Jordin here. It's FRIDAY! And what a big week this has been for OAT!
We've really begun the push to get the word out about the stunning work we're creating. Therefore, my main hat this week has been my Marketing Hat. I wrote my first Press Release this week (with the help of my dear writer friend and official OAT photographer, Kate Peifer)! I also created some newspaper advertisements, a Facebook Event, local event listings, and some informational flyers. I am exploding at the seams with concise, chipper information about OAT's Romeo and Juliet.
As for rehearsals, I was only actually called on Wednesday, when we blocked the last scene of the play. This is a scene that, in many productions of R and J, tends to feel like a deflating balloon after all of the excitement, suspense and high stakes throughout the rest of the play. At first, ours was like that too.
But with the help of Mr. Steele, we found a way to make the final scene truly explosive.
The stakes in the scene are, in fact, incredibly high. First of all, we enter the scene to find Juliet newly dead, who had JUST been buried. Creepy. Also, there is a dead Montague in the Capulet crypt. What in the world?? And Paris is dead?! What kind of crazy shenanigans are going on here? And by the end, two of the most ancient enemies, people whose families have been gridlocked against one another for years, TAKE HANDS???
With all of this fuel in mind, the cast truly connected in to the final scene, giving it an incredible energy and intensity. I can't wait to get there with the arc of the whole play behind us!
At the end of this exhausting yet rewarding week, the city of Portland set fireworks off in honor of all of our hard work. At least we can pretend they were for us... Thursday's rehearsal coincided with the Oregon Symphony's free concert in Waterfront Park. So, after a productive rehearsal (the whole show has now been blocked!), members of the cast headed up to catch the second half of a magical evening of music, ending with cannons (real, giant, amazing CANNONS), the 1812 Overture, and, yes, fireworks.
Here's to a full, amazing week and what promises to be a very magical show!
Hello Again My Adventure Hungry Friends,
This has been an amazing day. I am now sitting at my computer with my beloved cat Mocha sitting on my lap sleeping away while I prepare to attempt the summation of what has turned out to be a blessed and artistically fulfilling day.
Today started out a little rough on the Artistic Director side of things. Over the weekend a great many things had managed to accumulate to an epic proportion and as they all arrived neatly on my laptop this morning I was quickly inundated with feelings of panic and fear. However, with the help of my trusty sidekicks Jordin Bradley and Ryan Westwood I was able to regain composure and bring what seemed like an insurmountable challenge down to a truly manageable size. It is indeed true that no situation is truly hopeless. Before I knew it the work day was finished and heaps had been done. I felt free of many burdens and grateful to be working on such a fantastic project.
After a quick dinner I headed down to the waterfront where Ryan was waiting for me. We talked a little about our days and hopes for the up coming rehearsal and then began to move equipment for the rehearsal. It was a glorious night. The air off of the river was cool and for some reason traffic didn't seem to be that loud. Maybe we are just getting use to it? There were a few hiccups along the way and some of the actors were a little late to rehearsal but for some reason everything just seemed to go in stride. Our beloved Benvolio, Jack Wells, brought candy and everyone seemed ready to work hard. Before I knew it everything on the work list was finished and we still had some time left over. So, I asked Jeff Phillips (the Nurse) if he would be willing to stay until the end of rehearsal to work on his mask character. He obliged me and from 9:30 to 10 I watched true magic occur. The show began as Jeff finished an exercise and instead of finishing the scene he continued walking off down the sidewalk, carefully and slowly, I wasn't sure he was ever going to stop, and I sure a silk is smooth wasn't going to stop him. He found a bench, sat down and contemplated. After a brief period he stood came quickly back to the stage, (all in character of course) and introduced my to the Nurse. I could have kissed her it was so wonderful. Eventually the mask had to come off the Lazzi ended and we had to end rehearsal but there was a true feeling a beauty and magic that still an hour and a half later tickles and dazzles me. I think this is going to be a truly beautiful show.
Until next time.
"There may be a perfectly good reason a road is less traveled, but that indeed is why it makes all the difference."
Hello. Jordin here.
