When The Show Can’t Go On – A Special Fundraising Appeal

As we all go through this strange and challenging time together, please know that we’re thinking of you. This crisis is hitting everyone differently. We know many in our community are facing untold struggles with both health and finances. For all our sakes, we hope things get back to normal soon. We’re all in this together.

For those of you who can, we ask you to consider helping Antaeus get through this uncertain time. “Social distancing” while necessary, has been devastating for theaters. Closing your doors and cancelling performances when you still have bills to pay is not an easy thing. And it’s especially hard for small organizations, like ours, without an endowment to fall back on in an emergency.

So, please enjoy this video message from the cast of Measure for Measure. And if you can, make a gift to help ensure we’re ready to open our doors again when this storm has finally passed.

Stay safe; stay healthy! We’ll see you soon.

 

Irish Brown Bread

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Artistic Director Kitty Swink shares her recipe for Irish Brown Bread. A fairly simple recipe, it’s the added stout that creates the rich color and taste (of course)!
Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 C Bread Flour
  • 3/4 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp oat bran
  • 1 rounded tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry yeast
  • 3/4 C stout beer
  • 3/4 C well-shaken buttermilk
Directions: 
  • Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl
  • Add in stout, buttermilk. Mix well.
  • Cover bowl with a tea towel and let sit 12 to 18 hours in a non drafty place.
  • Flour a work surface and turn out dough. No need to knead, turn it once or twice. Dust the tea towel with flour and wrap it loosely around the dough. Let rise 1 to 2 hours.
  • Half hour before the end of the second rise, preheat oven to 475° with a rack in the bottom 1/3 of oven. Place a 4 – 5 quart heavy lidded pot in oven while preheating.
  • After 30 minutes,  flip the dough into the heated pot, put the lid on and bake for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, remove the lid and allow the bread to bake uncovered an additional 10 – 15 minutes to form a browned crust.
  • Turn bread out into a rack to cool before serving. If you don’t plan to eat it right away, leave the loaf whole (no cuts or rips) to leave it moist.

 

Enjoy with butter, Irish cheddar, or any other topping!

Sláinte mhaith!

Health & Safety

Dear Antaeus family,
We have been vigilantly monitoring the developing COVID-19 situation. After discussing the safety of our artists and audiences, we have made the incredibly hard decision to cancel all remaining performances of Measure for Measure, our Classic Sundays reading of The Roaring Girl, and to suspend all activities in our building until the end of March. Based on the directive of the California Department of Public Health and a mandate from the County of Los Angeles, effective today, March 12, we want to do our part to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and take this step to safeguard our community.Please feel free to contact us at tickets@antaeus.org if you have any questions.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and will keep you updated as we have new information. We are so grateful to have you in our family and for your ongoing support. Please stay safe and we look forward to having you back at Antaeus soon!

Sincerely,

Ana Rose O’Halloran
Executive Director
Antaeus Theatre Company

M4M Cocktail

Our staff mixed up the perfect Measure for Measure cocktail. This equal-parts drink pairs the botanicals of your favorite gin with the bright sweetness of winter citrus. Even Shakespeare would approve!

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz gin
  • 2 oz pamplemousse liqueur
  • 2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 6 dashes Angostura bitters

 

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to combine. Strain into a coup glass and garnish with a lemon twist or candied grapefruit wheel. Cheers!

Recommended Readings: Measure for Measure

 If you are interested in learning more about the historical context of Measure for Measure,  dramaturg Ryan McRee recommends the following materials he used in his research for the production:

1. Shakespeare and London by Duncan Salkeld

Stratford made the man, but London made the phenomenon that is Shakespeare. This volume explores Stratford’s various links with the capital, significant locations for Shakespeare’s work, people with whom he associated, his resistance to pressure from the City authorities, and the cultural diversity of early modern London. It sets out details about those who inhabited Shakespeare’s milieu, or played some part in shaping his writing and acting career.

2. Power on Display: The Politics of Shakespeare’s Genres by Leonard Tennenhouse

This study of Shakespeare pursues the thesis that the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre “staged displays which created political literacy…the stage was a place for disseminating an iconography of state.”

3. The Malcontent by John Marston

The Malcontent is an early Jacobean stage play written by the dramatist and satirist John Marston circa 1603. The play was one of Marston’s most successful works. The Malcontent is widely regarded as one of the most significant plays of the English Renaissance; an extensive body of scholarly research and critical commentary has accumulated around it.

4. The Political Works of James I by James I and Charles Howard McIlwain

The political writings of King James I (1566 – 1625) of England and Scotland.

