Meet Desiree Mee Jung, Antaeus Company Member and one of two actresses playing the roles of Mariana/1st Gentleman/Froth in our upcoming production of Measure for Measure. You may recognize her from our recent production of Diana of Dobson’s!
What is one food you cannot stand? Anything that is very chewy.
What do you listen to on your commute? Podcasts and audiobooks. Usually non-fiction.
What was the first play you ever did? Man of La Mancha
Where was the coolest place you’ve visited? Paris
Did you ever have a celebrity crush? YES – Matt Damon
Meet Paul Culos, Antaeus Company Member and the Duke in our upcoming production of Measure for Measure. His role in this show is not surprising given his royal beginnings in theater as a child…
1. Where would you move to if you could live anywhere? I do love living in Southern California, but if I could live in Italy for a period of time I’d be real happy.
2. What is one food you cannot stand? This is gonna make me sound like a monster, but I’m not really into candy. I don’t crave sweet things. Also, I’m lactose intolerant, so I literally cannot stand dairy. (I miss you, cheese)
3. What do you listen to on your commute? (podcasts, music, audiobooks- what genre?) I’m definitely a podcast junky. I listen to the New York Times podcast The Daily almost every day, as well as The Argument, Slow Burn, Off Camerawith Sam Jones, Revisionist History, Off Book, David Tennant Does a Podcast, Pod Save America, Stuff You Should Know, to name a few.
4. What was the first play you ever did? I was the King in Sleeping Beauty in 1994 back home in Michigan.
5. Which of Shakespeare’s characters are you most like and why? I feel like I’m a Frankenstein hybrid of Edgar’s blind trust in Lear, Speed’s playfulness in Two Gents, and Hamlet’s insecurity and indecisiveness in Hamlet. According to BuzzFeed’s quiz “Which Shakespeare Character Are You?” I got Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing. So who can say?
6. Where was the coolest place you’ve visited? The coolest might have been Hawaii. The big island!
7. Did you ever have a celebrity crush? 100% in love with Phoebe Waller-Bridge. If she’s reading this right now, let’s grab drinks!
8. Are you a sports fan? I am a fan of the sports. But I don’t actively participate in watching the sports. I’m glad that the sports exist.
9. Are you usually early or late? Ugh… I’m late for a lot of things… but I’m almost always early for acting things. I got my priorities straight.
10. What skill would you like to master? Drums. And maybe teleportation.
11. What’s your dream role? I only get to choose one? In a couple of decades, when I’m good and ripe, I want to play George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
12. What food do you crave? I crave tacos and Indian food regularly. But my first love is plain old chips… of all varietals.
13. What fad or trend do you hope comes back? Letter writing! Emails are fun but I love the process of writing by hand and mailing something tangible to someone. And likewise I love receiving handwritten mail.
14. How do you relax after a long day of work? I usually binge watch TV shows. Right now I’m working on Succession and The Mandalorian.
15. Which movie world would you want to live in? I don’t know if this counts because it’s based off of books, but probably The Lord of the Rings. Or Toy Story would be fun!
Beth Ricanati, author of Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs shared her super easy challah recipe in honor of the World Premiere of Eight Nights at Antaeus. This bread is delicious toasted with butter, as French toast, or plain straight out of the oven. Though a traditional Jewish food, this simple and tasty egg break goes well with a variety of cuisines. The best part? Kneading the dough with your hands, taking the opportunity to unplug and enjoy the moment.
2.25 tsp. yeast + 1 tsp. sugar + 1 cup very warm water
2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
4-ish cups flour
Instructions: Mix yeast, sugar and water in small bowl; let stand about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix eggs, salt, sugar, oil, and two cups flour.
Add yeast mixture to flour mixture.
Add about 1.5 cups flour to the mixture. Dough should start to form a ball.
Place dough on floured surface and knead into a ball, about five minutes.
Place dough into oiled bowl, cover with towel or plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm 60-90 min.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place dough on floured surface, punch it out, and cut in half. Divide each half into three equal pieces and braid (making two challahs). Place on greased cookie sheet (or on parchment paper).
Paint each challah with a mixture of egg yolk plus a little water.
Bake 23-30 min, until bread has risen and is golden brown. Let cool or eat fresh and warm directly from the oven!
