Saturday, May 19, 2012

Salty Shakespeare flashmobs MIDSUMMER at Santa Monica College!

SMC Blog----May, 2012

Salty Shakespeare LIVES to break the rules. We don’t just live outside the box, whenever we see a box, we make it into a hat. Or eat it.
This way of life requires a hearty supply of adrenaline----in each and every actor----never knowing who’s gonna love you, who’s gonna arrest you. Keeps you awake. Sometimes all night.

But on the odd occasion, it’s nice to be invited in and even PAID!!! And welcomed for the second time even.

We erupted on the Santa Monica College campus on Monday with 12 scenes from MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, moving from outside the bookstore to the quad in front of the Science Building, around to the large grassy area outside the cafeteria, picking up students as we went.

In the middle of the last site is a large bell tower which------I’m not making this up-------sounded the 10am bells just as Titania says to Bottom-----“I am a spirit of no common rate!!!” The Bell Tower clanged in agreement. Ginna Carter, playing Titania, took it in as though it were her royal due. And the audience howled (sometimes I think Karma is our middle name!).

As the quad filled with fairies, teenagers, rude mechanicals, the King and Queen of the forest, Shakespeare’s wild midsummer romp unfolded……..cheek to jowl with the students. They seemed to get all the jokes, and, because they’re young, understood perfectly the rising teenage rebellion in the story. AND the heartbreak of unrequited love, and unacknowledged talent (Rudes).

It helps, of course, that we weave Will Rothhaar’s raps into the fabric of the play through the character of Puck. The driving beat of a rap fits perfectly with the muscular metre of Shakespeare’s verse. Had the form existed…..he’d have been the first to hire an Elizabethan rapper to extenuate his rhythms. No one knew like Billy Shakespeare how to play to his audience and push them to new ideas as well.

In the talk back with the students afterwards, there were LOTS of questions on the form we use and on the play itself. Actors regaled the students with Salty Shakespeare adventures in public places (the homeless devotees, the devoted elevator riders, the barking woman at the Farmer’s Market, the near arrest at the Santa Monica Place mall). Sam shared about his own shyness at first with the proximity of the audience.

But it was clear, the students had GOTTEN the play. The text they are now studying in class will no longer be an intellectual exercise for them. It had come alive! One of the professors said to me that our work transforms the class discussion-----driving it to a visceral level of understanding for the students. Far better, she said, than if they had seen it in a dark theatre.

A young girl walked up to me when I was leaving and said she had never read Shakespeare or seen one of his plays. The Salty Shakespeare performance, she said, made her want to know them all.

At least for today……..that’s adrenaline enough for me!

UP NEXT: Catch us in HAMLET at the Marion Davies Guest House this July 11-20 at 4pm!!!

Check out our WEBSITE at and on FACEBOOK at

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Get ready for our new Theater Company in Residence!

Salty Shakespeare is getting ready to start their residency June 4 at the Beach House! They'll be doing a new ultra-short rendition of Hamlet, and Beach House guests can see them rehearse in unexpected places up through their performances July 10-20. Rehearsal schedule and updates will be posted to this blog. They'll also be conducting two lecture/demo/workshops on June 19 and July 3,  so if you want more info and you aren't already on the Beach House email list, join now!

About Salty Shakespeare:

Believing that the mission of art is to disturb the peace - provide a whole new way of seeing something - Salty Shakespeare is taking the Bard to the streets. Having recently erupted with a flash-mob Midsummer Night's Dream on the Venice Boardwalk, Salty is now dropping scenes all across L.A. - Hamlet and Horatio discussing the Ghost on the ramparts in a downtown office elevator; Romeo and Juliet trying reach each other from a balcony and a mezzanine in a public mall; Macbeth and Macduff facing off with a ferocious balloon sword fight. The Salties have almost been arrested twice but nothing deters this brave guerrilla troupe! Turning Shakespeare on his ear since 2010 for a smartphone-enabled generation.

More information about Salty Shakespeare at