Between October 15, 2016 and April 5, 2017, our Shakespeare on Tour production of “Twelfth Night” traveled over 10,000 miles across California to perform in schools, community centers, and libraries. Some of the five cast members and their alternates stayed with the tour throughout the school year, while others spent a semester with us. All of them made unforgettable memories. We asked a few cast members to look back on the past year and share their thoughts with us.
1) What’s your favorite memory from the tour?
Andrea Love (Viola/Sebastian): A couple of times I got the sincere question from a younger audience member: Are you a boy or a girl? Which I always took as a huge compliment. I also loved the very memorable performance when our set wouldn’t fit into the lower-level community room in a coffee shop in downtown San Francisco, so we had to improvise by drawing a shipwreck and a box tree on a white-board and doing all of our costume changes off to the side (but still plenty visible to the audience)! Our overnight trip to LA in the fall was great, just because it allowed the cast to bond even more. The venues we got to perform in were amazing. The Cerritos Public library, which we got a short tour of after we performed, has an aquarium wall, a lighthouse, and T-Rex skeleton in the kids’ section, as well as gorgeous architecture. I loved shows where the kids were familiar with the play or had even performed it themselves, and had strong opinions and interesting questions about the show and various relationships within it.
Eliza Boivin (Olivia/Maria, Spring Cast): Working with kids, and the first time I taught a Playshop. I was nervous about teaching, and I remember at the very end of my Playshop how excited all the kids were about the new things they learned, and about the show. They asked me questions about acting and asked for advice, and it felt good to share my experiences and to exchange dialogue about the text. That was when I truly understood not just the entertainment aspect of the tour, but the importance of the educational part as well. The kids are so open and eager to learn from you. It’s endearing and the most rewarding I think.
Salim Razawi (Malvolio, Fall Cast): Being able to perform to a wide variety of ages and communities. Being at an elementary school one day, then a senior center the next, was probably my favorite memory. The fact that we could be the first exposure to Shakespeare to some audiences was so inspiring!
2) What will you miss most about the tour?
Kieran Beccia (Feste/Sir Andrew, Spring Cast): I will most miss continually discovering new things in the show, and continuing to explore the characters’ relationships with whatever combination of actors happened to be performing each day.
Andrea: I’ll miss the people! I’ll miss getting to perform regularly, and the adventure of not knowing what kind of space or audience you’ll get on any given day. And getting to explore a piece of text so thoroughly.
Salim: Definitely the cast. Traveling and performing together for so long truly made it feel like family.
Eliza: I’ll miss not being on stage almost every day. When I’m on stage, it’s the only time I’m not thinking about anything else. I’m super focused and in the moment, which is the complete opposite of when I’m not performing and I’m always thinking about a million things. And I always feel really good at the end of every show–sort of like finishing a really good workout, except I feel good mentally and emotionally. I’ll also miss being around my cast mates. They will always have a special place in my heart, as will the play Twelfth Night and SF Shakes. For years it was a goal of mine to perform in a Shakespeare play, and I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience!
* These interviews have been edited for length and content.