Posts Tagged ‘friedrich schiller’

An amazing cast brings MARY STUART to life in Berkeley

Stephanie Gularte & Ryan Tasker as Mary and Mortimer. Photo: Jessica Palopoli

On Thursday a friend and I drove to Berkeley to try a new (to us) theater.  The Shotgun Players are an award winning theater company currently housed at The Ashby Stage in South Berkeley.  Mary Stuart is playing now — about Mary, Queen of Scots — and since my guest and I had studied the history of the characters in this play we were quite interested to see the show.

In a nutshell: We had a great experience, and loved the company enough to consider driving to Berkeley for other shows in the future.  If the actors in this show are any indication, there is some extraordinary talent in this tiny theater.  The entire cast were standouts in their own way, but Stephanie Gularte as Mary and Scott Coopwood as Leicester were extremely impressive.  The show itself appears to be taken directly from historical documents and Queen Elizabeth’s letters, so it is quite historically accurate, but it is set in present times and gives you a new way to think about the political events that let up to Mary’s execution.

The theater was awesome.  A fairly tiny venue, the seats are staggered pews that give every ticket a perfect view. And with prices ranging from $17 to $30 (according to day of the week) it’s very difficult to go wrong.  Theater workers were all very friendly and helpful and there was a fun little raffle at intermission.  And let’s not forget the full bar at their tiny concessions!  Also available were homemade cookies and delicious brownies, a variety of candy, and the coffee was quite refreshing.  Food and drink from the concessions are allowed in the theater.  There is street parking and a large pay lot right across the street.

My guest and I were a little too familiar with the material from which Mary Stuart was derived, so there was not much to surprise us.  But the quality of the acting was such that we would be very happy to see what they do with future shows.  This isn’t to say that Mary Stuart is not a good show – it was just not a perfect fit for us.  Personally I’m hoping to be back for their next show Of the Earth, based on Homer’s The Odyssey.  And if you happen to be headed towards Berkeley you might want to check out what is playing at this darling but very impressive little venue.

Jesse Caldwell & Beth Wilmurt as Paulet and Elizabeth. Photo: Jessica Palopoli


adapted from Friedrich Schiller’s Maria Stuart
and directed by MARK JACKSON
The Shotgun Players
The Ashby Stage
1901 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA
(Ashby Ave. at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way)
Wheelchair Accessible
Now extended through 11/14!

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