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Posts Tagged ‘Theatre’

“Why Monster?” from Tom Ridgely

In Directing, Phil Killian Directing Fellowship, Tom Ridgely on January 28, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Tom Ridgely 1.22

We had our first stumble through of The Tempest today. And since Tony had foregone an initial read in favor of diving into table work, it was actually our very first chance to hear the play uninterrupted (more or less) from beginning to end. Of course, as always, you notice different things when you take a step back and view a play as a whole. Different things pop and catch your ear, or your attention. In that spirit I decided to make a word cloud of the entire script (above).

A word cloud, in case you’re not familiar, is a visualization tool (read: toy) that renders any copy you might care to paste as a randomly arranged conglomeration of words rendered in different sizes, colors and fonts. The cool part is the words that occur most often are displayed the largest.

After removing the most common articles, prepositions and pronouns – as well as character names and stage directions, here’s what you get. These are the words the characters speak to each other. Which ones seem to pop?

‘Here’ and ‘sir’ look to be the biggest, which perhaps shouldn’t surprise too much for a play about exile and discovery full of kings and dukes and their vassals and offspring. But the one that really leaps out is ‘monster‘. Could it really be used that much more often than ‘brave’ or ‘strange’, the verbal motifs that assert themselves most insistently upon reading?

But word clouds never lie. ‘Monster’ appears 38 times in the Folio text, versus 14 times for ‘brave’ and 17 times ‘strange’. And of course we know to whom it invariably refers: Prospero’s ‘savage and deformed slave’, Caliban. But Caliban, however monstrously he might be rendered in production, is still a human being. Both Prospero and Miranda – who ought to know – confirm this. Yet, over and over Shakespeare has his characters use this word to subordinate and strip Caliban of that humanity.

Words can do that. They can break down the fundamental ‘we’ and ‘us’ into ‘you’ and ‘them’. We can safely say that Shakespeare was a man who chose his words carefully. So maybe it’s worth stopping to ask, why did he choose that word? Why do we choose the words we use?

-TR

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“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!

It Started witn a Bang! from Regina Morones

In Audience Development, Internship, Regina Morones on June 19, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Regina Morones 6.19

My first day as a FAIR intern kicked off at the weekly FAIR Forum. It kind of felt like the first day at school—a mixture of excitement and anticipation to meet other fellow participants. I had a great time getting to know everyone over a delicious breakfast spread of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, biscuits and even chocolate cake! I found out later that this is not the usual weekly FAIR Forum. It was a special FAIR Forum to say goodbye to several of the directing fellows and interns that were leaving in the next couple of days.

Although it was great meeting them, I wish I had more time to hang out and get to know them better before they leave. Overall, the highlight of the day for me was meeting Carmen Morgan, OSF’s diversity and inclusion consultant, who talked to the group about her work with OSF building internal diversity and inclusive capacity as well as the many obstacles faced by people of color in the theatre industry. This really hit home for me because as a women of color pursuing acting in theatre as a career I have faced racism on many different levels. In order for change to happen we have to be comfortable being uncomfortable and initiate these conversations that expose the racial inequalities and biases prevalent among the theatre community.

It’s Getting Interesting… from Azalea Micketti

In Azalea Micketti, Internship, Stage Management on May 26, 2013 at 12:53 PM

I am so fascinated by the daily change in the rehearsal room. Some days it is smooth as butter, easy as making tea. Everything clicks, everyone is in sync, it’s quick, efficient, and organized. Other days it is like wading through a bog. Nothing lines up, words don’t make sense, time moves slowly and talking is painful. It is at these times that you truly see the nature of our human experience. Everyone reacts differently, experiences differently, copes differently. I have learned so much all ready, not just about theatre, but about being an adult. About letting go, not taking things personally, knowing when to hold your tongue, and understanding that someone else’s bad day doesn’t have to effect yours. Emotions run so high and it is so important to be respectful of the individual’s process as well as the collective exploration that takes place.

More than anything, this internship has only increased my desire to be an actor, a writer, and even a director. I want to continue to experience life through theatre, and share that with others. But more than that, it has begun to teach me what sort of person I want to be, what sort of art I want to create, and what sort of relationships I want to cultivate. I think it is so important to maintain artistic integrity in everything you do, no matter how ridiculous it is. For the first time I actually like The Taming of the Shrew, and I attribute a lot of that to the attention to detail and the importance of story that has been beautifully encouraged by the director and incredibly well manifested by the entire company.