Understanding Measure for Measure

The Many and the One: Leadership and the Public Body in Measure for Measure

Painting of Jacobean London courtesy of earlymodernengland.com

Shakespeare wrote Measure for Measure at a historical juncture when England was rapidly changing, and was rather vulnerable because of it. Queen Elizabeth I had recently died, ending a 44-year long period of relative stability and prosperity, and one that would later be known as a golden era for arts and culture. Though several of his greatest tragedies were still to come, Shakespeare had made a name for himself as one of London’s most esteemed and prolific playwrights, and his Lord Chamberlain’s Men was one of the city’s two most popular theater companies.

In 1603 the London theaters were shut down in response to the plague, which was coincidentally the year that King James VI, King of Scotland and cousin to Elizabeth, ascended to the throne as King James I of Great Britain and Ireland, unifying the English and Scottish monarchies. In this transition James faced both a great deal of resistance and a plethora of English nobility flocking to him for patronage. He faced opposition from Catholics, critics of the English- Scottish union, and even small sects of Parliament who were eager to be rid of the monarchy altogether. He quickly set out to amass allies, and one of his earliest acts as king was to become the sole patron of all the major theaters in London. Whereas before the theaters were usually financed by a wealthy nobleman, James eliminated all private sponsorship and ensured that the Crown be made responsible for the financial health of the theaters. He did so not merely as a form of censorship, but because he felt the nourishment of culture was one of his primary duties as monarch. That being said, it didn’t hurt that these very public centers of entertainment and discourse were now under his direct supervision and largely indebted to him for their survival.

When the theaters reopened in 1604, a curious trend swept across the theatrical landscape: all the major dramatists of London were writing very similar stories in a unique genre that later critics would label the “absent ruler plays.” These plays usually featured a central character, a king or high-ranking nobleman of sorts, who took on a disguise to observe how his realm functioned in his absence. In every instance, deputies and surrogate leaders were put in charge. They made a mess of things and essentially brought ruin to society; order was only restored once the true ruler unmasked himself and set everything right. One can easily see how this type of play benefited James tremendously, and communicated to the masses the absolute need for monarchy.

Shakespeare was very much in alignment with his contemporaries when he wrote Measure for Measure. Although several of Duke Vincentio’s actions may seem puzzling to a contemporary audience, the play offers little solution for any of its social problems other than those he’s capable of providing. Though today Elizabeth and James seem towering figures of the English monarchy, the reality at the time was far more fragile. Consider that only one generation later, James’s son Charles I was deposed and beheaded by Oliver Cromwell’s revolutionaries. James needed the English people to have faith in the absolutism of his position and the theaters provided a very effective outlet by which to reach them.

At the same time as the “absent ruler” phenomenon, there was a growing interest in “city comedy” as a genre, which differed significantly from Elizabethan comedy that had been largely pastoral in setting. In the last 50 years, London had begun to experience a major population boom and a concentration of people into cramped, urban settings that led to public health concerns, disastrous overcrowding and city management crises, and, perhaps most significantly, the notion of the “public” at all. As London was becoming a city of greater and greater diversity, so was it becoming a city of increasing strangerhood, where people judged each other not by prior-known reputation but instead by images and stereotypes. City comedies then featured diverse casts of characters from all walks of life, from prostitutes to laborers to clergy to merchants to nobility. Frequently plays in this genre made use of a substantial number of supporting characters playing bit parts in order to flesh out the larger world of the play’s setting. In order to accurately capture the spirit of the urban environment, one had to have the feeling that any type of character could walk onto the stage at any moment.

While Measure for Measure is not always classified as a city comedy, many critics have labeled it one of Shakespeare’s closest approximations of the genre. In his examination of the functions of law, order and justice in society, Shakespeare presents to us a complex portrait of that society, with its various strata of rank and privilege, and the various places from which disease can spring in the “body politic,” to use the buzzwords of the time.

As urban life became the norm for many Englishmen, they began to understand themselves as a unified whole that could only survive and function as a unified whole — one that required a central figure, or head, to direct its functions to reach maximum capability. The plays of the early Jacobean era maneuvered skillfully and consciously the lines between plurality and singularity, addressing arising concerns about the “publicity” of life by demonstrating the need for exceptional leadership, and encouraging absolute loyalty and blind faith in it. This may be a challenging narrative to engage in for a 21st-century audience inclined toward democratic ideals, but Measure for Measure still asks timely questions: what do we expect of our leaders, and how can we build a society that still manages to function fairly and dispense justice when our leadership isn’t up to the task?

– Ryan McRee, Dramaturg

 

 

Costume Renderings

The design elements of a play are integral to bringing the story and the director’s (or in the case of Measure for Measure the directors’) vision to life. Costumes, lighting, set, sound – no matter how seemingly simple or complex – help to envelop the audience in the story as much as the actors saying their lines does. In fact, for many actors, having the design elements available during rehearsal, especially costumes, helps them to connect more deeply to their character and surroundings.

