Category Archive: Backstage

PRESS Reviews, mentions and more

Profile doubles the impact

Richly rewarding productions of Quiara Alegría Hudes’ “Water by the Spoonful” and “The Happiest Song Plays Last” open in rep

Read it here: OREGON ARTSWATCH


Stage and Studio Interview

With Dmae Roberts on KBOO

November 7th, 2017

Director Josh Hecht and actor Anthony Lam were guests on the show.  They shared insights into working on Water by the Spoonful and The Happiest Song Plays Last.  Anthony plays the leading character of Elliot in both productions and opened the season in the title role in Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue.

Listen to the full interview HERE


Pulitzer winner Quiara Alegria Hudes expands the idea of family in ‘Elliot Trilogy’

October 21, 2017 //BY LEE WILLIAMS // FOR THE OREGONIAN // OREGONLIVE

 Read it here: THE OREGONIAN

The Oregonian Features Quiara

 

Quiara in the OregonianIn October Quiara Alegría Hudes was interviewed by Lee Williams for The Oregonian/Oregon Live!  We are thrilled that The Oregonian recognized the significance of presenting the work of a Pulitzer Prize winning writer – and her upcoming visit to Portland.

She spoke of her gratitude for people’s response to the devastation of hurricane Irma, saying “It’s really profoundly moving how much the nation has just come out with deep love for Puerto Rico.”

She also praised Profile saying that we’ve impressed her with our “Level of thoughtfulness and creativity and care toward the work they do.” Thanks Quiara!

The full article was published in print on Friday, Oct 27th and is available online!

Water/Happiest Cast

In order of appearance

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Lam

Elliot Water/Happiest  

Anthony is returning to Profile Theatre to continue his work as Elliot Ortiz, seen in the season opener Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue. His past theatre credits include: Michael in the stage reading of Washer/Dryer with Theatre Diaspora and Atómiko in Miracle Theatre’s production of Into The Beautiful North. He spent the summer filming Translated, a feature film in Eugene, OR as well as working on commercials throughout the Northwest.

Crystal Ann Muñoz

 

 

 

 

 

Crystal Ann Muñoz

Yaz Water/Happiest

Crystal is honored to be working with this earnest, fearless group of artists. Profile audiences may have seen her previously in Eyes for Consuela (Sam Shepard season) or the Drammy Award winning Orlando (Sarah Ruhl season). Other Portland credits include The Importance of Being Ernest; Civil War Christmas (Artists Repertory Theatre), Olivia in Twelfth Night (Portland Shakespeare Project), The Hunstmen (Portland Playhouse), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (Triangle Productions) and In The Heights (Stumptown Stages), another work by our playwright, Quiara Alegría Hudes. Thank you for joining us. “Somos Americanos. Punto.”

Wasim No'Mani

 

 

 

 

 

Wasim No’Mani

Ghost/Ali Water/Happiest

Wasim is an actor. Meaning, he tries to tell the truth whilst lying. Indeed, he is as confused as that sounds. Wasim THANKS every one of his stupendously talented cast-mates. Watching their work is both a jubilant joy and frantically frightful. Wasim deeply THANKS director, Josh Hecht, for including him in this creative process. An emphatic extension of GRATITUDE to Quiara Alegria Hudes whose words we are all trying our damndest to live up to. Wasim eternally THANKS his family for their insistent support, despite the questionable nature of the undertaking  Finally, Wasim THANKS YOU, audience member. Without you, there’s no point in this.

Julana Torres

 

 

 

 

 

Julana Torres

Odessa Water

Julana is a Portland local with an extensive career in dance, music, and theatre. She has recently returned to the stage after a long hiatus to teach with Portland Public Schools and establish the full time dance program for Franklin High School. She is beyond ecstatic to return to Profile after performing last spring as Beatriz in 26 Miles. Other credits include Óye Oyá (Milagro Theatre), Cuba Libre (ART), West Side Story (Musical Theatre Company), Peter Pan (Civic Theatre). Upcoming works include feature film Losing Addison, and Between Riverside and Crazy this spring with Artists Rep. She also performs as the lead singer for popular latin jazz orchestra The Bobby Torres Ensemble.

