Farewell… for now!

What a great 2017 tour! The Peripatetic Players took Shakespeare or Space Wars to Alameda, Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Port Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and hither and yon and back again for 12 performances this July and August.

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Shakespeare or Space Wars at Franklin Park, Alameda, on July 23, 2017.

We performed for more than 1300 people, some of whom may have been actual Jedi knights, and about 20 dogs! For a while, a spaceman and a lion who had been separated from their families joined our merry band.

 

We were a Staff Pick in the East Bay Express, were featured on ABC-7 News’s Hoodline segment, and chronicled in the Santa Clara Weekly.

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A pick of the week from East Bay Express

And now the Peripatetic Players have packed up our trunks for the summer and hunkered down for their autumnal naps, all cozy inside FluxWagon, our folding mobile stage…

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Here’s FluxWagon arriving at Precita Park in San Francisco!

(who is writing this in their sleep, one wonders?)

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This monster never sleeps, but can give you a monster’s-eye view of the monster lair under the stage.

…but we’ll have to wake up and move out soon, because FluxWagon will be hitting the road this October and November with a new play, Elixir of Life, produced by our very good friends at the theatre company Idiot String. You may even recognize some of the actors as the Peripatetic Players’ friends and fans!

Read more about Elixir of Life here.

And stay tuned! The Players will be back throughout the year with lots of fun projects. What sorts of creative projects do you think the Peripatetic Players should take on before our next summer tour?

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Adventures!

SHAKESPEARE OR SPACE WARS comes to Franklin Park, Alameda today at 1pm! Here are some behind-the-scenes shots from our tour thus far! 

Follow our adventures on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtags #SPPPSSW17 #fluxwagon #peripateticlife 

And be sure to catch a show! Here’s the full schedule.

FluxWagon in Santa Clara

Percival Perkins rescues a rebel fighter

Buzz Lightyear makes a cameo appearance! Is he yours? He was left behind after a recent show…

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

A Peripatetic Adventure Into the Unknown Set for Summer 2017

by Percival Perkins, reporting from Port Costa, California

During July & August 2017, the Peripatetic Players will perform Shakespeare or Space Wars, described by the troupe’s lead songbird-whisperer, Princess Gwen, as “an homage to two classic star-crossed tales of destiny and daring.” I caught up with the Players during a recent respite from their grueling rehearsal schedule in Port Costa, California, where they are the resident travelling theatre troupe.

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A Peripatetic Performance in Port Costa, California. File photo.

My first curiosity was about the name of the show, particularly its lone and ambiguous preposition: “or.” Princess Gwen explained that she coined the title herself when the Players were unable to agree on their next production, allowing the Players some extra time to iron out the details. The Players are currently deciding between realizing the long-held dream of Samuel Peaches, their troupe’s leader, to perform Mercutio’s famous “Queen Mab” speech; and conceding to the urge of their Properties Master, Thumper, to build legions of droids and spaceships.

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Princess Gwen takes a break from the Second Annual Samuel Peaches Peripatetic Players Particularly Obstinate Obstacle Course. Photo by Sell Fee.

Impresario and head artiste Samuel Peaches says that he has long yearned to perform the works of William Shakespeare, whom Mr. Peaches describes as “the greatest dramatist in the English language–performing his works is the pinnacle of any actor’s career, and after years of preparation, we are finally ready.”

In past years the troupe has performed O Best Beloved, an adaptation of several of Rudyard Kipling’s Just-So Stories, and Aesop Amuck, a mashup of more than a dozen of the classic fables.

“It is time we turned our attention to the literary greats,” Mr. Peaches explained, contemplating a plastic skull he had recently extracted from an antique trunk full of stage props. “While Hamlet is really the role of my dreams, I have not yet found actors able to create the properly dour atmosphere of Elsinore. So instead I will direct this troupe in our own inimitable version of Romeo and Juliet. In adapting this great story to our actors’ abilities, we have of course updated most of the language and generally butchered the play to leave only the most basic plot points,” he sighed.

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Mr. Peaches gestures for someone else to do something to set up FluxWagon, the Peripatetic Players’ mobile stage. Photo by Madame Directrix.

When asked about the “Space Wars” angle, Thumper, an actor and the troupe’s Properties Master, eagerly interrupted Mr. Peaches. “Actually, the greatest story of all time is the original space opera trilogy created by Mr. George Lucas. We will perform the original original part of the original trilogy outdoors on our mobile stage with original props that I have created especially for this original production.” Thumper paused to inhale and Mr. Peaches sighed again. 

