Chimichurri Recipe

Celebrating the Argentinian heritage in The Abuelas with Company Member Marcelo Tubert. His recipe for the “Argentinian wonder sauce”- chimichurri – is an easy recipe for cooks of any level!

 

Chimichurri Sauce

 

Prep: 10 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Italian parsley
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small shallot
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

 

 

Directions:

  • Wash and dry and remove the leaves of the parsley (some stems are okay)
  • Medium chop the parsley. Place in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Peel and medium chop the garlic.
  • Finely chop the shallot.
  • Add garlic and shallot to the parsley.
  • Add olive oil, vinegar, and lemon to the mix.
  • Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste.
  • Enjoy right away or allow the mixture to sit for several hours (not in the refrigerator) to allow the flavors to mix together.

 

*Chopping can be done either by hand or using a food processor. As Marcelo says, it is a rustic recipe, so the consistency is not exact. Similarly with the flavor – garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes can all be varied based upon your personal tastes. So add you flair to it!

 

 

 

Enjoy chimuchurri as a dip for bread or chips; drizzle it on french fries or a baked potato; marinate chicken or meat; pour over freshly grilled steaks. Use your imagination!

Meet the Artist- Denise Blasor

Meet Denise Blasor, playing “Soledad/ Midwife” in The Abuelas. Learn more about Denise, whose favorite New Year’s tradition includes throwing a bucket of water out the window.

Where did you grow up? 

       – I was born in Paris, France, raised in Italy and Puerto Rico of Puerto Rican parents

How did you get into theater?

       – Since I was a little girl I loved to perform. My sister and I would write little shows to entertain our parents, Then at 13 when we moved back to Puerto Rico I joined the Theatre forensics team and from then on I knew that was my calling.

Do you play a musical instrument?  If no, is there one you would like to play? 

       – I play The Kazoooooo (just kidding). I have a piano but I don’t really play it well. When I was young I played the flute. I would love to play the saxophone. 

Do you have a food/dish you are known for making really well? 

       – I prepare wonderful pasta dishes. Pasta con carciofi…mmmmmm

Symphonic concerts: love or snoozefest? 

       – Love them. Any opportunity I have to go see LA Phil and Gustavo Dudamel conducting is heaven. I was raised listening to classical music Puccini, Chopin, Falla, Satie, Ravel, Beethoven, Verdi, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff. Gershwin, Bizet, Segovia and the fabulous less known women composers Louise Farrenc, Teresa Carreno, Julia Perry, Florence Price, Clara Schumann, Francesca Caccini, Hildegard of Bingen, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Ethel Smyth… 

If you came with a warning label, what would it say? 

       – Warning: May contain Nuts

What is one of your beloved family traditions?

       – The New Year traditions we have always done…Throwing a bucket filled with water out of the door/window at Midnight to welcome the new year and eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight- one for good luck in each month of the year.

What is the best birthday present you have ever received?

       – Spending my birthday with my mother in Puerto Rico and watching the stars that night on her last year of life.

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve or keep your emotions hidden?

       – Hmmmmm…both

What words do you live by?

       – Live with integrity, live truthfully.

If your life were a TV show, what genre would it be?

       – A mystery

What’s your go-to Starbucks order?

       – I don’t go to Starbucks

Pajamas or sleep in your clothes?

       – Au Naturel

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

       – Is a pizza a pie?

Do you have a green thumb or do plants have no hope under your care?

       – I love my plants and my plants love me. I rescue plants people throw away.

Meet the Artist- Carolina Montenegro

Meet Carolina Montenegro, playing Beléne/ Woman in The Abuelas and find out whether her foray into acting was scheduling serendipity or snafu. 

Where did you grow up? 

       – In Southern California, along the LA/OC County border. 

Do you have a food/dish you are known for making really well?

       – My rainbow bowls! I love colors  and so love using different colored foods and playing with textures and plating. Not only does it make for a nutritious meal, but my kitchen doubles as a much needed space for being creative.

