Hello Again Fellow Adventure Seekers,
This last week has been one of the most rewarding and challenging weeks in recent OAT history. We have managed to keep on this break-neck course to bring some wonderful and beautiful depth to Romeo and Juliet. Tonight we attempted our first run and although due to an unexpected nose bleed and a couple little lighting snafus we were able to climb our way into the last scene and just ran out of time before we had to stop. Watching all the characters burst into life before a campfire and behind the glow of gas and propane lanterns is wonderful. It's a spiritual kind of captivating.
I am so beyond proud of this group. I am so blessed to be working with such dedicated and enthusiastic people. Romeo and Juliet is a classic story and this cast and crew has breathed new life and wonderful vitality into the show. Tomorrow night we have our first dress rehearsal and on Wednesday we open to the public. This is going to be a fabulous show and I can't wait to see how it grows over the next week.
"If before we reached our goals we were certain of victory, would we still endeavor to finish strong?"
Until next time my adventure hungry friends,
This is Jordin. Hello!
Here we are in tech week: a time that seems to be designed to drive theatre people insane the week before a show opens. So much to do! So little time!
I hit this week running after a weekend of craziness (unrelated to OAT) in which I was challenged to create a three act devised piece about Identity in the 21st Century with 13 other young theatre makers in just 36 hours. Needless to say, sleep was low, stress was high, and I was dreading the onslaught of endless work for Romeo and Juliet.
Nonetheless, I dragged my tired butt out of bed on Monday morning with a mind to take on and conquer the mission of madness that is TECH WEEK. First order of business was nailing down our last two performance locations. This is a task I probably should have had done weeks before, but I had found myself running into wall after wall as I tried to coordinate the last couple spots. I am definitely still learning about the whole producing game...
To quote Fate from OAT's Romeo and Juliet, "But passion lends them power; time means to meet, temp'ring extremities with extreme sweet." In this case "them" is just me. And time did mean for me to meet our last two locations this week! They were both unique and unexpected solutions made possible by wonderful, art-loving people. HELL YEAH!
By the way, if you haven't noticed, I recently learned to put gif's in my blog posts and I am really enjoying myself.
Anywho, back to crazy nuts bananas expectations and tech week. As it turns out, this week has in fact been insane and a lot of work. BUT, it has at the same time been rejuvenating and soul-quenching. This is for several reasons, some of which Ryan touched upon in his last blog post. OAT is a family (especially when MJ and John Steele are making meals for every rehearsal and the cast is gathering together to share food and laughs and love). And this family is creating some kickass, unique, magical, hilarious, heart-wrenching art that in just a little under a week we will get to share with the greater Portland community. I am feeling beautifully giddy and stoked and a little terrified. And I do not think that I can fully explain in words how insanely amazing this show is going to be. SO COME SEE IT!!
Now off I go, back to tech week insanity. I can't wait :)
Ryan here -
One of the things Will asked me to do with this blog, is discuss, delve into and determine the difference between working on theatre out in Chicago - and working on theatre with O.A.T. I haven't really jumped into it yet, however, because I hadn't figured it out yet. Or rather - I figured it out 2 years ago doing Midsummer, and realize it more every day I work on Romeo and Juliet - But - Today - and yesterday - It just came right out - and said, "Here I am".
Yesterday was my birthday. September 9th. Thanks Mom, for popping me out. I know it wasn't pleasant. So thanks for that. I don't think we thank our mom's enough for that. You know? I digress.
Yesterday I went to court for not having a Fishing License on August 10th while fishing on the Willamette. $397.00 later I decided I'll never again fish without a license. I don't think we thank the police enough for those lessons. I digress. Again.
Yesterday I rolled into rehearsal an hour early, made some prop knives with a circular saw, some duct tape, some sand paper, a pencil, and some wood. I don' t think we thank our non -existent prop-masters enough for these opportunities. I digress. X 3.
Yesterday we lit the white gasoline and lanterns and the propane fire as the sun went down, the breeze slowly picked up, and the Super Moon rose up above our heads. I don't think we thank Coleman Co. enough for their products. I digress. looks like 4 times.
Yesterday after rehearsal, we celebrated my birthday, and Sam Steel's (Lady Montague/Peter/Apothacary/Page) Bday, who was born on the same day as me 9 years later, with spaghetti, red wine, garlic bread, cupcakes, and Chocolate -Chili- Cinnamon cake. I don't think we thank folks who put together birthday dinner's, that make the entire day feel like a birthday - Quite enough. I digress. might as well stop counting.
Yesterday - we went to a Scotch bar called The Stillhouse and shared glasses of smokey delight and laughter through the midnight hour.
I don't think we thank Brothers who pay for half of the tab of the table - Quite enough. I wasn't really digressing. It was a trick. Fooled you.
