Rogue Community College’s theater director, Ron Danko, is launching an exciting project, titled ‘Shakespeare’s Sonnets and a Will to Boot’. We met to read sonnets in his office at Rogue Community College.
EH: What is your task with this material? What do you want to do with it?
RD: I want people to realize that the sonnets do speak, just as Shakespeare’s plays speak, to an audience today, regardless of how educated you are. They talk to us with the deepest most complex emotions, in terms of relationships and what happens in relationships, and the understanding of love. Think about it. How many actors who have done Shakespeare and theater, have really looked at the sonnets? They don’t.
Alexandra Blouin and Christopher Bange are the entire cast of “Red, White, and Tuna” now playing at the Oregon Cabaret Theater. She is luscious and lanky; he is solid with sad and mischievous eyes. They are “dating”. We got together at Pangea over steaming bowls of soup.
EH: How would you describe “Red, White and Tuna”?
CB: It follows the story of about twenty characters on a day in the life of the small town of Tuna, Texas. It’s definitely a fictional place, but completely real, because the gentlemen who wrote it are from a small town in Texas and are essentially doing their friends and family. They’ve made a thirty-some-odd year career with the “Tunas”. This is the third in a series of four. There’s “Greater Tuna”, and “Tuna Christmas”, then “Red, White and Tuna”, and now, “Tuna Does Vegas”. It’s not only a wonderful franchise, but they are touring it at the same time. They wrote it and perform it.
Actress Helena De Crespo is in Ashland developing a comprehensive multicultural theater project. The working title is “Intercambio”, created to enhance artistic communication within the various cultures within the Rogue Valley Community. Helena founded Cultural Centers both in Costa Rica and Colombia. Over tea at Pangea, she defined the initiatives of “Intercambio”.
EH: What is unique about this project?
HDC: What is unique is that it came from the community. People were saying, in various areas, that there is a huge reservoir of talent and potential audience in the Hispanic community that hasn’t opened-up as it could.
The whole initiative was to cover the performing arts in whatever way, shape, or form that it should manifest. As I had done so much work in Latin America, I seem to be an appropriate person to spearhead it. We’ve created a wonderful steering committee with highly dedicated, clever, and informed people. What has evolved is: there will be four initiatives.