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Posts Tagged ‘Director’

“Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks” from Hana Kadoyama

In Assistantship, Directing, Hana Kadoyama on February 11, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Hana Kadoyama 1.22

Of all the lessons OSF has taught me about art and life, perhaps the biggest is the importance of snacks. Sweet or savory, homemade or store-bought, full of sugar or full of protein, snacking is a big deal at OSF. Maybe it’s because we tend to work long, odd hours and sometimes you just need that 11pm pick-me-up; maybe it’s because of the wonderfully high population of fantastic bakers in the company. Or maybe it’s the community spirit of sharing food, gathering around the snack table on a rehearsal break or passing muffins around the meeting table. There’s no better icebreaker than chatting about food and comparing favorite recipes and combinations.

Here’s the real secret to OSF snacking: if you want to be in the room with the best snacks, work on a project with Lue Douthit. She may be the director of the literary department, but I’m convinced her real job is Provider of the Snackage. It was Lue who taught me the importance of a well-balanced snack table: savory and sweet, fruits and veggies as well as chocolate and chips, and always a gluten-free option for those who need it. And once a snack table has been established, it becomes a community project. Everyone contributes to it, and you end up with a food collage of people’s homemade recipes, impulse purchases, and sometimes even their leftovers. The snack table becomes the heart of the rehearsal room, a central topic of conversation, and the ultimate test of your self-control (today my self-control utterly failed me because KETTLE CORN).

There’s something familial about sharing food, and the OSF family has perfected the art of community snacking – an art for which I am deeply grateful.

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“Here Art is Created” from Jasmine A. Neal

In Assistantship, Directing, Jasmine Neal on February 10, 2014 at 6:10 AM

Jasmine Neal 1.22

Everyday (or night) I enter thru the side door of the Thomas Theatre into our rehearsal space. The Comedy of Errors is fortunate because unlike the other productions in rehearsal right now, we are able to stage in our performance space. This rehearsal process is different for me. Coming from mostly academic theatre into professional, the rehearsal schedule is more intensive. Kent Gash’s directing style is very unique. He is extremely knowledgeable; not only of this play , but of theatre in general. Because he was an actor,  a dancer, and now a director,  he sees the stage from several viewpoints. This process allows for a well-rounded play that can be enjoyed by all.

Comedy is being set in 1929/1930 New York during the Harlem Renaissance. The majority of the actors are people of color. This new setting brings a fresh and exciting twist to an old Shakespearean play. Because this is his shortest and one of his earliest plays, most don’t view it as they would his other works. It is often thrown to the side but Kent’s direction brings new meaning and purpose.  The themes of love, loss, and reunification are still relevant to this day, especially in the African-American/Black community. The unification of the family at the end of the play gives hope to families of all races. Love can truly stand the test of any time or situation. Dromio and Antipholus‘ relationship also shows that family is not defined by blood lines. Family is defined by love.

“Keep or Jot” featuring Peter J. Kuo – episode 2

In Assistantship, Directing, Peter Kuo on January 28, 2014 at 10:07 AM

EPISODE 2: This week on Keep or Jot, Peter Kuo shares OSF’s commitment to text-centric theater

“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.

“Why Shakespeare?” from Tom Ridgely

In Directing, Phil Killian Directing Fellowship, Tom Ridgely on January 16, 2014 at 8:24 PM

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Any theater artist, producer or spectator must at some point during their evenings spent at the theater ask the question: Why Shakespeare? Why do we come back to these plays again and again? Why do we see them in parks, on film, on, off, off-off (even off-off-off) Broadway and in schools? Why do theaters name themselves after him, dedicate their missions and their budgets to his oeuvre, and how does this draw thousands of people night after night to sit in the dark and listen those words? Is it the language, the characters, the comedy, the tragedy, the cross dressing? What is this mysterious hold that Shakespeare has exerted on the human imagination throughout history and across cultures?

After four centuries you would think we’d have moved on.

These were the questions rattling around in my head as I boarded a westbound plane two weeks ago. These were the questions rattling around in my head as I sat down at the table in the Great Hall to listen to the first read through of The Tempest.

And in Act V came an answer. Throughout the play Prospero has sought revenge on those who have usurped his kingdom, dispatching the fairy Ariel to torment them and administer a charm that will render them insane. Ariel reports back to Propsero:

Ariel: Your charm so strongly works ‘em

​That, if you now beheld them, your affections

Would become tender.

​Prospero: Dost thou think so, spirit?

​Ariel: Mine would, sir, were I human

Prospero: And mine shall.

Mine would, sir, were I human.

