Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Mountain Day!

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On Monday the Berkshire theater group participated in the Mountain Day festivities with a team hike up to Black Rock. The trail goes up to a vast open space with a beautiful view of Berkshire and the surrounding town of Sheffield. We set out from Allen Theater at 9:45 sharp and set upon the mountain. After a good hike, we reached Black Rock, where we played several theater games, such as Questions a game that requires the competitors to have a conversation using only questions and The Manner of the Word which is an interpretation game in which one player has to guess what word another player is acting out based on actions they do. Between games there were many pictures taken, sword fights fought, and lots of fun had for everyone who participated. After some time spent up high, we headed back down the somewhat precarious trail and all sat and relaxed during what was definitely a well-deserved lunch.

-Allie Kohlkins

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Cast of Scrutiny!

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The Game Is On....

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Here at Berkshire school we are off to a great start with the upcoming show of Scrutiny. This is another unique and spectacular show to be performed on Berkshire campus October 30th, 31st and November 1st.  This play is similar to the Fall original play last year, Plans. Just like that show this piece is an original play written by Mr. Howard and his students that we’re presently hard at work reconstructing. The play is now set on a game show called Scrutiny, one in which no contestant can ever hope to win! The eight contestants on the show go through some very emotional, strenuous, and ridiculous games as we paint a picture for you of adolescent life. Along with the contestants is Mr. R, the father of one of the teenagers and also a former contestant himself. Also, onstage is a trio of harsh judges meticulously grading the student contestants’ every move. Lastly, there is a duo of hosts guiding you through the entire night’s episode, one of which is played by myself.

Being a new student here at Berkshire I can say without bias that the process in Berkshire’s theater department is professional, fun, and creative. We are enjoying ourselves every day of rehearsal as we go through the script and scenes putting together these pieces in an entirely new and unforgettable way.    

-Peter Bahr 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Scrutiny, an original play

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We are so excited to be back in the Berkshire Theater. This fall the Theater Department is working on an original play called Scrutiny. This play was produced at BCD over 10 years ago and we are not only bringing it back but working hard at re-writing and re-constructing the play to be performed October 30, 31st and November 1st. Your current bloggers Lily Jeong, Amani Bethea, Peter Bahr, Allie Kohlkins and Jeffrey Erazo will be keeping you updated every step of the way, so keep checking in!  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Strike and Cast Party

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After a great full day of two shows on Saturday, the cast and crew of “Don’t You Forget About Me” piled into a van and headed over to McDonald’s to celebrate.  And we did celebrate- a wedding at McDonalds – yeah that happened- Pratima wore Jojo’s wedding dress and all.

At Berkshire Theater we like to wrap up the experience with a cast party to celebrate and reflect.  This time when the show’s over is always bittersweet for everyone for each show, but especially for the spring.  With so many seniors who have made such a big impact on this program it brings things into perspective.  During "hot seat” we gather together and share wholesomely positive things we learned about each other.  The cast party of course would not have been complete without breaking into a round of our “Don’t You Forget About Me” mash up and singing “La la la la la” over and over.  I don’t think we’ll be able to get that tune out of our heads for a while.

Finally on Tuesday we striked” the stage, taking away all the props and scenery to set up for BIMP (Berkshire Theater Improv) and other upcoming performances.  Strike brings the experience full circle, doing the reverse of a set build.  You could say we got to know the theater on a different level after this strike- that is underneath the stage.  Led by ASM Carrie people soon after followed Carrie into the mysterious fun of underneath the stage.

On another note we’d like to give a special thanks to Hayden’s mom for capturing some great moments on stage.  You can check out her newly launched website to find some of these amazing photos:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Tech Week!

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 Happy Tech Week! This is probably the most exciting week of the spring. After seven weeks of rehearsals, preparations, line runs, and warm-ups, things in Allen Theater are beginning to look exciting. People not involved in theater usually give Tech Week a bad rep, but I just love everything about Tech Week. There is something about the ambiance in Allen that completely changes everything. This shift is what we call “Robo.” It’s a very important element to have when involved in a theater production. 
Robo is the state of readiness, focus, and contained excitement that each one of us carries on stage and off stage. So what exactly do I mean? Unlike sports events in which teammates will cheer for one another during a game, Robo is a form of contained excitement. It is actually counterproductive for actors to cheer and yell for one another backstage; instead, we silently cheer each other on by giving someone a firm pat on the back or a high five. Nothing more. 

The purpose of this is to keep each other focused on the goal and to help keep everyone ready. And it’s really fun. There’s nothing that I love more than going backstage and having everyone focused before they go onstage. It’s relieving. During our Dress Rehearsal, this was definitely something that got all of us through the night. Thanks to Robo, we were able to put on a successful show!

-Jeffrey Erazo 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Load In

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Load In!
So when exactly does Tech Week Begin? It all begins with Load In. Last Friday the cast of Don’t You Forget About Me came together to finalize the set of the play. When I first found out that this play was going to consist of four different 80s movies—Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, Mystic Pizza,and Say Anything—I had a hard time trying to picture how we were going to build the setEverything suddenly became clear to me; The Mystic Pizza shop, Ferris’s bedroom, the library, Corey's bedroom, and Diane’s living room all seem to coexist together even though they come from different movies. It all feels right.

The Green Room was buzzing with excitement as the costume crew got everyones costumes into place. I could already smell the hairspray and gel. Backstage the props crew set up a props table with all of the show’s props. For the first time in 8 years, I got to see an actual boom box upfront. That just comes to show how obsolete this iconic music player has become. 