Because this is it - This - is what is different. I don't think you have to be in Oregon to find this - I'm sure people have found it in every state, every nation across the world - But I have found it here along the western edge of the WIllamette river.
I often talk about the "Magic" that is out here. The magic in the air, flickering in the firelight and glowing down from the moon. And the reason it is magic - is because at some point, in every rehearsal, we all latch onto it. It's like we all hop on this train that's headed straight to creativity town. Everyone in the town loves each other, trusts each other, protects each other, lifts each other off the ground. From that place, from that connection, art explodes like air bursting out of a rubber balloon - Bursts forth like the crackle of a pine cone at 600 degrees with the force of a cresting tsunami. It is in these misty times that I hear people saying - " What just happened, what yall just created? its the best I've ever seen that scene. In any production." People. Keep. Saying that --- Night after night.
We open in 7 days. The show is worth a plane ticket. The show is worth a train ticket. The show is worth a boat ticket. The show is worth it.
I've never been in productions- where I truly believed, if you bought a plane ticket JUST to come see it - that it would be worth it. Not until O.A.T's. Not until this. We are producing a Romeo and Juliet none of us have ever dreamed of before. Every day it challenges us, widens our eyes, and obliterates the stereotype we know - as "Romeo and Juliet". And everyday, we fall in love with characters we thought we knew, but are actually just meeting - a little more.
That - is the difference. The Love. The Pride. The Ownership.
7 Days ladies and gentlemen. 7 days.
Hello Adventure Connoisseurs,
This last week has just flown by. It is amazing to see this beautiful show come to life. On Thursday night we said goodbye to the boisterous Marquam bridge and the stunningly bucolic South Waterfron Garden rehearsal place. That place will be missed to be sure. And on Monday we will say hello to our technical rehearsal space and sight of two of our shows, the backyard of John and Maryjo Steele, my beloved and ever so supportive father and mother. Also next week we go into Technical rehearsals. This is a daunting prospect because there is so much to do. We have to create the world of Verona via set. We must acclimate to open flames on the stage and we must learn to start utilizing our ever useful and ever so interesting Light Fairies. What are Light Fairies you ask?
Because we don't have a catwalk or really any place to hang lights the lighting instruments are brought on by the actors and in scenes which occur in places or times which would need artificial light we use light fairies. It is actually quite a neat effect! To get to see light fairies in action you should just come on out and see a show!
But Light Fairies are not all we have planned for next week. We have a world to build, test out and then start fitting blocking around. We have a stage to paint, a fire to stoke and a giant tarp to put up. This next week will consist of creating the Theater in which Oregon Adventure Theatre operates.
In addition to all the old set stuff that will return, we are also adding a balcony that is easy to set up, sturdy and easy to take down. I admit the prospect of a "collapsible" balcony has a slightly frightening ring to it. But the design, conceived by the one and only Eric Lyness sounds like a good one and I am sure with his help and the help of my trusty OAT carpenters, (aka: Ryan Westwood, Jordin Bradley, Charles Steele and many others), we will make short work of bringing Verona Italy to the backyards and parks of Portland Oregon.
I am getting truly excited. This promises to be a great show.
All my best
"Art is not art if it merely imitates life, it must be life to be art."
Sorry I missed last week - but I'm back in action!
Tonight - we almost finished our 2 day run of the show. We could taste it. it was in the air, but 10 O'clock hit, and we called it a night.
I was thinking tonight, waiting to go on stage - that the kind of work that I do with O.A.T. - is singular. There is a magic to it, that I've not experienced anywhere else. Not in Iowa, not in Kentucky, not in Illinois - No where but the hills of Oregon, with the folks that work with O.A.T. have I found this.
So some back story - My dad comes to Portland on a business trip every year in September - It just so happens that this year, he is going to be here for opening night. HOWEVER - there's a chance, because of some things happening with the company, that they might pull the plug on the trip this year.
Back to the present!
I'm standing off stage, waiting to go on - and I'm thinking about my Dad. And about my Mom - and about the fact that if they could come to a SINGLE show I've been a part of, since Midsummer (with O.A.T.) 2 years ago, it would be to this one - and how it's just going to rip me up if his trip gets canceled.
We're onto something here. Something new - something, I've only experienced once before - and it was during Midsummer. We're onto magic. Magic that I wan't to share with my parents so badly And I want them to see it to help them understand why it is I leave jobs to come to Oregon. Why it is I come out here and work for free. Why it is, that i keep coming back to do it. And I've tried - I've tried to explain it in a manner they can understand - but i'm not articulate enough. Either that - or there are not adequate words for what it feels like to work with these people, outside, on the banks of the Willamette river.
My parents have backed me 100%, since the beginning, with my career - which, is simply incredible. They just have a hard time seeing their boy work for free. Some things you do for money - some things you do because - you know, money or no, it's going to be the best thing you've been a part of in 2 years. And that - is priceless.
Here's to hoping the flight doesn't get canceled.