Michelle Hensley will take her Ten Thousand Things model to Berkeley next year, coaching California Shakespeare Theater through a production of "Twelfth Night." This is similar to Ten Thousand Things' project a few years ago with the Public Theater in New York.
Cal Shakes is spearheading a Bay Area initiative to bring performance to audiences that have little access to the arts. That very idea is what has propelled Hensley's troupe to national recognition. She will direct an all-female staging of the Shakespeare play, similar to one that Ten Thousand Things did in 2008.
The production will use California actors, but will follow the TTT aesthetic of bare sets and minimal props and costumes. Another essential element is the musical soundscape usually provided by Peter Vitale, TTT's music director. He will work with Bay Area musicians to do the same for the production in spring, 2014.
"Michelle has created a methodology that relies on a simple equation," said Cal Shakes Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone. "Make the work as excellent as possible and bring it as close as possible to people."
Ten Thousand Things just concluded its season with a four-person, stripped-down version of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire."
In 2010, Hensley directed "Measure for Measure" for the Public, which brought the production to several nontraditional venues in New York.