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The Old Globe Is Bringing Shakespeare To New Audiences

November 6, 2017 1:15 p.m.

The Old Globe Is Bringing Shakespeare To New Audiences


Freedome Bradley-Ballentine, arts engagement director, The Old Globe

Jennifer Paredes, actress, The Old Globe's production of "Twelfth Night"

Related Story: The Old Globe Is Bringing Shakespeare To New Audiences


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

It is the very first glimpse of Shakespeare for some members of the audience. Below for all is offering free performances this month at venues throughout San Diego county. Shakespeare's comedy at the skies and mistaken identity is giving a contemporary edge by a young cast as it goes on the road at 17 different locations. Joining me are Freedome Bradley-Ballentine. Welcome.Thank you for having me.Jennifer Paredes also joins us.As I mentioned in the introduction 12th night is being performed and 17 different locations. Tell us about the venues.We are in locations from Otay Mesa up to Oceanside. We want to have across range of people that are coming in. We want to have economically diverse citizens that are coming to the programs. It's important that we program for all of San Diego. We want to make sure that we are in places where people have barriers getting to Balboa Park.You have senior centers, libraries and a prison?We have two prisons. We have a women's facility in other programs as well. We also are Imperial county and we are at a men's prison and we have other programs that are going on as well.Does it surprise either of you that this is the first introduction to Shakespeare for some members of the audience?No, not really. I grew up in Chula Vista and I did not see my first Shakespeare show until I was already in college. It's not surprising to me that a lot of the people who are coming to see the shows haven't been exposed to Shakespeare in that's exciting because we get the opportunity to share a brand-new way of storytelling with people who maybe wouldn't choose to go see Shakespeare for whatever reason whether it be there lack of access to it or just being intimidated by the language.Is that your take on it to?Mine is a little different. The globe has a rich history and doing engagement programs. Being -- going back 50 years we've been having free matinees. People came from all over San Diego and if you want the high school in San Diego, you win saw something at the old cloak. So we find that no -- not only are we introducing people to theater, we are reconnecting a large majority of people act into theater that for when -- forever reason -- for whatever reason they have not been able to come to the show.Why do you think 12th night Zagurski that's good first glimpse of Shakespeare question markI think the way that we handle the text. That actors are superb. To great stories that here in San Diego and sent on the border of Mexico and the U.S. There is a shipwreck and it's from Mexico into the U.S. It's a wonderful way to be introduced. It's bringing the theater home to you.Jennifer, talk about the physical aspect. You have to travel light, right?Yes, we meet up at the theater to Osborne for the show and we get into our base costumes and then we don't take anything with us. We just take our phones in our costumes and a couple of our props. It's really exciting to be in all these different spaces. Sometimes the spaces are set up in different ways. Sometimes certain spaces are different. We have to adjust vocally to those spaces.To the actors how to do quick changes behind curtains in order to play multiple characters?We do have quick changes but they're not happening behind any curtains. That's one of the interesting things. The audience gets to see all the things that are going on backstage also. We have stagehands who are making their way across the stage and helping actors get into different costumes are putting a guitar on them or giving them different props. So everything is out in the open and the audience gets to be part of that theatrical experience.As Jennifer mentioned, sometimes Shakespeare's language can be intimidating to people. What are you doing to make it accessible to the audience?I think with the cast as well is speak the language clearly. If you speak the language clearly, it allows people to understand what is happening better than traditionally going to a Shakespeare production where people don't speak the language is clearly. The language is a friend of the actor but also a friend of the person that's watching the show. The thing that also happens is that people are changing costumes. So if you go to see a show at the old Globe, people come off and then they come back on as a different costume in your thinking something may not make that much sense but when you're seeing it happened around you and you are seeing the show in the center and there's another show going on outside of the circle and it just makes it very entertaining. People are more able to say what's happening here. It brings people in and then we also have preshow that really goes through and takes the participants on a journey and ask questions that the play itself will be exploring so that your put in a mindset of this is what the world of 12th night is and then intermission there's another recap of what is happened to help explain to people what they Bharathi scene at there's any questions and then there's a talk back at the end for people to really explore what they've seen in the topics of the play. So you walk out in a master class of theater.Jennifer, you have introduced Spanish into the Shakespeare dialogue. You see some lines in Spanish. What kind of reaction have you gotten to that question markPeople had been really receptive to the Spanish, which is exciting, because a lot of the venues were going to, there are people who are from a Latino background and they do speak Spanish. Were breaking the fourth wall which means we are actually interacting with the audience. So the moments that I get to speak in Spanish to some people who Spanish is a native language is really exciting to see them jump on board with us and feel like they are being recognized and being catered to. Even for people who don't understand Spanish, I think that they are challenge but can also jump on to that boat with the rest of us.I been speaking with Jennifer Paredes and Freedome Bradley-Ballentine. Productions continued to November 19 and the next is tomorrow night at St. Michael's Catholic Church in El Cajon. I want to thank you both very much. Thank you for coming in.Thank you so much for having us.