Member Actors Equity Association

 

 

 

 

 

 

Akari Anderson

Orangutan Water

Akari is thrilled to be making her Portland debut at Profile. Theatrical credits include Anna in The Baltimore Waltz (Powerhouse Theatre), Ophelia in Hamlet (Martel Theatre), Sabina in The Skin of Our Teeth (Vassar College), Susan in The Secretaries (Idlewild Ensemble), and Ensemble Member in On The Table (Sojourn Theatre Company). Film: Frances Ha (dir. Noah Baumbach). Holds a BA in Drama from Vassar College. Special thanks to Tomiko, Reed and Hiroko.

Bobby Bermea

 

 

 

 

 

Bobby Bermea

Chutes & Ladders Water

Bobby is thrilled to be returning to Profile where he last appeared on stage during the Athol Fugard season in “Master Harold” …and the Boys and My Children! My Africa! He also directed last season’s Blue Door. Bermea is co-artistic director of The Beirut Wedding World Theatre Project and a member of both Sojourn Theatre and Badass Theatre Company. He is a playwright, director, contributor to Oregon ArtsWatch and three-time Drammy award winning actor. Bermea has worked in theaters literally from New York, NY to Honolulu, HI. Coming up, look for Bermea in Between Riverside and Crazy at Artists Rep, Fences at Portland Playhouse and The Librarians on TNT.

Member Actors Equity Association

 

Duffy Epstein

 

 

 

 

 

Duffy Epstein

Fountainhead/Lefty Water/Happiest

Duffy is really happy to be working at Profile Theater again, having appeared as Saul in True West.  Recent appearances include Slank in Peter and the Starcatcher; Ian in The Other Place (Portland Playhouse), Duane/db in db (Coho), Harold in I Want To Destroy You (Theater Vertigo), Cash in The Pain and the Itch (Third Rail). For Judy!

Dre Slaman

 

 

 

 

 

Dre Slaman

Shar Happiest

Dré earned her MFA in Acting at Northern Illinois University where she studied the Meisner Technique under master teacher Kathryn Gately. She has also studied at the Moscow Art Theatre, the William Esper Acting Studio (NYC) and received her BA in Theatre Arts at University of Pacific. Theatre Credits include: Jaffa’s Gate, The Stinky Cheese Man, Nine Parts of Desire, The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, Albee’s Everything in The Garden, Edgar’s Pentecost, and Hair. Dré’s on-camera credits include GRIMM, MEDIUM, and others. She owns and operates local company Farm to Fit and is on the Board of the Portland Area Theatre Alliance.

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Garcia

Agustín Happiest

After studying at Southern Oregon University and performing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Jimmy is happy to be back in Portland where he began his acting career years ago on the stages of Milagro Theater, Stark Raving Theater and Portland Center Stage.  In Southern Oregon, he performed a variety of roles working with such esteemed directors as Bill Rauch, Libby Appel and Pat Patton to name a few. He has most recently performed in Milagro’s world premiere Óye Oyá, ART’s A Civil War Christmas, Profile Theater’s Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue, and ART’s An Octoroon.

Member Actors Equity Association

Water/Happiest Rep: Design & Production Team

Josh Hecht

Director

Josh Hecht (Artistic Director) is a Drama Desk Award-winning director whose productions have been seen in New York at MCC Theater, The Cherry Lane, The Duke on 42nd Street, New World Stages, Culture Project, regionally at The Guthrie Theater, the Berkshire Theatre Group, the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Signature Theatre (DC) and internationally at the Dublin Arts Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and elsewhere. His collaboration with Ping Chong and Company was commissioned by and premiered at The Kennedy Center before touring the northeast. His writing has received the support of the Jerome Foundation. He is formerly the Director of Playwright Development at MCC Theater and the Director of New Play Development at WET. He’s served on the faculty of the New School for Drama MFA Directing program, the Fordham University MFA Playwriting program, Purchase College SUNY’s BFA Dramatic Writing program and has been a guest artist at The Juilliard School, NYU’s Dramatic Writing MFA, Carnegie Mellon’s MFA Playwriting, University of Minnesota’s BFA Acting program and others.

