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Posts Tagged ‘Ashland’

“Getting Comfy” from Kayla Jackson

In Internship on June 24, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Admin Hallway

As I am getting more comfortable here, I am noticing the different ways people act with one another. While I imagined my first time in a business setting to be very cut throat and strict, I am happy to say that this is not the case at all. It is a joy to sit at the end of the hall and listen all day to the muffled voices behind office doors that more than often end in laughter. It is clear to me that these people here live in a very special culture where work is not work. It is life. This does not mean they all overwork so much that they have no life (although I am constantly impressed by how much people here put in the extra effort to be great) but rather they do not come to “work” as much as they come to just another part of their life.

The sense of community here is much greater than other theatre settings I have found myself in. I have been in many environments where everybody is there to build themselves up and eventually surpass their colleagues. OSF stands apart from these places in the fact that no one is trying to outdo each other. They all work together to strive for the same overall goals. Someone working here can take comfort in the fact that no one is waiting for them to make the wrong move and can therefore work in peace and reach their highest level of excellence. I hope I can always be in this type of environment.

“Spraying and Relocating!” from Randy Wong-Westbrooke

In Assistantship, Scenic Paint on May 27, 2015 at 11:31 PM

Wong-Westbrooke_Sprayer

This last week has been full of new things. Scenic art is full of so many tricks and techniques to achieve the faux finishes and textures we create onstage. To recreate the texture and sheen of a rod iron fence, we mixed graphite with black paint and applied the gloppy mixture onto the wooden cutout. Once dry, you’d sand away and most of the graphite remains giving that sheen. A coat of sealer is needed unless you want the graphite to rub off on everyone’s hands and costumes.

Next with my final design for the Juneteenth Banner getting approved on Friday, we started to mix colors and put them into air powered paint spray guns. I only worked with a spray gun once last summer at Cal Shakes, but I will say that I hardly remember anything. There are a lot of bits and pieces to keep track of when assembling the gun and a few knobs that control the amount of air being used, the amount of paint, and the nozzle. It will definitely take practice. Next we learned out to square a drop on the paint frame – also a new tool and method. Because the banner is long, but narrow, we got a feel for how to spray on paint evenly on the excess muslin underneath the final.  However, even before we started on the final we had to learn how to drive the lifts. Having not driven a car in nine months it was hard to get back into it with no help from the joystick controls. Once we were lined up though, I will say I was more comfortable spraying than driving.

This project is on hold until I return after this week. For the main season set pieces, the paint shop has not been overwhelmed the last couple weeks and my charge, Gabriel, has set me up with Rick Anderson in the Scenic Design Studio to help him with some model boxes. I also haven’t built any model boxes in about eight-nine months so I was nervous. I was expecting him to say this is how I want you to build a ¼” model of the Bowmer, but instead he gave me the printouts and two already built, yet slightly different older boxes to compare with. I was free to go about it however I wanted and that is liberating, yet also nerve wracking. It took some getting used to being in a different space without the tools I’m familiar with. I did discover, however, that the larger shell of the theater is fairly similar to the proscenium stage we have back at Ithaca College, minus the proscenium part obviously. Today I will probably be working on making the clouds above the stage and the walls with boxes for lighting on the sides of the theater. It’s really neat to look around at Richard Hay’s immense collection of art, history, theater, and design books filling up the shelves around me while I hold some glued pieces together to dry. Let’s hope I’m keeping up a good pace!

“OSF: Automated” from Jen Seleznow

In Assistantship, Automation, Jen Seleznow on February 12, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Jen Sleznow 1

Though I am writing my first blog entry on my fifth day of living here in Ashland, I already know that when my Assistantship is over, I won’t feel as though I’ve had enough time here at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  I am struck and moved by OSF’s diversity and inclusion mission because, while many organizations claim commitment to diversity, it seems to me that OSF actually walks the walk.  Throughout show introductions, the campus tour, and the season kickoff party, I noticed again and again that the wide range of faces and voices I encountered at our first FAIR meeting is reflected throughout the staff.

Despite the diversity of the company, I have noticed that the common thread which ties the OSF organization together is a shared passion for the work that is produced here. From Artistic Director Bill Rauch’s tears during his season kickoff speech, to the Director’s presentation for Comedy of Errors made by Kent Gash, to my own HOD James Dean’s automation creation genius, it is apparent that the people who work at OSF are extraordinarily ambitious, dedicated, and take pride in the work that is done here.

