the Rest of the Story
....continued from Penguin Productions
The company performs completely outdoors on a brand-new performance stage just outside of Newberg. Says Forrer of the ambience, “Audience members may bring a picnic dinner and a blanket or travel chairs if they like,” adding “We have ample fixed seating for those who don't bring their own.” Due to the cool evenings, he encourages audience members to bring a jacket or sweater. However, to off-set the chills Forrer cheerfully notes “We will have wine for sale before the show and intermission!”
In choosing an outdoor venue, the repertory company faced concerns specific to staging performances in an environment involving natural versus artificial lighting, weather conditions and the length of daylight available during each successive performance. Forrer, detailing some of the various challenges, noted “Yeah…you have to be aware and consider when is the sun going to set and where will it set – so the audience can see. The actors have to fill the space outside in a way that is vocally healthy and preserve their equipment and voices because they have to do this for three weeks. You don’t have tech, so we pretty much have an area with lights up and down and dim, so it’s on the artistic team to tell the story with language and physical actions”.
The company is managed by Forrer, Gibbs and Dossett although both productions have been fortunate to have the help of several volunteers as well as local fundraising events. “Right now Daphne, Garrett, and I are the entire artistic and administrative staff. We're doing pretty much everything required to get us to our first season, from networking with local businesses and individuals to collect the donations that are funding our season expenses, to building the stage, to auditioning actors, to creating and updating our website and social media, to maintaining our local and governmental permits and paperwork, and beyond.”
However, he is quick to note they plan to expand their administration as the company continues to grow. “We plan to expand our board after our inaugural season to include citizens in Newberg and the Yamhill Valley who are passionate about what we're contributing to the community in order to have local voices take part in administrative decisions - and, frankly, to lighten our loads for future seasons.”
The premiere season was designed with several key considerations in terms of production value, technical concerns and thematic elements. “We couldn’t have a season of two tragedies, so Garret, Daphne and I decided on ‘As You Like It’ and ‘Macbeth’ for the inaugural because we wanted scripts with themes relevant to current issues.”
Forrer committed early to directing the drama “Macbeth,” but the founders had a particular vision for their season’s theme, which was illuminated by their choice of director for Shakespeare’s the comedy “As You Like It.” Once Forrer confirmed as director for the Scottish tragedy, “Then began our search for an established director,” he said. “We were thrilled to get Stephanie (Mulligan), and we are very excited to see the work she is creating.” Mulligan, a Linfield alumna, directed “Circle, Mirror, Transformation” last year at the McMinnville campus.
“Stephanie is a friend and colleague, and was actually in my and Daphne's graduating class at Linfield, having returned a little later in life to complete her Bachelor's,” says Forrer, adding “For ‘As You Like It,’ which features one of Shakespeare's strongest female characters in Rosalind, we knew we wanted to hire an established female director to tell that story.”
Gibbs, Dossett and Forrer share a vision of theater illuminating classic themes to modern audiences in a straight forward and minimalist setting. Forrer believes minimalist effect in outdoor staging enhances the production values. By freeing the actors to fully embody characters on stage, the visual quality is heightened, providing a more visceral experience for the audience
Says Forrer of the process, “Aesthetically speaking as a director, I like a certain sense of minimalism,” he explains. “We have evocative language describing what is happening in Scotland. It is evocative in that there are a lot of words about ‘night’ and ‘nighttime’…..the land itself is rejecting Macbeth.” His vision in directing it is to make the story accessible to a modern audience with modern sensibilities without sacrificing the morality tale it illuminates.
“I have to say I’m a sucker for drama and the dramatic elements,” he continues, “So many people – especially those who know these stories – if we can make them forget they know these stories and make the experience be fresh again for them – that is how you make the drama play work for them, because the audience becomes attached to the characters.”
As You Like It: Thursday, July 20th -Monday, July 24th
Macbeth: Thursday, July 27th-Monday, July 29th
Location: 5 G's Ranch. 17530 NE Terry's Lane, Newberg
for tickets and other information: penguinsonstage.com.
.... continued from WV Lavender Festival
and inside the front doors an essential oils showcase will grace the lobby. This is the first year essential oils will be featured at the event in this capacity. Local farms will submit oils cultivated and distilled according to standards set by the Oregon Lavender Association, and to be judged and awarded in categories like gold, silver, and people’s choice. The showcase is an opportunity to spotlight the benefits of essential oils, and organizer Marilyn Kosel looks forward to “growing it into an annual event, maybe even an international competition.” A 7-gallon distilling system will be on site and Kosel indicated that it will eventually “involve more than just lavender.” Kosel noted these accolades serve to further credential the farms involved. More information about the growers and distillers is available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/events/1063743267102965/
In addition to Yamhill County’s thriving viticulture industry, there are a number of tap houses, microbreweries and hobby brewers in the area who have been known to experiment with lavender ales, pairing it with complementary flavors like blackberry or honey with varying results. These are skilled zymurgists working with a finicky and pungent herb—a little bit can go a long way, they say. Organizer Sheryl Fickas confirmed a fine lavender brew will be available at the event, participating brewery to be determined.
The weekend after Independence Day, the Willamette Valley Lavender Festival and Plein Air Art Show will brighten up the grounds of the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg, Oregon at 415 East Sheridan Street—one block off 99W in central Newberg, 40 minutes from Portland or Salem, 20 minutes from McMinnville. Visit the festival’s official site at www.wvlavenderfestival.org
....continued from Gallery Theater
Gilbert Chu has worked with McCloskey on several productions, noting, “Carolyn is great to work with, and that makes an actor want to push to do more. She knows she can cast me in anything and I am willing to go waaaaaay out in left field to develop get a character just right,” he laughs. “I really enjoy working for her in any play,” added Chu. McCloskey advises the actors on their presentations and encourages them to analyze “…what the character wants from another character as well as how that goal is realized in the script.”
Judith Miller, working with the actors on staging scenes, encourages actors to tray different scenes and interpretations of characters. “It’s so much fun seeing how each person can play the same character,” says Miller. “We have so much fun watching each other work on scenes, and encourage anyone interested to come by and read with us.”
First time Gallery participant, Caroline O’Brien began sitting in on script readings as a listener, later becoming involved with performing with other actors. “It’s convenient and doesn’t have a big time commitment, so that works well for my schedule,” she commented, adding “The group dynamic is very comfortable and everyone involved is very welcoming and encourage experimental portrayals of different characters.”
Reader’s Theatre meets in July on the 10th and 24th and in August on the 14th and 28th of the month. Says McCloskey, “We are so happy for the opportunity to share with audiences the fun we have with our Readers’ Troupe. Anyone interested need not be an experienced actor. We meet in the Gallery Theater Loft from 2:30 to 4:30 the second and fourth Monday of each month.”
For more information go to http://www.gallerytheater.org/ or call (503) 472 - 2227 to contact the box office. Gallery Theatre is located at 210 North Ford Street in downtown McMinnville.