Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thank you to all who joined us this year!

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who joined us in 2015, both on stage and in the audience. It's been a big year for Bad Quarto Productions, and I'm grateful to everyone who shared it with us and who made it happen. Our plays in 2015 have paved the way for us to be able to offer our first ever season of plays in 2016, and I hope you'll join us for what I expect will be our biggest year yet.

We're not quite ready to announce the full schedule of plays at this time, but one of our areas of the most growth this year has been in our community building efforts on social media.You can now find us on...

Facebook: Twitter: @BadQuartoPlays
Instagram: @BadQuartoProductions
And, of course, there's our mailing list:

Those of you following along on social media will get early access to news, offers, and discounts, so I want to encourage everyone to follow along with us there. Mailing list members and Facebook users will get a special treat this holiday season, so we especially encourage you to follow along with us there.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Nicholas Corda on Playing Mak and Music in The Second Shepherds' Play

It has been a privilege to work with Derek Peruo and Bad Quarto on The Second Shepherds Play. And all of my wonderful castmates. We are a really great team and immediately jumped in and trusted each other the instant we first met.

It has been such a great exercise in trusting choices and sticking to one's guns. It also has been a wonderfully intimate experience with the creation of my character, Mak, who is a lovely son of a gun, and who I absolutely love stepping inside the shoes of.

Ever since I first read the Second Shepherd's Play in my freshman year of college, I wanted to play Mak. I also was going to be a Medieval and Renaissance Studies major in addition to my Drama major, but the course load plus how much theatre I was taking on didn't seem to jive towards the second half of my college experience. But, it was really wonderful to combine my passion for medieval history and culture with my great life passion of theatre.

To talk a little bit about the music:

In creating the pre-show we used traditional medieval English music, as well as traditional English Christmas Carols that were either from the middle ages or historical periods that soon followed. Examples include "Ding Dong Merrily On High," "Greensleeves (What Child is This)" and "O Come O Come Emmanuel." Jessica, who plays the First Shepherd, and Courtney McClellan, who plays my wife Gill, and I got together over Skype the Wednesday before opening to rehearse music. We discovered the Skype didn't possess enough bandwidth to process synchronized singing, so that made performing duets impossible. Instead, we decided to devote some time to rehearsing the music on the day we opened, which turned out quite successfully.

To talk about the traditional music featured in the show, both were originally sung in Old English and date from the 12th and 13th centuries. I play them on the flute in the pre-show, as it is more effective for them to be rendered instrumentally than have Jessica and Courtney go learn how to speak Old Aenlgish, though I am sure they would do a fabulous job at it. The first song that opens the pre-show is called “Miri it is while Sumer ilast” and is a song that mourns the loss of Summer (not Sumer, the ancient city in Mesopotamia, although we can safely mourn that one as well). The verses speak of birds leaving for warmer places and harsh winds beginning to blow - perfect not only to bring us into the harsh world of the Second Shepherd's Play, but also to summon winter to arrive in this very warm December.

After Courtney sings “What Child is this,” then I play “Arrival to the Oxford Market,” with Jessica and Courtney on percussion, which is a very lively tune and I always have a lot of fun jumping and dancing around to it while playing the flute. It invokes a bustling medieval world where the merchants and fishmongers (actual fish, not the Shakespearean sense of the word) and farmers would come to sell their wares at the market. Traveling bards and players would entertain and everyone would have a good time. Although the part about everyone having a good time was probably not always true (I have a feeling there was always an argument that ended in mud wrestling), it is this sense of mythos and vivacity of life that we attempt to recreate. It is a “joie d’vivre” to aspire to in our age where Facebook is king and it seems we are encouraged to never be truly content, despite how incredible we have it.

What I believe, is that by sharing this piece with our audiences, we get to bring them a little bit of this “joie d’vivre,” and little by little we give them light and love, making their day even that much better.

- Nicholas Corda, Mak, The Second Shepherd's Play

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Two Typefaces

If you've been keeping up with our most recent posters, you've probably noticed that our Second Shepherds' Play poster uses a different type face than some of our others....

That moderately fancy, and somewhat hard to read typeface in The Second Shepherds' Play title is what we refer to as "black letter," which differs from the more familiar typeface that you find in The Cronicle Historie of Henry the V the The Taming of a Shrew titles on their posters. And, yes, there is a reason for it.

The written word has been around a lot longer than the printed page, and around 1450, when Gutenberg introduced mechanical movable type printing to Europe, the earliest type faces were designed to emulate the letters of written script. We actually do this today all the time, and the number of typefaces (aka fonts) that come with whatever word processor you use: not only will your word processor simulate manuscript letters (think of your signature typefaces), but it will also simulate other forms of type, including the descendant of the type face on the Henry V and A Shrew titles above... Times New Roman.

The roman type face was a later development, and in its earliest applications was used for books printed in Latin (most schooling after the age of 6 would have been in Latin and Greek in early modern London). By the end of the 16th century, you can almost judge a book by it's typeface: books printed in roman typefaces catered to the more educated reader (who would have been accustomed to the typeface from their studies), and books designed for those without a formal education were printed in the blackletter typefaces that were reminiscent of the texts used in the most rudimentary levels of schooling.

The Wakefield manuscript, opened to the first page of
The Second Shepherds' Play

The use of a typeface that simulates those found in early modern printshops is one of the ways we set the tone for the type of performances you'll see at Bad Quarto Productions, and so we offer the blackletter font for our Second Shepherds' Play poster this year as a gesture to the manuscript writing that The Second Shepherds' Play survives in.

