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.

Join the Peripatetic Players for FluxFest ’16!

The Peripatetic Players present a Port Costa FluxFest!
Saturday and Sunday, September 24-25

The Peripatetic Players’ final stop on their 2016 tour will be Port Costa, where the Players are traveling-troupe-in-residence (though they’re rarely spotted in town).

The Players’ performance of Shakespeare or Space Wars at 2pm on Saturday, at Port Costa School House will feature delicious picnic fare available for sale from the Bull Valley Roadhouse — so save some room in your picnic bellies! And that’s not all… the performance kicks off a weekend-long festivity of music, comedy and clowning. The festivities continue thusly:

7-10pm Saturday 9/24:
Fluxxie Cabaret – music next to the Bull Valley RoadhouseCome and go as you wish and your dinner reservations allow!

10am-noon Sunday 9/25:
Flux Brunch – chill morning music and performance next to the Bull Valley Roadhouse
Come and go as you wish and your needs for caffeine and brunch dictate!

2pm Sunday 9/25:
FluxWagon Variety Show – comedy, clowning and music for all ages, in a variety-show format aboard FluxWagon at the Port Costa School House.
Bring a chair or blanket – this is the highlight of the weekend! Clowning from Slater Penny and Danielle Gray, music from Carl & Beatrice and The Port Costa Darlings, and more — hosted by your favorite Peripatetic Players, with eats available from the Bull Valley Roadhouse.

Have you not yet visited Port Costa? Now is your chance!

Be sure to refresh yourself at the Bull Valley Roadhouse or The Warehouse, delight your whimsy at Wendy Addison’s Theatre of Dreams, or stay all night at the Burlington Hotel — and soak up some casual summertime performance in picturesque Port Costa.

No reservations required; donations for performers accepted — that’s how they get paid!

Click here for the full lineup of FluxFest festivities.

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The Peripatetic Players first presented Romeo & Juliet in Port Costa in November, 2015

Hark! SPPP and FluxWagon ride again!

Friends, it is that time of year when the Peripatetic Players dust off their ragamuffins and saddle up their slipperywidgets…

IT’S TIME TO PUT ON A SHOW!

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This summer, the Players put their inimitable spin on two star-crossed tales of daring and destiny. Although Thumper and Samuel are still in heated negotiations over what constitutes canonical entertainment, be assured that SOMETHING will happen… but even we are not entirely sure how it will all turn out.

Will Samuel achieve his dream of becoming a renowned and respected tragedian?

Will Guy Hank be able to power this hunk of junk to hyperspace? 

Will Princess Gwen be able to climb down from that balcony?

Will Meekins stare down the hilt of a rapier with both eyes open and a minimum of whimpering?

What is Thumper doing with that bucket?

We will endeavor to answer these enduring questions and more… BUT THAT’S NOT ALL…

For the first time ever, the Players invite YOU — yes, you! The one in front of the screen! — to partake in a Particularly Obstinate Obstacle CourseRun, hop, skip, jump, saunter, sashay, stroll or simply stumble your way through 20 outrageous obstacles delightfully designed to test your physical, mental and theatrical vim and vigor. This Thon to out-thon all Thons is like no Thon you’ve ever Thonned. Thonestly. Don your most eccentric costumes, pull out all your stops, and join us as we face our least known fears over and through obstacles both literal and metaphorical!

You can sign up to pledge a player or play the course here!

If you’d rather spectate, cheer on, and/or picnic — be sure to come out to Lake Merritt on July 24 for an afternoon of comradely challenge and comic competition. No reservations required!

Aesop Amuck is Open!

The Peripatetic Players opened Aesop Amuck this past weekend with shows at DeFremery Park in Oakland and the Noe Valley Town Square in San Francisco. Next stops: Hayward at 1pm on August 8 and Glen Park, SF at 2pm on August 9. Here’s our full schedule of performances… and you can help keep us going by donating to our Kickstarter campaign! And now — pics from the show!

 

Opening Weekend – and no BART between SF & the East Bay!

What is a Peripatetic Player to do?

We’re looking forward to playing at DeFremery Park, Oakland this Saturday August 1 @ 5pm, (special early-evening opening night!) and the Noe Valley Town Square this Sunday August 2 @ 2pm!

But BART service this weekend will not travel between San Francisco and the East Bay! In addition, the West Oakland BART Station, the closest station to DeFremery Park, will be closed. But GOOD NEWS! There will be more frequent BART and bus service throughout both sides of the Bay — just not between them.

Transit options:

To DeFremery Park: AC Transit Bus #26 or #31
To Noe Valley Town Square: MUNI #48 or J-Church 

CYCLISTS:

Biking to DeFremery Park or to Noe Valley is a great option! But BART asks that you don’t bring bikes on the Transbay bus bridges this weekend. (The regular AC Transit Transbay Bus routes do allow bikes.) There will be more frequent ferry service across the Bay — it’s a fantastic ride both on bike and boat.  Click here for more info for cyclists.

Drivers:

If you must drive, street parking is usually available at DeFremery Park, but quite difficult at Noe Valley. It’s always a good idea to plan some extra time if you’re driving.