Antaeus Company Member Carolyn Ratteray plays Isabella (and 2nd Gentleman) in our upcoming production of Measure for Measure. Learn more about this captivating actress, fickle soccer fan, and candy-lover.
Where would you move to if you could live anywhere? hmmm… I like it out here. 🙂 But if NYC and LA could just get, geographically, a little closer together without losing the entire middle of the United States, that would be awesome.
What is one food you cannot stand? Slimy okra!
What do you listen to on your commute? Democracy Now! for news and if I’m in the mood for music, it bounces between Emile Sande and Nicki Minaj.
What was the first play you ever did? Macbeth in fourth grade.
Which of Shakespeare’s characters are you most like and why? Rosalind! In a different day and age, I would totally be the one to dress more masculine and venture out into the great outdoors with nothing but some wit, a smile, and a metaphor!
Where was the coolest place you ever visited? The Himalayas in India.
Did you ever have a celebrity crush? Yes- Taraji P. Henson
Are you a sports fan? When the Women’s world Cup happens, my wife requires me to be a soccer fan.
Are you usually early or late? I arrive on time 🙂
What skill would you like to master? SOOOOO MANY!!! I would love to hang glide, speak Spanish, become an excellent archer, fix cars, learn my way around power tools, master Photoshop, become an excellent ventriloquist…
What’s your dream role? A complex one with lots of lines.
What food do you crave? A lovely mix of Raisinets, jelly beans, and candy corn.
What fad or trend do you hope comes back? Having average size bellies and waistlines.
Which movie world would you want to live in? One where I could fly.
At first glance it might strike some as a curious turn for a company whose ethos has always been a passion for the classics. And that hasn’t changed! But on closer inspection you’ll find that new work has always been a vital part of Antaeus’ DNA. From new translations of Spanish Golden Age masters by Company Founder Dakin Matthews to original musical pieces like American Tales (based on stories by Twain and Melville) to World Premieres of Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Balzac’s Cousin Bette and Kenneth Cavander’s fresh look at the Theban plays, The Curse of Oedipus, we’ve been exploring new takes on classical material.
The Curse of Oedipus – 2014
Several years ago we were approached by writer Ed Napier who proposed setting up a weekly session for mid-career playwrights and Antaeus actors to meet and explore scenes brought in by the writers. Based on a similar program at The Lark in New York, the Antaeus Playwrights Lab was born.
Led by Lab Director Emily Chase and a three-person Playwrights Panel, the Lab has been thriving. The happy marriage between actors versed in the classics and talented writers birthed several wonderful 10 Minute Play Festivals at our former space. And last year our new home saw the first edition of LAB RESULTS, a weekend long festival. Six new plays developed in our Lab had stellar readings to sold out crowds. LAB RESULTS will be back in January with readings of six new plays by Sean Abley, Matt Doherty, Jeanette Farr, Jennifer Rowland, Ashley Rose Wellman, and Marlow Wyatt in an expanded two weekend format. You don’t want to miss it.
LAB RESULTS – 2019
With full productions of Stephanie Alison Walker’s The Abuelas and Jennifer Maisel’s Eight Nights running on our stage right now we’ve seen just how seamlessly new works with bold, timeless themes fit into Antaeus’ mission and vision. Oregon Shakespeare Festival continues to inspire us with their combination of classics and new works. And we’ve seen first hand how true it is that actors steeped in Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Shaw know how to use the tools they’ve developed to make new work absolutely sing. On a personal note I know that the classical techniques of rhetoric and language that I’ve learned from Armin Shimerman and Elizabeth Swain (co-directors of our upcoming Measure for Measure) inform every play, every reading, and even every television audition I work on!
Eight Nights – 2019 – Photo by Jenny Graham Photography
Classical works and new plays fit together beautifully at Antaeus. They reflect, contrast, and compliment each other. And they challenge our artists and audiences as we explore the great enduring themes of humanity. That’s what Antaeus is all about.