If you're interested in learning more about these fonts, or using them yourself, they are produced and distributed by Jeff Lee, and they are freely downloadable (and licensed for use) from his website.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Meet the Cast and Director of The Second Shepherds' Play

The Second Shepherds' Play is just about a week away! Meet the folks who are bringing it to life!

Derek Peruo (Director) does classic plays and heightened language like Shakespeare, Molière and Beaumarchais. This is Derek's third production with Bad Quarto Productions, and his directorial debut with the company. In addition to Bad Quarto, Derek was also in Much Ado About Nothing, Iphigenia In Tauris, Life's a Dream, Kosi Dasa, Machinal, and Man of La Mancha. He appeared Off Broadway as Doofus in the premiere production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Snow Angel. Derek was a Recognized Actor/Combatant by the Society of American Fight Directors and a member of Chicago Stunt Works for 5 years. Derek attended the School of Performing Arts at LaGuardia High School in New York and received his BFA in acting from DePaul University. He studied Commedia dell’Arte, Feldenkrais, Lecoq, sword fighting, and comedy. Special thanks to Sara for her guidance and love.

Jessica Webb (Coll, the first shepherd) is thrilled to be working with Bad Quarto Productions, after recently moving to New York and appearing in The Cranky Cabaret and Bound for Broadway Showcase. Favorite recent credits include Vicki Smith in "Caught in the Net" with Prather, "Annie Get Your Gun" with The Palms Theatre, and "Godspell" with MET. She is an AriZoni nominee as well as a two time NYA winner for her roles as Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors”, Sally in “YAGMCB”, and Cinderella in "Into the Woods" all with Studio 3 Performing Arts. Love to Emma, Ajax, and the family!

Andre Silva (Gib, the second shepherd) is a New York based actor. He recently finished an intensive course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). He has been seen in Bad Quarto Productions' Taming of a Shrew as Aurelius and in Daniel Adams production of Three Sisters at the Alchemical Theater Laboratory. He also has several short films currently in post-production and being submitted to film festivals around the country. He is delighted to be a part of this cast and wants to thank his friends and family for their ever growing support!

Stephen Zuccaro (Daw, the third shepherd) is thrilled to be a part of this production. Off-broadway credits include: Nightmare Before Insomnium (The Paper Box), Frolic!, Outcasts, Characters (June Havoc Theatre), Misfits, Players (Abingdon Theatre), andThespians (TAPNYC). Other recent credits include: The Lyons(Bare Bones Theatre Co.), And Then There Were None (AlphaNYC), and Antigone (Wandering Theatre Co.) Stephen would like to thank Derek, the cast and crew, and all those in attendance, with special thanks to his family and friends for their constant love and support. Stephen is currently represented by The Talent Express.

Nicholas Corda (Mak, a thief/an Angel of the Lord) is a theatremaker, actor, producer, writer, and the Managing Editor at Chance Magazine. His artistic focus is in community-based social theatre, Theatre of DeColonization, and Animal Studies. He has collaborated with New Brooklyn Theater, The Living Theatre, One Year Lease Theatre Company, and Amerinda to author four pieces for Chance Magazine and produced Chance Issues 4-7. Nick also edited and designed Bond Street Theatre’s book A Decade in Afghanistan, about the company's decade-long work in Afghanistan. Nick is the founder of the Artistic Theatre Collective Acteurs sans Limites, and an alumnus of Vassar College (General and Department Honors) and the National Theatre Institute. Off Broadway: Captain Hook’s Cabaret by Erika Jenko; Times Scare (Smee), The Tempest; Perchance to Dream Theatre (Ferdinand), Deirdre, a New Musical (Ardan); Off-Off Broadway: Twelfth Night; Stag & Lion Theatre Company (Sebastian), As You Like It; Stag & Lion Theatre Company (Orlando), Richard III; Stag & Lion Theatre Company (Richmond), Cymbeline; Wyrd Theatre (Aviragus/Philario/Lord 1/Gaoler), The Midsummer Experiment; Wyrd Theatre (Egeus/Flute), Tinkerbell Theater: Cinderella; Frog & Peach Theatre Company (Albert&Cameron/Chef/Royal Announcer), Tinkerbell Theater: The Tinderbox; Frog & Peach Theatre Company (Evil Queen), Lullaby by Lynn Rosen; Guest Artist with The Box Collective (Father). He also loves to make tomato sauce on cold winter days.

Courtney McClellan (Gill, Mak's wife/Mary, the Blessed Virgin) excitedly joins Bad Quarto Productions for the Second Shepherds Play! Credits include Ripper (Lizzie/Mrs. Lusk) in NYC, Hamlet (Gertrude) and the Comedy of Errors (Adriana/Courtesan) with NCShakes and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in Nashville (Nurse Flinn). Other Nashville credits: A Raisin in the Sun and Once on This Island. Regional credits: Chicago (Mama Morton), Big River (Alice), and The Sound of Music (Sister Berthe) with Weathervane Playhouse (Newark, OH); Romeo and Juliet (Lady Montague/Lady Capulet/Benvolio), Macbeth (Witch/Malcolm), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Titania/Helena/Quince) with NCShakes. BA Communications/Theatre, Hampton University; McCaskill Studios, NYC.