 

Peter Ksander

Scenic  Design

Peter is a scenographer and media artist whose stage design work has been presented both nationally and internationally. In 2006 he joined the curatorial board of the Ontological-Hysteric Incubator. In 2008 he won an Obie award for the scenic design of Untitled Mars (this title may change), and In 2014 he won a Bessie award for the visual design of This Was the End. He holds a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, is an Associate Professor at Reed College and is an associate company member with the Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble. This is his second design with Profile having designed Bright Half Life last season.

 

Brynne Oster-Bainnson

Costume Design

Brynne received her BA from Drew University in 2013. She works as the wardrobe supervisor for Broadway Rose Theatre Company and is also the costumer for David Douglas High School and St. Mary’s Academy where she enjoys spreading the love of costumes to the next generations. Brynne has worked as a costume designer for Broadway Rose, Third Rail, and CoHo. Highlights of her recent shows Fly By Night (BRTC), The Nether (TR), Angry Brigade (TR),  and db (CoHo). She is very excited to work with Profile for the first time on these two incredible shows with this outstanding creative team.

 

Carl Faber

Lighting Design 

In three seasons with Profile Carl has designed: Orlando, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Eyes for Consuela.  Recent designs with Artists Rep (Grand Concourse, Broomstick), Third Rail (The Angry Brigade), Broadway Rose (Trails, Beehive – Drammy Best Lighting), Theatre Vertigo (Carnivora), NWCT (Mary Poppins).  Regional: Arena Stage, Boston ICA, Williamstown Theatre Festival.  Touring Production/IT: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  Touring Associate Lighting/Video: Bon Iver, The National.  Lighting Artist: Eaux Claires Music Festival.  Founding Member: Woodshed Collective NYC.  Staff Assistant Lighting Designer: Portland Opera.  Broadway Assistant Designer: The Book of Mormon.  Education: Catlin Gabel, Vassar College.  Member: United Scenic Artists Local USA-829.  www.carlfaber.com

Represented by United Scenic Artists

 

Matt Wiens

Sound Design

Matt is excited to be a part of Profile’s Quiara Alegria Hudes season. Recent work includes Pen/Man/Ship, How I learned What I Learned, and You For Me For You, at Portland Playhouse. Matt would like to thank his family for their support and encouragement!

 

Kyra Bishop Sanford

Props Master

Kyra is excited to be part of this production! Local credits include scenic and props designer and TD for You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Enlightened Theatrics) and Troilus and Cressida (Portland Actors Ensemble), scenic and props designer for The Pillowman (Life in Arts), production designer and TD for Men Run Amok (part of Fertile Ground 2017), props master for The Events (Third Rail Rep), Plaid Tidings (Enlightened Theatrics) and Reborning (Beirut Wedding), as well as carpentry and paint work at various theatres in the area. She received her BFA in Scenic Design from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University. www.sanfordscenic.com

 

Jamie Rea

Production Manager

From Berlin’s aerialist street ensemble, Grotest Maru to Wellington’s all female dance ensemble JAVA, Jamie has been exploring this powerful tool of connection and change for over 2 decades. Serving as an award winning director, designer, and performer, she has worked up and down both coasts and as far away as Australia. She does however also love to plant roots, building a human-resource-focused way of working, as a foundation for extraordinary art. To that end, it has been her pleasure to serve as Production Manager for Jewish Theatre Collaborative for 9 years, for Enlightened Theatrics for the past 3 years, and by project for many others including Sojourn Theatre and The Beirut Wedding World Theatre Project.

