Not to be missed this Christmas season is the Collaborative Theatre Project’s “The Snow Queen.” The music, staging, acting, and costumes are superb. Under Susan Aversa-Orrego’s direction, talented actors and musicians have come together to create this magnificent piece.
Director Obed Medina is a founding member of the project. We met in their new theater in the Medford Center, which includes Tinseltown.
Developers are revamping the whole complex and are trying to make it into an entertainment/arts destination, to bring in more restaurants and breweries. Once they get those in, it will become a nice little hub of entertainment.
EH: How did you get interested in theater?
OM: When I was 9 or 10, I saw a play at a community theater that really moved me. Then, I wanted to be a writer, but when I went to college, I got involved in theater. Theater did that same thing for me: You can do almost what a book or an essay can do, but in a compact and more powerful way. It’s got more impact because you’re watching the actor on stage. It’s not a movie, where you can just sit and think about what you’re hearing or seeing, you’re actually interacting with that actor. There is a connection with the actor and the audience, and every performance is different.
EH: Tell me about “The Snow Queen.”
OM: We wanted to try something different. It’s got a contemporary eclectic musical score, a little something for everyone. I wouldn’t call it a children’s musical, but it’s balanced so that you can bring the whole family and everyone will get something out of it. It’s really exciting.
EH: What is your vision of a collaborative theater?
OM: There’s no one artistic director. We work together as a unit. One director will take the lead with the directing of a play, and the others will help make it happen. And when the next play comes up, another director will take the lead on that production. It takes the pressure off of one person. It also makes for a good balance of different ideas. When people come to see a show at the Collaborative Theatre Project, it’s always going to be a new experience. It will be a complete 180 degrees from what you just saw. The line-up we have for next season is very diverse. It’s a lot that we’re taking on, but we all bring in a different passion, and we put them all together.
My passion is working with the community. One of my missions is that we have a Latino community that can really benefit from a theater that is more accessible. Being here in Medford, you have close proximity to that group.
We have already received grants from different foundations. One of the programs we just received news from is the Radio Days! program. We’re doing the old time radio shows, and we’re taking them to the retirement communities.
In January, I’m getting ready to launch a Cultural Arts Program. “Dog Sees God,” the first play opening in 2017, will feature some talk-backs after the show to address some of the issues that the play brings up. It has a message of hope.
One thing that attracted me to the Collaborative Theatre Project is that we would be doing something for the community. That’s how I got started. Theater changed the course of my life.