Read more about the Transbay Tube closure here:

http://alert.511.org/2015/06/bart-transbay-tube-closure-august-1-2.html

We can’t wait to perform for you! Here’s our full schedule of performances… and a photo of part of the Mouse Family, ready to go!

Meekins, Princess Gwen and Thumper in their new Mouse costumes by Vivi Matsuda

Thumper Gets Interviewed!

Good Morning All! Here is our third installment of our “behind-the-scenes/meet our players” special: THUMPER!

Samuel Peaches managed to tear Thumper away from making the trapdoor on Flux Wagon to give this interview:

HI! MY NAME IS THUMPER. I WONDER WHAT YOUR NAME IS.

I DIDN’T HAVE TO JOIN SAMUEL PEACHES PERIPATETIC PLAYERS BECAUSE I’M SAMUEL’S SISTER, AND I STOWED AWAY IN HIS TRUNK.

SAMUEL, I HAVE A QUESTION…SAMUEL…SAMUEL…

PERIPATETIC MEANS WANDERING.

HI! MY NAME’S THUMPER. MAYBE YOU’LL TELL ME YOUR NAME AT THE SHOW!

MY FAVORITE FABLE IS CALLED THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE…

MY FAVORITE FABLE IS THE ONE WITH A LION, A WITCH AND A WARDROBE…

MY FAVORITE FABLE IS THE ONE WHERE A LION, A WITCH AND A WARDROBE…

WHAT, SAMUEL?

OK, SAMUEL.

SAMUEL JUST TOLD ME THERE IS NO FABLE WITH A LION, A WITCH AND A WARDROBE IN IT. I THINK THAT WOULD MAKE A GOOD STORY THOUGH.

HI! MY NAME IS THUMPER! YOU ALSO HAVE A NAME!

MY FAVORITE PERSON TO PLAY WITH IS THE TRAP DOOR, WHICH IS NOT ACTUALLY A PERSON, BUT A TRAP DOOR. IF I HAD TO CHOOSE SOMETHING THAT IS A PERSON, I WOULD CHOOSE PRINCESS GWEN AS PRINCESS GWEN, GUY AS GUY, SAMUEL AS MY BROTHER AND MEEKINS AS A FROG. I ALSO LOVE THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. NONE OF WHICH ARE PEOPLE. WELL, MAYBE THE WITCH. BUT SHE WOULD BE A MAGICAL PERSON, WHICH ISN’T ACTUALLY A REAL PERSON. AND THE WARDROBE IS DEFINITELY NOT A PERSON, LIKE THE TRAP DOOR.

WHAT, SAMUEL?

OK, SAMUEL.

SAMUEL WOULD LIKE ME TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THERE IS NO FABLE CALLED OR ABOUT OR STARRING A LION, A WITCH AND A WARDROBE IN THIS PLAY.

HI! MY NAME IS THUMPER! MAYBE YOUR NAME IS ASLAN?

I WOULD LIKE SAMUEL PEACHES PERIPATETIC PLAYERS TO PERFORM THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE.

WHAT, SAMUEL?

I KNOW WE’RE DOING AESOP AMUCK.

I AM JUST SAYING THAT THERE IS A LION IN MANY OF AESOP’S FABLES, AND I ACTUALLY THINK HE WOULD NEED A WARDROBE TO GET DRESSED IN THE MORNING. AND, A WITCH TO MAKE THE WARDROBE MAGICAL.  LIKE MY TRUNK. I DO NOT HAVE A MAGICAL WARDROBE, BUT I DO HAVE A MAGICAL TRUNK. I KNOW IT IS MAGICAL BECAUSE WHEN I WENT IN IT TO STOW AWAY, AND THEN I GOT BACK OUT, I WAS IN A WHOLE NEW WORLD.

I LOVE YOU TOO, SAMUEL.

I KNEW I MADE IT IN SAMUEL’S TROUPE WHEN I GOT TO WEAR THE PITH HELMET AND TELL THE STORY OF HOW THE RHINOCEROS GOT ITS SKIN IN OUR FIRST SHOW, O BEST BELOVED.

THE PLURAL OF RHINOCEROS IS RHINOCEROS.

Photo by Serena Morelli

Thumper with the Rhinoceros Diorama in last year’s production of O Best Beloved.

How Do We Do It?! A Time Lapse Video of Flux Wagon!

Have you ever wondered how we set up the Flux Wagon? Well, lucky for you, we have made a super-awesome time lapse video to show you!

We love sharing our stories and bringing laughter to places around the Bay Area, and we are hoping to drum up some support to transform Fluxie from the O Best Beloved wagon to the Aesop Amuck wagon.  Part of the transformation will be transfiguring our beautiful Djin dust-clouds to the Northern Winds, and morphing our jungle tree into a willow!

If you are in the Bay Area and have nothing to do on Saturday, July 25th, why not stop by FluxFest ’15?!  FluxFest’15 is going to be a block-party, carnival, kick-back, fundraising party! We will have a photobooth, carnival games, some singing and dancing, and just a general good time!

DETAILS:

Saturday, July 25, 4pm – 9ish // OPEN HOUSE – come any time!

Main Street Theatre // 915 Cayuga Ave at Ocean Ave, SF

Suggested donation $5 – $15

Click here to RSVP on Facebook, and keep looking to the horizon for more fundraising opportunities soon!