Because I was already an artist in other media, as soon as I started dancing, I immediately started choreographing. — Jim Giancarlo
Jim Giancarlo puts together an inspired life for himself and for numerous other theater artists on a daily basis. As we sipped steaming coffee at Bloomsbury Café last Friday, I could easily see that he brings a relaxed creative atmosphere wherever he goes. He wrote and directed “Ali Baba,” opening that evening.
EH: So you grew up on the East Coast?
JG: I grew up in Buffalo, N.Y.
EH: And that’s where you went to the university?
JG: My degree is in visual art. So I kind of came to theater in a back-door sort of way. When I was in college I started doing quite a bit of writing. I moved to San Francisco in 1972 to write, and I immediately got caught up in dance, which was always a secret passion. I was 25 when I started training as a dancer.
I want to hold the mirror up to society. I try to do shows, that highlight the best in us, and sometimes it means highlighting the worst. — Livia Genise
With her fine bones and raven curls, Livia Genise is a musical comedy diva. But visiting over coffee at Bloomsbury’s café, I found she is also a serious artist with remarkable integrity.
EH: Does anyone ever call you the Queen of Camelot?
LG: You know, one of the reasons we call it Camelot is that I envision a round table where everyone is valued. There doesn’t need to be somebody that is at the head, but I’m responsible for the quality of what we do.
I try to do shows each year that are thoughtful, but also bring in the audience. It’s hard to sell shows with dark subjects. I usually do something each year that is not making Camelot’s political statement, but that is thought provoking. My first year the play was “The Music Lesson,” which was about the war in Sarajevo, the siege, and how it affected artists and children. That was powerful and very well attended.
If we can behave humanely with each other, you won't have to kill my kids and I won't have to kill yours. — Molly Tinsley
I met Molly Tinsley at Bloomsbury’s coffee shop. Energetic yet very soft-spoken, her friendly, down-to-earth manner belies her PHD in English, her 20 years as a professor of English literature at the Naval Academy, two books of fiction and her text on creative writing. Molly’s play, “Glacial Genes,” is now playing at Oregon Stage Works.
“Glacial Genes” is a story of a romance that blossoms in a sperm bank in the months leading up to Christmas at the beginning of an ice age. The bank’s director is “concocting designer babies,” while the world confronts “inescapable doom,” a side effect of global warming.
"If anything makes me a little bit afraid, I make a point to do it." — Rochelle Savitt
After seeing Rochelle Savitt’s compelling performance in Oregon Stage Works’ “Trip to Bountiful,” I was determined to find out more about this gifted actress.
“I was fortunate,” Savitt said, looking fresh and smart as we settled in for lunch at McGraths.
While we talked about her life in the theater, I realized that Savitt has made her own “fortunate” life.
EH: Southern California’s South Coast Repertory Theatre (where OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch was an associate artist), you were in on the beginning of that?
RS: I was there before they moved into their palace, when they were in a converted dime store. I was in a few productions and did whatever they needed backstage. It all came together for them at a time when I could no longer afford to participate in it. I had to earn a living, and my kids needed me at home. I didn’t get back to acting until my son graduated from college.