Measure for Measure Opening Night

3 Mar

These were the opening gifts that we gave to everyone for good luck! Measuring cups and spoons with our favorite Mexican Candies!

Measure for Measure opened on Friday night, February 25, 2011.  38 days ago 3 girls from Los Angeles arrived at a rehearsal room on Pioneer Street in Ashland, Oregon really having no idea what we were getting into.

Our work week at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is Tuesday through Sunday… and for the last 6 weeks we have had very few days off other than the usual Monday.  Rehearsal and tech schedules were crazy… many many 12 hour days besides the individual practice and recording time we managed to schedule in.  Las Colibri (or at least one of us) is in almost every scene of the production, so we are busy!  We have an average of about 8 costume changes and are part of the prologue and intermission!

So, back to the 38 days before the show opened… The rehearsal experience was amazing, and although we had some previous knowledge of the Bill Rauch creative process, we were now so much more involved in the production and had graduated into actresses from day one, so things were naturally more intense.

We were recently asked, “Did the director tell you exactly what to do or say?”  All of us tried to think of a moment that we were mandated to do something.  Other than very deliberate things like “turn off the lights” or “pull the chair back,” or  “enter after the buzzer”… the answer was no.  Bill Rauch has a way of directing without explicit instruction.  Bill gave us scenarios, a mind set, a purpose perhaps, and allowed us to do what came naturally to us to make all those come alive onstage.  We learned from Bill’s process that when we all agree what story we are telling, it is a very powerful experience for both the actor and the audience.

Las Colibri spent a lot of time with Choreographer Alonzo Moore where much of the movement we do was crafted and perfected.  Thinking about 8 counts while playing contra-tiempo and triplets was interesting!  So here we were moving our feet, hands, heads, and acting with our eyes and whatever other part of us that we could.  What we know now is that overdoing it is the key!  What we think is too much is usually not enough in theatre standards and in terms of how we communicate and interpret our music verbally, and especially non-verbally.

And finally, the music! Although we were asked to act and dance, we had to remember why we were asked to be part of this production, and that is to play music.  Luckily, we started to rehearse and create the music for the production with some help from Michael Keck before arriving to Ashland and when we arrived, we had the pleasure of getting some vocal coaching from Kay Hilton.  Kay taught us that songs too require discussion, analyzing, and thought.  Every vowel and consonant can be of great importance, especially to an audience who may not speak your language!  We were challenged to think about our “purpose” in singing these songs.  We created musical intentions and goals, and we began to talk about dynamics before even playing them.  Paying attention to details is vital in theatre.  Details are what make good productions spectacular.  It is and was and is very tedious, but so worth it!

So, now, here we are, February 25, 2011.  It is snowing like crazy in Ashland.  A real life Winter Wonderland.   Today all of us sat in a circle and were asked to give one moment, or line in the play or the rehearsal process that meant a lot to us.  I am so proud and honored that many of the comments from the actors included the music of Las Colibri.  Our director Bill Rauch gave a toast after opening, and gave a special shout out to “the three women who moved their lives to be here for a year and create the musical heartbeat of the show.”  I think we should be the ones forever thanking him (and Shakespeare) for changing our lives, allowing three women to make Mariachi history, crossing the borders and challenging cultural boundaries, and finally, for showing the world that we can still can believe in JUSTICIA and our dreams as long as we believe in ourselves.

 

-Susie Garcia Feb 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Measure for Measure Opening Night”

  1. Mago Morales March 3, 2011 at 11:05 AM #

    I’m a witness!!! If anyone has ever seen Las Colibri, Chicoa or any of the groups these girls are a part of you know they are great at fusing styles.

    This time they’ve not only done well by the Great Bard himself, but done so bringing la Cultura Raza to the place it belongs – IN FRONT!

    Bravissimo!!!

  2. N, S, B, & F March 25, 2011 at 2:33 AM #

    My husband and I just saw Measure for Measure yesterday afternoon…What an amazing show! And we both agreed that listening to/seeing Las Colibri was the highlight! We loved every minute of your beautiful music, beginning with pulling the instruments off of the janitors’ cart to the touching finale! Congratulations! We hope to see more of you in the future!

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