If you have seen plays at Rogue Community College’s Riverside Theater, you have seen productions directed by the team of Ron Danko and John Cole — important plays with large casts, high production values and superb direction. Their comedies are especially joyous, with highly imaginative staging and impeccable comic timing. Their next production, “Hot L Baltimore,” runs May 1 to May 17.
Ron Danko has spent his life in theater. He has been an actor, director and educator. He began his career by doing stand-up comedy, touring in two-man comedy teams. After earning an MA from Southern Illinois University he went on to pursue additional postgraduate work in theater at Southern Oregon University and the University of Oregon. He has established a number of large Shakespeare festivals and created theaters and college theater programs in the western United States, including The Western Stage in Salinas, Calif. Ron has been directing plays with John Cole since 2004 at RCC, where he currently teaches Communications.
You may have seen Barbara Rosen in Camelot Theatre’s “1984,” in “Durang, Durang” at the Oregon Stage Works or in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Ashland’s Children’s Theatre. This former professor of English literature and Shakespeare scholar is disarming with her casual manner and keen insight. After retirement, Barbara and her late husband, Bill, moved to Ashland’s Mountain Meadows at the urging of her two daughters, Susan and Judith Rosen.
I met Barbara at Oregon Stage Works, where she is rehearsing for Bertolt Brecht’s “The Jewish Wife,”a part of “Things We Do,” a series of plays, readings and events concerned with the conflict in the Middle East.
I met with Oregon Stage Works Volunteer Coordinator Barbara Horton and Marketing Director DW Wood last week at their A Street office. We talked about the response to theater company’s latest play, “The Nerd,” and I was surprised to learn OSW is searching for people to fill interesting volunteer positions.
EH: How are the audiences for “The Nerd”?
BH: We were so pleasantly surprised this week. They are very, very good.
EH: Why is it, do you think?
BH: It’s a funny play. Doug Rowe has a good reputation for directing good plays. It’s a combination of quite a few things. I think people want a little more laughter in their life.
"If you want to continue working, you've got to be flexible. And that's not even just with acting, it's with anything, I'm sure." — Sam King
EH: I saw you in “Death Trap,” and you’ll be playing in “The Nerd.” Where do you come from?
SK: I’m originally from Santa Rosa. I started acting when I was 12. When I was in high school, I got into a melodrama house called the Marquis Theater; it was cabaret seating, with saw dust on the floor, and a bar. It was like being in vaudeville. At Christmas time we would do three shows a day. We were constantly performing, sometimes for 12 hours a day. I had a lot of on-the-job training before I went to college for training. It was great. From there I went to North Carolina School of the Arts. Their curriculum was to make a well-rounded actor. From there I went to Hollywood for almost a decade, and then to New York City for another decade. And then one of my good friends said, “Get out of the New York rat race. You’re just up there trying to make rent. Come here and breathe some fresh air and see some stars and be around some people who are positive and are artists.” So I came here. I’ve done about nine plays here at Oregon Stage Works.