Checking In & Notes from the Apartment

So much has happened since my last blog post in March. We of the Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players have been busy behind the screens meeting virtually, generating material, and exploring current events to create artistic performance. The most important question, however, is:

How are you? 

Can you believe that we are only halfway through 2020? What are some moments that you’d like to remember or let go of? These seven months have brought a myriad of life experiences to the forefront of our lives, and I invite you to reflect on what has happened in your life as I reflect what’s been happening for us.

The COVID-19 pandemic quickly thrust our theater company into an online forum, something that we chose to embrace whole-heartedly as a creative challenge. Our #POOOC2020 was such a fun experience, and what brought me the most joy was trying to come up with Obstacles for folks to do at home, and find something delightful inside. All of the Obstacles we created were designed to be done at home with common objects. We had “Gear Up to Get Down”, a dancing competition, and a DIY At-Home Obstacle course. We celebrated live on Zoom and Facebook on April 5th with our “Celebration of Obstacles Overcome” and had a great time.

We had been working towards producing our “main-stage marquee” show, a sequel to our last show, A Lord of a Ring In A Suitcase from Summer 2019. On Wednesday nights you would have found us virtually developing a script, making each other laugh, and participating in creative development exercises with our newest ensemble members, Kenny Scott and Leigh Rondon-Davis (check out our ensemble bio page for updates!).

With health restrictions changing so frequently, we decided to change course and started thinking of ways we could present a “To-Go” show to smaller audiences.


And then, in July, our community and our country were shocked into action by the death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many other names to count. We reached out to our community, as did many other groups we admire, to provide resources to start discussions about examining racism and systematic violence against Black people, and how we can work to end racism within ourselves, our ensemble, and our society. While the work has been vital for us, the true intent is to build up our capabilities as an ensemble, and as individuals, to defy white supremacist culture, in all its forms; forms that we had unwittingly implemented into our regular way of making art. This kind of behavior, this kind of structure, has been learned and normalized and we are actively trying to unlearn and unnormalize it within our organization. 

What does that all mean?

Personally, I’ve been reading great books, including Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America’s Most Powerful Mobster by Stephen L. Carter, and How To Be An Antiracist Ibram X. Kendi. I’ve also been attending virtual meetings through SURJ Bay Area

Administratively, we’ve been examining the “power structures” within the ensemble and learning more (and working towards) consensus-based decision making. We are taking turns being the agenda maker, facilitator, note taker, and time keeper in our meetings and rehearsals. (For a recent agenda I created, I brushed off some old improv games from college – there! Using my degree!)

And yet, still, with all of these things going on, there is one thing most on my mind:

You, dear audience.

How are you? I hope you are safe, and healthy. I hope you are finding ways to thrive in your home and in your community, and raising up those around you.

We can’t wait to see you in person, and until that time, remember –

“In the end it’s only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Behind the #POOOC2020 – Gwen Edition

Hi Everybody!

I hope you all are enjoying our #POOOC2020 Obstacles as much as we are, and if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, here’s the inside scoop!

The Particularly Obstinate ONLINE Obstacle Course, #POOOC2020, is an entirely at-home, online version of our annual obstacle course FUNdraiser. Now even more people can participate, with adventures designed to help you fill your days at home with creative fun!

Our #POOOC2020 officially kicked off on March 23rd, with much fanfare, and the first obstacle on the list is….

GEAR UP and GET DOWN!

Like past obstacles, I like Princess Gwen’s challenges to include a bit of costuming and crafting fun:

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Can you spot Jay Robinson?

Since we our #POOC has become a #POOOC, I had to pull out my trusty costume box (see above).

And, since the point of GEAR UP and GET DOWN  is to gear up as many costumes as you can, and boogie as hard as you can, I then had to choose the perfect music. This is where Carly Rae Jepsen, the 21st Century’s Queen Of A Million Kingdoms, comes in!

(If you are in desperate need of a jam right now, take a listen, and I guarantee you’ll want to dance!)