 

Allison Dillard, our costume designer for Measure for Measure, shares some of her costume renderings. This is a special peek into the creative process, as these were done even before rehearsals began and audiences usually only get to see the finished product. What audiences see on stage can be different from original renderings. Designs may go through many iterations from original concept to final result during the rehearsal process as directors and designers realize new needs for the production.

 

Scroll through these drawings and then take a look again after seeing the show. How similar are these original concepts from what you actually saw on stage during our production?

 

Meet the Artist- Lloyd Roberson II

Meet Lloyd Roberson II, the Provost in Measure for Measure, who seems to have made it his personal mission to dispel the myth that actors aren’t into sports.

  1. Where would you move to if you could live anywhere? It’s a toss up between Paris and Athens.
  2. What is one food you cannot stand? Uni.
  3. What do you listen to on your commute? Audiobooks (fantasy, sci-fi, action, adventure, with a little romance) and music (Kendrick Lamar, Har Mar Superstar, Lizzo, etc.)
  4. What was the first play you ever did? Underground Jungle
  5. Where was the coolest place you’ve visited? I love to travel and fell in love with a lot of places. But, if I have to make a choice the drama of Yosemite National Park would be my answer at this point.
  6. Did you ever have a celebrity crush? Yes. Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, and Jennifer Love Hewitt.
  7. Are you a sports fan? Yes! Go Chargers! Go Clippers!
  8. What is your dream role? Titus Andronicus
  9. Are you usually early or late? Personally late, professionally on time.
  10. What skill would you like to master? Growing/maintaining grass.
  11. How do you relax after a long day of work? Watching sports.
  12. What movie world would you want to live in? Asgard

Meet the Playwright- Sean Abley

Get to know Sean Abley, whose play Tea Party is one of six being featured in LAB RESULTS 2020.

 

1. What book or play do you reread over and over? The Stand by Stephen King; anything by Sam Shepard

2.   What was the first play you wrote? Robert Wilfred Witmark on His Life, Taking Liberties, and the Pursuit of Other Stuff. (I was 16!)
3.   Do you have a favorite playwright? Sam Shepard. I’m a student of Off-Off Broadway and have read everything he’s written.
4.   Do you prefer writing comedy or drama? Almost every play I’ve written has both so… both!
5.   Is your workspace pristinely organized or cluttered? Are you asking me or my husband?
6.   If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Lasagna.
7.   Do you collect anything? Horror movie reference books.
8.   What is one of your favorite smells? Eucalyptus.
9.   What is the best compliment you’ve received? “Your play will change people’s lives.” (I’m not sure I believe it, but I was stunned when they said it.)
10.     Do you like surprises? I like surprises that involve cake, travel, or someone picking up the check.
11.     Create your perfect ice cream sundae. Brownie, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream.
12.      What song always gets you on the dance floor? Anything by ABBA
13.      Do you have a go-to joke? Three peanuts were walking down the street in a bad section of town and one was a-salt-ed.
14.     Road trips or planes? Road trips! I’m a terrible flyer!

Meet the Playwright- Matthew Doherty

Get to know Matthew Doherty, whose play Brothers Play is one of six being featured in the 2020 LAB RESULTS and whose taste in jokes is NSFW.
1.   What book/play do you reread over and over?
    Rilke’s Letters to A Young PoetThe Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning by Ernest Kurtz
    & Katherine Ketcham.
2.   What was the first play you wrote?
   After The Flood.
3.   Do you have a favorite playwright?
   August Wilson
4.   Do you prefer writing comedy or drama?
   I like to mash up both and make people feel uncomfortable and question whether it is okay to laugh.
5.   Is your workspace pristinely organized or cluttered?
   Depends on where I am in process but working in kitchens I like the clean as you go mentality / don’t cross contaminate.
6.   If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
   Breakfast scrambles.  With fresh herbs and toast.
7.   Do you collect anything?
   Sports cards.  Outdoor gear.
8.   What is one of your favorite smells?
   Night-blooming jasmine
9.   What is the best compliment you’ve received?
   I was recently told my meatballs were some of the best a certain person I love ever had and she’s had both Swedish and
   Italian.   Oh and I am told I am an expert in contingencies.
10. Do you like surprises?
   Depends on the surprise.
11. Create your perfect ice cream sundae.
   Bananas foster with vanilla extract cinnamon.  Some roasted walnuts.  Real whipped cream.  And vanilla ice cream.
12. What song always gets you on the dance floor?
   Anything funky or by James Brown.   But also “As” by Stevie Wonder.
13. Do you have a go-to joke?
   Too many.  And none are appropriate to tell.
14. Road trips or planes?
   Road trips.  I know all the roads.