 

Baleigh Isaacs

Stage Manager

Baleigh is delighted to be working with Profile Theatre for the first time, marking her Portland debut after spending a dozen years in Chicago. Her Chicago credits include productions at Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare, American Blues, Remy Bumppo, and Drury Lane as well as Million Dollar Quartet, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Old Jews Telling Jokes, and Motherhood the Musical.  Baleigh has also worked with the Alliance Theatre and Georgia Shakespeare in her hometown of Atlanta.  Her NYC credits include Les Miserables, The Rhythm Club, and Summer of ’42.

Member of Actor’s Equity Association

 

Breydon Little

Assistant Stage Manager

Breydon is ecstatic to be working with in rep with Profile this fall! He is a stage manager with credits at Portland Playhouse, and independent projects with Michael Streeter, Beth Thompson, and Elizabeth Huffman. He is a proud member of Theatre Vertigo and a production manager at Clackamas High School.

 

Ashlin Hatch

Assistant Director

Ashlin is thrilled to be collaborating on her first project with Profile. Other recent directorial credits include Nice Town, Normal People (Rhizome Theater Co.) and This Must Be the Place (Reed College)—both devised, interview-based performances aiming to sow seeds of social cohesion, compassion, and kindness.

20th Anniversary Benefit Celebration!

On Monday, September 18, 2017 we gathered in celebration of Profile’s 20th Anniversary!

The evening began with a concert of songs from the musicals of Quiara Alegría Hudes.  A full band led by musical director Freddy Vilches backed three talented vocalists, Alex Ramirez de Cruz (26 Miles), Julana Torres (26 Miles and Water by the Spoonful) and Feliciano Tencos-Garcia.  They performed songs from Miss You Like Hell, Barrio ABC’s and In The Heights.

Photo Credit David Kinder

A catered reception followed.  20 years of Profile patrons and artists mingled while enjoying eats from Pambiche and wine from Wildwood/Mahonia.

Photo Credit: David Kinder

We celebrated 20 years of putting the playwright at the center of the season.  Hosted by Chris Murray, a seated program looking at our past and future shined a light on the core of what makes Profile an essential part of Portland’s creative community.  Guest artists from Profile’s history gave tribute to the theater and their experiences working within our unique mission.  We thank Tim Stapleton, Tobias Anderson, Jane Fellows, Kristeen Crosser, Bobby Bermea and Jimmy Garcia for their moving tributes.

Photo credit David Kinder

The evening was completed by a special presentation to Jane Unger, the Founding Artistic Directory.  Jane shared words about the founding years and reflected on the many successes and varied challenges of fostering a theater from inception to the landmark event of its 20th anniversary.  Jane will be returning for the 2018-19 season as the director of our opening show 2.5 Minute Ride by Lisa Kron.

Photo credit David Kinder

Cheers to Profile Theatre’s future and another 20 years!

Photo credit David Kinder

 

THANK YOU to the evening’s sponsors:

RAFFLE SPONSORS: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Peerlis Hotel Ashland Oregon, Ashland Creek Inn, MJ Daspit, Laurel Bustamante, Gracie’s, Gilda’s Italian Restaurant, Por Qué No?, Luce, Navarre, Davenport, Cheese Bar, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Daniel Skach-Mills, Canoe, Oblation.

 

 

From the Director: What is it about a road trip?

What is it about a road trip that is so enticing? The adventure that each new place offers, the freedom to sing at the top of your lungs, the feeling of the wind in your hair as you see the country passing by, the intimacy that comes between people sharing a small space, the hours and hours of freedom to contemplate.

For me, 26 Miles provides that contemplative space. In that space, a marathon of questions arises: What happens when we are faced with adversity? With prejudice? With misunderstanding? How do we react when faced with life challenges that threaten to sink us? What are the coping mechanisms that we put into place so we can survive? How do we confront those moments of choice? What does it take to reach across canyons and gulfs and expanse to connect with those who have become distant to us?

