Everything from the top of my poufy hair down to the bottom of my black boots wants to prove that millenials aren’t lazy. But as I sprawled out on my bed in my Berkeley apartment at 7:36pm this past Saturday night with a bag of frozen peas icing my back (I do a lot of sports, and not just during the Olympics) and enjoying the glow of Netflix on my screen over and over: I couldn’t help it. I was feeling lazy, happy as a clam, resting after a long day.
Glancing over to my clock: “Oh shoot!” I realized how late it had gotten. There was no way I was going to make my co-worker’s (fellow intern Lukas Sarnow) play in the city. I didn’t know what my options were to get to the theatre. This predicament made me wonder how often this happens to people.
I’ve been commuting to Magic all summer for my awesome internship. Here are three stories about my different rides to Magic from the East Bay:
Yes, sometimes getting to the theatre can be beyond tedious. Do I take the bus, is there parking for my car, do I take an uber, can I walk? After my moped and my bicycle both were stolen (not at Magic) by the end of the summer no part of me wanted to go outside anyway. But what were the chances my shoes were going to be stolen? “Very slim,” I told myself. So I leaned on public transportation hard.
Before my bike got stolen, I would ride to Magic from the transbay terminal (AC Transit F through Oakland and Emeryville across the bay bridge) in San Francisco. I join the bicyclists riding over Fort Mason Park, on their way to the Golden Gate Bridge. One morning while walking my bike up the hill from the Aquatic Park, I saw a woman and her daughter biking up the hill. The daughter was trying so hard but her foot kept sliding off mid-pedal. No matter how little the daughter was pedaling, she wasn’t going to fall. Her mom would have caught her. She made it up that hill thanks to her mom pedaling away on the front seat.
The relationship between the mom and the daughter both on the same mission working together, traveling up the hill reminded me of the beautiful relationship between Anna and her brother, Carl in Baltimore Waltz. This sibling duo travels to Europe, enjoying themselves and looking to get Anna medicine for the disease she contracted. They are a little co-dependent, but mostly sweet, like that little girl and her mother on the tandem bike.
Another fun way to get to Magic Theatre is to take the cable car (this isn’t a very efficient way, to get there in time for a show, but if time isn’t an issue, you should try it). You start in the heart of the city at Powell with the throngs of tourists and can take it all the way out to the coast in the Marina, where we are, sort of! My cousin and I took it one day. It was so odd how if the car stopped, you could get off by just stepping off whenever. You didn’t have to pull a cord or push a button.
On the cable car, the rules are different. For some reason, they don’t need to stop at red lights, or maybe that was just the car I was on? Although sitting in Magic’s office day in, day out could sound mundane for a summer, it really hasn’t been. At Magic, the pace is similar as sometimes you’re on a fast-paced mission and other times you can take your time absorbing all the details. One time the production manager and I rushed over to the middle of the city to clean an apartment that one of the playwrights stayed in (so glamorous, I know) so that we could be back in time for a meeting. Yesterday, I had to call a cab for a very cute set designer. A couple weeks ago, I interviewed a director for a podcasts. I’ve also read a LOT of plays.
The people jumping in and out of the cable car at the stop signs are like the people that come in and out of our office. This couple on the cable car that I met was from Philadelphia and the husband rowed in college, just like me. He asked for the best hikes here and I suggested my favorites. My supervisor, Claire has given me a solid date night list of places bit also tips on how to research seating designs. (Did you know Magic wants to get new seats?) Whether I’m in a cable car bumping shoulders with tourists or in the office learning about Jesse Williams BET speech, I trying to learn something from everyone and I’m try to contribute. To say that I have learned a lot as an intern at Magic would be an understatement.
The story that haunts me the most from my summer of traveling into the city was when I was riding through Fisherman’s Wharf. There was a group of high school-age kids playing with nerf guns. They were jumping off of benches and onto the sidewalk. There were two guns and four kids playing, one of the boys shot at the girl while she ducked behind a planter. Her words echo in my head. “Why do you gotta shoot the black kid?” There is always an element of truth in jokes.
As the Black Lives Matter movement continues in our country, gun violence is a topic close to almost every American. On October 12, 2012, Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a 16-year old Mexican boy was shot and killed from across the border by America boarder patrol officers. This story, as a launching pad for an exploration of the border, unfolds onstage in Magic’s season opener, Nogales a co-production with Campo Santo.
So next time taking that extra step to find a way to get to our theatre doors, think of all the people you could meet along the way, and that might help you find some inspiration to get inspired at Magic.
Sarah Stoker is an aspiring Bay Area theatre artist, UC Berkeley rower and spoon collector. Her favorite Magic Theatre memories this summer include Pilipino burritos, run club, and coffee.