Clare Howes Eisentrout and Pedar Benson Bate have a knack for falling in love — at least on stage. Last season, the pair created a bond as their characters Cosette and Marius sang their way through tragedy in “Les Miserables.” This season, they are the hopeful young lovers Luisa and Matt in the musical romance “The Fantasticks,” which starts its run Sept. 4.
“Last year with ‘Les Miz,’ it was pretty instant,” Bate says. “I knew I was going to have fun with Clare from those first moments in the rehearsal room. I feel really safe with her on stage. As soon as I got cast (as Matt), I was texting Clare to see if she was doing it, too. I was so excited when she said, ‘Yes’.”
“There’s just this comfort level when we’re working together,” Eisentrout says. “I know things will work out.”
Finding the right on-stage partner is a lot like finding one in real life. It comes down to chemistry and luck. Most actors don’t get to meet until the first rehearsal, like a blind date, except you have to memorize dialogue and sing on key.
Actors work hard to make it look natural and get to a point of complete vulnerability. For things to spark, they must have a connection.
“And when you don’t have it, it’s like pulling teeth,” Bate says.
In real life, both have significant others. Bate is engaged to Meredith Lark, who also is in the ISF company this summer. She plays The Mute in “The Fantasticks.”
Love is at the core of the musical. It’s based on Edmond Rostand’s “Les Romanesques,” a 19th-century comedy inspired by “Romeo and Juliet.” It tells the story of two people falling in love, from adolescent infatuation to mature affection.
In the story, neighboring fathers feign a feud to incite their children to fall in love. They build a wall between their properties and stage the occasional row. They even hire a professional abductor to steal Luisa away, so Matt can rescue her.
Under desperate circumstances, Matt and Luisa quickly fall in love, but when the charade is revealed, they fall out of love just as fast. In the end, it’s their day-to-day struggles that bring them quietly back together.
Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones created “The Fantasticks” in 1959 as a revolutionary piece of theater. It incorporates Beat poetry and elements of experimental and classical theater, and boasts a score with songs that are firmly embedded in the American songbook: “Try to Remember,” “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” and “Much More.”
It played Off-Broadway from 1960 to 2003, then reopened in 2006 and continues its run at the Jerry Orbach Theater, named for the “Law & Order” star who started his career playing El Gallo. Though it is weighted by certain social mores of the 1950s, it feels entirely contemporary today, Bate says.
“The show is so simple, and the songs are so well made that it stands up,” Bate says. “It’s really about the shedding of naivete, and finding your place in the world. That’s always timely.”
• Boise High’s
will spend Labor Day weekend in Washington, D.C., at theKennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ VSA Playwright Discovery
. He and seven of his peers were chosen to work with professional theater-artist mentors to prepare excerpts from their plays for performance.
He submitted a script he wrote with the help of Boise theater artist and writer Sandra Cavanaugh through the Idaho VSA, part of a national group that supports artists who have disabilities and works to make the arts accessible. Huntsman, 19, has autism.
Huntsman is the second Boise High student to win this award. In 2013, Cal Sheridan, who has athetoid cerebral palsy went to D.C. Sheridan now lives in Denver, where he writes and dabbles in comedy.
• Ballet Idaho needs 350 girls ages 5 to 12 for itsAmerican Girl Fashion Shows
fundraiser. Model calls will be on Aug. 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. atBoise Towne Square
, and noon to 5 p.m. atThe Village at Meridian
. Bring a head shot and completed modelform
that you can download atBalletIdaho.org
The shows are Oct. 9-11 at Esther Simplot Academy, 516 S. 9th St., Boise. $25 and $55.
will celebrate the grand reopening of its expanded space at 180 N. 8th St. in Boise on Sept. 5.
The shop opened up into the space to its north that formerly was filled by Lux Fashion Lounge. The independent bookstore will use the bigger space to increase its offerings and add more room for events.
Laura and Bruce Delaney opened their store nine years ago on the Boise Bench. In 2010, they moved the store Downtown, where it’s become a popular cultural touchstone. It hosts literary events, including lectures and readings by name authors in partnership with area libraries.
The reopening party will go from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 5 with local author readings, live music and in-store discounts. Postmodern Brewers tasting starts at 5 p.m.
Find more information at www.rdbooks.org.