Do you play a musical instrument? If no, is there one you would like to play?

       – Not at all. I wish I could play the drums. [insert air drum solo]

 Symphonic concerts: love or snoozefest?

       – Love.

What is the best birthday present you have ever received?

       – A plane ticket to see my family in Argentina. I generally see them every other year, but couldn’t afford the flight so hadn’t seen them in four and a half years. It was quite the sob fest of a surprise to say the least.

How did you get into theater?

       – My Kinesiology classes would fill up before it was my turn to sign up so I slowly found my way to the Theatre Department. 

 Do you wear your heart on your sleeve or keep your emotions hidden?

       – Depends on the occasion.

What’s your go-to Starbucks order?

       – A Rev Up Tea – The most caffeinated tea they have supposedly. 

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

       – You can make it one by cutting the wiener in half and putting it between two slices of bread. If anything, it’s the love child of the sandwich… and taco. 

Do you have a green thumb or do plants have no hope under your care?

       – I LOVE plants and learning about them! I’m not an expert by any means- a yellow thumb at best. 

Meet the Artist- David DeSantos

Meet David DeSantos, one of two Antaeus Company Members appearing in The Abuelas this fall.  He last appeared at Antaeus in Cloud 9  in 2016 (see him here.)  Get to know David, who has a very strong opinion on the importance of Dodger Dogs. 

Where did you grow up?

I was born in the San Fernando Valley

Do you have a food/dish you are known for making really well?

I make the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

Do you play a musical instrument? If not, is there one you would like to play?

Nope.

Pajamas or sleep in your clothes?

PJs.

What is the best birthday present you have ever received?

When I was seven years old my parents surprised me by taking me into Hollywood. As we were walking, we rounded a corner and came upon the Pantages and I saw Annie was playing. My parents walked me inside and surprised me: they had already gotten us front row seats.

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Dodger dogs are one of the four basic food groups.

Symphonic concerts: love or snoozefest?

I love the symphony.

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

Caution: loves dogs more than people

How did you get into theater? 

Playing Grumpy in Snow White in my school play in the 4th Grade

What words do you live by?

Trust the process.

If your life were a TV show, what genre would it be?

Dark comedy.

What’s your go-to Starbucks order?

Single shot red eye.

Do you have a green thumb or are plants doomer under your care?

I have seven plants thriving in my home.

Meet the Artist- Luisina Quarleri

Meet Luisina Quarleri, who plays Gabriela, the Argentine concert cellist around whom The Abuelas centers. Luisina is fluent in Spanish, Italian, an English and though she does not actually play the cello, someone in her family does!

Where did you grow up?
       – I was born in Argentina and lived there till I was 3, then moved to Italy and lived there till about 9, and then moved to New York. 

How did you get into theater?
        – My parents are both artists so I grew up going to the theater. I started working in plays with them at age 4 in Italy, at L’Arena di Verona. We would all go to work together and it was amazing. 

What is one of your beloved family traditions?

       – We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, as all Argentines do, and have a big family dinner and then open presents at midnight. I could never wait until Christmas morning to open presents!

 Do you have a food/dish you are known for making really well?

       – I make a really great eggplant parmesan.
 Symphonic concerts: love or snoozefest?

       – Love! Classical music was always playing in my house growing up and I’d often go to concerts to hear my father play. 

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

       – Must feed frequently. 

What is the best birthday present you have ever received?

       – My dad and I have the same birthday, and a few years back I cut my honeymoon short to fly to NY to surprise him on our birthday. We hadn’t spent it together in 5 years, so being with him that year was extra special. 

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve or keep your emotions hidden?

       – Definitely wear my heart on my sleeve. If something’s wrong you’ll see it on my face. I’m not good at hiding my feelings!! 

If your life were a TV show, what genre would it be?

       – Probably a dark humor dramedy from BBC. 