“A Tale of Two Designers” from Cynthia Booker

In Assistantship, Cynthia Booker, Sound Design on May 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM

It’s been a whole week, however, I feel like I’ve lived through a month. Every evening I have been in techs for the three Elizabethan productions for this season. I have the opportunity to work with two different designers. I’ve never teched three shows simultaneously, so that in itself is interesting. Further, I am working with two different designers. The most fascinating observance I have made is how both designers are polar opposites and how each production environment is completely different. The two designers I am currently working with are Sarah Picket and Paul James. Paul James is sound designing Cymbeline and The Heart of Robin Hood. He is very independent and seems to have all his thoughts written on an invisible black board directly in front of him. He is very intriguing to watch work. He kind of reminds me of how Tony Stark works in his laboratory with his digital information floating around. He just sort of reaches up and pulls what he needs out of the air. Each of his designs he approaches differently. With Cymbeline, he has a very close and open relationship with the director, so he is able to work more organically. He seems more at peace with this approach. With Robin Hood, he has to be very prepared and precise due to the large number of cues and the director knowing exactly what he wants. I was surprised at the difference in one artist in the same space with a different production. It really illustrates a great example of why we as artist must stay flexible with each production process in order to best serve each production fully.

Sarah is designing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is much more controlled in her design than Paul James. She was very quick to assign an immediate task in order for me to assist her. I believe she truly enjoys investing in my sound design knowledge. I wasn’t surprised to hear that she is a professor. Paul James is also really great at telling me why he made certain choices within each design and sharing his development as a theater professional. It’s interesting to see the differences between the academic and the freelancer. I’m learning much from both designers. I can also feel myself settling in and feeling more confident with my work here. It’s very relieving. J Douglas and the sound staff have also been really encouraging and instructive in the engineering and technical side of things. I’m definitely adding more skills into my rolodex of knowledge.

“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.

“The Things You Won’t Ever See” from Julia Welch

In Assistantship on February 10, 2012 at 3:36 PM

What I’m enjoying most about working in the scene shop are small projects that require some sort of creative problem solving. I like being given a task and told to figure out how to best create the piece. The first one I did was an arched piece to be added on top of the ANIMAL CRACKERS portal. I was given measurements, but then pretty much let free to build it as I pleased. I finally feel like I’m comfortable enough in the shop to work as I want. I can grab lumber and play with the scraps. I can wander to and from, in and out of the theatres (well not wander, more move with a purpose). I can confidently use most of the machinery without having to ask for help or permission. And I feel ok if something doesn’t go exactly right.

My very first project on day one was to cut these strips of fabric that will drop from the ceiling and indicate rain in THE WHITE SNAKE.  It’s a beautiful design and a cool concept, but a pain to create. I used this light blue poly silk called voile. The first problem was that the edges of the fabric fray like crazy when it’s cut, and the designer doesn’t want to surge the sides. What the carpenters came up with was using a hot knife that burns as it cuts so the poly melts and seals off the edges as it goes. But it took a long time and it was nearly impossible to get a strait line since these things are 30 feet long!

There was not enough room in the shop, nor clean space, to lay out the fabric and work so Chris (the other scenic carpentry assistant) and I were set up in a hallway over in the New Theatre. Make use of wherever you are, I guess. We cut some masonite stencils, but it still took about forty minutes per piece and we had to make 32 of them. It was a long first few days!

The sheets are so tall and have to be rolled up every night, or between changeovers. It’s a time consuming process so I was also tasked with finding a way to wind them up easily and quickly and simply.

I ended up building a piece that gets mounted to a wall that will hold a slotted dowel. The fabric can be loaded on the dowel and then any phillips screw gun can wind it up.  I made a few prototypes and played with different modes of adhering and releasing the fabric. It’s funny to think I spend a bunch of time making something that will never be seen by an audience, but will save the crew hours of time.

I ended up with a design that worked, and worked well enough that I was asked to make a few more of them!  It was great to see all sides of a project from start to finish.  And I liked the freedom to play, to be creative, and to experiment.  I hope there’s more of that down the line.

“Snake Tail Today” from Kaylyn Kilkuskie

In Assistantship on February 10, 2012 at 3:33 PM

The other night I returned home with some new holes in my fingertips from working my needle between wire, through plastic and bias tape (for White Snake). There were spirals upon spirals that needed to be sewn in a way that I just couldn’t make my hands execute with any sort of grace, resulting in a “good enough…maybe” sort of situation.  The person who had given me the project had done one of these tails already and was probably just happy that she didn’t have to make the second one completely on her own.

Setting up the project seemed to be quite the effort in itself. There was an “oooo ahhh” moment when I went back to my station. “What are all of those pins for?” I think I can safely say that there were over 100 safety pins in my project. About 6 hours later all the pins had been removed and I got to move on to the next stage.

With the next stage I came to realize that the first part was mainly tedious and part two was the official challenge, now the project was cumbersome and fighting how it wanted to be held as it was worked on.  And the day finally came to an end.  I was less than proud, somehow hoping people wouldn’t see the flaws in my stitch work and stamp me on the forehead “incapable”.  Now I am aware that this is quite a dramatic thought process, but it happens.

The shop started emptying out and I took one last moment with the snake tale, I was happy for the challenge and the knowledge of how to potentially handle the construction of one if the necessity ever came about again, and I reminded myself that it was functional, beauty comes with time, which I still have. As always tomorrow is another day and sometimes things go wrong, and more often than not they don’t, so I am going to focus on those in order to get through days like these.  Plus how cool is it to say that you made a snake tail today?

“A Pocket Sized Enchanted Carriage” from Tatiana Kuilanoff

In Fellowship on February 10, 2012 at 3:12 PM

When it comes to model making, rules and guidelines are virtually nonexistent. Yes, books are sold giving tips and advice on how to construct a “realistic” looking brick wall or a standard dining chair in a variety of scales and sizes…but sometimes these instruction manuals don’t provide all the answers. From time to time, you get that one project that is so complex and difficult in function or shape that you don’t know where to begin.

In short, you’re stumped.

You sit there at an impasse, looking down at a scrap pile of paper, glue, tape, a variety of wooden sticks, blades, modeling paste, etc. and you wonder why your dumb manual didn’t mention how to build this particular thing. You think, “How do I do this? Where do I even start?”

It can be frustrating at first and make you momentarily insane, but honestly, it’s one of the more exciting feats one can take on when building model pieces. Why you ask? Simple- because it allows you to be creative and use your imagination.

I encountered such a scenario myself not too long ago. The challenge: building a ½” scale model of Cinderella’s Pumpkin Carriage. Sounds simple enough, that is until you look at it more closely and try to figure out how to build it. Who knew a pumpkin had so many grooves and curves! Initially, I hadn’t the foggiest idea how to build it. All I had were the basics: paper, glue, modeling paste, sandpaper, blades and who knows what else. Consequently, this project was going to be one big experiment.

I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

I started off by cutting bits of paper and gluing them together to form a globelike structure. However, at first it looked nothing like a pumpkin (more like a sad little scrap ball put together). So then I whipped out the modeling paste and smothered my paper globe. This part took a bit of waiting time because everything had to dry before you could add more layers. Nevertheless, it showed promise as grooves of a pumpkin began to form.

After what I deemed enough paste (didn’t want to get too putty happy), I sanded down the structure to give it a smooth finish.

Putting aside the main body of the structure, I began working on the wheels of the carriage. Wheel spokes, the thickness of floss, were sliced from wooden dowels while the wheels themselves were cut from a variety of cardstock. Once the wheels were done and the pumpkin body completely dry, I began to gold leaf the pumpkin carriage. (This was the most enjoyable part because I had never gold leafed before. It was quite exciting!)

Taking all the parts and pieces, I finally glued the structure together and miraculously, Cinderella’s Pumpkin Carriage was born.

…This project ran the course of a few days, but I was most relieved when I finished it.

Looking back, this project initially proved itself quite challenging. No instruction manual. But because of a bit of creativity and imagination, I managed to successfully build Cinderella’s Carriage. So let that be a lesson to ya…if there’s a will (plus a bit of imagination), there’s a way.

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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