unanswered questions.  For the next 9 hours.

 

Next installment: Getting to Motopi, Botswana 

Shakespeare Intensive

June 18 – 22
Fais Do Do – 5253 W. Adams Blvd.

Students will spend their days discovering Shakespeare through the best tools and techniques theater has to offer. The LADC technique begins with the improvisational work of Viola Spolin and Agosto Boal, and expands on that to include a variety of physical and vocal disciplines – with the ultimate purpose always to invoke the creative spirit that exists in every child.

During the Summer Intensive, our Players will work on a variety of scenes and sonnets, discover the world of Shakespeare’s Elizabethan England, learn about costume and set design, and enjoy visits from Los Angeles theater professionals.

For 2nd through 9th grade (Fall 2018)

THIS SESSION IS FULL
If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please email us.

Young Playwrights’ Fest

June 25 – 29
Fais Do Do – 5253 W. Adams Blvd.

THE PLAYS THE THING! WRITE/DIRECT YOUR TEN MINUTE PLAY
The program consists of rigorous, exciting storytelling and playwriting sessions throughout the day, creating short plays out of improvisations with prompts, autobiographical moments, and stories the group creates together. We will also discuss the art, craft and business of playwriting.

The playwrights will work with an ensemble of actors made up of professional actors and LADC actors, who will perform the plays at the end of the week.

Grade 7 and up (Fall 2018)

THIS CLASS IS FULL

Shakespeare and Spolin

July 9 – 13
Echoes on Pico – 5025 W Pico Blvd

LADC has always used Viola Spolin’s Theater Games as one of the foundations of the way we approach Shakespeare, and we are thrilled to have Aretha Sills with us this week. Ms. Sills is the granddaughter of Viola Spolin. She studied Spolin’s improvisational theater games for many years with her father, legendary director Paul Sills, creator/director of The Second City and Story Theater. Our Players will be introduced to a series of games and exercises designed to unleash creativity through spontaneity, focus, and play. They will have a chance to develop the sensory awareness and communication skills needed on-stage and in daily life in an encouraging and joyful environment.

For 2nd through 9th grade (Fall 2018)

THIS SESSION IS FULL
If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please email us.

Beyond Shakespeare

July 16 – 20
Echoes on Pico – 5025 W Pico Blvd

Back by popular demand, our directors’ exceptional training is brought into this week – guests will come to teach various acting and movement techniques such as Spolin Games, Agosto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed for Social Justice, Kristin Linklater’s Free the Voice, Ann Bogarts VIEWPOINTS, Sanford Meisner, Actor’s Studio, and Laban Effort-Shape.

In addition to these incredible theater tools and de-stressors for everyday life, our students will be exploring Shakespeare’s comrades – classical and modern playwrights with a gift for storytelling, who use language in a distinctive way.

Grade 7 and up (Fall 2018)

THIS SESSION IS FULL

Shakespeare and Music

July 23 – 27
Echoes on Pico – 5025 W Pico Blvd

The works of Shakespeare are filled with song. As always, students will spend their days discovering Shakespeare using a variety of physical and vocal disciplines – with the ultimate purpose always to invoke the creative spirit that exists in every child. But for this special week, we will pay special emphasis to the plays where his words are accompanied with music and dancing.

Participants need not be singers/dancers – each child will have the opportunity to explore within his/her comfort zone, and encouraged to reach outside of it when ready!

For 2nd through 9th grade (Fall 2018)

THIS SESSION IS FULL
If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please email us.

Shakespeare and Mythology

July 30 to August 3
Echoes on Pico – 5025 W Pico Blvd

We not only explore Shakespeare’s plays set in Greece and Rome, but his references to mythology and Greek and Roman Gods, and the perspectives of Philosophers like Plato, Epicurus, Ovid, Lucretius, Seneca and Cicero. We explore some of the connections between Shakespeare, and playwrights such as Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes and Plautus. And we introduce the basis for all modern books, plays and screenplays – Aristotle’s Poetics. With this rich banquet of ideas, we create original skits and weave them with Shakespeare’s Greek & Roman plays.

For 2nd through 9th grade (Fall 2018)

THIS SESSION IS FULL
If you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please email us.

Summer with LADC 2018

Registration is now open for Summer with LADC 2018 – a fantastic way to introduce kids to Shakespeare!

Each session meets from 9 to 3, Monday through Friday, and culminates with a recital, sharing the work with parents, friends and the community.

We believe that every child who is drawn to this work should be able to participate, so we offer a variety of scholarships – click here for the application form and guidelines. Please do not hesitate to apply!

