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Posts Tagged ‘Theater’

“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.

“Family is Where You Make It” from Ciara Ayala

In Assistantship, Ciara Ayala, Stage Management on February 10, 2014 at 11:50 AM

Ciara Ayala 1.22One of my favorite things about working in the theater is creating a new family with every show you create. Whether it be company members that have worked together for years or a slew of newcomers, each show is a new experience and a new family. OSF is no different. Even though I am thousands of miles away from home, it doesn’t feel that way. From watching football, to baking cookies, to going on group runs…everyone is so inviting! This last day off, I went to a party with a ton of colleagues, in a beautiful home, with delicious food. I was even able to torch my own crème brulee! How cool is that?! I’ve welded scenery, but never food. It was a blast (pun intended).

Not to mention the camaraderie within the rehearsal room. I knew from the first company call that our room was going to be an absolute riot, in the best way. There is so much freedom of expression, there isn’t ever any tension regarding “Can I try this?” The response is always “Of course! This is rehearsal.” It’s always really fluid, and really fun. One of the more outstanding moments happened during one mammoth of a monologue. The actor was doing a really great job, but every time the lines started to slip, the cast literally started cheering him on. I love that! It was great to see everyone so supportive, showing how close and comfortable the company has become. That’s why I love theater, and that’s what keeps me doing it every day. For moments like that (let’s get sappy now), when you are engulfed with friendship and can’t possibly escape that warm feeling in your heart. Have I mentioned that I love it here? Because I do.

“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.

“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.

“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

“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!

“What a Surprise” from Amelia Burke-Holt

In Amelia Burke-Holt, Internship, Props on January 23, 2014 at 8:52 AM

Amelia Burke-Holt 1.15

My first few days at OSF felt like I was back to the first week of college, something I was not too thrilled about. Being an introvert I am not a big fan of crowds, and feel uncomfortable doing ‘get to know you’ type of activities. I was pleased to see though, how friendly and welcoming everyone at OSF has been my first few days. Very little have I felt pressured to go out and get to know people, because they have come to me. I was also impressed by the variety of people I met and how people who worked in various areas at OSF all mixed together. In my high school theater, there was always the attitude that actors and technicians didn’t mingle, mostly due to difference in interests and personality. In college theater, this feeling wasn’t as universal, but I still found most of my friendships with others involved in scenery. I was pleasantly surprised then, to join a group of people expecting them all to belong to one department because of how well they seemed to know each other, to find a mix of all different interests.

Outside of the variety of people I spoke to on my first day at OSF, I have not spent much time with people outside the department I am working in, however every time someone walks through the shop, before they go I hear ‘Oh, have you met our intern yet?’ Overall, I have found the experience I dreaded of meeting new people in a new place to be surprisingly painless, and I look forward to getting to know more people as I explore all OSF has to offer me.

“Bittersweet” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound Design on July 24, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Cynthia Booker 7.24

It is so bittersweet to be leaving this Monday. I have found great joy and pride in my work here at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I have had to honor of working with five production, four designers, 3 spaces, nine fabulous sound technicians and engineers, and numerous theatre artists. I have also had the most pleasant summer weather I have ever experienced. I’ve been surrounded by a beautiful town with exquisite scenery. I have been challenged. I have grown. I have been blessed. The transient nature of working in theatre has always had two faces to me. You have the side where you can’t wait until it’s over and then the glorious side where you could wait a life time before it finished. I hate to leave this prosperous, vitalizing community but I know my current tenure has lapsed. I have to climb the next step on my path. But I am still holding out hope that one of the steps in my future leads me back to Ashland. I hope to return someday in any capacity to this cultivating company. In my first blog, I shared that I hope to find a home here in Ashland. I have indeed found a home branded in my heart and soul. I will carry the lessons with me throughout my life. After all, home is where the heart is. The people I have come to know, especially in the sound department will always hold my respect and admiration. Thank you Oregon Shakespeare for a beautiful experience.

 

“Social Construct” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound Design on July 17, 2013 at 1:48 PM

Cynthia Booker 7.17

IT’S TECH WEEK! I’m so excited with this production, because the designer is allowing me to do most of the programming in Q-Lab! This is also the first production I am working on in the Bowmer Theatre space, so there is also that freshness of atmosphere for me. Also, The Tenth Muse is such a solid piece. It’s fun to truly immerse yourself in such a foreign concept of castes and such, but within our world of American Theatre. It’s such an interesting social structure that I find myself looking up information about it. There is something more freeing about a world where the classes are publicly and vocally distinguished, instead of an unspoken, understood difference of classes here in contemporary America. After watching this I am sure some theatre goers will leave feeling confident that there world isn’t ruled by social construct. But in fact it is and it’s a little entrapping to be a part of. Overall, I wouldn’t want to be a part of a society that shows hierarchy, but the fact is: as long as more than one person is in the room anywhere on earth there will be a hierarchy/social construct/power struggle. We, as humans/animals, will always give way to the fight to be better than others or to self-dominance.  At least in the world of spoken guidelines, you have something to reference. In our American society, we look mostly at physical property to access someone’s social standing, which can sometimes be deceiving. I feel like I hide the truth of my social class fairly well through appearance. I guess that is the positive side of our society, we can easily put on a mask to tell a different story of our life without fear of persecution. These are my ramblings. Also, as a human I change my thoughts/opinions freely and often.

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

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