Playwrights know the background of the characters in their plays; after all, they write them. They often do significant historical research to understand the world they create in their plays. The creative team working on a particular show — directors, designers, actors and dramaturgs — must do even more research, to ensure they understand the playwright’s intention in addition to the historical context. Many audience members find their curiosity sparked after seeing a show, which can lead to them conducting their own research to learn more about historical personalities or events. If you are one of those people, start your search here! Eight Nights dramaturg Ryan McRee shares several of the books he referenced when researching the show. There is so much history covered in Eight Nights, but these four books are a great place to begin if you are interested in learning more.
In May 1939, the SS St. Louis set sail from Hamburg carrying 937 German Jews seeking asylum from Nazi persecution. Unknown to the captain, the ship was merely a pawn of Nazi propaganda. Among the crew were members of the dreaded Gestapo, and the steward himself was on a mission for the SS. Made into an Academy Award–winning film in 1976, Voyage of the Damned is the gripping, day-by-day account of how those refugees on board the liner struggled to survive.
Among sources on the Holocaust, survivor testimonies are the least replaceable and most complex, reflecting both the personality of the narrator and the conditions and perceptions prevailing at the time of narration. Scholars, despite their aim to challenge memory and fill its gaps, often use testimonies uncritically or selectively, mining them to support generalizations. This book represents a departure, bringing Holocaust experts Atina Grossmann, Konrad Kwiet, Wendy Lower, Jürgen Matthäus, and Nechama Tec together to analyze the testimony of one Holocaust survivor. Born in Bratislava at the end of World War I, Helen “Zippi” Spitzer Tichauer was sent to Auschwitz in 1942. One of the few early arrivals to survive the camp and the death marches, she met her future husband in a DP camp, and they moved to New York in the 1960s. Beginning in 1946, Zippi devoted many hours to talking with a small group of scholars about her life. Her wide-ranging interviews are uniquely suited to raise questions on the meaning and use of survivor testimony. What do we know today about the workings of a death camp? How willing are we to learn from the experiences of a survivor, and how much is our perception preconditioned by standardized images? What are the mechanisms, aims, and pitfalls of storytelling? Can survivor testimonies be understood properly without guidance from those who experienced the events? This book’s new, multifaceted approach toward Zippi’s unique story combined with the authors’ analysis of key aspects of Holocaust memory, its forms and its functions, makes it a rewarding and fascinating read.
Okot wants nothing more than to get to the UK. Beth wants nothing more than to help him. Join the hopeful, resilient residents of ‘The Jungle’, the refugees and volunteers from around the globe who gather at the Afghan Café. They’re just across the Channel, right on our doorstep.
Elizabeth Berman is the founder and primary supporter of the Antaeus Odyssey Artists’ Workshop. Antaeus currently offers Arts Education programs at four partner sites, but it all started with William Tell Aggeler Opportunity High School, working with young men in residence at the Rancho San Antonio Boys Home. For 16 years, Teaching Artists like Elizabeth have been leading groups of boys, court-ordered to Rancho San Antonio for a variety of reasons, through a healing journey of self discovery and expression through the Odyssey Artists’ Workshop.
Elizabeth graciously took the time to talk with Director of Development, Alice Dutton, about what inspired her to do this work, and why she believes it’s worth supporting.
You’re the original founder of the Antaeus Odyssey Artists’ Workshop program. How did that get started? What inspired you to create something like this?
After I finished a graduate program in creative writing, I was thinking about ways I could use what I’d learned to give back. I ended up at Aggeler with another program teaching short story writing. What I saw was, it didn’t seem to me like short story writing was going to help them with their healing journey. What they needed was to learn to tell their own stories. So, I left that program and I started the Odyssey Artists Workshop in 2003. It began with the idea that this was a population that could use writing as a way of healing. More often than not, these kids hadn’t yet learned the tools they needed to express themselves. But, after working through the program, when they were able to share their stories, I found that they were connecting and healing in a different way. The dynamic just changed.
I knew Kitty & Armin [Kitty Swink, Antaeus Artistic Director, and her husband, actor Armin Shimerman] through my husband Rick, who was the producer of Star Trek. I invited them to come to a reading we were doing with the boys in the program. They were blown away by what they saw, and Kitty got the idea to bring in actors to introduce the boys to Shakespeare. So then, John Prosky began working on an Antaeus-led Shakespeare program with the boys, and he came to me and asked, “What would you think of combining the programs?” So, we started alternating performance and writing. And it was very successful! Now we’re at New Village and Homeboy, and it’s all grown from that.
