Ruth Asawa school gears up for ‘Spamalot’ 

click to enlarge Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts
  • Katarina Bone-Tsokolati and Carlos Sandoval work on the court of Camelot set for Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts’ production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”
The time is right for Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts’ main stage production of “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”

“We have been dreaming about doing it since it became available two years ago,” says Keith Carames, technical director of the wacky musical, which opens Thursday at the school’s Dan Kryston Memorial Theater.

“I’d throw up if we had to do ‘Annie’ or ‘Hello Dolly,’” adds Carames, who has headed up productions of “Ragtime,” “42nd Street,” “The Producers” and “Tartuffe” for The City’s premiere public school for arts education.

“We crack up at rehearsal — it’s the fun part, the process of discovery,” Carames says, describing the show’s absurdities and fantasy, as well as its depiction of a hero’s quest, as defined by writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell.

Yet the production also represents a lot of hard work — including eight weeks of rehearsal — for more than 100 actors, musicians and crew members ages 14 to 18, a number comprising about one-sixth of the student body.

All participants, not just the performers, have put in numerous hours preparing.

“There are nights we have to kick the kids out,” says Carames, referring to many of technical theater department students working on set design and construction and costumes.

Although teacher guidance comes from Carames, Paul Kwapy and Annette Hays, the teen-run show truly provides students “the opportunity to go from page to stage,” gaining experience in script analysis, set, lighting and costume design, and stage management.

In addition to public performances, “Spamalot” also is slated to be presented to more than 1,000 San Francisco schoolchildren at matinee shows.

“We’re hoping for field trips,” Carames says. “We have a strong tradition of outreach, of giving back to the community.”


Monty Python’s Spamalot

Where: Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, 555 Portola Drive, S.F.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays; closes March 8

Tickets: $15 to $23


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Leslie Katz

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