Do you play a musical instrument? If no, is there one you would like to play?

       – I sing, but my brother got the instrument talent gene. If I had to choose, I’d absolutely love to play the cello because that’s what my father plays and it’s such a beautiful instrument.

What words do you live by?

       – “Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around”. It’s from the movie Vanilla Sky. It was my senior quote and I still believe it. 

What’s your go-to Starbucks order?

       – I don’t really go to Starbucks, but if I’m there I’ll get a chai latte with almond milk or a caramel macchiato if I feel like having something sweet. 

Pajamas or sleep in your clothes?

       – Both?! I have old clothes I designate as pjs.

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

       – Most definitely not. A hot dog is a hot dog. 

Do you have a green thumb or do plants have no hope under your care?

       – I wish I did! I love plants and have many in my apartment, but my husband is the one who keeps them alive. 

A Platform to Tell Their Stories

Los Angeles is a beacon of arts and culture; but, despite the wealth of theater, film, and music in our backyard, for many in this community, access to the arts remains painfully out of reach. As Antaeans, the right to creative self-expression is at the core of our values, and our arts education program, The Antaeus Odyssey Artists’ Workshop, empowers students to share their stories. 

We’ve grown our program to four campuses serving a wide range of needs and circumstances. Every week, teaching artists work with students at nearby Herbert Hoover High School; young men at the Rancho San Antonio Boys Home – a  residential center serving court-ordered teen boys; young women attending the New Village Girls Academy after dropping out of traditional high school; and people of all ages who leave gang life to get a new start at Homeboy Industries. Participants often have a history of trauma, and for many, this is the first time they’ve been granted creative freedom and a platform to tell their stories. 

The results are profound. As one 15 year-old participant shared, “I got to get closer to my peers and let out stuff I was holding in for a while. And they don’t judge you. We’re all family here.” A 17 year-old student said, “There’s a lot of support from the teachers, no matter what you write. It’s easier to talk about, when you know someone went through the same thing.” 

Our adaptive curriculum pairs Shakespeare with rap and contemporary poetry, emphasizing social and emotional learning. Through writing, speaking, and improvisation, we show students the power of working as an ensemble, and inspire them to find their voice and speak their truth.

We share this with you today as a reminder that a gift to Antaeus supports more than the extraordinary work you see on our stage. The generosity of this community has allowed us to make a difference in the lives of 200 students this year, and we urgently need your help to keep this program going. 

The time to give is now! Please consider making a gift before the end of our fiscal year on August 31 so that we can continue this vitally important work.  

 

 

Who was Bertolt Brecht?

Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht was born February 10, 1898 in Augsburg, Germany — a town of 90,000 people that is 40 miles northwest of Munich—to middle-class parents Berthold and Sophie Brecht. From youth, Brecht was notable for his confidence, intelligence, and ambition. He began medical studies at the University of Munich in 1917 in order to avoid conscription in World War I, but flaked on his medical courses and devoted his time to studying theater with Artur Kutscher, through him becoming a devout admirer of Frank Wedekind, whose expressionistic plays and ballads influenced a great deal of the young Brecht’s cabaret and coffeeshop experiments. In 1918, he wrote his first play, Baal, about an amoral Bohemian bard-balladeer who cruelly discards friends and lovers of both sexes. That same year, he began the anti-war drama Drums In the Night, which demonstrated Brecht’s disdain from a young age with war and the capitalist forces that benefited from it — partially motivated by the horrific things he saw working in a military hospital in Augsburg in 1918. Though he had a number of mistresses (some very high-profile celebrities) and children with various women, the most important woman in his life was actress Helene Wiegel, with whom he had two children, Stefan and Barbara. She was considered one of the finest German actresses of her time, and starred in Brecht’s The Mother (1932) and Mother Courage and Her Children (1940).

