At the invitation of the Port Costa Conservation Society, Idiot String is beginning an artistic residency in Port Costa. We’re thrilled to be deepening our relationship to this magical town by spending more creative time there, finding inspiration in the history and landscape, and activating spaces inside the historic Port Costa School with rehearsals, workshops and other activities. While there, we’ll be developing new plays for site-specific performances in Port Costa and for touring on our mobile stage; and will begin to offer occasional education programs — in the hopes that they’ll become regular education offerings — as early as fall 2018.
We’ve been visiting Port Costa with the Peripatetic Players each year since their inception in 2014, and have always been thrilled at the warm welcome we’ve received there from locals and visitors alike. The Burlington Hotel and Bull Valley Roadhouse have helped to keep us fed and housed; Wendy Addison and her magical shop, Theatre Of Dreams, is a true inspiration (and creative consultant to Elixir of Life); and the dedicated folks at the Port Costa Conservation Society have made the Port Costa School a delightful stop on each of our tours. Throughout 2017 we also developed (the entirely fictional play) Elixir Of Life with inspirations from Port Costa and the surrounding area — including bona-fide history as well as tall tales and the general feeling of what it’s like to live in a small community.
Stay tuned for more about our Port Costa projects in the works!
Meanwhile, enjoy these photos from some recent exploratory days in Port Costa…
Casey on a tree
Testing the acoustics in the Schoolhouse’s main lobby
Taking notes in the Schoolhouse
Marlene, Joan, and other Players soaking up the landscape
Soren describing a project idea for a site-specific piece
Exploring the reservoir and spillway above the Schoolhouse
This funding will help increase our capacity by hiring a publicist to promote the Peripatetic Players’ 2018 Bay Area Parks Summer Tour, and Idiot String’s upcoming residency in Port Costa. We’re working with consultant Jonathan White to help increase our exposure in the local media.
Our friends at the Bull Valley Roadhouse, Burlington Hotel, and Port Costa Conservation Society generously co-sponsored three weekends of on-site devising and research in Port Costa, California. There we had the privilege to study the history of Port Costa and the surrounding area, and to talk to residents about their experiences of living in a small community amidst the larger Bay Area.
With a generous helping of poetic license, we’ve based aspects of our characters and the town of Port Promise on stories we’ve gathered in Port Costa, and hope to honor Port Costans sense of pride in their community and sense of connection to one another in the themes of our play.
Some photos from our time in Port Costa: (l-r) examples of artist Wendy Addison’s Victorian-inspired poster designs for her shop, Theatre of Dreams; two photos (both courtesy of Wendy Addison), one featuring some Port Costans around the turn of the century; the other a circus parade through town (notice the elephant!) from the early 20th century; and the Elixir workshop ensemble outside the Port Costa School.
A sampling of posters and cards created by Wendy Addison for her Theatre of Dreams.
Vintage Port Costans in front of their shop. Photo courtesy of Wendy Addison.
The circus arriving in Port Costa, California, circa 1915. Photo courtesy of Wendy Addison.
Elixir of Life workshop cast in Port Costa, May 2017.
Crockett Historical Museum
We hear that it is also called the “Hysterical Museum”… and the wealth of artifacts, photos, ephemera, and oddities is a wonder to behold. There we were inspired by the good works and mysterious rites of fraternal orders, old pharmaceutical bottles, and the sense that storytelling can take many forms. Here’s a fun article about the museum from Roadside America. And photos we took there:
More oddities and artifacts from the Crockett Historical Museum.
A vintage Carquinez Drug Store bottle on display at the Crockett Historical Museum.
Mementos and ephemera from fraternal orders, such as the Druids, on display at the Crockett Historical Museum.
Native Sons of the Golden West artifacts from the Crockett Historical Museum.
Similarities: Outdoor performances with FluxWagon (our mobile stage); no one turned away for lack of funds; a story featuring a sprightly ensemble, physical comedy and songs.
Differences: The audience will follow the action around FluxWagon and other spots nearby, sometimes standing and sometimes sitting; reservations are recommended; there are themes of contemplation, grief, and mystery (as well as comedy); the story is best enjoyed by ages 9-ish and up.
On September 18, all venues will be announced, and we’ll start taking reservations.
Happening just a moment from this writing, the Peripatetic Players will conclude their 2016 tour of Shakespeare or Space Wars with a weekend-long mini-festival in Port Costa, Flux Fest ’16. We’re just pleased as punch that the Players are now officially fictionally Port Costa’s resident traveling troupe of thespians, and we’re looking forward to creating all kinds of lore and faux ephemera to document our years in that fantastic hamlet.
Here’s a collage from last fall’s performance of Romeo & Juliet in Port Costa, featuring Reece Santos’s fabulous painted proscenium in the alleyway of the Bull Valley Roadhouse: