I am on the tail end of a 6 day hiatus from our show up here at OSF. The incredible and highly anticipated Universes’ production of UniSon went into tech this week in the Angus Bowmer Theatre, thus giving the current running productions in that space some time off, it’s called the “Bowmer Break.” The temperatures have dropped recently and I have found myself spending a lot of time at home, binging netflix (Finally finishing all of The Sopranos, Completing Big Little Lies in 2 days, and now I’m in the middle of 13 Reasons Why and Broadchurch) keeping score while watching Jeopardy, the occasional Yoga with Adriene video, and having fun in the kitchen! It’s been a time of reflection, rest, creativity and long walks.
Looking back at the end of March here are a few of the highlights:
First! MILES CAME TO VISIT!!!!!
It was a whirlwind of a week, too short by far, but filled with exploration, eating, walking, laughing and just soaking each other up. I was so happy to finally be able to share this little corner of the earth with him, the sights, the people, the beauty and wonder. He saw our show four times and each time had new insights and thoughts about our story. We found favorite places, enjoyed being at home together and chatted with old and new friends. It would be a dream for both of us to work on these stages during a season together. We know it would take the perfect alchemy to work that out, but for now we can dream about being on that Elizabethan Stage together one day… The Scottish Play perhaps…? In the 2+ years we have known each other, saying goodbye hasn’t become any easier. I was a challenge to make the decision to come up here and spend 6 months away from our Pasadena Paradise, but after seeing our show he told me “I am so happy you took this gig, this is so important.” It made my heart swell to hear that. His support over the years is a huge part of why I was able to be here in the first place. He invited me to live with him in Pasadena when I needed to be a “local hire” for a play in Los Angeles. Since then he has been such a force of inspiration, comfort, sustenance and love. How I wish he could be up here the whole time, but he has important work of his own to do…. So until the next time he can escape from LALA land, I will hold the memories of his visit close to my heart…
The week after Miles left I had the pleasure of meeting two school groups that attended our show:
The first was a small group of theatre students from Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto. A dear colleague, who I met over 2 years ago in the bay area, contacted me to ask if I wouldn’t mind meeting with his students before our show to get to know them and talk about life as a theatre artist. We met on a sunny day, had lunch and a great conversation about what each student’s passions were in the theatre, be it stage management, directing, acting, writing, set design, they covered it all. They saw the show that evening and then I met up with them for a brief chat after the show. It was a wonderful connection to know they were in the audience, and talking with them afterwards was so nourishing. They shared their thoughts about the final, devastating moment and we chatted about technical and emotional moments in the show. It was a treat!
During the month of March I participated in a 5 course class on ASL, taught by OSF’s very own Julie Simon. Although I have a very basic grasp of this incredible language I was so excited when I ran into the students from Oregon School for the Deaf after an evening production. I communicated as much as I could and they all helped me with phrases and words I didn’t know. Our show was interpreted that evening and when I asked how it went they told me it was one of the best interpreted shows they had attended. We had three interpreters, one to play Medea, one to play Tita and one to play Acan, Armida, Hason and Josefina. They saw the show 6 times to study the performance and prep for one night of translation! How I wish I could have watched their performance. I am so proud to work for an organization that recognizes the need and importance of incorporating ASL into their productions and what a thrill it was to use what little ASL I have absorbed with this fantastic group of students!
The final highlight is a family outing!
My onstage son Acan, played beautifully by Jahnangel “JJ” Jimenez invited the cast to see his brother perform at the Camelot Theatre in Talent, OR. They have a series called Spotlight that showcases different musicians and for this particular show JJ’s brother Rodrigo portrayed Ritchie Valens. My stage husband, Lakin Valdez, and I drove to talent to meet up with JJ, his sister and Mom. The production was called “The Day The Music Died,” and followed the lives of the three artists (Ritchie Valens , Buddy Holly and The Big Boppa) whose plane went down on February 3rd, 1959. I was amazed at the voices of all the artists on stage and the live band was spectacular. The narrator, who also sang and played music, was a cousin to Ritchie Valens on her mother’s side. It was a wonderful evening of music history, and Rodrigo sounded just like Ritchie Valens!!! We saw a few folks who had seen our show and we joked about us having a family night out: Medea, Hason and Acan….
In between binging TV, walking around Ashland and cooking I dusted off my art supplies!
I’ve always been a multimedia artist, and since a very young age I have drawn/colored/doodled/sketched. During this break I picked up my Oil Pastels and began a series of pieces inspired by words and thoughts. I remember an art teacher I had at a young age who would push me to keep working every time I thought I was done with a piece. I realize now how much that practice comes into play in my acting. We are never completely done fully realizing our characters. There is always something more we can discover and work with. I forgot how meditative and calming it is to work with my hands and the colorful pastels. Patterns would emerge, feelings would surface, and the piece would reveal itself to me. Does anyone remember the activity in grade school that would involve a blank piece of paper with a black “squiggle” or “doodle” on it? Our assignment would be to make something of it, anything, with that one little shape. I specifically remember in 4th grade I turned a random shape on a blank page into a penguin in a desert….
Below are four pieces I created over the break. I am excited to keep going, and if you have any words or thoughts to inspire a piece leave me a comment!
Our long break is over and we have our first show after 6 days off!
It has been a rejuvenating time off but I cannot wait to get back to our theatre, our world, our story, our words…