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.
Help commission a new play
The East Bay Fund for Artists at the East Bay Community Foundation has awarded us a matching grant to fund the creation of a new play in Port Costa that will premiere in 2019. In order to receive this funding, we need to raise $4,000 from individual donors before July 15, 2018. Donate today to help us create this new play!
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…
Taking notes in the Schoolhouse
Soren discovering weird and wonderful treasures
Soren describing a project idea for a site-specific piece
Testing the acoustics in the Schoolhouse’s main lobby
Casey on a tree
Marlene, Joan, and other Players soaking up the landscape
Exploring the reservoir and spillway above the Schoolhouse
On September 30, we accepted the invitation of artist Bethany Carlson Mann to present excerpts from Elixir of Life at the opening of Bethany’s art show, Fairytales for Feral Children, now on exhibit at the Burlington Hotel.
Serena Morelli photographed the event — enjoy! — and don’t forget… Elixir of Life starts October 20!
Josephine (Maria A. Leigh) holds herself aloof in a scene from ELIXIR OF LIFE (2017). Photo by Serena Morelli.
Brother Calvin (Sam Bertken) and Anita (Kristen Matia) in a scene from ELIXIR OF LIFE.
Doctor Vitae (Julie Douglas) offers a helpful tonic to Josephine (Maria A. Leigh) in ELIXIR OF LIFE.
Josephine (Maria A. Leigh) consults with Doctor Vitae (Julie Douglas) in ELIXIR OF LIFE.
Hobble (r, Joan Howard) watches over Josephine (Maria A. Leigh) in a scene from ELIXIR OF LIFE
Take a peek inside some of what’s inspired our development of Elixir of Life, playing October 20 – November 12.
Port Costa, California
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.
Our Collection of Images
This is a small sampling of some of our inspirations and research… we hope you enjoy exploring them as much as we have!