In 1924, Brecht moved to Berlin to work as an assistant dramaturg at Max Reinhardt’s Deutsches Theatre and established himself as a proletariat intellectual, attracting many with his charisma and passion for anti-establishment principles. In 1926, he began a fuller study of Marxism, and wrote, “When I read Marx’s Capital, I understood my plays.” Then 1927 saw Brecht beginning some of his most important collaborations, those with director Erwin Piscator and composer Kurt Weill, who would become Brecht’s primary composer for the music in his later plays. He formulated a writers’ collective that involved Elizabeth Hauptmann and Weill, and it was this group that adapted John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera into The Threepenny Opera. This was Berlin’s biggest hit production of the 1920s and catapulted Brecht to worldwide fame. His works into the early 1930s began to stimulate serious opposition from the growing Nazi-sympathizing base of German spectators, and Brecht had to flee Germany in February of 1933 in order to avoid persecution.

Brecht had multiple artistic projects in Prague, Zurich, and Paris, but eventually he and Weigel settled down in Denmark until 1939, when the outbreak of war relocated the Brecht family first to Stockholm and then to Helsinki. During this time, Brecht was incredibly despondent, and although he stayed busy with high profile collaborations and celebrity guests to his home, he felt doubtful about his role as an artist in what he called the “dark times.” Despite a growing pessimism, 1941 saw the premiere of Mother Courage and Her Children, and Brecht started writing a number of his anti-Nazi dramas that would later bring him further acclaim. However, as he came to feel that his role as a writer was diminishing in the face of Hitler’s encroaching conquests, he sought asylum in the United States, and moved the family there in July of 1941. Although Brecht struggled to adapt to his new home in many ways, it served as an inspirational laboratory for some of his most important theatrical experiments.

Though he had a fundamental opposition to Hollywood practices and aesthetic, Brecht tried to find work as a screenwriter (to little success) and he largely relied on the generosity and patronage of friends to stay financially afloat. American critics viewed Brecht as either overly-intellectual and pretentious or a Communist subversive. His early American writing saw the completion of two works that he had begun in his European exile years, The Good Person of Szechwan and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, both of which were highly inspired by his new surroundings.

His next two plays, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and The Private Life of the Master Race were, according to Brecht, subtly more targeted toward an American middle-class audience, and American critics grew to appreciate his work more when they saw him as a pacifist playwright rather than one devoted to class struggle. Brecht wouldn’t see the 1947 opening of his last “American” play, Galileo, as he began to attract unwanted attention from the House Un-American Activities Committee, who suspected him part of a larger supposed Communist infiltration of Hollywood. He outwitted the committee and escaped prosecution (unlike other prominent members of the “Hollywood 19”), but soon after boarded a plane to Paris and relocated his family to Zurich, and in 1949 permanently settled in what was now known as “East Berlin.”

In East Berlin, Brecht founded The Berliner Ensemble, and though he continued to write, his primary focus became directing and teaching the next generation of actors, writers, and dramaturges. He died on August 14, 1956 of a heart attack. Art historian Philip Glahn wrote of Brecht:

As an artist, he is usually described as developing from a happy anarchist to

a Marxist convert; he has been accused of being a staunch supporter of the

Communist party line, even of being a Stalinist. Yet the few things Brecht ever

held onto were his critical distance, his skeptical humor, and his pragmatic

commitment to observation. He always resisted the urge to fall in with

comfortable social and political mythologies, and his work was persistently

driven by the contradictions and complexities of situating himself and his

audience in an active and contingent relationship between image and reality,

mediation and experience.”

 

By Ryan McRee, Dramaturg for The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Photo courtesy of ForeignPolicy.com

Meet the Artist- Stephanie Alison Walker

Stephanie Alison Walker is the playwright of the first show of our 2019/20 Season, The Abuelas. Stephanie is an award-winning playwright whose works have been produced across the country. The Abuelas was developed right here in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab.

Get to know Stephanie- the person, the playwright, the… plant killer?

Where did you grow up?  

– Suburbs of Chicago with a few early years in London.  

