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OSF’s Scott Kaiser directs Arcadia in Robinson Theatre

scott kaiserScott Kaiser (Director) is the Director of Company Development at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, where he has been a member of the artistic staff since 1993. While at OSF, Scott has served as a voice and text director on 93 productions, as well as an adaptor and associate director on numerous projects. Scott recently completed his “festival canon,” having worked on all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays during his tenure at OSF. He is the author of two books, Mastering Shakespeare: An Acting Class in Seven Scenes, and Shakespeare’s Wordcraft, both of which are being used in classrooms across the country. He has also penned three plays: Splittin’ the Raft, Now This, and most recently, Love’s Labors Won—a sequel to Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost. Scott regularly teaches and directs at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he oversees OSF’s Acting Company Trainee Program, and where he has staged Twelfth Night, Philadelphia Story, Ghosts, Anton in Show Business, and Three Sisters.

Scott has spent several months working with University of Oregon student actors, directing Tom Stoppard’s award winning play Arcadia for University Theatre. Made possible by the generous support of the Jon Steingart Artist in Residence Fund.

Tickets on sale HERE! All shows are free for UO Students with valid ID.

University Theatre Designs Honored

Brad Steinmetz’s set design for Metamorphosis (Robinson Theatre 2009), Alexandra Bond’s costume designs for Love Will Shake (Robinson Theatre 2012), and Natasha Kolosowsky’s designs for a dance piece from before her time at UO were selected for exhibition in World Stage Design 2013. The curators chose 100 designs out of over 700 entries from countries around the world.  webpage: http://www.wsd2013.com. In addition to the exhibits, there will be workshops. seminars, performances, etc. all celebrating design for performance.

Theatre Arts Student Honored at KCACTF

Tiffany Thomas won the Regional KCACTF Scenic Design award (for Heidi Schreck’s Creature) at the recent conference (one of seven regional finalists from around the country), and will receive an expenses paid week in Washington D.C. to display her work at the national KCACTF festival. During the week she will attend master classes and meet with professionals from the industry – having the opportunity to score scholarships or internships, or maybe even a job. Congratulations!

Theatre Arts students at Willamette University with Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.

Named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Innovators for the Next New Wave,” in 2002 Suzan-Lori Parks became the first African American woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for her Broadway hit Topdog/Underdog. A MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient, she has also been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is recipient of a Lila-Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts (Drama) for 1996, a Guggenheim Foundation Grant and is an alumnae of Mount Holyoke College and New Dramatists. (source: http://www.suzanloriparks.com)

Photo by Dale Peterson.

Visit made possible by Underrepresented Minority Recruitment Program Funds.

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Alexandra Bonds


Costume Designer and Historian
abonds@uoregon.edu
541-346-4194
219 Villard Hall

Courses:
Costume design, costume history, construction techniques.

“My students learn design theory and practice, rendering skills, the cultural context of costume history, patterning and construction. Students who have taken my courses have various jobs in academic and professional theatre, including design, shop management, cutting, stitching, dyeing and wig-making.”

Research Interests:
Asian theatre and costume design, production

Awards and Accomplishments:
USA Commissioner and Vice President for International Activities for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology in organizing the Prague Quadrennial, International Exhibit of Scenography, 2007. Humanities Center Fellowship, Spring 2002. Herb Greggs Merit Award for excellence in writing for the Performing Arts, Theater Design and Technology, 2002. Prague Quadrennial featured displays, 1999, 2003, 2007. Richard A. Bray Faculty Fellow for outstanding contribution to scholarship, teaching and service, UO, 1999. Fulbright Study Tour of Thailand and Cambodia, Asian Pacific Studies, 1999.

Publications:
Upcoming book: Beijing Opera Costumes: the Communication of Character and Culture through Costume in Traditional Jingu. Expected publication in 2008.

“Surface Design in Jingju Costumes: the Aesthetics and Meanings of Embroidered Imagery in the Beijing Opera” Theatre Design and Technology, Spring, 2001.

“The Symbolism of Surface Ornamentation in Beijing Opera Costumes.” Theatre Design and Technology, Spring, 2001.

“China.” Theatre Design and Technology, Fall, 1999.

“Beijing Opera Costumes ­ discovering the meaning in costumes in traditional jingju.” Theatre Design and Technology, Fall, 1997.

Recent Production Credits:
Costume Design: Kafka Parables, University Theatre original production, 2005; Cyrano, Willamette Repertory Theatre, 2006; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, University Theatre, 2006-07 (participating KC/ACTF production)

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UO Theatre Department Honored at KCACTF

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival 2011, held the 2nd week in February, has honored 4 members of our department. Congratulations!

