One noon hour some years back, I had the extraordinary luck to wander into Dale Luciano’s drama in Western culture class at Southern Oregon University. The class explored great dramatic literature within its historical context. I was intrigued; I enrolled in the year-long class.
Dale also teaches directing and forms and meanings, a class he describes as an “ongoing experiment” that examines parallels between theater and major art movements in history. His theatre arts classes are challenging. He chooses exciting material and requires his students to process, communicate and create.
I met Dale at the Bloomsbury Coffee House. Dale directed Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labor’s Lost,” now playing at Southern University’s Oregon Center Stage Theater. I have seen the production. It is elegant, exuberant, masterfully directed and thoroughly entertaining. I highly recommend it.
In the “Great American Trailer Park Musical,” formerly produced at Oregon Stage Works, J.R. Storment played Duke, a “marker-sniffing stripper-ex-girlfriend-chasing redneck freak.” His performance was bone-chilling until Duke miraculously transformed into the comfy, cozy and compliant sonny boy that any mother would want.
Currently, J.R. plays a revolutionary in the intense new Palestinian play, “Masked,” one of the four plays in “Things We Do,” now at Oregon Stage Works.
I met J.R. at Bloomsbury coffee house. He is the Web creative director of denizenTV.com and a photographer.
John Cole, director of Lanford Wilson’s “HOT L BALTIMORE,” shared his thoughts on the play during early rehearsals.
JC: A lot of it is boldfaced honest raw humor that’s really funny. “HOT L BALTIMORE” is the HOTEL BALTIMORE neon sign with the “E” burnt out. The play is about a beautiful old hotel now fallen into disrepair and inhabited by street hustlers, prostitutes and senior citizens. These people are living in the margins and have nowhere to go. While trying to get by living in this hotel, they get notice that the wrecking ball is going to tear down the joint.
“HOT L BALTIMORE” is what happens to those marginal people in dire economic straights when our society is bent on creating a shiny new future, and we forget about moving forward with our hearts. It helps us remember those people we walk past on the streets. It helps us remember how valuable they are.
Now playing at Oregon Cabaret Theatre, “The Mystery of Irma Vep” features two outstanding young comedic actors, Douglas Reynolds and Christopher Bange. Both actors are from small towns in the Pacific Northwest; both have bachelor’s degrees in Theater; both have been acting all of their lives, with the occasional waiter or bus-person job when they are not performing.
Christopher primarily does comedic work. He has created several original one- and two-man shows. This summer he will be touring Fringe Festivals in Canada with his solo magic show, “More Bange for Your Buck.”
Douglas, a recent graduate of Southern Oregon University, is also a writer. He worked with Portland Etc. and was an extra in Hollywood before returning to Ashland to play in “The Mystery of Irma Vep.”
We met one Friday afternoon at Martino’s, after a particularly lively Thursday night performance.