Shakespeare’s TIMON of Athens
comes to Yerba Buena Gardens Festival 2015
The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival 2015 is in full swing for the summer, and TIMON The New Musical, took over the gardens for first the weekend of June. Created for the festival by Theatre Rhinoceros under the creative direction of John Fisher. Fisher and his music director Don Seaver based this romp on Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, with San Francisco as the setting and background. Rhino's production of TIMON is part of the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival that presents dozens of free events through the summer and early fall.
Fisher used the entire Yerba Garden as his set - requiring the audience to follow the 20 member cast and story to each new location. We started in plaza of the Contemporary Jewish Museum Jessie Plaza. The opening song “California” come with a battle of both north and south Cal - It was very funny and TIMON set in San Francisco 2016 it gets as contemporary as your facebook feed.
The next location MLK plaza in the heart of the Gardens, where we see the iconic naked man using his towel before he sits, and great numbers by Fisher and Seaver including “Timon, Timon” “The Shuffle” “A New Day” and “The New Friscans”.
The songs and story are as camp as you can get in SF - without a single official drag queen in the cast. Everything is game and in sight (except YBG) The museums, churches, the new high rises, downtown malls and evil SF republican Sheriff.
The homeless, Lt Gov Gavin, MOMA, the mexican and asian museum , ARTists lofts, and countless other SF characters squabble as in any great Shakespeare play. The cast is headed by local favorite Donald Currie as TIMON a venture Capitalist and inventor of the Post-it, and a subtext of King Lear and Leonardo Dicaprio. John Fisher plays a Miltary commander in the Nor-Cal army and he has his actors entering each new stage from behind above, and behind - no entrance is left out.
Fisher commented in the SF Weekly "The other night when we were rehearsing, this guy in the distance started picking up the dance moves,- I thought, why is that actor way back there? And it was like, oh my God, he's not part of our show. And then he just left. It was actually really cute." The plot is a screwball 80 minutes is a contemporary take of the battle for the Arts in San Francisco. Timon is an Arts supporter with connections and money to share. But once he loses all his funds he is outcast as he trys to buy back his power.
The cast includes a talented troop of locals that must have been exhausted at the end of the 3 day run. They are constantly running across plaza’s and blocks to get to their new costume change and position on stage. They include Carlos Barrera, Lorenz Angleo Gonzales, Izzy Iqbal, Sean Keehan, Katrina Kroetch, Gloria McDonald, Bill McGovern, Paul Renolis, Gabe A Ross, Sarah Savage, Len Shaffer, Seth Siegel, Burton Thomas, Brian Vouglas, Jasmine Williams, and Bessie Zolno. And of course the production had to move with audience and cast, they include Kristen Peacock choreographer, Gilbert Johnson s props, his guns were great and easily could have set off SFPD during the battle scenes. Costumes by Scarlett Kellum and Sam Schroeter including the G string they both provided for Naked Man.
I enjoyed my madcap afternoon with TIMON, its was a short run, but I would hope that the Rhino remounts this event soon. It was great fun and everyone involved was at the top of their game - be sure to roll the short video clip I posted, it captures a few moments from the show and the audience moving from stage to stage.
Pictures and vid