How did you get into theater?

       – I worked as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Producer of a Broadway Production company in Chicago called Fox Theatricals. It was a very fancy introduction to the world of theatre as we were renovating the Cadillac Palace Theatre, developing Thoroughly Modern Millie and opening One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with Gary Sinise at Steppenwolf and then Broadway. I was writing short stories and poetry at the time and decided to take a playwriting class. My first class was at Chicago Dramatists with Lisa Dillman. I was immediately hooked. 

Do you play a musical instrument? If no, is there one you would like to play?

       – I used to play the piano and would love to go back to it. Our 9-year-old started to learn the violin last year at school and it makes me wish I had learned a string instrument. I tried playing the guitar at one point, but wasn’t passionate about it and let it go. Oh- and there was a brief period where I bought a saxophone off of craigslist and took sax lessons at the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. I lived in a condo building and felt badly about torturing my neighbors. So that ended really before it started. Though, I do wish I could really wail on a sax. And I love the cello. That’s why I picked it for this play. I just love the sound and it also felt tonally like the perfect instrument for this story.

Do you have a food/dish you are known for making really well?

       – Sadly, no. I mean. I cook. Average. My 9-year-old is the sweetest and says I’m the best cook in the world. He has my heart. 

Symphonic concerts: love or snoozefest?

       – Love!

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

       – Beware: Leo through and through.

What is one of your beloved family traditions?

       – Well, I don’t know if this counts as a tradition, per se… but being on the water. I come from a long line of boaters on my mom’s side. And we are drawn, pulled towards water. We always find a way to get there when we’re together. 

What is the best birthday present you have ever received?

       – My husband once surprised me with a trip to Vegas for my 30th. He took me to see Elton John’s show The Red Piano, I think it was called. And a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon. Nothing will ever top that. I felt so totally spoiled. 

Do you wear your heart on your sleeve or keep your emotions hidden?

       – Heart. On. My. Sleeve.

What words do you live by?

       – Tell the truth. Even when it’s painful or scary. Always. Especially.

If your life were a TV show, what genre would it be?

       – Dramedy.

What’s your go-to Starbucks order?

       – Venti drip coffee. 

Pajamas or sleep in your clothes?

       – Pajamas!

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

       – No. 

Do you have a green thumb or do plants have no hope under your care?

       – Poor plants. 

A Landmark Year for Antaeus Theatre Company

 

2018/19 has been a landmark season for Antaeus Theatre Company! As we approach the end of our fiscal year on August 31, we ask you to consider making a gift to help us continue our important work. 

Everything we do is made possible by the generosity of our community. Here are a just few highlights of what we’ve accomplished together over the last year:

  •  AWARDS   Antaeus received the most wins of any theater in this year’s LA Drama Critic’s Circle Awards, with three productions claiming a total of seven honors! The Little Foxes won for Best Ensemble, Featured Performance, Set Design, and Revival. Native Son won for Lighting and Sound Design, and Three Days in the Country won for Writing Adaptation.

 

  •  ON STAGE   This year we expanded our season to include a full calendar of four ambitious productions: The Little FoxesThe Cripple of Inishmaan, Diana of Dobson’s, and (now playing) Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle. We were also honored that Center Theatre Group mounted an encore of our 2017/18 production, Native Son, as part of their annual Block Party, celebrating the best in local theater.

 

  •  BLACK BOX   We inaugurated our secondary performance space this season with two new projects: Classic Sundays, a monthly play reading series; and LAB RESULTS, a festival of six new plays developed in the Antaeus Playwrights Lab. 

 

  •  EDUCATION & TRAINING   Antaeus is more than the award-winning work on our stage: The Academy offers unique, specialized training to professional actors throughout their careers; our Playwrights Lab works with prominent local writers to help cultivate the next generation of classic theater; The Antaeus Project provides a forum for in-depth study of the language, themes, and history of selected classical works and playwrights; and Teaching Artists in our Arts Education program share our love of theater with the wider community through regular visits to four partner sites. 