This play is about the journey, the discovery that each new mile brings, the rigor with which connection between people is achieved. This is a play about revealing the cracks, about letting go, about a family wrestling to piece together their broken parts. This is a play about a mother and daughter on a journey; about reaching a place where you can allow yourself to fly free.

Rebecca Martinez, Director of 26 Miles.

26 Miles runs June 15-25, 2017.

Buy Tickets Here. 

26 Miles Cast and Creative Team


Alex Ramirez de Cruz
Olivia
Alex is a Portland area actor, deviser and theatre-maker. Some of her favorite credits include: Tomás and the Library Lady (Oregon Children’s Theatre), DB (COHO Theatre), The Oregon Trail (Portland Center Stage), TeatroSOLO: Deseo (Boom Arts Theatre), Passion Play (Shaking The Tree & Profile Theatre), Dance For a Dollar, (Miracle Theatre) and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Portland Playhouse). She is dedicated to creating original devised theatre and is a proud member of String House, an independent producing title and new works laboratory, nominated for two Drammy Awards for “Best Devised Production.”


Julana Torres
Beatriz
Julana is a Portland local with an extensive career in music, dance, and theatre. She is ecstatic to be performing for the first time with Profile Theatre. Most recently Julana originated the role of Doña Teresa in Óye Oyá at Milagro Theatre  and Grandma in Artists Repertory’s world premiere musical Cuba Libre. Other musical theater credits include Fame (Carmen), West Side Story (Carmelita), Peter Pan (Tiger Lily 2), and South Pacific (Ensemble). Julana also established the full time dance program for Franklin High School, and was the creator of successful arts showcase for youth Arts Alive. She can also be seen performing as the lead singer for popular latin jazz orchestra The Bobby Torres Ensemble.


Jimmy Garcia
Manuel
After studying at Southern Oregon University and performing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Jimmy is happy to be back in Portland where he began his acting career years ago on the stages of Milagro Theater, Stark Raving Theater and Portland Center Stage. In Southern Oregon, he performed a variety of roles working with such esteemed directors as Bill Rauch, Libby Appel and Pat Patton to name a few. He has most recently performed in Milagro’s world premiere Òye Oya, ART’s A Civil War Christmas, Profile Theater’s Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue, and can next be seen in Profile’s The Happiest Song Plays Last.


Chris Harder
Aaron
Chris is honored to work with Profile Theatre. Credits include: Marjorie Prime, The Skin of Our Teeth, We Are Proud…, Intimate Apparel, Ten Chimneys, The History Boys, Chasing Empires Soul (Artists Rep), Cyrano, Othello, The Receptionist, Antigone, JAW (PCS), Head. Hands. Feet. (Shaking The Tree), Mother Teresa is Dead, Angels in America, Twelfth Night (Portland Playhouse), The Turn of the Screw (Portland Shakespeare Project), The Snowstorm (Many Hats/CoHo), The Yellow Wallpaper, Fool For Love (CoHo), Shining City (Third Rail.) Chris was a member of Sowelu Theatre Ensemble for seven seasons, he teaches acting at Portland Actors Conservatory and at Artists Rep.

Rebecca Martinez
Director
Rebecca  is a Brooklyn-based director and choreographer with deep roots in Portland. Rebecca is an ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre, a Co-Curator of Working Theater’s Directors Salon, a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, INTAR’s Unit52, the 2015-16 SDCF Observership Class, the Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee, and an Associate Member of SDC. Awards include four Portland Theater Drammy Awards (7 Great Loves and The War Project: 9 Acts of Determination – Sojourn Theatre; The Brother/Sister Plays – Portland Playhouse) and the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists. Rebecca is an artist with the Center for Performance and Civic Practice and a 2017 Drama League Directing Fellow.