 

 

I really hope you all are having a good time engaging with our Obstacles — who doesn’t need a bit of fun right now?

Love, Always,

Marlene
AKA
Princess Gwen!

 

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

Howdy Friends!

No, I’m not referring to Christmas, I’m referring to the Peripatetic Season!

I’d like to start off this over-due post by talking about how amazing performing in A Lord of A Ring In A Suitcase was. Performing with the Peripatetic Players is always a delight. Being able to create fantastic stories, create meaningful relationships, and create joy FOR YOU is one of the things I’m most proud of.

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Dimond Park, Oakland, 2019

A particular moment in A Lord of a Ring that brought me joy was actually towards the end of the show. [SPOILER ALERT?!] At the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo decides that it is better for him to journey to Mordor alone. His best friend, Samwise Gamgee notices Frodo is leaving alone and follows him:

FRODO picks up an oar and starts rowing. SAMWISE sees him and calls out.
SAMWISE: Mister Frodo, no! Not without me!
FRODO: Sam, you can’t swim! Not across the river of the audience!
SAMWISE: It doesn’t matter — you’re my friend, and that’s all that matters!

savingsam

“Not alone, Mister Frodo!”

The line, “You’re my friend, and that’s all that matters!” always struck me in my heart, and I was constantly reminded how special it was to be performing in this play, with this group of performers, and for the audience that took time out of their day to see this show.

Thank you!

And now, we are getting ready to do it all over again!

We’ve started developing our 2020 summer tour, and while we waiting just a bit longer to make our official announcement, I can tell you that you will have an Extended Amount of Fun (perhaps TWO TIMES?!) this summer!

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Cookin’ stuff up for our #summertour !

On Sunday, April 5th we will be hosting our annual Particularly Obstinate Obstacle Course FUNdraiser! Last year was tons of fun — please check out the link above and stay tuned for more details!

Sending you all lots of love,

Marlene
AKA
Princess Gwen
and also, AKA
Frodo Baggins, Arwen, and Galadriel

A Particularly Obstinate Recap!

The Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players are happy to report that they all managed to complete 16 obstacles in the Third Annual Particularly Obstinate Obstacle Course (POOC)!

Held Saturday, May 19th in the year 2018, the POOC was a rousing success!

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The Skeleton Pirate was decimated by Pirate Gwen, Pirate Stephanie, Pirate Thumper, and Pirate Guy!

This year’s Obstacles were presented on a map, illustrated by our very own Sam Bertken:

A Very Obstinate Treasure Map!

Our very own treasure map!

Our Obstacles were:

1. The Pledge of Arrlegiance! 9. The Kraken!
2. Pirate Gwen’s Pirate Closet 10. Tug of (Man O’) War
3. Catwalk the Plank 11. Cannonball Toss
4. Crows Nest Climb Time 12. Rogue Wave Rider
5. Catapult Cannon Toss 13. Shiver Me Timbers
6. Skeleton Pirate 14. Skarkline (a perennial favorite)
7. Samuel Peaches’ Siren Song 15. Sea Shanty
8. Pirate Puns 16. Time Fer Treasure!

Thank you so much to all of our friends who joined us in Mosswood Park — it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun without you!

There is still time to donate, if you’d like to help us bring FREE theatre to Bay Area parks and public spaces; donations made now through July 15th will be DOUBLED through our Matching Grant from the Easy Bay Fund For Artists.

Donate HERE!

The Peripatetic Pirates

Photo by Tim Guydish!

How Samuel Peaches writes a song…

Last week I sat down with Mr. Samuel Peaches himself to ask him about his creative process. My primary question?

“How do you write a song?”

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He gave me his answer in the form of a short essay, which was… interesting to transcribe to say the last. I bring it to you here:

How To Write A Song
by
Samuel Nathaniel Xavier Peaches III esq.

Writing a song is my Favorite Thing To Do.

