Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Judith-Marie Bergan is back for another season. Last year she performed in Oscar Wilde’s “A Woman of No Importance” at Yale, then she was directed by Libby Appel in Tennessee Williams’ “Glass Menagerie” in North Carolina. Judith is delighted that Bill Rauch has invited her back for OSF’s 75th season. We met at Starbucks next to the Southern Oregon University campus.
EH: How long have you been with OSF?
JMB: I’ve been here for 10 years, but there were a couple of years where I did other things: the Guthrie Theater, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, and the Old Globe. But I just love it here. I just vastly respect this company — the range, the fact that they are always reaching to better the theater, to find new things and new projects. I think it is certainly the best regional theater you could work for.
It’s Saturday morning. The phone isn’t ringing. Why not? I have left messages for several local theater directors. They haven’t returned my calls! Oh well! It’s early. I understand these late-night theatrical types.
Meanwhile, in rumpled pajamas and feeling like day-old roadkill, I am desperate to produce a weekly theater column! PANIC ATTACK! HELP! What to do?
INTERVIEWS! Yes! Find out what makes theater people, a theater town, a theatrical community, TICK!
Ashland is MECCA for theater. Each year tons of cultured, well-educated pilgrims trek into town for a marathon of plays, while countless creative people design, construct and perform for those steadfast tourists. No doubt these theater folk have amazing tales to tell. I’ll seek them out.
Camelot Theatre Artistic Director Livia Genise constantly brings new energy to the theater. Camelot’s new theater building is to be constructed and open by 2011. Genise is currently portraying the incorruptible nun in “Doubt.” And there will be general auditions on Nov. 7. I met her at Starbucks in downtown Ashland to discuss what it takes for the creation of a successful theater company.
EH: What steps have you taken to build the Camelot Theater Company?
LG: I have general auditions every November. Then what I do is to take those pictures and resumés and I put them in the files of the shows for next year for callbacks. After I finish with calling back and casting one show, I’ll take the appropriate pictures and put them in the next file.
Each season the Oregon Shakespeare Festival offers special performances of plays featuring open captions in Spanish. Cuban-born Lia Beeson provides many of the translations. As we lunched at the Breadboard restaurant, Lia told me about translating for theater at OSF and her flight from Cuba.
EH: You do translations for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival?
LB: The last thing I translated was the Octavio Solis adaption of Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” for the performance featuring open captions in Spanish. In special shows, while the play goes on on-stage, they show Spanish captions for the Spanish-speaking audience. It’s different from a regular translation. I follow the guidelines for subtitling movies. The translator tries to put down as simple and as readable words as possible; 30 to 50 percent of the dialogue is supposed to be dropped off. The pride in translation is to provide language that is just as elegant and appealing as it is in the other language. You can’t do that in a caption and expect the people to read it. Usually I only do open-caption translations for them, but OSF also asked me for a full translation of “Don Quixote.”
In “Glengarry Glen Ross,” now playing at Oregon Stage Works, Joe Charter plays James Lingk, the sensitive victim of a fly-by-night real estate scheme. Joe has been acting in Community Theater since 2004, when he played in “Inherit the Wind” at the Camelot Theater. Joe is a lawyer and a part-time judge for Jackson County. We got together at Noble Coffee one sunny Saturday morning.
EH: How is it that you became interested in Community Theater?
JC: It’s something I took up. It sort of grew out of being very left brain/lawyerly. My oldest daughter said, “Dad, you need something creative to do, you have such a brainiac job.” I always thought that performing in a trial in court was like helping to write a script and be in a play.