Daniel Meeker
Scenic Design
tba

Sarah Gahagan
Costume Design
Sarah is a costume and set designer for theatre, dance, festivals and stop-motion animation film as well as being adjunct theatre instructor and resident costume designer at Portland Community College. She has done theatre design and collaboration work with many of Oregon’s beloved arts organizations including: Artist Repertory Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Profile Theatre, Miracle Theatre Group, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, Oregon Ballet Theatre, and Michal Curry Design. Sarah has received Drammy Awards for her costume design work on Eurydice, James and The Giant Peach, Trojan Women, El Quijote, and A Year With Frog and Toad.

Kristeen Crosser
Lighting Design
Kristeen is excited to be working with Profile again. Some of her favorite Profile credits include lighting design for Buried Child and Thief River and scenic design for My Children My Africa and Master Harold and the Boys. She received her BA from Centre College in Danville, KY and received her MFA in lighting design from Wayne State University, Hilberry Company in Detroit, MI.  She has designed lighting and/or scenery for several area and regional theatres including Artists Rep’s Eurydice, Foxfinder and The Understudy, Miracle Theatre’s Mariela in the Desert and Oedipus El Rey. Oregon Children’s Theatre’s Goosebumps the Musical and Bad Kitty. Third Rail Repertory Theatre’s The New Electric Ballroom and Northwest Children’s Theatre’s Snow White.

Sharath Patel
Sound Design

Sharath was raised between Appalachia and India while spending the following years studying across Europe and New England. He spent nearly a decade as a lead sound designer in New York City. Recent design highlights include As You Like It (CalShakes Oakland); The Royale (ACTheatre Seattle); Free Outgoing (East West Players Los Angeles); Grand Concourse (Artists Rep). Regional/International credits include designs in New York City, D.C., Boston, Norfolk, Raleigh, Aspen, India, France, England, Germany, Romania, Yale, Reed, Harvard, Fordham, Columbia, Willamette, Ohio, Portland State, and Butler University. Sharath holds a MFA in Sound Design from the Yale School of Drama and currently is a Resident Artist at Artists Repertory Theatre. www.sharathpatel.com

Sarah Andrews
Props Master
Sarah earned her BFA in Acting in 2014, since this she has worked and lived in Portland. She has worked with many theatre companies including Tears of Joy, Staged!, Post 5 Theatre, Milagro, Lakewood, Oregon Children’s Theatre and defunkt theatre. She also works in community-based projects such as Buskers In The Burg in Ellensburg, WA and the Summer Solstice in Seattle. She also volunteers with theatre projects in Oregon prisons. She wrote, produced and directed an original adaptation of “Life is a Dream” and the children’s show Pearl and the Five-Headed Dragon.”  She has also taught workshops on puppetry at the Kennedy Center Theatre Festival. Currently, she is producing Thom Pain (based on nothing) by Will Eno.

Miranda Russ
Stage Manager
Miranda has a BA in Drama, with Honors in Stage Management, from University of California, Irvine and an MFA in Stage Management from Columbia University in the City of New York. Her professional credits include: Gigi on Broadway; Othello at Classic Stage Company; Birds of Paradise at New York International Fringe Festival; Summer Valley Fair at the New York Musical Theatre Festival; and more. Having recently relocated back to the West Coast, Miranda is enjoying working with the amazing Portland theatre community, with companies such as Profile Theatre, Artists Repertory Theatre, and Third Rail Repertory Theatre.

Madilynn Garcia
Production Manager
Madilynn is a native Texan and thrilled to be working at Profile this season. Some of her past production management work includes Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue at Profile Theatre, The Nether at Third Rail, as well as work at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The ZACH, and UT Austin. Madilynn also serves on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) where she coordinates the Gateway Program, which seeks to promote underrepresented, emerging artists in the area of production

Esther McFadden
Production Assistant
Esther is glad to be back with Profile after opening the season with Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue (PA). Recent credits include The Talented Ones (PA), Trevor (PA), and The Skin of Our Teeth (PA) with Artists Repertory Theatre, The Angry Brigade (SM) with Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Upside Down: A Musical Tale After the Christ (SM) with The Upside Down Theater Company, and A Christmas Carol (PA), Julius Caesar, The Heidi Chronicles,To Kill A Mockingbird, and Blues for Mister Charlie (SM Intern) with Trinity Repertory Company. She is a graduate of Emerson College with a BFA in Stage and Production Management and BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

From the Artistic Director: 26 Miles

 

Photo by Edwin Pabon

26 Miles is, in my opinion, one of Quiara Alegria Hudes’ most intimate plays. Far from the psychic landscape of war that Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue presents, 26 Miles is a story about mothers and daughters, about the mistakes we make as parents and as children, about the unique ways that, in the words of Doug Wright, family “both wounds us and applies the salve.”