I often write such terrible and precious songs that I am unable to continue for my eyes weep rivers or my body reels so. I’ve had songs whisper to me from the driest darkest corners of the earth. Songs that have crushed my back as the sun falling from the sky. Songs that have splintered my core and like the Fearsome Phoenix streaking from the ashes I am Reborn! I have tasted starlight on my tongue, and felt the molten core of Earth almighty on my footsoles.

You must turn yourself inside out and backside in to write a song. Upside Down and Rightside over Left. Only when you are bereft of every single faculty your mind and heart can offer, do your begin to realize your song just might be finished.

But there are many more steps to take and paths to follow before peaking through the leaves: just ahead of you is that little moonlit harbour, sparkling reflections of silvers dance across the water, contrasted by the slowly bobbing amber glow of windows in the village, smoke ambling lazily up into our diamond fretted roof. Grazing clouds feast on the warm tropical air. Fireflies drift past hunting for love and a drink. In the purple distance your ship floats anchored. Dark sails hoisted, gaping portholes slowly lilting back and forth.

You leave the black humming jungle and start down the grassy path, gravity filling your bones with buzzing we haven’t tasted since our youngest years. Your feet pick up speed on the hot earth as your crew lies snoring; dreaming and resting for the voyage that leaves at daybreak; the journey across the sea to lands unknown and wilds untamed.

Samuel Singing

I think that means that Samuel must travel on a boat to a jungle at sunset to write a song…

How do you write songs?

spppssw17 - serena morelli (35)

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Hello All!

It has been far too long since our last blog post, so I am here to give you all a special delight today!

The SPPP’ers have been meeting every other week or so since the beginning of the year to …. play. We have playdates. Sometimes cool things emerge, sometimes business-type things emerge, and then sometimes…. feats of greatness emerge.

Like what happened on Sunday, February 25th 2018.

Sunday saw Samuel Peaches, Thumper, Princess Gwen, Guy Hank, and Madame D. starting to make their adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring entitled: A Lord of A Ring.

And it was delightful.

I can honestly say that I don’t think the five of us have laughed so much in so long — we laughed so much we all started crying at one point!

We can’t wait to keep creating things for you — if you have something you’d like to see, send us a message, and we will see what we can whip up for you!

Love,

Marlene (Princess Gwen)

Tech Rehearsals: A Checklist

We are a couple of short days away from opening Shakespeare or Space Wars, and we find ourselves in the middle of tech rehearsals in Alameda. Here is my checklist for a smooth rehearsal:

  • Headlamp
  • Wool Socks
  • Hooded Sweatshirt
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Water
  • Night Vision
  • Hawk Ears
  • More Forks Than You Think You Need
  • More Snacks Than You Think You Need
  • In-N-Out Milkshake
  • Invigorating Music Jams
  • Sparkly Pipe Cleaners
  • 5 Pens
  • Extra Birds
  • 3 Undershirts
  • A Smile

Kicking Off 2017!

It always feels like coming home when the Peripatetic Players get together — albeit a wacky, loud, hilarious home.

Last evening we gathered to plan our 2017 Obstacle-A-Thon, our annual fundraiser for our summer tour. This year’s Obstacle-A-Thon will be held on Sunday, April 23rd at 3:00pm at Mosswood Park in Oakland. Please stop on by to witness our silliness and help us raise money for our tour!

Some of this years obstacles will include:

  • Something with Meekins?
  • Finding Your Way To Mantua
  • Skarkline (a 2016 favorite)
  • Shakespearean Soliloquies and Sonnets with Samuel Peaches!
    • Want a teaser? Here you go:PROMPT:  Perform as the clueless Friar from Romeo and Juliet, apologizing to the emotional Lady Capulet about Juliet’s suicide.

And many, many more that I cannot reveal to you!

So join us! Don your most eccentric costumes (or borrow one of ours), pull out all the stops, face your least-known fears and join us for the Thon to out-thon all Thons! THIS Thon is (kinda like last year’s Thon but still really like) no Thon you’ve ever Thonned before.

Love,

Marlene, Princess Gwen, and Jay Robinson