Kato Buss: was awarded a certificate and check for winning the Graduate Division of the Scholarly Paper Competition

Cassidy Slaughter-Mason (Class of 2011) was awarded a $3,000 scholarship to attend the New York Theatre Intensives/ New Play Summer Conservatory, a playwriting workshop in New York City mid-June to the beginning of August in association with the Ensemble Studio Theatre

Joseph Gilg (Instructor) was awarded a Kennedy Center Gold Medallion, a national honor bestowed on the regional level for faculty who have “…made extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of theatre and to the development and quality of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival”.

John Schmor (Department Head) was given a Faculty Excellence Certificate of Recognition, “a body of work” award that comes from the suggestion of regional peers

Jack Watson

2010 Commencement Speech by Jack Watson

It’ odd.  In nearly 40 years of teaching, I’ve never had to write a speech out word for word.  But this occasion seems deserving, so here goes.

One of our freshmen recently wrote on Facebook:  where has the year gone?

Some of you are thinking:  where have the four/five years gone?  I won’t go higher than five to protect the innocent

The parents are wondering:  where have the past 21 years gone?

I’m thinking:  how the heck did I get so old that they asked me to give the speech at graduation?

And we’re all probably thinking:  how did I get here and what comes next?

A song from the musical “Applause” goes “When I was eight, I was in a school play, I’ll never forget it, I had one line to say, My big moment came, I said What pro, the Hince; my sister applauded, I’ve been hooked ever since.

It wasn’t quite that simple for me.

I was a music major (my 3rd major in three years !) when the Theatre Dept. needed another boy in the chorus;  then I got a small role as 2nd woodcutter in Lorca’s Blood Wedding; then a lead when a young man who was the lead singer for the Kingsmen (as in Louie, Louie) didn’t learn his lines and I was called in four days before dress rehearsal.   I won’t deny I loved the attention and the applause.  But as I continued to study theatre and perform, I realized theatre was more than just applause and a really good time.   I realized I had found a field that helped me understand who I am:  a field that gave me the tools to create the person I wanted to be.  My father never understood: he never saw a performance of a live play in his entire life.  But he never got it my way.  I knew that theatre offered me opportunities for understanding myself, others, and the world around me in a very unique way,  and I then was truly hooked.

We live in a world where creativity is in danger of being only another cog in the great corporate machine  I read about a person who had this horrible nightmare.  After several years he had the chance to revisit Michelangelos’ supreme Sistine Chapel.  He looked to the very top, center of the magnificent room and there was Adam stretching out his hand toward his Creator, who was offering him a Bud Light.

Daniel Mendelsohn tells a story of meeting an old woman who had emigrated from Poland not long after the end of War World II., having survived in the Polish ghetto and suffered in the concentration camps.  At the end of their conversation he turned to her and asked:  “so what happened when the war was over?  What was the first thing that happened, once things started to be normal again?”  “You know, it’s a funny thing, she told him.  “when the Germans first came, in 1941, the first thing they did was close the theatres   He paused, unsure of what theatre she meant – the great Beaux Arts opera house?  “No, they closed all the theatres, she said, “ and I’ll tell you something, because I remember it quite clearly,: the first thing that happened, after the war was over and things got a little normal –the first thing was that the actors and theatre people who were still alive got together and put on, in Polish , a production of Sophocles’ Antigone. “   At a time when it seemed that their very culture had been in danger of ending, the first thing they knew they needed to do was to put on a play.  To restart the theatre’s ancient duty of preserving our stories, of bringing our heritage alive, of providing a forum in which we can debate the most vital questions of our time.

Throughout history (as you surely remember from Theatre History) in Rome, in Civil War England, and even in some instances in high schools in Oregon, people have tried to close the theatre.  Why?  Because it’s dangerous.  Because it seeks truth.  Because it exposes our dreams and our nightmares: our glory and our demons.  Because theatre reminds us how difficult and how beautiful it is to be alive.

Theatre has many voices.  It may be Susan Sontag’s remarkable production of Waiting for Godot in a war-torn Sarajevo with Serbian artillery shells landing not far away;  it may be the one-half hour play by a teenage girl being presented despite threats from the Taliban and real danger in present-day Afghanistan; it may be Sophocles’ Ajax being performed for wounded veterans who understood all too well how a person can be driven mad by the reality of war;  it may be high school students presenting The Laramie Project  in a local park after the production was banned by the school board;  it may be a Broadway musical exploring the nature of bipolar disorder as was the case with this year’s Pulitzer Prize winning Next to Normal.  Or it may be a group of graduates from the University of Oregon who, not fulfilled by their “real world” jobs, find a space somewhere and present a play that expresses how they see the world, in a theatrical language all their very own as we saw with the recent visit of The Free theatre.   It doesn’t take a Robinson Theatre, it doesn’t take a sponsor and a big budget;  it takes creativity and passion.  And you have both.  No excuses accepted.  Let your voice be heard.