As promised, this week I tried on my construction hat building platforms for the OAT stage. This is a pretty big accomplishment for me, as evidenced by the fact that when I told my sister I had been building things this weekend, she immediately asked, assuming that the answer would be yes, "Did you hurt yourself?" NO. I did not, thank you very much! I was actually a very impressive drill-wielder if I do say so myself. And now OAT has a stage: a beautiful, three-platform, semi-circular, easily-movable, sturdy, cozy, just-like-home STAGE. After it had been built, Ryan, Will and I didn't want to leave it. We sat on those platforms for an hour or more, drinking beer, chatting, and Ryan even did some yoga on it! The three of us love this new stage, and I have a feeling the rest of the cast is going to love it too when we introduce it to them next week!
In addition to the Prince, I am also playing Cousin Capulet, a brief merry role during the Capulet's party scene where Romeo and Juliet meet. Originally, this was going to be a clown character with a big ol' clown nose. I tried on the nose for the first time on Tuesday only to find that it was much too big. In an effort to make it fit, we tightened it. I then proceeded to snap the string, breaking the nose and rendering it useless for the day. Here's me wearing a funny beret and no nose as Cousin Cap:
At rehearsal yesterday, Cousin Cap met his new nose, belonging to the Commedia character Dottore. Here's a picture of what he looks like:
A little bit about Dottore according to Will Steele's vision: He is ALWAYS right and he tends to have a stick up his butt about most things. This attitude is reflected in a rigid, army-like physicality, paired with a very silly shuffled-footed walk that is concentrated only in the feet.
Beginning work with Dottore was very challenging for me. I have a hard time with stillness and a nearly constant case of twiddly fingers, so it is a huge obstacle for me to stay totally rigid from head to ankles. It takes a great amount of focus because most of the time I don't even realize I'm fidgeting. By the end of our mask rehearsal yesterday, I was beginning to find where Dottore lives in me. His stillness, when I can access it, feels amazingly powerful and precise. I can't wait to continue work with him and to marry him with my good friend, Cousin Cap.
In other news: Rehearsals are going AMAZINGLY, as previously expressed by Ryan and Will. Folks, this show is gonna be HOT!
Also, performance locations are being nailed down as we speak. Bing. Bang. Boom. This is happening.
Thanks for reading,
Last night's rehearsal was wonderful for several reasons - but mostly - because it was the first time, in a week and a half of rehearsing that we had the entire cast there. Even our first rehearsal we were still missing folks.
There was a magic in the air that night - as there often is, down by the Willamette. But more-so last night. We started to get a glimpse of how incredible this production is going to be. Its not regular. Not normal. Not run of the mill. It's very specific, very new, and very different from so many Romeo and Juliet's we've seen.
Having everyone there just amplified this - because we saw - that everyone, is picking up on it. Growing with it. And our unit - this dozen or so - is all thrilled. Every person that's on board is just delighted, every night.
It's a neat feeling for an actor - to have all your peers watching you with baited breath as you rehearse - and at the same time - you can't wait to get off stage and watch them. Its very, very neat.
Hello Again My Friends,
Last night was a tremendous and emotional rehearsal. It was a joy and delight to watch Romeo and Juliet find each other through the bodies of Ryan Westwood and Eleanor Johnson. We had spectacular weather, and the most perfect wooded rock garden to practice in. After a humorous and lively Balcony Scene we transitioned into working on the Last Kiss scene. After reading through the text and discussing a couple different points of view we attempted a short exercise where we had Romeo climb up to Juliet's balcony. Once he gets there the two embrace. After they make their connection they realize that the sun is coming up and Romeo starts to leave and from that emotional place they start the scene. The stakes were very high, the jumping off point was precipitous and we were all ready to go with them. The Last Kiss scene has been one I have been very nervous about practicing and now I am very excited to incorporate the beautiful work we did last night into the rehearsals.
On another note: Last Saturday, the 17th several members of the OAT cast and artistic team ventured forth for a day of fun in the sun at Cannon Beach. This whole trip was the brain child of Ryan Westwood, our Romeo. After a crazy morning of picking up Sockeye Salmon, filling coolers with ice and beverages and gathering the important beach recreational sports equipment we embarked. The drive was easy and beautiful. The radio kept us happily entertained and along the way the cast and crew wrote the city of Chicago a love letter. Upon our arrival at the coast we went body surfing, built an OAT Sand Castle and fought, successfully (for a limited time) the rising of the tide!