In this small but pivotal moment – Prospero’s reversal – Shakespeare both demands and defines our humanity. To be human is to behold another and to become tender. He gives Hamlet, the poor prince consumed by a revenge burden, a similar moment in Act V:

Hamlet: But I am very sorry, good Horatio

That to Laertes I forgot myself,

For by the image of my cause I see

The portraiture of his.

In this formulation, to be human is to look at someone else and see yourself. The act of doing so makes us larger, renders our cruelties impotent. Theater at its best, Shakespeare’s theater, fosters tolerance and empathy, teaches us humanity. Theater challenges the outer limits of that empathy – shows us the humanity that is in everyone – not just a small group of people who look and think like us. This is why theater, especially theater dedicated to Shakespeare, must be committed to diversity in the broadest, most expansive sense of the word. This is why I’m thrilled to be spending four months at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. And this is why Shakespeare will never lose his relevance or resonance – our affections can always become more tender.

-TR

“I Want My Ham! A Meditation on Hambone” from Donya K. Washington

In Assistantship on January 29, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Donya Washington Photo Week 2v2

I’m assisting on Two Trains Running and have the privilege of listening to the play every day. One of the characters in the play, Hambone, has essentially two lines. “I want my ham.” “He gonna give me my ham.” After listening to those lines for several days, one day I suddenly heard them. Although he seems simple, Hambone’s story is one of profound persistence in the face of injustice. For nearly a decade, this man has tried to claim what he believes is rightfully his – just payment for his services. Although he is offered a lower fee (a chicken), he refuses. He will take nothing less than a ham, no matter how many times he must ask for it. His request is simple, but his stubborn determination is profound.

Last week, January 21st, was the day set aside to remember the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During his final trip in Memphis, Dr King (along with many others) worked with the Sanitation Workers to help bring their strike to a successful conclusion. They are the ones you see in photos from the period holding signs that say “I AM a man.” This was not the first (nor would it be the last) time they had struck to fight for a living wage. Those men, like Hambone were fighting for their right to be heard, or as Dr King said the night before he died “We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people.” It seems such a simple thing, and something that today most of us are lucky enough to take for granted. But those simple things are often the most difficult to attain.

At a production meeting last week someone, in reference to using food on stage, said “We can’t do leftovers.” The phrase stuck with me. It seemed more profound than the intended meaning of the moment. Hambone wasn’t settling for leftovers. The strikers in Memphis weren’t settling for leftovers. And Dr. King certainly wasn’t settling for leftovers. What does this mean for me? I’m an artist. I’m black. I’m a woman. Many people fought and died for my right to ride on a bus and sit anywhere I please; many people fought and died for my right to so freely declare myself an artist – without my ancestors struggle for self-determination (their “ham”), I would not have been free to follow my heart into theatre. To honor their fight, I believe it’s my duty to give my all to my craft, to learn as much as I can and to speak with integrity through my work.

I need to fight for my own ham. We as a people should not settle for leftovers. It may take the stubborn determination of Hambone, but to get to the Promised Land we can’t settle for leftovers. I want my ham. He gonna give me my ham!

“The First Clear Day” from Greg Taubman

In Assistantship on January 29, 2013 at 7:31 AM

Greg Taubman Photo Week 1

I arrived in Ashland under the cover of darkness, driving into town several hours after sunset. When I awoke the city was bathed in grey, fog-covered. The top floor of the Ashland Springs Hotel was barely visible—to say nothing of the peaks of the surrounding mountains.  The fog continued for the next few days, obscuring the world at any more than a few yards distance.

It felt somehow appropriate. Here I was in a new place, off on a new adventure—it only made sense for the road ahead to be clouded, the future unclear. Knowing no one in town and having no place in particular to be, it felt natural to be cloaked in uncertainty.

And then suddenly one morning: utter clarity. Every brick of OSF’s campus, every tree on Mount Ashland, every blade of grass in Lithia Park shone beneath the clear sky. On days like that, when the world is born anew, it feels in a very literal sense like an epiphany: you can see the bigger picture and grasp where you fit in. These are the kinds of days I live for.

They are some of the most rewarding days in a rehearsal process, when things snap into place and you stop feeling like you’re groping through the fog together. In many ways this was an ideal way to begin my time at OSF: with a sense of mystery and getting lost and then, suddenly, found.

FAIR 2012

In Assistantship, Fellowship, Internship, Residency on February 3, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Hello FAIR 2012!  It’s going to be such an exciting season here in Ashland.  Not only are there eleven amazing shows to be a part of, but any number of theatrical opportunities!  Be sure to follow us on facebook as we embark on this remarkable adventure! Tickets are on sale now – Previews begin  February 17th

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