Paul Mason Barnes

Paul Mason Barnes
Paul Mason Barnes

Paul Mason Barnes is the director of “Our Town,” now playing at Southern Oregon University with Oregon Shakespeare Festival veteran James Edmondson as the Stage Manager. The production runs through Nov. 24 at SOU’s Center Stage Theatre. A nationally known theater director, Barnes has a website (paulbarnesdirector.com) that contains stunning production photos with insightful reflections on each production. We met at Noble Coffee in Ashland.

EH: It seems that your directing talents are very much in demand.

PB: I’m fortunate that I work pretty steadily, and that’s great. It’s a collaborative field. Directors are always the persons on whose shoulders things ultimately rest; but you’re only as good as your team, and I’ve been fortunate to work with really good people, a lot of them many times.

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Greetings!

Andy Gorski, a New York transplant, ventures home at Christmas to visit his devout Catholic parents, and introduce Randi, his Jewish-atheist fiancée.

From left:  Mig Windows, David Mannix, Peter Wycliffe, Diane Nichols, and Levi Anderson Photo courtesy of Graham Lewis

From left: Mig Windows, David Mannix, Peter Wycliffe,
Diane Nichols, and Levi Anderson
Photo courtesy of Graham Lewis

Andy’s developmentally-disabled brother, Mickey, lives at home with Phil and Emily Gorski. Although Mickey can barely utter “Greetings,” he is the beating heart of the play, around which the other characters gather for warmth and inspiration.

“We can learn profound lessons from the innocence and joy that people with intellectual disabilities bring into our lives.” says Evalyn Hansen, the Associate Director of ACT and director of “Greetings.”

Tom Dudzick, the playwright, explores how our orthodox religious beliefs divide us when the true purpose of spiritual wonder is to unite people, along the lines of the Golden Rule. Dudzick teaches us that faith is an elastic concept, and through the explosive appearance of a mystical entity, the Gorskis learn the lesson too.

Peter Wickliffe plays Mickey Gorski, the developmentally-disabled son; Wickliffe is a local playwright, filmmaker, and actor who has acted with ACT, Camelot Theatre, and the Randall Theatre. David Mannix plays Stan Gorski, the father.

From left:  Peter Wycliffe and Levi Anderson, Photo courtesy of Graham Lewis

From left: Peter Wycliffe and Levi Anderson,
Photo courtesy of Graham Lewis

Mannix previously played Arthur in ACT’s “End Days”. Mig Windows plays Randi Stein, the atheist-actress. Mig has acted in many local films, including “Redwood Highway,” and “M is for Madness,” and has performed with Levity Improv and Gumshoe Gourmet, LLC. Levi Anderson, who plays Andy, is a local filmmaker and actor who runs Sidfilmz.com. Diane Nichols, a local playwright who recently had her play “Tomatoes,” produced at Barnstormers Theater, plays Emily, Andy and Mickey’s mother.

James Donlon

James Donlon
James Donlon

Southern Oregon University’s production of “The White Fugue” is devised and directed by James Donlon, a member of the Theatre Arts faculty. Donlon is an internationally celebrated theater artist and teacher of physical theater. We met in his office on the SOU campus.

EH: What attracts you to the field of mime?

JD: As a mime, your purpose is to transform time and space with only your body. Mime is a poetic form to condense and economize themes into an essential place, and to put commentary on it. It can be silent, or it can be verbal. Language becomes a gesture, maybe just sounds, gibberish or vocal effects. In today’s American culture, people don’t really understand the world of mime. The term “mime” is usually the butt of jokes, such as “the birthday mime” or “Let’s kill the mime.”

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