After all the fun at Cannon Beach we packed up and drove a little South to Hug Point, a perfectly named beautiful little beach where we set up camp to cook our salmon dinner and enjoy the setting of the sun. After dinner we sang songs, told stories and basked in the glow of a beautiful and enchanting campfire. By the end of the day we all were sunburned and sandy. On the drive home most of us fell sound asleep. It was a great day. Looking forward to more adventures in the weeks to come.
Peace be with you
Hello Again My Friends,
We had a wonderful first week of rehearsal. We managed to complete a lot of blocking and had very few hiccups along the way. However, we have had our first lantern casualty. Looks like I get to go outdoor equipment shopping soon!
Last night was a beautiful night for Shakespeare in the park. Once again we were graced by the melodious music of the Great Highland Bagpipes. (An instrument so loud it can be heard above the din of rush hour traffic.) What has been most fun for me has been watching the actors make discoveries about their characters as we go along and seeing the beauty and mystery of our rehearsal space inform choices and decisions. This process really is becoming quite an adventure.
On another note, tragedy struck last night as one of OAT's beloved spirit animal mascots, a Beta fish named Cori, passed away peacefully in his tank. He was brought to the end of rehearsal and we gave him a proper burial at river side complete with bouquets of wildflowers arranged by our Mercutio (Jessica Hillenbrand) and a full cast acapella rendition of Amazing Grace. It was actually quite moving. The beautiful city lights in the back ground set the mood as the smooth waves of the Willamette, lapping at our feet, conducted us as we sang Cori to the great Beta tank in the sky.
I am really looking forward to next week and starting to piece together the elements of the story. Hopefully we get to start including more of the set pieces that make OAT productions so wonderful.
"The greatest risk one will ever take in life is to take none."
Until next time
This is Jordin, writing my very first blog post ever. What a momentous day. I imagine by the time I've finished I will be feeling very accomplished.
Did you know that when I created this blog, Weebly sent OAT an email congratulating us on the birth of our website? Our beautiful bouncing baby blog was born at 10:20pm on Monday, August 11, 2014 at a healthy weight of 6 pages and 16 elements. They told me I must be very proud. And though this personification of a web page was a little odd, a little goofy, a little cheesy, they were right. I AM proud! And so excited for the opportunity to share my experience working for a company that I really believe in.
Today has been a full day of work and art. After some early morning artistic inspiration from So You Think You Can Dance (okay, not really part of my workday...), I triumphantly made some finishing touches to a dramaturgical project I've been working on over the past week or so called THE LGD. What, you may ask, is THE LGD? Well, I may tell you, it is short for Lexicon-Glossary-Dictionary and it is a fourteen page list of uncommon or tricky words and terms from Romeo and Juliet as defined by Oregon Adventure Theatre (with A LOT of help from our dear friend Alexander Schmidt). Today, I turned the fruits of my labor over to Artistic Director Will to edit and approve. This means that SOON this lovely resource will be complete and hopefully posted on the blog for interested parties (like maybe you?).
Side Note: One of the great things about being Company Manager for OAT is that I actually get to do a lot of different kinds of jobs. Like, not only do I get to do fun dramaturgical projects such as THE LGD, but also I get to coordinate performance spaces, work on contracts, coordinate poster designs (which by the way, check out the beeeautiful design for R and J by Joel Velasco on our ONSTAGE page), and work on awesome blogs like this one. Plus, I get to be in the show!
Speaking of which, at rehearsal today, we had the inimitable Kate Peifer with us to take photos. So, thanks to her, I get to show, not tell, you about how tonight's rehearsal went. Though I will say, luckily, despite possible thunderstorm predictions, we did stay dry (except for my left foot, which stepped in a mud puddle).
To start the day off, we warmed up our bodies. Here's Jessica Hillenbrand (Mercutio), me (Prince), and Eleanor Johnson (Juliet) stretching.
Our fearless leader, William Steele, grabbing some sky
Here's Heidi Hunter (Gregory and more!) rockin' some script work during downtime.
