Last weekend, my wife and I took a trip down to Santa Barbara, for three purposes:
- To see our son play Boyet in Love’s Labour’s Lost with Shakespeare in the Park
- To bring him two large wheeled duffel bags that we had stored for him
- To bring back about 100 pounds of his luggage
Earlier in the week, we had seen UCSC’s Shakes to Go do a very stripped down version of Love’s Labour’s Lost (45 minutes) at the elementary school where my wife works. It was interesting to contrast the two productions: one of which has to travel and be performed for elementary and middle-school audiences with no on-stage rehearsal, and the other which is only performed twice before a primarily adult audience.
The UCSC version had to be ruthlessly cut to fit in the class period schedules of schools, and almost all the verbal jests had to be jettisoned. Given that the play is full of now-obscure puns and sexual innuendo, there was not much left but the bare bones of the plot. It was still funny enough to amuse the students, but it was a bit unsatisfying for adults. All 10 actors were theater majors, which is not surprising given the time commitment (a quarter of rehearsals, followed by a quarter with dozens of performances, each of which can take up a full morning).
The UCSB version was not cut as drastically (about twice as long with a running time of 1:28), but many of Berowne’s longer speeches were cut to the bone, and some jokes were lost. The costuming was more elaborate for this production, and there was less double casting (17 actors instead of 10 makes a huge difference). Several of the actors were not theater majors and one did not even have English as a native language, but the acting and directing was overall very good.
I took my cameras with me to UCSB and recorded the two performances of the play (with the permission of the director), so you can see for yourself how the production went (I think I did a better job of filming for the Sunday production than the Saturday one):
We were in a hurry on Saturday, so we took the Greyhound from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara, making it in time to eat supper with him at Buddha Bowls before his 5:00 call. Greyhound is the fastest public transit to Santa Barbara, but we prefer the comfort of the Coast Starlight train, even though it adds several hours to the trip, so we took the Coast Starlight and the Highway 17 Express back on Monday.
We had some time to kill between feeding him and the performance starting at 7:30, so we walked around the lagoon on the UCSB, which has quite a variety of birds (we saw egrets, cormorants, and a great blue heron).
On Sunday, we helped clean part of the apartment and pack most of his clothes and bedding, leaving him with enough to get through to his trip home on Wednesday. He ended up with an easily managed load of luggage, after he stored his bicycle with the police for the summer (a very handy service that cuts down on bike theft and abandoned bikes).
The large rolling duffel bag that we brought home for him was overloaded (68 pounds, compared to Amtrak’s 50lb limit), so I had to rearrange the luggage at the train station on Monday—I’d anticipated this need, so it only took a couple of minutes to remove the already packed pannier from the duffel, and transfer a few clothes to the carry-on suitcase.
One big difference from when I was a student is that he had practically no books—what few textbooks he’d had this year he’d been able to get electronically, and most of his recreational reading is from the web rather than on paper.
We had a little time to kill Sunday afternoon while he caught up on sleep (there’d been a cast party Sat night), so we looked at the newly refurbished library on the UCSB campus. The facilities seem quite nice, but were overloaded on the weekend before finals. There seem to be enough computers and power outlets, but not enough WiFi bandwidth (we heard students talking about going elsewhere to study, because of problems with the WiFi).