…and I had left a piece of my heart in Ashland, Oregon last November. Just a week ago I arrived on a Greyhound bus to this little vibrant theatre heaven. After closing a show in California, and leaving pieces of my heart there, I made the trek north. I consumed theatre, I reconnected with dear friends, I addressed profound, heavy matters of my heart and soul and I have made the choice to return home to Albuquerque, NM for a deep breath and some healing. It is not lost on me that the experience of watching 8 plays brings up questions, challenges and revelations on love, life, loss and laughter. This can and should, stimulate catharsis that can help us face our own inner dilemmas, demons, desires and difficulties. That is the power of theatre. To sit in an audience of living breathing people and watch others on stage who appear just like us, who are searching for the same answers, feeling the same emotions, facing the same fears, there isn’t anything like it. No matter how much I binge watch television, nothing replaces live theatre and this week I had the pleasure of binge watching at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and I would do it all over again in a heart beat!
I was planning on heading back to New York for a little less than a month before a family wedding in Late October, but all my instincts were telling me to go home, to be with loved ones and to mentally, spiritually and physically prepare for my next job. As actors, especially as traveling actors, we are faced with the stress of constant transition, building and letting go of relationships, roles, locations and a perpetual feeling of unsettledness. All of this constant uncertainty can take a toll on the self, can overload and wear down the body and can confuse the heart. So solace, time, silence and healing becomes a necessity. For me New Mexico is where I can always find this peace of mind.
So today is a day of travel from one part of my heart to another. With time on my hands and a three hour layover, I turn to reflection of my recent theatre watching OSF. To give myself a creative challenge I only let myself express my experience in a Haiku poem! (Inspired by the character of “Odessa” in Water by the Spoonful.)
For 12 years, the exiled Duke Prospero has waited for this moment: Old enemies have sailed too close to his enchanted island, and a mighty storm has forced them ashore. Now it’s time to settle old scores and reclaim his former dukedom for his daughter, Miranda. Aided by supernatural powers, Prospero dispenses justice while overseeing the growing attraction between Miranda and the princely son of one of his foes. In Shakespeare’s romance, sorcery and love transmute vengeance into humility and humanity, making it possible for all to return to a world made new by the power of forgiveness.
White Bodies Sit Still
A Chance For Love, A Goodbye
Free In Love and Loss
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
Antipholus and his servant, Dromio, go looking for family they lost years ago. Traveling from the rural South, they journey to the big city and find themselves in the heart of the Harlem Renaissance. And surprise! Suddenly there are two identical Antipholi and two identical Dromios, which has everybody in town (including significant others) seeing double. To make matters worse, another family member is about to be executed for breaking local law. Laughs fly as the clock ticks in Shakespeare’s farce about the craziest family reunion ever.
Color, Smiles, Laughter
Where Are We All From?
Reunion Runs Deep
The king you love to hate returns. Richard III is the cunning royal reprobate so deformed in body and spirit that even his mother rues the day he was born. His path to England’s throne is murderous. He rules with a tyrant’s fist. He’s backstabbing and bloody. Yet he is so mesmerizing that we dare you to look away. Historically, Richard III may not have been such a villain, but where’s the fun in that? Shakespeare’s reworking of history is tragedy at its best—deep, rich and unapologetic.
Humor In Darkness
Blood On His Fingers, Each One
A WRINKLE IN TIME
Meg Murry is the quintessential square peg: a middle-school math whiz with glasses and a short temper. But when she and her strangely gifted little brother set off to find their missing father, they’re catapulted across time and space to a world where being different isn’t just an annoyance—it can cost you your life. Even with the help of curious otherworldly beings, Meg will have to conjure every power she can find, and then some, to put her family back together. OSF presents a new adaptation of this mind-expanding science fiction story that’s still a favorite with the young and young at heart.
Childhood Swells In Hearts
Imagination Soars High
Love, Love, Love, Love, Love
WATER BY THE SPOONFUL
A janitor. A software mogul. A college grad. An IRS paper-pusher. Although they live thousands of miles apart, these four people share a secret: They’re recovering addicts who’ve found a safe haven in an online chat room. There, with liberal doses of jokes and bullying, they help each other navigate the broken terrain of their lives. But when an Iraq War vet’s tragedy spills over into their cyberhome, everything changes. In this fearless, groundbreaking Pulitzer Prize–winner, worlds virtual and real unfold onstage, challenging our notions of family, forgiveness, community and courage.
Different, Moving, Heartbreak
Thirsty, Quenching Love
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA
Young Proteus only has eyes for his hometown sweetheart, Julia. But on a trip to Milan, he gets one look at the lovely Silvia . . . and dumps Julia in a heartbeat. Two problems: Silvia is his best friend’s girl, and Julia won’t be dumped that easily. Stir in some bandits, an outraged father and a bad-mannered dog, and it’s friend versus friend in a wild tale of romantic rivals. This sumptuous production of Shakespeare’s early comedy—with twists that echo in his later plays—honors and mirrors Elizabethan tradition with an all-female cast.
Matters Of The Heart
Women’s Tongues Tackle The Bard
Perfection On Stage
The Cocoanuts Music & lyrics by Irving Berlin Book by George S. Kaufman
Adapted by Mark Bedard
The service stinks but the gags are four-star in this Marx Brothers romp. Groucho owns a bum hotel in Florida and peddles dubious real estate to gullible Northerners seeking a place in the sun. He’s after a rich society dame, who’s after an eligible match for her daughter, who’s in love with the hotel’s head clerk. Trouble rolls in with the tide when the other Marxes arrive and mama’s eligible match turns out to be anything but. Mark Bedard (Groucho in 2012’s “Animal Crackers”) will adapt this jazz-age gem with songs by Irving Berlin.
Puniness and Romps
Musical Numbers With Flair
Warms The Heart To Laugh
THE GREAT SOCIETY
The tumultuous beginning of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency that Robert Schenkkan presented in “All the Way” (2012) continues in part two, “The Great Society.” In the years from 1965 to 1968, LBJ struggles to fight a “war on poverty” even as his war in Vietnam spins out of control. Besieged by political opponents, Johnson marshals all his political wiles to try to pass some of the most important social programs in U.S. history, while the country descends into chaos over the war and backlash against civil rights. This American Revolutions–developed world premiere is an unflinching examination of the morality of power.
It’s A Continuation
Will We Ever Learn?
Ashland in the Fall
It was heartwarming to be back on the OSF campus, to take in the Fall air of this little Southern Oregon town, to see the leaves start to change. Connecting with the company members I had grown to love and respect last season. Watching their work lit up my soul with pride, admiration and wonder. How is it that in this tiny neck of the woods there is a place where the written text can be shared, enjoyed and experienced by so many people? What a National Treasure, not to mention a two time Tony Award winning operation! Most recently for the Broadway production of All The Way, starring Bryan Cranston. This is a home for me, a place of imagination and beauty. I will be back, to watch, to work, to wonder.