Category Archives: Interview

The origins of Christopher Cerrone’s music

Composer Christopher Cerrone’s percussion quartet concerto, “Meander, Spiral, Explode,” will be performed with Third Coast Percussion at the opening concert of the Britt Festival Orchestra season, which runs July 26 to Aug. 11.

I chatted recently with Cerrone about the origins of his music.

CC: I think I’ve had music coursing through my veins as long as I can remember. My mother told me a story of her giving me a 45 rpm record player. And I used to listen to the same Lionel Richie song over and over again. That was in about 1986, when I was 2 years old.

I’ve studied all kinds of music. I initially studied classical piano. Then, as I got older, I learned electric guitar, which was a very suburban angst thing to do — to be in a rock band. Then I learned jazz piano. And then I eventually came back to classical music. I became interested in orchestral music, playing the double bass in my high school orchestra. At the same time, I began dreaming of composing. Continue reading The origins of Christopher Cerrone’s music

A new stage for performances

Jim Pagliasotti directs Play4Keeps, Ashland New Plays Festival’s recently launched website featuring audio recordings of new plays. The latest works by promising and prominent playwrights, dramatized by top local actors, are now available by subscription and as free podcasts at: Play4Keeps.org. The website was developed by Project A. I chatted with Pagliasotti one afternoon at Growler Guys in Ashland.

JP: In the time that I have been involved at ANPF, I have been aware of all the challenges playwrights face. It’s incredible what they have to go through. It seems like the aperture is getting smaller and smaller, through which everybody is trying to pass. There are agents, and not many theaters have the curatorial resources to sort through new works. I’ve also seen how hard playwrights have to work to promote themselves, to keep their name and their work out there.

Continue reading A new stage for performances

A deep look at 1980s epidemic

Jim Edmondson is the director of “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches,” by Tony Kushner, now playing at Southern Oregon University’s Main Stage Theatre. A magnificent hallucinatory fantasy, the play offers a deeply personal look at the victims of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, a time of sexual promiscuity and social oppression. I met with Edmondson in the theater during a technical rehearsal.

JE: The scope of the play is huge. I assigned the cast to study subjects such as: Civil Rights; the House Un-American Activities Committee; Roy Cohen; the history of drag, and leather bars in America; the early medical and political response to the epidemic; Rock Hudson; the plagues of the 13th and 17th century. The Angel brought in charts of the structure of heaven. It’s been interesting to research the clothes of the early ’80s, and how strange they were.

The play is interesting because it is so political, so religious, so compassionate and so despicable. The range of experience is great. It’s so enormous in its scope: that you’d have ghosts and fantasies, and historical figures. Kushner was very daring to put all that into the same world.

Continue reading A deep look at 1980s epidemic

Love and gender take center stage in ‘Twelfth Night’

Cil Stengel directs Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” opening May 17 in the Rogue Performance Hall at Rogue Community College in Medford.

Stengel has assembled a stellar production team including composer Sue Carney, choreographer Suzanne Seiber, acting coach Eileen DeSandre, and costumes by Emily Ehrlich Inget.

I met with Stengel and her Malvolio, Marshal Gluskin, at Rogue Valley Roasting Company in Ashland.

CS: The resurgence of theater is happening at RCC. We now have a great black box theater. The cast is made of mostly students and about 20 percent community members. Continue reading Love and gender take center stage in ‘Twelfth Night’

Transitioning between film and stage

Actor Andrew Perez played Klaus Kinski both in film and live performance during the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Klaus Kinski was an explosive, eccentric German actor, who was directed by Werner Herzog in a number of films including: “Fitzcarraldo,” “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” and “Aguirre, the Wrath of God.”

The film “My Dinner with Werner” is an uproarious spoof, directed by Maverick Moore, portraying a murderous battle between, Klaus Kinski and Werner Herzog. Perez’s one-man theatrical performance, “The Second Coming of Klaus Kinski” is a thrilling tour-de-force, written by Perez, and impeccably directed by Eric G. Johnson.

I met with Perez and Johnson at the Schneider Museum of Art where we viewed the Apocalypse exhibit.

EH: How did you construct “The Second Coming of Klaus Kinski?”

AP: The logic of it is that he is dying. It is a platform for his redemption, where his soul is doing battle in his moment of passing. It’s like a dream. His demons start ambushing him, and he’s defending his life, which leads him into the past. Continue reading Transitioning between film and stage

Characters who want more out of life

Anne and Gary Lundgren’s feature film “Phoenix Oregon” recently premiered at the Ashland Independent Film Festival. It was the Lundgen’s fourth feature film, and it was filmed in rural Oregon. Their other films were “Black Road,” “Redwood Highway” and “Calvin Marshall.” We visited at their studio on East Main Street in Ashland.

EH: Are your films thematically linked?

GL: I think they all are. There’s definitely a main character that is unhappy, not being fulfilled by life.

AL: I think there is a lot of grace and love for all of these characters. They have passion and are wanting more.

GL: Wanting more out of life or wanting certain doors to open that are not opening. I think “Phoenix Oregon” is the same kind of story. A midlife crisis: two guys feel the clock ticking. They are not living the life they want, so they have to do whatever they can to change it, and take those risks.

Continue reading Characters who want more out of life

Bayard explores apocalypse in video exhibit

Bruce Bayard will present his video collage, “Triptychs,” in “Apocalypse,” a media art exhibition curated by Richard Herskowitz and Scott Malbaurn, at the Schneider Museum of Art during the Ashland Independent Film Festival. I met with Bayard at his Studio on A Street in Ashland.

EH: How does your film relate to the theme of apocalypse?

BB: There is the underlying theme of apocalypse in all of my work. There are concerns with climate change, and what kind of damage we are going to be facing over the next few decades. There are elements in the work that are bringing up what we’re doing to the planet and the environment. I call it fouling the nest. I think that climate change that’s going on could potentially be apocalyptic, if we don’t start throwing some serious effort at mitigating what’s going to be happening.

The film that I’m showing is non-narrative, stream of consciousness, and as you look at it, you’ll have to put together your own sense of what’s going on in the film. I’m not creating the film with an exact narrative in mind, and I’m also letting things evolve randomly. The images that I’ve chosen have to do with our environment, our situation, our relationship with that environment, and the climate change that is coming at us. Continue reading Bayard explores apocalypse in video exhibit