Jen Seleznow 1a

My passion for theatre technology and desire to learn as I work make me feel right at home here; I have already learned a ton working with Tim “Gizmo” Hannon to install the lift for The Tempest.  I will expand upon this week’s work next week as I build and assemble a smaller lift that will also be used in The Tempest.  I will admit, because everyone in the automation department is SO good, I am a bit intimidated, but I continue to remind myself that I am here to learn and improve my skills while I contribute to each show and the department as a whole. Needless to say, I am thoroughly excited to be here.

“Spaces” from Atesede Makonnen

In Atesede Makonnen, Shakespeare Dramaturgy Residency on February 11, 2014 at 8:17 AM

Atesede Makonnen 1.22.JPG

I seem to be preoccupied with spaces – last week’s post was about the bigger, encompassing space that is Ashland. This week, I focus on rehearsal spaces. The first week of read-through happened in the Great Hall, with all of us sitting at tables and reading the script together. Those first few days, the room felt almost impersonal, a place to meet and talk but not where art was created. We quickly moved to the actual stage of the Bowmer, wandering in awe around the bright red stage that was so uniquely cushioned and carpeted. I don’t want to say that it all became ‘real’ at that moment because that space is so very surreal, like walking through a dream or a nightmare. Even in plain clothes, the actors are transformed into otherly beings and the theatre seems to narrow into a colorful and limited/limitless world.

Going back to the Great Hall was a shock, back to the basement of an administration building, neutrally painted and with a flat, white floor. But suddenly a rack of costumes appeared, designs were taped to walls, and snacks began to appear. The floor got scuffed and brightly colored tape appeared to mark out the traps and boundaries of a real stage. The focus in this space is on the actors and their every move and word, on the text and the movements. The bright red of the Bowmer stage is only here in pictures on a wall, a lonely model, and the minds of the actors. This room, under the clacking keyboards and busy people in administration, is where the nitty-gritty takes place, where one scene is hammered out to perfection. This is where the art is created.

“It’s the Little Things” from Atesede Makonnen

In Atesede Makonnen, Residency, Shakespeare Dramaturgy Residency on January 23, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Atesede Makonnen 1.15

My first blog post is about Ashland. It’s a town quiet in ways I expected but vibrant in ways I didn’t see coming. Walking down the main streets, I’m reminded of small New England villages but a quick glance around offers a glimpse of a quickness that’s purely west coast! Shakespearean puns litter the store signs and when I look up (when there’s no fog creeping around) I see a ring of mountains, lovely and near.  A strange place for a Shakespeare festival and yet a strangely perfect one, especially as it continues to bring new plays to its line up. Its isolation lends itself to intense focus on the plays in production, something I’ve noticed in rehearsal.

One thing I’ve noticed is what has been said about diversity is quite true and in unexpected ways. I’m used to being a minority (I went to school in a small town of New Hampshire) but I was surprised by how lacking in some ways Ashland is in being friendly to POC. Trying to find hair oil of all things really brought that home to me. It reminds me of something said at our diversity mixer – on stage, diversity is coming through loud and clear in a new and exciting way. But in the more mundane aspects of life here, Ashland can be a bit behind, population-wise and in the little things, like catering to POC hair needs.

Nonetheless, I’m enjoying the town, its people, and Oregon as a whole. I can’t wait to explore more!

“Keep or Jot” featuring Peter J. Kuo – episode 1

In Assistantship, Directing, Peter Kuo on January 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM

EPISODE 1: This week on Keep or Jot, Peter Kuo breaks down life at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and its professional development program, FAIR. Enjoy!

“Back Home Again” from Hana Kadoyama

In Assistantship, Directing, Hana Kadoyama on January 19, 2014 at 7:37 AM

Hello from Ashlandia, where the mountains are finally getting some snow; where the deer are as vocal as the people; where there are more public Shakespeare references than anywhere in the world (or at least in the United States); and where hundreds of people are reuniting, rehearsing, building, meeting, singing and dancing as the first weeks of “school” are upon us.

The beginning of the OSF season does feel like the first day of school; we all gather after the 7-week off-season to welcome new company members and begin rehearsals for the first four shows of the year. And the first event of the new school year is Company Call, where the whole company piles into the Bowmer Theatre to introduce ourselves – new company members and 30-year veterans alike.

