On Friday night, I descended to the basement of the House of Charm, following my ears to The Old Globe’s rehearsal room. The St. Stephen’s church choir was belting out harmonies, being woven into the full “Odyssey” rehearsal for the first time as the play’s opening night nears Sept. 30. It added yet another layer to the production’s epic-ness.

Here’s a peek from my phone camera. Composer Todd Almond is on the left, directing the choir:

But that’s just a peek. (The photograph at the top of the post, taken by Sam Hodgson, is from an earlier rehearsal.) A cameraman from NBC7 San Diego went with me and we’ll show you more from the St. Stephen’s rehearsal, along with an interview with director Lear deBessonet, in Behind the Scene TV this Thursday at 4:30 p.m. We’ll post the clip here as soon as it’s available, too.

As I left the rehearsal room filled with all sorts of different people, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the magic that gets made (found, curated, etc.) in the basements of Balboa Park.

Susan Myrland chimed in, responding to my Twitter message:

My favs: the basements @SDMA and @SDNHM. Mats that take the dirt off your shoes & floors to drain off fluids from dissection.

The latter, San Diego Natural History Museum, trumped that.

We have basements upon basements…several floors below ground we house one of the world’s largest rattlesnake collections

You might remember my fascination with Balboa’s basements isn’t new. The San Diego History Center pulled out a previously un-catalogued and largely unseen heap of negatives and photographs earlier this year to showcase a collection that had been donated nearly 20 years earlier.

It struck me then that it was just one collection that isn’t yet public. Looking at the rows of museums, I began wondering how many boxes and warehouses and basements are filled with photographs and miscellaneous artifacts that most San Diegans don’t even know exist.

Have any of your own basement tales to share about Balboa Park? Leave a note below or on Facebook.

More of our coverage of the “Odyssey” production: The first official get-together was a potluck dinner. The blackout pushed one rehearsal outdoors. Director Lear deBessonet told the group to imagine the individual personality they’re playing, all of whom combined make up the town. The cast of 181 comprises newbies and lifers, including the woman for whose husband the Globe’s outdoor stage is named.

I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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