You are a very special group of people.   Your legacy in this department includes such memorable events as a joint production of Threepenny Opera with LCC;  acting alongside professional in Wild Oats, a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream honored by the American College Theatre Festival;  and productions of the works of Sarah Kane, Euripides,  Shakespeare, and Mary Zimmerman.   You dedicated this remodeled space with AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS and inaugurated the Hope Theatre with AS YOU LIKE IT. You surprised us with ANONYMOUS , you broke our hearts with TROJAN WOMEN, and you charmed us with ANNELIE IN THE DEPTHS OF THE NIGHT>  You even had one term in the Pocket Playhouse that featured TWO productions of HAMLET.  You are exceptional and your potential is unlimited.

And I would suggest that your future depends on whether or not you have learned the most important thing we had offer you – the power of the creative spirit.  Hold your hand in front of you:  at the tips of your fingers are patterns that are unique to you.  There is only one of you.  The one thing you have that is different from everyone else is you.  Hundreds have the same degree, thousands will be doing what you want to do for a living; only you have custody of your life.  Your particular life. Your entire life.  Not just your life at a desk or in a studio, or on stage .  Not just your mind, but your heart.  And the thing that sets you apart from most others is creativity.

You, as few others on the planet, know about creativity.  You’ve bathed in it for the past how many years.  A devised play under the dynamic leadership of John Schmor; learning to paint a giant backdrop under the magical hand of Jerry Hooker when you previously couldn’t draw a good stick person; reading an exciting new play with Theresa, or learning to dissect one with Sara, or writing your own with Jen; discovering the hidden meanings in clothing and light with Sandy and Janet or taking the reins as a director with Joseph or coaching with the one GFT that somehow got you to see through all the crap and discover an ability you never suspected you possessed.  Or working with your peers at some ridiculous hour of the night or morning, making magic in the Pocket (did someone say Billy Goats’ Gruff?).

Your future may lie in the theatre; it may not.   But every moment of your life is something you create. The novelist Anna Quindlen wrote:  From now on, you are beginning with a clean slate:  Every day, look at the choices you are making and when you ask yourself why you are making them, answer:  Because they are who and what I am, and mean to be.”   And George Eliot added:  “It’s never too late to create yourself; it’s never too early either.”

You probably began your work in this department with a book entitled Acting Onstage and Off.  I know you’ll know the answer to this question:  “Why are you doing this?”  Right, “It’s the best thing.”  Well, the biggest part you’ll ever play starts today.  It’s up to you to live the play you want to produce; to creative the life you want to live.

In an article in American Theatre, director Steven Woolf stated that what theatre needs is more students who graduate with “passion . . not just talent or analytical skills–  too many graduates don’t really understand theatre is about making a deeply involved emotional commitment — that’s the core of why we work in the theatre and why audiences attend it.”

There will be many parts of life that will attempt to silence your creativity.  The lure of a paycheck, the weight of student loans, the rigor of a career, the needs of family and friends will all  demand your time and talents.   But your creative gift is something special.   And it carries a special responsibility to nurture it, to use it, to find and develop that special voice that is yours and yours alone.

Your creativity is how you define yourself and how you remind yourself who you want to become.  Speak up.  You owe it to yourself;  you owe it to the world.

Now I regret to tell you that even though you may have passed your finals and written that last term paper and you probably will never have to do another 30-page dramaturgy for theatre history,  your education isn’t over; it’s just begun.  Every day is a continuation of your coursework in theatre. Every person you meet is a potential teacher who holds wisdom you need.   Every day you produce, write, direct, and star in, your own play.  I cant’ tell you if will be Chekhov, Shakespeare, Mamet, or heaven forbid Samuel Beckett – but it’s up to you.  The whole world is a  Pocket Playhouse where you can perform your most outrageous dreams.

Yes, life is just a big classroom, and the final exam can be tough.  No one ever said on her deathbed.  “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”  Or as Lily Tomlin said: “If you win the rat race; you’re still a rat.”

None of you is a rat.  Each one of you is rare and precious with a unique voice to share with the world.  I treasure the times I’ve spent with you whether in class, in rehearsal, or watching a play in London.  I am grateful for the honor of sharing this day with you, and I thank you for all that you have taught me.   The world awaits all you have to give.   It’s finally really and truly opening night.    Break a leg and Aloha!.

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