For me, this is a poignant “first day of school,” as it also marks a school year in which I’ll only be at OSF for a little space of time. I’ve been lucky enough to work at OSF in various departments over the last few years; this company has taught me more about life and art and theater than anywhere else I’ve been. I’ve recently made the move to Chicago – the real world, where bars and self-storage companies aren’t named after Shakespeare! – and am back in Ashland for 7 weeks as second assistant director on Tony Taccone’s production of The Tempest. Despite my history of OSF department-hopping, I have very little (read: zero) directing experience, and I’m incredibly lucky to be in a rehearsal room with Tony and my fellow A.D., this year’s Phil Killian Directing Fellow, Tom Ridgely. In our third week of rehearsals, I’m overwhelmed with the intelligence, instincts, and humor of this team and this community. It’s good to be home for a while.

Independence Day from Shaun Franks

In Archives, Green Task Froce, Internship, Shaun Franks on July 10, 2013 at 4:17 PM

Shaun Franks 7.10.13

This week started off great I was able to attend the 4th of July Parade in downtown Ashland. Claudia Alick invited people to utilize the lawn in front of her house to see the parade. I brought my family and was able to spend time with a lot of company members, it was a very cool experience.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the questions for the climate change survey scheduled to go out soon. I think it would be great to see how OSF company members view climate change. The possibility that TCG might distribute this survey throughout different theatre companies is also a big step towards awareness about environmental issues in theatre.

This week I attended the artistic staff meeting which I find very helpful in being informed about what’s going on at OSF. I was also able to attend the Archives First Friday Exhibit  in the Bowmer Theatre for Carl Ritchie and meet Carl Ritchie. I brought my wife and we had a great time learning about the historical preservation happening at OSF; I’m really excited about the $200,000 NEH grant they received.

I begun working on rewriting the Green Task Force Mission Statement, currently it reads more like a vision with a couple of goals associated with it. I’d like to establish a clearer vision so that we know what should be pursued. I also printed out all the minutes from the old green task force meetings so that I can begin work on a timeline on what has been accomplished thus far.

Shaun Franks

“Gifts to Uncover” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound Design on July 10, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Today is such a beautiful day. The warm sun radiates over our head bleaching our hair. The wind has a perfect breeze playing softly through the trees. The fragrances of different trees a plants veil the air. Rays and shadows dance below and through the trees. You can hear the rushing of water flowing down the creek. I am in love with the day. I had the afternoon to walk through a new (to me) portion of Lithia Park. I discovered the rose garden, fountain, and Japanese Garden. I even found the tennis courts. This side of the park is more open, clear, and meadow-like than the other side which is more trail like. I appreciate both.

It was so nice to have a clear view of the surrounding mountains without the interruption of power lines and street lights. Ashland holds many wonders that I wish I could discover before my tenure here is finished, but it is nice to know that there is still more gifts to uncover. How miserable would it be to know/think that you have seen it all. I love repeating experiences, but there is something so very magical and romantic about seeing something for the first time and then there is also the blessing, which is completely other, that is unwrapped when you realize how very special something is. Appreciation is filled with many depths that are uncovered very slowly. People say that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. It is very true, but I also believe that a moment, a memory, an experience is worth a trillion words that will be spoken more exquisitely as you age and understand each moment at a different point in life. Looking at the world around you is THE most important duty of an artist.

“Back in Tech” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound on June 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Back in Tech! I’m so excited to be back in this mode! It’s a new production and a new space for me to be working in. I feel like I’m adapting to the Thomas Theatre space quicker than I adapted to the Elizabethan. I’m not sure if that is because I’m familiar with the OSF sound department now or if I’m more used to spaces such as the Thomas. Either way I am definitely walking into this tech more comfortable than the last three.

We’ve had an exciting past couple of days! There are two giant important abstract scenes that are repeatedly being reworked for the best. Due to the rep system, we can’t be flexible enough to execute the original thoughts on these scene, so the director, playwright, and design team have been brainstorming other ways to illustrate the same ideas, while cooperating with the systems already in place for current running productions. At this point in tech I think they have come up with a brilliant compromise that enhances the scenes more. I’m excited to see the rest of the play and the collaboration in progress! I definitely feel privileged to see these artist think, create, and recreate. I feel like other occupations don’t allow you to become as vulnerable as theatre does. It is a true gift to be a part of.

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