Past Articles from the News
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.
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.
Gallery at Ten Oaks Showcase
by Caroline O'Brian
On Saturday July 8th the Gallery at Ten Oaks will host a reception from 3:00 to 7:00 PM to honor the Official Selections to the “art of Film” artist showcase. The afternoon will feature work submitted by artists with themes relating to TV or film, and is a cross-promotional event to promote the 7th annual McMinnville Short Film Festival in October.
This year, artists submitted their work from April 15th to June 15th to be considered for the showcase. Official Selections from those submissions will be featured on display and for sale throughout the month of July.
Located at 801 SW Baker Street in McMinnville, the venue currently features the work of several artists, including Terry Peasley, John Stromme and Rick Schanche.
Event coordinators and hosts Dan and Nancy Morrow are proprietors of the Gallery at Ten Oaks as well as the directors of the annual October McMinnville Short Film Festival (MSFF). This year, the MSFF will be on Saturday and Sunday October 21-22 and will be held at the McMinnville Cinemas, 300 NE Norton Lane.
Last year, the MSFF staged a ‘kick-off’ celebration for the festival by offering a ‘Locals Night’ the Thursday before the event, which was filmed by the local cable access station, McMinnville Community Media. Depending on local submissions this year, they hope to offer this again in 2017 to showcase local talent.
This year’s MSFF keynote speaker is Janice Williams, President of Productions for Groundswell Productions. Williams will speak on Sunday, October 22 during the Awards Dinner to wrap up the festival.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Williams moved to London after college and spent her early adulthood ensconced in the music industry, during which time she worked with Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger to establish “Jagged Films,” his independent production company. She later went on to become an Emmy-nominated producer for HBO’s “Confirmation.” She also helped produce “Love, the Coopers” (starring Dianne Keaton, John Goodman and Marisa Tomei) and 2015’s “Trumbo” featuring Academy Award Winner, Brayan Cranston in the title role of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.
“We are very excited about having her speaking at the event this year,” said Nancy Morrow of Williams.
Submissions to the MSFF began arriving in December last year and will continue to be accepted thought the first of August this year. The festival plans to announce the Official Selections by mid-September.
Visit the festival site mcminnvillefilmfest.org for submission details and other general information or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to contact the festival coordinators.
June Senior Reader's
Gallery Theater program provides light humor on a summer afternoon.
By: M. Bryan O'Carroll
A ditzy girl friend from high school, dark comedy in a small southern town and a bellicose family gathering for the funeral of an eccentric relative are fodder for an afternoon of comedic distractions Sunday June 25th when Gallery Theater’s “Reader's Theater” performs a selection comedic scenes. A five dollar donation at the door covers a free dessert during intermission in the air conditioned theater.
Director and Coordinator Carolyn McCloskey and co-coordinator Judith Miller began organizing this year's production in February. Meeting on the second and fourth Monday afternoon of each month, the actors read through scenes from a selection of plays. Over the course of the spring, the actors rehearsed various characters, reading different scenes and characters while working in a variety of pair and trios until May when McCloskey and Miller make a final decision on the actors and the casting of each scene.
Says McCloskey of the process: “Reader’s theater is fun because the focus is on the character and the words and not on the looks or set or costumes. You should be able to close your eyes and enjoy the story being told by the actors.”
This year's selections are from favorite comedies and feature actors from the McMinnville community of local performers; Gilbert Chu, in scenes from two different plays, portrays a gobsmacked suburban husband opposite Ann Maree Eason and Judith Miller and in another scene a Southern-fried handyman / dogcatcher opposite Don Sullivan; Rolan Cranford and Caroline O’Brien bring to life characters who trample through a family gathering at a funeral; Carolyn McCloskey and Denise Patton explore Southern manners and smoking cessation techniques in another scene also set in the American South. Don Sullivan also shares the stage with Mark Evans in a scene about family secrets and in a tip of the hat to hard-boiled film noir, Ken and Jane Moore square off as a somewhat dim private detective and the femme fatale that comes into his life.