The stage managers took charge in steering the ship toward the right direction. Under the watchful eyes of Dom everyone was able to finish their respective tasks. The Green room was spotless, the stage was set, the costumes were in order, and the props were accounted for. Finally, the play had become one.

-Jeffrey Erazo 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Set Build

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Sneak peek behind the scenes in the shop, where pieces of the set are made.

As the spirited cast and crew of Don't You Forget About Me heads into the final two weeks, work is moving ahead steadily on the set!

There's always time for humor, even between heavy lifting. 

Field trip to pick up mattresses for scenes in Say Anything and Ferris Bueller.

The set is coming together!

Set builds are always one of my favorite experiences to take away from each show. While they are opportunities to bond with the cast and listen to awesome music, we more importantly get to look back at the end of the day and say "we built that." Acting is only a fraction of the Berkshire Theater experience. I have learned so much about everything from lighting the stage, to using power tools, to being a part of a team that is totally committed to one goal. As a senior, this is my seventh production here at Berkshire and I am every bit as excited for this show to go up as I was the first time I stepped on stage. 

- Kennedy Alvarez 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Theater Warm Up

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After a long school day, how do we transition from an academically-driven day to a theater mindset? With the warm-up, of course! I’m a strong believer in meditation, for it always helps me feel better when I’m stressed or worried. Bad vibes are the last thing that we need for rehearsal.
My favorite part of the warm-up (as I’m sure others can attest to) is the moment we all take to find joy and feel it in our bodies. And I don’t mean general happiness, but rather genuine joy. How many times a day do people actually stop what they are doing and attempt to feel joy? Probably never. As Mr. Howard often says, feeling joy is probably the most important part of the day.
While the warm-up features exercises such as calisthenics, voice warm-ups, and breathing exercises, I always look forward to seeing everyone take a moment to come together to get in the right mindset. Though I still have another year ahead of my Berkshire career, many senior captains will be leaving this May. For the past three performances I’ve been in, we’ve warmed up together. Soon, they will go on to their next endeavors.
I can’t tell you how many times the warm-up has saved me, especially on performance nights. It serves as a reminder that we are all here to do something special and beautiful—something that not everyone gets to do. I know that I can always count on everyone to back me up, and they can count on me as well.
So when you get the chance to meditate, do it. It does not take very long. Whether you may think that you may not need to warm-up to start your daily activities, I guarantee that you will feel better.

-Jeffrey Erazo

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Video Mashup

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-Margaret Butler

Time Travel to the 80s

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Walk into the greenroom and you may feel like you stepped into a time machine into the 80’s!  We’ve got a whole rack of 80’s costumes and there’s more to come!  One of my favorites is this wedding dress- it’s got super puffy sleeves and basically screams 80s.  And we’ll be going all out in hair and makeup too.  The costume crew already has plans for big hair and loud colorful makeup.  Mr. Anselmi (spoiler alert: who will be playing Vernon) even brought in an “I heart the 80’s poster” with 80’s sayings and quotes on it some even quotes from the films we’re doing!  And yes we’re super excited to have Mr. Anselmi and well as other teachers join the cast!  Having Mr. Anselmi in rehearsals has already added so much to our show.  He brings his full commitment whenever he’s playing his character.  Also, the fact that he happens to be a big 80’s fan brings a great vibe.  Oh yeah and Mr. Howard- he’s got that 80’s thing going on too.  Sometimes he’ll tell us stories about his time in high school, mainly that he was like Loyd Dobler in high school.  These stories are very much appreciated.  All in all, it’s super fun to work on these 80’s films and learn about the decade.  Sometimes it makes you want to travel back to 80’s.  “Like totally!”

Alyssa Cass

Monday, April 21, 2014

Theater Knowledge

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Just four weeks ago we sat in a circle on stage and read through our script for the first time. We are now about halfway through the process, which means one thing-- Line Run is only a week away! Line Run can be one of two things: either a celebratory event in which everybody is off-book and ready to dig deeper into the material without a script at hand… or it can be a total disaster. Luckily, after checking in with each cast, everybody seems solid and ready to sit in our circle once again to recite these lines that were once so foreign.
So how do we get off-book? There are loads of tricks for memorizing lines but here are the top three tricks in our group:

Recordings. Make a recording of the entire script, scene by scene, and listen as much as possible. Then, make a second recording, excluding your part, and leave extra space between lines so you have time remember and recite. Listening while working out in the gym, studying in the library, and even playing it bedside while sleeping helps.
Before Bed. This is a huge one. Your brain remembers so much more of what you study when it is the last thing you do before rest. So brush your teeth and recite a scene right before you hop into bed.
Always move. Note that I said before hopping into bed. Never recite lines sitting or lying down. Get up and move around; it helps you to get into character and lessons the urge to slack off. Also, on the note of slacking, never just run lines in your head—it’s basically useless. It is one thing to think you know your lines, and another to actually say them, so shout them out nice and loud!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

First Set Build

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With the show less than a month away, the cast and crew of “Don’t You Forget About Me” got together on Saturday get started on making the set. Dom and Sam, our Tech Director and Assistant Director, drove us to a secluded garage on campus to begin organizing the platforms for our set. Since four 80s films will be part of this play—The Breakfast Club, Say Anything, Mystic Pizza, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off—our stage will accommodate all four plays by using various platforms of different heights. These platforms will give us better a better performance space on stage while giving each play a defined set to work with.

After moving the heavy platforms (and struggling), we headed back to the theater to clean the stage and organize the props closet. Once we got there, we decided to split into two different groups and make these tasks a competition. Even though the props closet crew had to mop up a puddle due to the leaky ceiling, they managed to come in first. Then the stage managers ended the day by sweeping and mopping the stage. Two more set builds to go!