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Posts Tagged ‘OSF’

“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.

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“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.

“Diversity Again?” from Amelia Burke-Holt

In Amelia Burke-Holt, Internship, Props on February 3, 2014 at 8:45 PM

Amelia Burke-Holt 1.22

I have two big passions in life. Feminism/queer theory and building cool things for the theater. I’ve been able to study both of them in college, as a theater major and gender, sexuality and women’s studies minor. When arriving at OSF, it was pretty obvious to me I would be learning a lot about theater, but I had no idea how much my social justice brain would be stimulated as well. Going into my first FAIR Forum specifically themed around diversity, I was less than thrilled. Coming from an academic environment where I’m used to discussing diversity at length every day, I was prepared to not learn about anything new. I was pleasantly surprised. Three hours later when I left the meeting to go back to the prop shop, my social justice brain would couldn’t get off the topic. Talking to a fellow FAIR participant the next day we both experienced the need for the conversation to continue, after the meeting had come to a close.

In the discussion, I was familiar with all of the terms we had discussed, however the group brought up points of view I had never considered before. Coming from a feminist and queer theory background, I’ve explored them at length, and through intersectionality, explored other issues such as race through their lenses. What interested me particularly in this FAIR Forum, was hearing people’s experience the other way around; looking at women’s and queer issues through the lens of race. As in many aspects of life, it is important to recognize where you can be a teacher, and when its most important to sit back and listen. The subject of diversity especially demands this, as we all have different, valuable experiences and ways to look at the world.

“Go Home” from Erik LaDue

In Erik LaDue, Richard L. Hay Fellowship, Scenic Design on November 20, 2013 at 9:36 PM

Erik LaDue 11.20

“Erik, go home.”

I get that a lot. Every day, actually.

“It’s late. Go home.”

During my first week here with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I’ve been delighted by the ease of simply being: being a craftsperson and an artist. On my first day, I was given a desk and the model of the Elizabethan Stage with last season’s scenic model still glued down to it. Immediately, I set to the task of…gingerly…dismantling and preserving the old design while refurbishing the Elizabethan. I used a prop knife I found in the Design Studio, still stained in fake blood, to wedge the various model pieces off the ½” model box. It looked like a tedious murder scene.

As soon as my task was finished, I was whisked away into the next project: updating and expanding the min-Elizabethan stage’s dimensions, adding downstage step units, etc.

At this point, they have me working on the model for the next design for the stage: Richard III. Drafting plates are floating to my desk all the time; an update, more details, flushed out molding details, etc.

At the end of last week I had stated that being at OSF was like a vacation. “Oh, well, we’ll have to get you working more,” some in the company have said.

My terminology is misunderstood.

“Erik, go home”

In an environment where information and resources are streamlined, a practitioner of the theater can work with a satisfaction. This satisfaction derives from the knowledge that putting in their 100% will have a yield of at least 100%. There are practically no restrictions on the artists that work here. OSF pushes for artistic efficacy. There is no wasted time or resources, just the direct labor of those that work here. Being an independent artist for the last two years, I am astounded at this opportunity to strive without material limits. My work is directly proportional to my output. This makes OSF an island resort for craftsmanship and art, inspiring only a desire to push one’s own output.

“Erik, stop working and GO HOME”

“But, Rick, I’m enjoying myself to much”

“What’s the Password?” from Danielle Leigh Hicks

In Internship on January 29, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Danielle Leigh Hicks Photo Week 1

This is the unspoken phrase that I anticipated I would hear upon starting my internship with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s lighting department. There is a general understanding that every department, at every company, everywhere has their own language and camaraderie amongst employees. This can be difficult to mesh with upon becoming the “new person”. This is what haunted me as I entered the light shop on my first day at OSF. I expected to see the faces of those much more experienced than I, looking down at me with the expression of “Are you really one of us?”

THIS IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED AT ALL.

While I was already acquainted with Michael Maag, the Head of the Lighting and Video Projection Departments at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I was not familiar with any of the other lighting employees. To my surprise, they welcomed me with open arms and a wrench in hand, guiding me through my first few days in a way that was most helpful and educational. Everyone who I have met thus far in this company has been warm and welcoming, showing me that no matter what, I can go to anyone for help or just to chat about my day. It is a place that I would recommend to any theatre professional – young or old, experienced or not – to come to learn and to teach and to grow. It is a place that I have dreamed of coming to for many years, and I am incredibly excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work helping to create some of the most inspiring and passionate theatre in the country.

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