Shakespeare Youth Festival 2018

ILLSPOKEN: THE PEOPLE VS. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
Don’t miss the third play in LADC’s original “Spoken” trilogy, by LADC founder and artistic director Blaire Baron. Shakespeare’s villains are tired of their terrible reputations, and they decide to take action by suing their creator, Shakespeare. Join them, as they struggle to decide what is more important, reputation … or fame …

The Broadwater Second Stage – 6320 Santa Monica Blvd, LA 90038
Saturday, March 10 & March 17

8 pm
Sunday, March 11 & March 18
2 pm
RESERVE TICKETS

KING LEAR
Family loyalty, legacy and reputation are life and death matters with this affluent Hollywood family who discover just how close they are to the homeless community that surrounds their luxurious “palaces.”

The Broadwater Second Stage – 6320 Santa Monica Blvd, LA 90038
Saturday, March 10 & March 17

2 pm
Sunday, March 11 & March 18
6 pm
RESERVE TICKETS

TIMON OF ATHENS
First a philanthropist, then a bitter misanthropist. In fact, Timon’s character arc is the opposite of Dickens’ Ebenezar Scrooge. He throws decadent parties with merriment and dancing as he tosses his money to alleged friends. He ignores his accountant. And when he goes broke, he is stunned that no one is there for him. Audiences of all ages connect to Shakespeare’s rarely seen morality play on generosity and loyalty and friendship!

Fais Do Do – 5253 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles 90016
Saturday, February 24 & Sunday, February 25

Saturday, March 3 & Sunday, March 4
1 pm
This show has closed

 

JULIUS CAESAR
Who is the hero and who is the villain in Shakespeare’s frighteningly current Julius Caesar? Or is there someone behind the curtain? Travel back to the 60s, and the days of The Manchurian Candidate and the Cold War with us as we see that everything old is new again …

Fais Do Do – 5253 W. Adams Blvd, Los Angeles 90016
Saturday, February 24 & Sunday, February 25

Sunday, March 4
4 pm
Friday, March 2
7 pm
This show has closed

RESERVE YOUR TICKETS TODAY

Shakespeare Youth Festival Los Angeles is proud to be supported by

LADC in residency at GALA

We are thrilled to announce that Los Angeles Drama Club is now part of the After School program at Girls Academic Leadership Academy, the first all-girls school within Los Angeles Unified School District! We feel that LADC’s mission is an ideal compliment to GALA’s mission – to graduate girls with a strong, confident, and independent voice, with collaborative and compassionate leadership skills, and with a sense of self and community.

Spring Performance – MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Generally considered one of Shakespeare’s finest comedies, Much Ado mixes lots of hilarious antics with some scenery-chewing near-tragedy.  Please join us for the merriment …

Presented April 26th and 27th at 5 pm in the Corwin Theater on the LA High campus
(enter on Rimpau or West, and follow the signs)

If you are a GALA student interested in participating, please CLICK HERE.

If you would like to learn how LADC can come to your school, please CLICK HERE.

Celebrate 2017, and Support 2018!!

2017 was a banner year for Los Angeles Drama Club – just take a look at some of our accomplishments:

SHAKESPEARE YOUTH FESTIVAL LA 2017

  • More than $25,000 in financial aid awarded in 2017 meant that there were no financial barriers to a child participating in Shakespeare Youth Festival LA.
  • Children from more than 40 schools all over Los Angeles took part in our programs this year.
  • We performed three plays in repertory for our Spring 2017 season – 45 youth played 81 characters in fourteen public performances.

HELP US CONTINUE THE MAGIC

OUR AUDIENCE

  • 38% of our audience was attending their first LADC production.
  • 28% have attended more than five different productions.
  • Our audiences came from all over Los Angeles, with 44 different zip codes represented.
  • Shakespeare is for all ages – 18% of our audience was under 18. 17% was over 60.

SUPPORT SYFLA 2018

SUMMER WITH LOS ANGELES DRAMA CLUB

  • This Summer, more than 75 kids took part, from 33 zip codes.
  • 65% of the registrations received a full or partial scholarship.
  • We awarded more than $10,000 in scholarships this Summer.
  • We performed six recitals, with 21 Shakespeare scenes, 6 scenes by contemporary playwrights, 9 musical numbers, 10 short plays written by our young playwrights, and countless Shakespearean insults!

LET’S MAKE IT 100 KIDS IN 2018

THE FUTURE

  • We are currently rehearsing four plays, including one original World Premiere, to be presented for Shakespeare Youth Festival LA 2018.
  • We are in residence at Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA), preparing for a full production of The Tempest, to be presented in December.
  • We worked with students at Episcopal School Los Angeles (ESLA), as they began their study of Midsummer Night’s Dream, and are in discussions with four more schools to become a part of their curriculum.
  • Our Artistic Director, Blaire Baron, is preparing for a trip to Africa in the Spring, to bring our work to Botswana as a part of the Botswana School Project!

While LADC is proud to be supported by a number of government entities, foundations and community organizations, individual contributions make up the majority of our support. With your support, youth in Los Angeles (and soon, Botswana!) can continue to grow up with William Shakespeare!