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Posts Tagged ‘Harlem Rennaissance’

“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.

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“Lucky” from Ciara Ayala

In Assistantship, Ciara Ayala, Stage Management on January 15, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Ciara Ayala 1.15a

So I’ve been up here in Oregon for about a week, and it is everything I wanted it to be and more. I wasn’t nervous, I was excited, which is not a foreign emotion for this girl 🙂 The past 4 years I’ve been saying “I’m so excited for the rest of my life!” day in and day out. There were moments when you wouldn’t hear those words for months at a time…but let’s be real, sophomore year is no easy feat. Now that chapter of my life is over, I am so incredibly grateful for the education I have earned. I owe so much to those who made me feel confident and comfortable going into one of the largest regional theatres in the nation.

I wanted to tell everyone the second I got here how absolutely overjoyed I was. Now that I’ve been here a week, I am still just as elated with every step I take. I have wanted to work with this theatre company since I was a freshman in college. With my first application, I was accepted with a job immediately following graduation. As if that wasn’t enough, I was put to work on COMEDY OF ERRORS set in the Harlem Renaissance (awesome, right?!). This is already such a fun, enriching project. Most are aware that a strong mission of OSF is cultural diversity and inclusion. Well, I couldn’t be happier. As I’ve gone from one experience to the next, I’ve realized how blissfully unaware I’ve been to race, or gender, my entire life. I truly never see the difference in someone until it’s addressed by themselves or another. We are all human, we are all capable. It’s beautiful to see such an array of body types, ethnicities, and equal representation of genders in the theatre. I’m so thankful to be in an industry that is constantly (at least attempting) to push the envelope. Not to mention how proud I am to be a part of a season that is primarily female playwrights!…aside from Billy Shakes… Well, enough of that for now. In short, I am absurdly lucky.

I will leave you with a Naomi Wallace quote relayed to the company via Artistic Director Bill Rauch:

“When we cross boundaries, when we violate our own skin to know the heartbreak or hope or resistance of another, what we come closer to, surprisingly, is ourselves. Because through imaginative empathy, we revive our own humanity. So, to put it simply, we must be where we are not, because if we look down we will see that we are already there, here, among those that we are encouraged to believe are strangers. Who suddenly are no longer strangers.”

Happy 2014, y’all

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