This weekend I took a break from working on my children’s book illustrations to fly up to OAK to see family. Jackie was performing in Ohlone College’s production of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. They set the play in San Francisco in April of 1906 in a really funny vaudville style. And, yes the earthquake played a part too. Jackie played Ursula, one of Beatrice’s ladies.
I met up with Patrick and Michael in the evening we we had dinner at Panera with Manami and Tatsuki, who had driven up from Monterey to see the play. We met Michael’s girlfriend, Sara, at the theater.
Even though this was the final performance of this play, the theater was only about half full. Jackie said that we were the most lively and responsive of all the audiences they had and that it really had the performers in a great mood backstage. They did a couple of performances for high school audiences earlier in the month, with a less-than-enthusiastic response. I guess the high school students either couldn’t follow the dialog, or found no humor in the vaudville style… or both. I seem to remember my high school doing a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream during my sophomore year that went very well and sold out many performances… even when they performed for the students. Are they still teaching Shakespeare in high schools? It’s a little sad, but at the same time, there wansn’t much advertising for this production outside of the college. A couple of years ago they did a production of the Three Musketeers that was advertised a lot more and they had sold-out shows.
Jackie and the character Hero, gossip loudly about Benedick being in love with Beatrice… who’s eavesdropping from the well behind them.
Jackie also played one of the non-speaking “kops” and was part of a silly Keystone Cop number complete with lively piano music and lots of bumping into each other. She’s the second cop from the right.
They all wore Groucho Marx noses and glasses at the last curtain call. Cute.
Jackie with Manami and Tatsuki after the show. Great job!
Everyone did a good job and I was especially impressed with the woman who played Beatrice. It seemed that many of the actors must have taken mannerisms and expressions from the film version of the play from the early 90s that starred Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Kate Beckinsale, Robert Sean Leonard, Keanu Reeves, Michael Keaton and Denzel Washington.
I flew home Sunday afternoon because I had a lot of work to do. On Saturday, Bill and Louie rented a big tiller from Home Depot and started pulling up all the dead Bermuda grass in our front yard. They were able to take off the thick layer of dead grass, but the ground was so hard underneath that the tiller could only get through a couple inches of dirt. We’re thinking we might have to hire someone with a bigger tool to really cut the soil down and haul a lot of it away. It was frustrating, but at least the project has finally begun. We need to completely replace the sprinkler system in the front and rearrange it so it’s more efficient. Right now the sprinkler heads are located in the middle of the lawn instead of at the edges. I also want to add some drip irrigation in the flower beds. So, for now, the neighbors can look at our front yard of dirt instead of dead grass.