 

Antaeus is unique in the landscape of Los Angeles theater, and your support helps us create programming you won’t find anywhere else. Invest in a bright future for Antaeus by making a gift today!

Brecht, Chinese Theatre, and verfremdungseffekt

In The Caucasian Chalk Circle, there is a scene where two women each claim motherhood of a baby, and a judge must determine who is the mother. If this theme is ringing a bell, it should - it is similar to the Biblical story of King Solomon and the two mothers. For those of you who do not recall the story, here is a brief refresher: A baby is brought to King Solomon by two women, each of whom claims she is the mother of the child. King Solomon, unable to determine who is the biological mother (this is a bit before DNA testing) orders that the baby be split in two, so that each can have half a baby. One woman readily agrees, seeing the fairness of this judgment. The other woman cries in anguish for the child not to be harmed, that it’s better for the other woman to have the baby alone. King Solomon proclaims her the mother, because her unwillingness to have the child hurt proves her maternal love. 

 

Though a similar story is found in much folklore throughout the world - India, Greece, and Sumeria - the Chinese version is probably the most influential in the theatrical world. The Chinese version, translated as either The Chalk Circle or The Circle of Chalk, was written by Li Qianfu during the Yuan Dynasty (1259-1368). Influenced by his play, Stanislas Julien translated it into French (Le Cercle de Craie), Klabund into German (Der Kreiderkreis), and James Laver into English (The Circle of Chalk).

 

Bertolt Brecht’s first version of this tale was a short story. He changed it around, erasing the Chinese Imperial elements and changing how the women relate to the baby. In his theatrical version (Der Augsburger Kreiderkreis), Brecht further edited the story by moving the setting to medieval Georgia, adding the prologue in Soviet Georgia, and extending the story to play length.

 

In the case of Brecht, it is unsurprising that his piece can trace its origins back to the Chinese original. Brecht was heavily influenced by Chinese theater: another of his well-known plays is set in China - The Good Person of Szechwan. And Brecht was so impressed by what he saw in Chinese drama that he drew elements from it as he developed his theory of Epic Theatre.

 

Brecht’s theory of Epic Theatre sought to make theater more theatrical and less realistic, so as to force the audience to be aware they were watching a show and to think critically about the issues, instead of identifying emotionally and reaching a catharsis as in Aristotelian drama. He sought to engender a verfremdungseffekt, an estrangement effect, a separation between the audience and the characters on stage. Brecht noted several elements that he saw in Chinese theater which he thought could be used in Epic Theatre. For example, actors performed without the idea of a “fourth wall” separating them from the audience. Additionally, the actors used a series of symbolic gestures to externalize the character’s feelings, as opposed to naturalistic behaviors. Finally, the actors watched their own performances, keeping themselves alienated from the characters they were portraying. 

 

There is debate as to whether or not Brecht’s impressions of Chinese theatrical techniques are precise or misinterpretations. Either way, how he experienced Chinese theater had an important influence on his work. He began to incorporate narration and musical interludes in his plays, to create a separation between the actors and the characters they played. Similar to Chinese theater, Brecht wanted to eliminate the fourth wall, thereby eliminating the barrier between the actors and audience. Like in Chinese theater, the props, sets, and costumes are representational instead of exact.

 

Seeing a play by Brecht is a different experience than seeing Arthur Miller or Neil Simon. But there is no correct way to enjoy the show. Though his goal was to have the audience think critically, it is okay to connect emotionally. The musical interludes might jolt you out of the reality of the play, or you might just enjoy the songs (especially with the original music conceived by our cast.) However, if you want to honor Brecht’s intention, the best thing you can do is walk away from the show thinking critically about the issues and performance presented onstage.

Sources:

Cross- Cultural Encounters: Bertolt Brecht Meets Chinese Drama

The Chalk Circle