the Rest of the Story
Penguin Productions Schedule
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.
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Gibbs, Dossett and Forrer share a vision of theatre illuminating classic themes to modern audiences in a straight-forward and minimalist setting. Forrer believes minimal effects 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 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 said. “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.”
“The Scottish Play,” as Macbeth has been known, with its gore, ghosts and crones around a cauldron is an examination of political and physical lust as it spins out its brutal path across the harsh environs of 11th century coastal Scottish highlands.
The production’s cast includes Cody Wittlinger as Macduff, Tommy Stallone as Banquo, Garret Gibbs as Malcom and Jesse Groat as the doomed King Duncan. Forrer’s enthusiasm about the script is rooted in his love of language, noting “The folio was basically what the company was asking ‘What do we best remember of what we performed?' The actors had to remember the plays as best as possible. This is why ‘Macbeth’ is considered one of his (Shakespeare’s) most authentic works. It plays out as if it is what is called a ‘performance cut,’ capturing much of what would not have been included in a finished script.” Forrer is captivated by the drama of the script as well as the language, but it is the play’s plot that inspires his direction of it. “The plot is just spectacular. Rereading it – you just think – ‘It's just so smart!’ It speaks to me in terms of seeing Shakespeare academically,” he says.
The Bard's dark musings on ambition, lust, betrayal and murder examined in “MacBeth” are a counterpoint to the lighthearted misbegotten romantic pairings of the several couples depicted in “As You Like It.”
Both plays examine the real and perceived worlds of characters interacting with one another, whether in the pastoral and enchanted Arden, or the haunted and cursed land of bloody Scotland. The natural worlds in both scripts are themselves characters, acting as catalysts to the unfolding of the plots in each of the stories.
The theme of confusion of identity influences the course of the story line. “As You Like It” concludes with happy endings for four love struck couples with playgoers assured of happy endings for the lovers, in contrast, “Macbeth” is the dark mirror through which the audience experiences the dissolution of friendship, marriage, sanity and political stability cast against a gruesome backdrop of battle, madness, murder and betrayal.
The Forest of Arden, the setting for “As You Like It,” acts the role of beguiling trickster, manipulating the lovers into and out of incompatible amorous parings until ultimately they discover their true love in the revelation of their truest selves. Scotland’s Birnam Woods is Arden’s nightmare reflection where confusion also reigns, but the tragedy of Macbeth is resolved in a bitter and bloody conclusion. The wild and desolate primeval setting harks back to a time when kings were considered bridegrooms of the lands they ruled. This is the premise of the prophecy revealed to Macbeth by the iconic three witches who fortell his twisted rise to power.
Forrer is fascinated by the multi-faceted aspects of Shakespeare’s depiction of villains as human beings. “It is so important to make characters, especially in tragedy and especially those who become villains like Macbeth, to find actors who make them likable and portray them as human beings, not just mustache twirling villains or ‘Dudley Do-Right’ heroes,” he insists. He also admits to an affection for those plays depicting imperfect heroes with their human faults on display.
Although Shakespeare's plays provide the basis for Penguin Productions' premiere season, the company does not plan to limit themselves to only works by the Bard of Avon. “We are not limiting ourselves to Shakespeare,” explained Forrer. “It won’t happen in 2018, but we have a number of scripts we like, including Edward II ...so we don’t want to limit ourselves – Brecht is a personal favorite, as well as lesser known works from the turn of the century.”
Forrer encourages interested individuals to “like” Penguin’s Facebook site, affirming “We have ticket giveaways on our Facebook page for every performance date for people or families that couldn't otherwise afford to attend. People will need to have "liked" our page to see details about the giveaway program.”
Go to Penguin Production’s website at https://www.penguinsonstage.com/
for show times and ticket prices or call (503) 739 – 4660 for more information. The Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/penguinsonstage/ also provides special notices, images from rehearsals, as well as direction to the venue.
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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
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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.