In the beginning, I had thought maybe I wanted to start my own non-profit. But for me, I like being in the classroom, and when you start a 501c3 you have to be a fundraiser and an administrator, and I didn’t want that. This is an interesting template, working with Antaeus so that I could do more than I would have been able to do on my own. It’s a good model for other people to follow who have ideas about smaller non-profits.
I feel very blessed to be able to do it in this way. I go to the classroom and donate my time, and I also support the program.
Have you seen the program, or the ecosystem, change at all since 2003?
Over the years, I’ve seen the students become more adaptable to it. I think writing and storytelling as a form of connection has become much more mainstream. Back then, I didn’t see writing being used in that way, as much. But now, as the years have gone by, people recognize more that storytelling can be a way of healing, connecting, and creating a community.
In your work, you focus on the students “telling their own stories.” Is that to help them work through trauma? To help them tell a more positive story for themselves?
I think they’re able to get more into the truth of their story, and it helps them work through the trauma. Because so much of what happens is, when you’re in a traumatic environment, you really only understand the narrative of your life in the context of survival. But when the boys get together, and they’re able to talk and write, they can finally connect in an honest way, a deeper way. They feel safer, and it can change their narrative. They see that, “we don’t have to bully and hurt each other, we can connect and trust each other.”
I would say, often, when the ten weeks begin, the students tend to come in sort of nervous and distrustful, they don’t quite know what it is. But over ten weeks they form a community, and there’s such a connection there. They’re excited to work together. And they’re brave! They really want to get up in front of an audience and tell their truth.
You’re both the founder of the program and its biggest supporter. If someone asked you why you support this program or why they should support it, what would you tell them?
Well, I think we live in such a deeply divided country and world, and it’s different now than when I started the program. So often, it seems like we’ve lost the ability to listen to each other, or to feel safe to tell our own truth. Knowing that our stories are meaningful, and our lives are meaningful, it means so much. Maybe it’s not a marquee thing, but I think these are the seeds we need to plant if we want a future of hope.
Stephanie Alison Walker, playwright of The Abuelas, shares her favorite Argentinian-inspired beverage recipes! A variety of flavors, any one of these delicious (and mostly alcoholic) drinks is sure to be a hit at your next dinner party or BBQ.
In my family, the two most consumed Argentine beverages are mate and Malbec. Mate (pronounced MAH-teh) is the traditional tea made with yerba and served in a gourd with a bombilla (straw.) I’m sure you’ve seen it. Gael García Bernal’s character on Mozart in the Jungle was really into his mate.
If you’ve been to Argentina, you’ve seen it all over.
Malbec – as everyone knows now- is an Argentine red wine. My dad and stepmom had a small wine import business in the 80s. They imported Weinert wine (an Argentine vineyard and also my maiden name, but no familial connection to the vineyard) exclusively to Chicago.
This was before Argentine wines were on every menu and Malbec wasn’t a very well-known variety. Every family gathering at my dad and stepmom’s included Weinert Malbec.
Special occasions, particularly during the summer, included Clericó, often referred to as white Sangria. It’s white wine mixed with fruit and sugar. It’s commonly served at Christmas and New Year celebrations in Argentina. Growing up, I remember Clericó being a part of summer barbeques at my dad’s and stepmom’s. Since The Abuelas is set in February, which is summer in Argentina, I thought it would be fun to share this Argentine beverage with you.
Making Clericó is very easy and doesn’t really require a hard and fast recipe. It’s kind of like… gather your fruit, wash it, chop it, put it in a pitcher. Then add a chilled bottle of white wine, a spoonful of sugar (or more depending on how sweet you want it), stir until the sugar dissolves, then chill in the fridge. That’s it. Once it’s nice and cold, serve it in a wine glass and enjoy!
What kind of fruit?
*optional… really whatever fruit you want.
What kind of white wine to use? Try to find Torrontes, if you can. It’s a white Argentine grape variety that produces a fresh wine.
If you’re looking for a typical Argentine cocktail that isn’t wine-based, I have four words for you: Fernet con Coca Cola.
Mozart in the Jungle photo courtesy of misionesonline.net