Sam King

"If you want to continue working, you've got to be flexible. And that's not even just with acting, it's with anything, I'm sure." — Sam King
Sam King
Sam King

EH: I saw you in “Death Trap,” and you’ll be playing in “The Nerd.” Where do you come from?

SK: I’m originally from Santa Rosa. I started acting when I was 12. When I was in high school, I got into a melodrama house called the Marquis Theater; it was cabaret seating, with saw dust on the floor, and a bar. It was like being in vaudeville. At Christmas time we would do three shows a day. We were constantly performing, sometimes for 12 hours a day. I had a lot of on-the-job training before I went to college for training. It was great. From there I went to North Carolina School of the Arts. Their curriculum was to make a well-rounded actor. From there I went to Hollywood for almost a decade, and then to New York City for another decade. And then one of my good friends said, “Get out of the New York rat race. You’re just up there trying to make rent. Come here and breathe some fresh air and see some stars and be around some people who are positive and are artists.” So I came here. I’ve done about nine plays here at Oregon Stage Works.

Continue reading Sam King

Mark Turnbull Part II

"My children grew up, as I did, in interesting households surrounded by people who encouraged individuality." — Mark Turnbull
Mark Turnbull
Mark Turnbull

EH: Our readers are interested in the dynamics of theater families. Does being in theater enhance family life?

MT: My family and my choice of career are intrinsically intertwined. My parents were in show business. Our family friends were funny vibrant people who interacted with me as an equal. There never was this W.C. Fields, “Go away kid, you bother me,” thing. They were just great alive people. I was surrounded by wonderful people.

Do you remember Minnie Pearl with her straw hat and a price tag on it? I was on a talk-show with her in L.A. (I signed with Reprise Records when I was seventeen.) We were in the green room, and she said to me, “Do you mind if I give you give you some advice? Stay close to your family. In this business, it’s so easy to go wandering off. Stay close to your family.” I’ve remembered that for some 40 years. A lot of the qualities the bonds, the loyalty, the responsibilities, and the camaraderie that make a great society are inherent in embryo in the family, which extends to theater. That’s what makes a great theatrical experience, for the audience especially, when they sense that embrace within the cast members.

When I became a father trying to keep a family together was interesting while doing the theatrical thing. It becomes a very, I’d hate to say, self-centered existence; but it requires that sort of intense focus. As Jack Sheldon said, “The whole day is just preparation for the stage that night. I just put up with it, so that I can get on that stage.” It sort of requires that intense focus. And if you have a partner who doesn’t understand that, and wants your attention, and makes claims on your time (and it isn’t just the time, it’s the concentration), you arrive at the theater scattered. When you have time at the theater, you can sort-of rein-in what has run amok during the day. But it’s certainly easier when you can focus on what you have to do.

When children are involved, the children can keep you occupied and away from memorizing your lines, but that’s a benign distraction. It feeds into the goodness of what can happen on the stage that night. It’s seemingly chaotic, but there is something about it that is heart centered, and one is able to refocus from that. Things that are mind-centered, or that are tearing at your ego, or create chaos in your mind, are hard to reign-in. Children can wear you out physically, but that is all of a joy, and can lead to a good thing on stage.

Financially, that’s another question, the breadwinner aspect, to make enough money in the theater to keep a family; that becomes wearing too. There are as many situations as there are theatrical families.

EH: The whole aspect of family and theater takes a lot of flexibility and sacrifice, but then you give them the gift of talent and your work?

MT: My children grew up, as I did, in interesting households surrounded by people who encouraged individuality. So they have grown-up as distinct individuals. Another secret of family life: parents learn from their children. As Gary Snyder said, “It’s like having this little 2-year-old Zen Master strolling around the house.” It’s really true, there’s so much to learn; it goes both ways. All we can do for our children, really, is to instill character and ultimately let them make their choices from their own hearts and minds.

