This past May, he found the ideal quarters in a storefront at 1824 Grant Blvd., a one-room facility that is just the right size. He is happy to have neighbors like Liehs & Steigerwald, the legendary German meat market, and Martha’s Madness, a secondhand furniture emporium. He named his facility Studio 24.
Studio 24 opened on July 13 with an event that featured actors from Moses’ five-week workshop in Shakespeare, plus those from his Saturday workshop labs. Added to the celebration was a thank you to friend Abby Bahouth for donating a grand piano she inherited from her musical aunt “MillyDoo.” A bon voyage was also given to Peg Bonesteel, one of the founding members of the Saturday labs, who is moving to Vienna, Austria.
More than 50 guests happily crowded into the approximately 700-square-foot space for the event, first feasting on a fabulous array of Middle Eastern delicacies, most of which were prepared by Moses, who is Lebanese. Moses’ partner, J.T. Lee, contributed his own Korean fare, and the wine flowed freely. Seating was intentionally irregularly arranged so that performers could meander through the crowd while reciting their individual pieces.
Seated in a corner, Eleanor Russell read Shakespeare’s “Sonnet No. 18” with gentle deliberation. Next, Amy Doherty appeared from the other end of the room, balancing a long dowel, to illustrate Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, “To be or not to be.” Bonesteel and Lee played Phoebe and Silvius from As You Like It, and Thea van der Ven recited “Sonnet No. 130.” Finally, Karis Wiggins became Adriana in The Comedy of Errors.
To feature the grand piano, melodic sounds rang out as Charles Lupia performed his own three-movement composition, “Piano Sonata in D Minor.” More Shakespeare continued with Terry Pease and Lupia as Portia and Brutus in a segment from Julius Caesar, and Richard Harris added a bit of gymnastics as he emerged from under the piano portraying Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Workshop members brought to life characters Jenny, Mrs. Toothe, and Neighbor for Everything in the Garden by Edward Albee. Shakespeare’s “Sonnet No. 9” followed with Doherty, then Lee, repeating the poem in song, with Karl Sperber accompanying his own composition on guitar. Lee’s warm tenor along with Sperber’s guitar were a fitting end to the program.
Moses has created Studio 24 as a professional lab for theater and film actors, writers and directors, offering private and group coaching, monologue, scene, audition and mask workshops. Starting in the fall he will be offering a program for youngsters revolving around storytelling and games, appropriate for anyone generally interested in the experience, but also for those who aspire to perform locally. For more information, call 289-6613.