Matthew Sepeda (Lord Montague) and Sam Steele (Lady Montague) finding some marital bliss.
Matthew Sepeda (Paris) and Sammi Boyd (Lord Cap) discussing Juliet's marriage.
Jeffrey Phillips, our beautiful Nurse, warming up his Pulcinella mask.
True love and bonding among cast members: sharing coffee. (Jessica Hillenbrand and Eleanor Johnson)
Well folks, that's all this goober has got for you today!
Coming up for me this week: I get to test out my carpentry skills building the R and J set and next week, I'm expecting my first encounter with a clown nose... So stay tuned.
I'm 14 hours late in posting, so I apologize, and I'll be on the ball next week.
This is Ryan here! -
This is me.
Sometimes you just gotta be Gorgeous.
Story of the Day - -------------------------
So - we're rehearsing in Moody Waterfront Park. (That may not be the correct name, but its close, and we're gona go with it for the purposes of this story.) Now usually, when we rehearse outside, we have a Giant, Enormous (we're talking, you could fit at least 300 watermelons in it) Tarp covering us. But we haven't figured out how to rig it up in this specific park yet.
So - Rain starts dribbling down right as we're getting done warming up and so we move under the bridge for cover. And I don't mean just any bridge. I mean, THE BRIDGE. THE MARQUAM BRIDGE.
See where the two meet? Right in the middle there? We moved right under that.
And this guy here^^^^^? If you walk just a bit north,
That's our view. THAT, gorgeous river, is the backdrop of our rehearsal space.
Back to the Story -
We were working the first scene last night - the Brawl Scene in Verona. All hell breaks loose in the town, the Prince comes in and says something like, "Listen Bros, Shit's gotten really, really real, and if it happens again - Who ever starts it is gonna die the hard death. Got it? Good. Now lets get some FREAKIN hamburgers and CHILL OUT".
Exciting stuff right?
The story of the day, isn't about what the scene is about though - its about how we, as a group, in our second rehearsal, on the bank of the Willamette River, under the Marquam Bridge, began to work as a group, and found ourselves a little glowing light of hope, trust, and drive.
Romeo isn't in this first scene for more than a moment, so I got to sit back and watch Will direct our sensational cast for most of the night.
It happened slowly, then quickly, then steadily. Over the course of 2 hours, the scene went from your pale, grandmother's, bedtime story of Romeo and Juliet - To Julius Ceasar's, in the COLOSSEUM WITH BEARS and RAPTORS, Romeo and Juliet.
Capulets and Montagues shouting, fighting, unbending. The bridge traffic roaring like the Colorado River over head. The steady wind of the approaching storm pulling on jackets and leaves alike. The buzz of the lanterns removing any chance of dead, calm silence. This - is the scene where the brawl breaks out. These are the circumstances that we actors were given last night. To use, to cherish, to hate, to love - all at the same time. And out of it - came the beautiful beginnings - of the Brawl in Verona.
Now there wont be the Giant, roaring bridge overhead when we perform - but heaven knows we will have been influenced by it - by the rain - by the lanterns - by the river. We'd have ended with a different scene last night, had we rehearsed anywhere else.
This is what doing a show with Oregon Adventure Theatre is.
OAT’s mission, is to do good work which strengthens relationships between people and the environment.
Feels like, at least for last night - We nailed it.
Word on the street is It's supposed to Thunderstorm tonight?
Bring it on pals. Bring it on.
Signing off -
Ryan Ryan The Myan, Bananafana Fo Fyin, Me My Mo Myan - - RYAN
Welcome fellow adventure partners,
This is Will here, on another adventure with Oregon Adventure Theatre. This Summer we are doing William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. We are off to a great start with some wonderful people. We have chosen South Waterfront Park as our rehearsal location. The spot is bucolic to say the least. Today we were graced with the dulcet sounds of the Great Highland Bagpipes. We had some good laughs as we worked with neutral masks. We also got the chance to compete with the Marquam bridge for volume supremacy. I am very excited to see where this journey will lead.
"The romance of the river is an echo ringing in the hearts of all who long for adventure."
Keep on keeping on,