Children’s Theater Directors

"It's not about how great any one person is, you are in this together to create a story for the audience." — Eve Smyth
Eve Smyth
Eve Smyth
Kate Sullivan
Kate Sullivan

I met Eve Smyth and Kate Sullivan at their sunny storefront office of Oregon Stage Works. The ladies are in their fifth year of a lively partnership as directors of the Ashland Children’s Theatre. Both Kate and Eve are actresses; they are currently understudies at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Both sport Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater arts, Kate, from the University of Hawaii, and Eve, from San Francisco State University. Eve is the playwright for many of the shows; they view theater as storytelling.

Continue reading Children’s Theater Directors

Mark Turnbull

"The form becomes one with the content, and that's where the power lies." — Mark Turnbull
Mark Turnbull
Mark Turnbull

Mark Turnbull has had a long and fruitful career in music and theater. When he was 17 he signed with Reprise Records with his recording, “Portrait of the Young Artist.” His music has been described as folk-jazz, which he depicts as “a cross between Burl Ives and Thelonious Monk.” Last fall Mark played Dog Kelly in his own musical, “Tales of Fannie Kennan Better Known as Dora Hand,” at the Oregon Stage Works.

EH: You’ve spent almost your entire life in music and theater. Is there any time that you did anything else?

MT: There were two years when I was seven and eight, when I was in little league. I put down the ukulele for two years.

Continue reading Mark Turnbull

Tom Weiner of Blackstone Audio Books

"As an actor, it's a dream job. Now I get to play all the roles." — Tom Weiner
Tom Wyner
Tom Wyner

EH: (reading resume) New Shakespeare Company of San Francisco, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, San Jose Rep. It says here you graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Psychology, but actually majored in Rock and Roll?

TW: I was a rock drummer during my college years in Santa Cruz, but I’ve been acting since I was ten. My professional acting career really began In 1974, when a friend called and said, “Come see me in As You Lke It in Golden Gate Park! It’s a really fun production!” That was my introduction to The New Shakespeare Co. of San Francisco, which I joined a few days later, performing first in San Francisco, and then all over the country — three nationwide tours covering 46 states — for three wonderful and exciting years.

Continue reading Tom Weiner of Blackstone Audio Books

Kathleen Mahoney of Oregon Cabaret Theatre

"My approach to everything in life is usually to approach it with a sense of humor." — Kathleen Mahoney
Kathleen Mahoney
Kathleen Mahoney

EH: Tell me about “Kicking the Clouds Away.”

KM: It has songs of the ’20s and ’30s. We have been looking at a lot of newspaper headlines from those days; they are the same as the headlines today with the banks and unemployment. There are a lot of hopeful songs; there’s a lot of: “Bad times are just around the corner” and “Grey skies will clear up and it will be OK” and “Yes we can” kind of thing. The music is not stuff that has been done a lot. It’s nice: “Little Girl Blue,” “Pennies From Heaven” and “Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee.” There is some familiar music, but some of it isn’t, especially the 1920s songs. It’s just amazing how the lyrics reflect what’s going on now. It’s truly uncanny.

Continue reading Kathleen Mahoney of Oregon Cabaret Theatre

Doug Rowe of Oregon Stage Works

"You'd be surprised how many good plays get done with a bad director, but never with a bad cast." — Doug Rowe,
Doug Rowe
Doug Rowe

EH: So you came to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as an actor?

DR: Yes, I was with OSF for five seasons. It was marvelous working there because I’d never worked with such an incredible level of actors. The actors that work at OSF are world class actors, really remarkable people, totally dedicated, hard working. It’s quite amazing. I’ve done Broadway, off Broadway, regional theater for years, but never was the caliber of actors as high as it was here. So it was a thrill to be a member of a company that was very distinguished.

I’ve been totally blessed; I’ve always worked either as an actor or as a director. I was the executive director of the Laguna Playhouse for 18 years. I’ve just never had a lull. When the Regional Theater Movement began in the 1960s, it was the rebirth of theater. It just blossomed. Professional actors were working all over. Now every area has at least one regional theater.

Continue reading Doug Rowe of Oregon Stage Works

Ashland is the place for Theatre