Globe for All Tour: Call and Response, Offers the Perfect Opportunity for Those not Familiar with Shakespeare or Those Who are not Fans of the Bard's Work.

Free Performances Available Until November 14, in Your Community or One Near You

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

(from left) Sofia Jean Gomez, Eddie R. Brown III, Christopher Michael Rivera, Anne Son, and DJ Miki Vale in the Globe for All's Tour of Shakespeare: Call and Response, 2021. Photo by Rich Soublet II.

Engaging audiences who are not familiar with theatre is no easy task. It gets harder when Shakespeare is involved. There are certain stereotypes and misconceptions attached to it like, it is only for people who are at a certain socio-economic level, or not everybody belongs in that setting. This is why it is necessary to recognize and credit organizations that engage in this titanic task of bringing theatre to people like the Arts Engagement Department does, through the Old Globe Theatre with the Globe for All Tour offering free performances throughout the San Diego community in a three-week run.

The pandemic changed every dynamic so there were some changes perceived in this year's tour like an earlier curtain call. Before it was between 6 and 7p.m., now it is at 4:30 p.m. and in outdoor spaces. What was a condensed 90 minute Shakespeare play, is now a 60-minute mashup, and what remains is the interaction with the audience. In a safe and distanced manner of course.

I had the opportunity to see the presentation of this year's title Shakespeare: Call and Response in El Cajon. A piece adapted and directed by Old Globe Resident Artist, Patricia McGregor. This is something everybody has to experience. The ability to condense plays like Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Winter's Tale in 60 minutes, is both mindblowing and fun to watch. Cast member Christopher Michael Rivera (Clown) did a prelude in two seconds. TWO. The other cool aspect about this experience is that audience members can change the ending of these famous stories, along with well-constructed raps from the verses performed by the artists. Hey, maybe Petruchio will offer Katherina an apology and then be arrested. Things one dreams of while reading the audacity of some of the characters in The Bards plots. 

Eddie R. Brown III, Anne Son, Christopher Michael Rivera, and Sofia Jean Gomez in the
Globe for All's Tour of Shakespeare: Call and Response, 2021. Photo by Rich Soublet II.

The cast also features Eddie R. Brown, III (Firebrand), Sofia Jean Gomez (Traditionalist), Anne Son (Romantic), and Miki Vale (DJ). 

Sofia and Anne's deliveries are strong. The ensemble as a whole works and does so well yet, at least in the El Cajon performance, the women's portrayals were deeper and more solid than the men's. DJ Miki Vale returns offering the musical complement to the piece but also as an actor intervening from time to time and doing it well. 

There are moments where the performance feels rushed as it moves a bit fast and it is easy to lose the thread. The actors do a countdown in Spanish introducing each play and sprinkling a few words in Spanish here and there. Yes, this is a border, it overlooks Mexico and as a border being, I celebrate the effort. However, just as I had the same feeling with the Globe's production of Hair. I sense those words being put in there kind of with a shoehorn making it feel not that organic.

Even though it is outdoors and the actors move around the space, there is a stage that charms the eye with art by Mr. MAXX MOSES (Mural Design and Concrete Alchemist), serving as an anchor for the play with different moving parts like a whiteboard and interchangeable signs that guide the audience through what is happening. The costumes for this tour designed by Carmen Amon, have a casual street vibe to them. It makes it more relatable and relaxed. The creative team also includes Regina Fernandez (Movement Consultant),  Miki Vale (Original Music), and Chandra R.M. Anthenill (Production Stage Manager).

Again, as mentioned in the beginning, this is something that no other organization in the county is doing and should not be missed. Audiences who have yet to experience Shakespeare and those who do not get the works can benefit from a dynamic like this. And maybe catch it more than once as every performance will be different depending on the audience's interaction and ideas. It is free and only lasts an hour, it cannot get better than that.

There are still opportunities this week with the following performances:

 Sofia Jean Gomez, Christopher Michael Rivera, and Eddie R. Brown III in the Globe for All's Tour of
Shakespeare: Call and Response, 2021. Photo by Rich Soublet II.
Wednesday, November 10 at 3:30 p.m.: Treganza Heritage Park

Thursday, November 11 at 3:30 p.m.: City Heights Performance Annex

Friday, November 12 at 3:30 p.m.: Oceanside Civic Center Plaza

Saturday, November 13 at 3:30 p.m.: Lauderbach Park

Sunday, November 14 at 3:30 p.m.: At the "Cascades" by the Fleet Center fountain in Balboa Park 

No tickets or registrations are required to attend the free, open performances in the community. Seating will be first-come, first-served, and will depend on the venue’s capacity. 

Shameless plug: listen to our latest podcast episode where we talk about music, opera, and fundraising HERE. 

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