Thumper continued: “Samuel. Did you know you can do a lot in the way of space props with buckets and trash cans?!” Mr. Peaches was unavailable for comment on the props, as he was called away to autograph a copy of his recently-published tome on the art of acting.

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Thumper models a costume prototype. Photo by Madame Directrix.

Widely substantiated rumors indicate that indecisiveness amongst the troupe during the summer of 2016 resulted in a frantic attempt to perform the two classics at once. When pressed on the subject of past Shakespeare or Space Wars performances, one of the actors, Meekins, shuddered and let out a piercing but unintelligible cry of terror. Guy Hank, actor and troupe mechanic, first calmed Meekins down, then turned to me to explain the remount. “We’ve put in a lot of rehearsal for this show, or these shows. Both shows. All the shows. So it will be great to really put something out there again this year.” He paused, seemingly lost in a momentary thought, then added, “however it happens.”

“The audience should understand that we ourselves do not entirely know how this is going to play out,” commented Princess Gwen.

Ready or not, Shakespeare or Space Wars will tour July 8 – August 13 to Bay Area parks and public spaces. Tour venues will be announced on the sleekly-designed and thoroughly futuristic Peripatetic Players website.

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

Influences & Inspirations Part Deux

Shakespeare or Space Wars opens in less than a week! As the Players put the finishing touches on props, costumes and scenery… and even our script… we want to share an inspiration that has had a big influence on those essential elements of the play: Little Monster’s Mother Goose by Mercer Mayer. It’s a children’s book that features monster-creatures putting on a play — not unlike the Players!

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Little Monster’s Mother Goose was published in 1979, meaning it was just in time for Madame D’s childhood bedtime reading list. And it must have had an impact… Little Monster must be convinced to put on a play, and how the play happens — including what happens in the audience — is more interesting than the nursery rhymes themselves.

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In fact, it’s almost impossible to read this book in any sort of linear or methodical fashion — visual and word puns are scattered about, and the pleasure in reading it is seeking them out and finding something you hadn’t seen before.

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What’s more, none of the characters can let an opportunity for a comment, question, or delicious opportunity to lap up spilled milk pass them by.

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The audience is having a great time, too — even if they’re not behaving “properly.” 🙂

We hope you’ll be part of our audience for Shakespeare or Space Wars September 10-24!

 

Influences & Inspirations!

We of the Peripatetic Players are influenced by a great many groundbreaking works of art and legendary theatrical ensembles, which inform both our process and our craft. One of the most seminal of these is surely The Muppets — and for Shakespeare and Space Wars, no Muppet episode is more resonant with our own creation than “Pigs in Space with Luke Skywalker”

I particularly love Piggy’s classic handling of the inappropriate comments about her weight — it’s clear she’s had to develop an iron-fist style of management to keep the show on track. Perhaps Mr. Peaches could learn a few things.

But that’s not all… the stars of Star Wars appear in the entire Muppet Show episode, number 17 from Season 4 of the show, and perform a spectacular dance number at the end.

And, many years and one corporate purchase later, Muppets cast as Star Wars characters to create mashed-up action figures have striking similarities to the casting of Peripatetic Players as both Muppets and Star Wars personalities. Gonzo as Darth Vader? Beaker as C3PO? Obviously.  And make special note of the Storm Troopers…

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Disney’s Muppet Star Wars action figures

We have our own ideas as to which Peripatetic Players correspond to various Muppets… some of them are definitely reflected above.

Which Muppets do you think most accurately reflect Peripatetic Players?

Thumper has been lobbying the Players to determine how they’d cast themselves in Thumper’s adaptation of Star Wars, named Space Wars. You’ll have to see the show to find out who’s who!

Shakespeare or Space Wars opens Sept 10, 2pm at the Berkeley Marina! 

SPPP SorSW Photo Shoot!

Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at today’s Peripatetic photo shoot!

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Guy and Thumper setting up the scrolling backdrop

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Musical interlude

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Guy is solving a problem

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Meekins at work on a likeness of his idol and mentor, Samuel Peaches

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Princess Gwen!

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The dashing Mr Peaches

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Mr Meekins

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Ready to tackle SHAKESPEARE!!

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Shakespeare vs. Space Wars photobomb

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Space Wars vs. Shakespeare photobomb

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Costume pieces