Intrepid Shakespeare Company

Sean Cox, co-founder of the Intrepid Shakespeare Company, talks about the company and the new internship program at SDA.  The Intrepid Shakespeare Company relocated to the Roundabout Theater at the beginning of the school year, and are performing “Romeo and Juliet” until Oct. 17.

Q: When and why was the Intrepid Shakespeare Company created?

A: Intrepid was created in February of 2009. Our inaugural production was an hour and a half (no intermission) staging of Macbeth, with seven actors. As professional actors we were frustrated that no one in San Diego was producing Shakespeare on a continual basis. He is our favorite playwright and we kept having to leave town to work on any of his plays.

When Christy Yael and I first decided to start a theatre company we each sat down and made a list of 10 plays we would like to work on. Between the two lists almost all the titles were plays by Shakespeare. After looking at the list we decided to focus the company on Shakespeare. We both got hooked on him at an early age. In fact I got interested in acting because I was so drawn to Shakespeare.

Q: Are actors/audiences still interested in Shakespeare? What’s the appeal?

A: Yes actors and audiences are certainly interested in Shakespeare. For actors, it is the most exciting and rewarding material to work on and audiences connect with the stories and characters because they are timeless. The themes in Shakespeare’s plays are universal because he wrote about the human experience. It’s amazing to discover how human beings haven’t really changed in the past 400 years.
Q:  Describe the company’s unique approach to performing Shakespeare.

A: Our goal is to make Shakespeare intimate, modern, and exciting.
We find working on this material in smaller spaces works much better than in large theaters. It’s hard for the audience to connect with the character when the actor is having to project to the last row.  We believe Shakespeare works so well on film because the actors can speak much more naturally and connect with the emotional world of the character. In an intimate theatre the actors don’t have to worry about being heard as much which allows them to play the truth of a scene more effectively.

We approach these plays as modern stories. If an actor walks out on stage in tights and a tunic we believe it puts a wall up between the actor and the audience.  It’s difficult for the audience to connect with a character that does not live in the same world as them. But if Romeo walks out in jeans and a t-shirt, it’s easier to connect with him as a normal young man who is discovering love for the first time, which is something that everyone can understand. These are the most exciting and passionate characters ever written. Shakespeare’s characters burn bright; they live in the moment and follow their hearts. Romeo and Juliet meet, fall in love, and die in five days.
Q: Is there only one company? If so, is it located only in the immediate area?

A: Intrepid Shakespeare Company is based in Encinitas. We produced downtown for over a year but the goal was always to land in Encinitas.
Q: How many company members are there?

A: There are 11 official intrepid company members. “Romeo and Juliet” consists of 18 theatre artists and 17 interns.
Q: How many productions are put on a year?

A: We currently have a three show season plus our “Free Will” stage readings. “Free Will” consists of three fully staged readings that are free for the public. After Romeo and Juliet, Intrepid is doing a co-production of “The Crucible” with Moxie Theatre at Moxie’s theatre near SDSU. Then we will be back at SDA in The Roundabout in the spring with the rarely staged Richard II.
Q: Does the company travel or only perform locally?

A: The productions are all local but we have an education tour that travels all over San Diego and Orange County.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add about Intrepid?

A: We are thrilled to have relocated to Encinitas and to bring professional theatre to a wonderful and arts-driven community.  We love Shakespeare and hope to inspire the next generation of theatre and Shakespeare lovers. We are a text-based company which means we focus on and rely on Shakespeare’s words and imagery to tell the story. We want the playwright and his incredible words to be the star of each production.

A: We are also offering our education programs to SDA teachers and students.  This includes classes, workshops, and performances of condensed versions of Shakespeare’s plays. We have lots of information about our education programs on our website
Q: How did you hear about the Roundabout Theater/SDA?

A: Dan Dalager, the Mayor of Encinitas, was excited about Intrepid coming to Encinitas and introduced Christy and me to Principal Michael Grove.  Mayor Dalager is an alumni of SDU and was inspired by his teacher Jerry Jordon who was very passionate about Shakespeare.
Q: How did you acquire the space?

A: We met with Principal Grove about using The Roundabout and creating the internship program. Because of our education programs it made perfect sense for the company to partner up with a school.
Q: How long will the company be using the theater?

A: We hope the partnership between Intrepid and SDA will be a long and exciting one.

Q: What days will Intrepid use the theater?

A: We have performances Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 8p.m., Saturdays at 4p.m. and Sundays at 2p.m.

Q: Is the internship opportunity new?  Was it only open to SDA?

A: Yes the internship program is brand new and is only available to SDA students.

Q: How many SDA students were chosen for the internships?

A: There are 17 interns involved in the production of Romeo and Juliet.
Q: Can you list some of them?

A: Freshman Benjamin Shaffer is an acting intern and plays the role of Balthsar, sophomore Kaitlin Kay is a stage managing intern and junior Isaac LeRuth is a lighting intern. To name a few.
Q: How do the internships work? Are they only for Romeo and Juliet?

A: The interns have the unique opportunity to work alongside and learn from professional theatre artists gaining practical work experience and getting to see how a full production comes together.

The internship program will be apart of all Intrepid’s productions at SDA.

Q: When are they required to attend rehearsals?

A: Acting interns are called to daily rehearsals and technical interns come in on days that are focused on the technical side of things, such as designer runs and tech.