Gareth Charlton on Kneehigh's Time in Berkeley

Gareth Charlton on Kneehigh's Time in Berkeley

Gareth Charlton - Lovespotter/Bruter/Animator in Tristan & Yseult - reflects on the company's time at Berkeley Rep in California


Airborne again, a new city in store; Snow and ice await to break the law of our sun-only tour. Berkeley T & Y: nine weeks done, two years seen, sixty-ish shows, too many stories of days that must be told...

A half-fangled promise of blog tales from Cali Fawn Eye Ay collapses in the face of the ride. So many times had; so little time to tell. Oops. 8 hour flight to a cold as freezers Minneapolis, a snoozy Hungarian rope-pulling brother on my shoulder, plenty of time to tell the Story of the Story. In no order or accuracy…

Another perfect day in the bay, bicycles across the bridge, down a rollercoaster road to seaside Sausalito. A convoy of crew, band, trippers all, swallowing the sweet air of pines and the smog. A ferry to ferry, legs too tired to push bikes back to the start, past a dead-end prison island staring at a life fuelled town. No show tonight but a Q&A with beers to wash dust from pipes, the Berkeley passion welcomes us in.

Berkeley Rep. An old friend welcoming the past and new. A space that shows how it's done. Passion, work, commitment, a Kneehigh bug. Smiles and home-cooked treats, embracing the ideals, absorbing the anarchy. A height chart wall topped and tailed by kneehighs and kneelows.

So far and so home. Crowded houses, open arms. Let us stay.

Thanksgiving and a new set of strangers let us in. Buckets of crab, a pair of turkeys, a hot tub of happy. Sea kayaks if you fancy? Me and our Yank do, we splash past the bluff, mingle in the kelp with the seals, dolphins and sea otters. Seriously. Anything top this food chain? Hope not. Too glorious to worry.

Sea legs steadied by our music club interlude, pipes and squeeze boxes invade our hosts’ American Dream house. They love it. Handy. I miss mine. He misses his. She, hers. Christmas without family and with a family. A gifted home to a collection of faraway souls, bring a dish and festive cheer. Food devoured, games played until laughter wins. Almost like home. Stars were stared, mandolins plucked, fiddles played, stories told. Not like home. Lovely.

Another perfect day in the bay. In complete sweet union we Segway away, not a single part missing from our wheeled wobble show. Golden Gate park, sunglasses and helmets, bison and bison, hobos and hipsters, forest and coast, waves and whales... Whales.

Cool is lost, giddy geeks grinning at the breeze, staring at the battery life of our electric steeds, we stop as one, trade mini us for big us, roll on as one. Crash as one....or just me then. A Happy Hour or three to soothe a broken pride.

Motorcycle, bridge, beach, forest trip? There is a postcard somewhere. Will never forget.

So many more tales, how long were we there? A slice of life stuffed full: Alcatraz Island, San Fran Trams ("I loost mmiiii sschheew!"), prohibition hidden bars, gun range bangs, New Year stumbles, wine country rambles, redwood forests, frisbee beaches, music nights, and dog run sands.

Just touched down in The Windy City. We will be back but onwards first. More memories to make, more tales to tell....

Was gonna stop there but the story begins again: delayed take off, slow flight, our connection is tight. Brandishing luminous go fast badges we move still slow.... waiting can't be rushed.... Bags appear and the race can be run but security thwarts and picks on our one. Will he make it? We make it. Minneapolis. What you got?


Book tickets for Tristan & Yseult in Minneapolis & Chicago

If you're a Kneehigh Friend, click here to read Gareth's postcard (and postcards from the rest of the Tristan & Yseult company) on the Kneehigh Friends Member's Area


Tristan & Yseult

Tristan & Yseult

"If this show doesn't make you fall in love with theatre, there's no potion on Earth that can help you." ***** The Guardian

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