Robin Downward

Robin Downward
Robin Downward

After seeing Robin Downward’s extraordinary performance as Sherlock Holmes in Oregon Cabaret Theatre’s “Holmes & Watson Save the Empire,” I decided to check in with Downward and learn a little about his acting technique. We met at his own Randall Theatre in Medford as he was preparing for the opening of “Scots on the Rocks.” After a tour of the theater, we settled in his spacious and comfortable office.

EH: What is your vision for the Randall Theatre?

RD: The community of Medford needs a good, solid, community-based theater that serves the community through its outreach, not just within its doors. There is theater here; it’s just not accessible to the general public. One of my ideas is called “exterior theater,” theater that happens outside, in the parks or out in the streets. Theater has the opportunity to change people’s lives for the better, but it’s not going to do it if all that is happening is within the walls and the confines of the theater. It has to go into the community to be effective.

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Cracking up with the Hamazons

The Hamazons
The Hamazons

The Hamazons, the improvisational comedy group founded in 1999, consists of Eve Smyth, Cil Stengel, Kyndra Laughery and Carolyn Myers. One summer evening, I joined Eve, Cil and Kyndra around Eve’s kitchen table to kibitz about improvisation, laughter and community.

ES: This year we did three shows at Tease Restaurant in Ashland before it closed.

KL: People could eat, have some drinks and relax. It was a fun, raucous time doing improvisation.

CS: Night-clubby, lots of fun, lots of laughs.

EH: Do you usually perform in theaters?

ES: We’ve performed in The Dance Space, The Barn”…

CS: The Black Swan, the Community Center, those kinds of things.

ES: A few months ago we did a house show. Someone invited a bunch of people to come to their house and asked us to perform.

CS: It’s totally fun. Every show is catered to the audience. It’s really wonderful, intimate and personal.

KL: Poking fun at human nature.

ES: We take suggestions from the audience. We all create the show together.

CS: The fact that it’s happening in the moment is what’s special.

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