Advice for an actor — Don’t show it, be it

Kate Mulligan of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival will be playing Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast” next season. Mulligan, with her husband, Brent Hinkley, came to OSF from Los Angeles after longtime affiliations with Tim Robbins and The Actor’s Gang. I visited with Mulligan at Mix Bakeshop in Ashland. It is surprising that this trim, young, attractive woman is such an accomplished character actor. This is the first of a two-part column. The second will be published on Nov. 14.

EH: As an actor, what was your attraction to theater?

KM: I was drawn to the danger of live theater: You don’t get to stop and take another take; things go wrong all of the time, and, “How do you tap dance around it, to make sure that nobody sees all the disaster that’s occurring?”

Doors started opening, and I walked through all of them. I learned what I love, what I was good at, how I could improve, and to have great respect for all aspects of the job. I’ve learned how to take criticism well because I’ve gotten a lot of it. Continue reading Advice for an actor — Don’t show it, be it

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Oregon Stage Works re-launches

Peter Alzado and Jessica Sage, as co-producing artistic directors, are re-launching Oregon Stage Works as the lead — and only — actors in a production of “Annapurna.” Directed by Liisa Ivary, the play opens Friday, Oct. 28, at Temple Emek Shalom in Ashland.

Oregon Stage Works, with Alzado as its artistic director, closed its doors in 2010 after six seasons in its charming black box theater on A Street in Ashland. Sometimes thought of as an off-Broadway theater, it produced plays ranging from Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and “The Great American Trailer Park Musical.”

While relying mainly on volunteer actors and crew, the theater focused on developing the actors and the text to stage creative and challenging theatrical works while providing the community with affordable high quality theater.

Alzado recently directed and performed in the highly acclaimed production of “Red” at Ashland Contemporary Theatre. Last spring, Sage directed Ashland High School’s winning production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

We met at the Rogue Valley Roasting Company Coffee House in Ashland. Continue reading Oregon Stage Works re-launches

Bringing theater to the people where they live

Bill Rauch

Before becoming Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Bill Rauch was the Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theater Company. Cornerstone is a multi-ethnic theater ensemble, based in Los Angeles, which produces new plays nationwide.

BR: We started Cornerstone because we heard that only 2 percent of the American people went to professional theater on a regular basis. We thought, “Even if we’re lucky enough to be successful in the professional theater, we’ll have only performed for 2 percent of our fellow citizens. That’s not good enough.”

We went to isolated rural communities and put on plays with the people who live there, because we could learn more about what interested people, and re-invent theater from the ground up. We would move to very small towns, anywhere from 200 to 2,000 people — Towns that would make Ashland look like a giant metropolis.

We would usually adapt a classic play, and set it in the community that we were working with. It was incredible work; it was life-changing for all of us who were part of it. We did that work on the road, in small towns, for five years. Continue reading Bringing theater to the people where they live