‘Hamlet’ music maker and grave digger

Scott Kelley

Scott Kelly plays the Gravedigger in “Hamlet,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. But there’s something else: Throughout nearly all of the play, looking up from the audience toward the Elizabethan Theatre’s “heavens,” you see Kelly, an enigmatic figure, surrounded by musical instruments and bathed in a deep-red light. Kelly’s music provides a psychological resonance for Hamlet’s inner monologues with an occasional duet with Hamlet on electric guitar. I saw the first preview, and the undercurrent of music intensifies the emotional impact of the language.

Before joining the cast of “Hamlet,” Kelly spent eight years as an OSF sound technician. A gifted musician, Kelly often tours internationally with his heavy metal band, Neurosis.

EH: When did you know you wanted to be a performing artist?

SK: I was focused on music at a young age. I was driven by it. I started out playing music mainly inspired by punk rock. That was how I learned. It was the kind of music where your emotion mattered more than your skill level, at the onset. If you felt it, you could get up and do it. I slowly learned. I taught myself how to play through the course of that, through touring, and being exposed to the world and other musicians. My initial influences were bands like Black Flag and Black Sabbath and early Pink Floyd. Then I came across Miles Davis and Hank Williams and more obscure underground stuff, noise music, and avant-garde music. I like some hip-hop music. I like Wagner, Prokofiev; I like the heavy classical stuff, anything that moves me. I like emotion-driven music. I don’t like cookie-cutter stuff. I’ve got to feel it in the words or the music. It could be (the poet) Charles Bukowski, to me he’s very musical. I just need to feel it. Continue reading ‘Hamlet’ music maker and grave digger

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A conversation with Ashley Kelley, who plays Dorothy in OSF’s ‘The Wiz’

Ashley Kelly

Ashley D. Kelley plays Dorothy in Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s “The Wiz” opening June 18 in the Allen Elizabethan Theatre. The daughter of a Baptist minister, Kelley developed her musical abilities singing in the choir. She graduated from Temple University with a major in theater and has been working ever since. In the last eight years she played upwards of 30 roles in regional theaters. We met at Mix Bakeshop in Ashland.

EH: When did you know that you wanted to act?

AK: Since I was able to talk — ever since I was a little kid, I was always performing in front of people. My parents would have friends over, and I would always be the center of attention.

EH: Tell me about your lifestyle as a performer.

AK: A lot of traveling, a lot of new places, a lot of new faces, which is awesome. You’re always meeting new people, working with new directors, new choreographers. So there’s that bit of excitement. It can be a little tiring, picking up your life and moving from place to place. I love it; I’m always hungry for more. Continue reading A conversation with Ashley Kelley, who plays Dorothy in OSF’s ‘The Wiz’