A couple of months ago, we did a private table read of the play – just director Rebecca Martinez, this cast, a couple board members members and stakeholders, and me. Under fluorescent lights, on thinly-padded folding chairs, the actors read the script cold. We spent the next 80 minutes alternately laughing and crying together. Afterwards we found ourselves sharing our own stories of having – or being – single parents, of navigating more than one culture in a family, of addiction and recovery, of cultural pride and the pressure to conform or assimilate, of the courage it takes to forge one’s own identity and the challenge to claim one’s cultural history.

It never ceases to amaze me the power of actors to make themselves vulnerable, or of good writing to lead us into a more compassionate, more empathic space. We listened to each other’s stories, and to the story Quiara had written, and in so doing, we came to know ourselves better. That’s the power of the theater. For 80 minutes, if we listen and allow ourselves to be moved, we might recognize ourselves in each other and make a less lonesome world.

26 Miles runs June 15-25, 2017.

Get tickets HERE.

26 Miles Sneak Peek Podcast

Get a sneak peek of Quiara Alegría Hudes’ 26 Miles with this brief podcast with an introduction by Artistic Director Josh Hecht and listen to a scene from the play with actors Julana Torres and Alex Ramirez de Cruz.

 

Buy tickets to 26 Miles here.

Pictured: Director Rebecca Martinez with actors Julana Torres and Alex Ramirez de Cruz. Photo by Sharath Patel.

From the Community Council: Getting It Right

I’m honored to be the military advisor for Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue at Profile Theatre, and I’ll tell you why. We’ve all seen dozens if not hundreds of works of military fiction written, directed, and produced by creatives who mean well, their heart is in the right place, but they don’t ask veterans for their advice on their work and they focus on the veterans PTSD and/or their injuries.

As far as the details go, I am very grateful that people believe the military experience is worth writing about, but some of that gratitude disappears, whether I like it or not, when I see small things done wrong. For example, the salute is a simple action that is done wrong so many times and could be so easily corrected. Only the tip of your ring finger touches the end of your right eyebrow. Easy! But it is almost always overlooked and when that happens the whole work loses credibility, at least to the population of the audience the work is trying to honor. It sounds nitpicky to many, but that is what the military is: attention to detail.

Not only did Josh, the artistic director, and Lauren, the Director of Education and Community Engagement, ask me to come in and speak to the actors, they believed in my idea to bring veterans in before a showing of the play so the audience could get a better understanding of the diversity of our veteran population.

I would like to speak on both of these happenings:

First, when I came in to speak to the cast of this amazing play (Pulitzer Prize finalist!), they were so welcoming and eager to hear about my story as a Purple Heart recipient with multiple tours. We all sat in a small room, with more people than chairs, and I told my story. I described the depression, rage, and guilt that comes with surviving a coordinated ambush in combat and then being sent home to attempt a transition back into the civilian life. They created an atmosphere safe enough for me to tell them some of my most vulnerable stories including past thoughts of suicide and acts of self destruction. Afterwards, they asked questions for a while. Some about their characters, other about my life, but also some questions about veterans in general. These last questions, I noticed, were changing their views on how they pictured veterans. At the end I must have hugged each one of them before leaving.

Last Sunday, before the show we had a panel of veterans meet some audience members and take questions. On the panel was a Vietnam Veteran who is also a Native American, a former Marine with five (3 to Iraq and 2 to Afghanistan) combat tours, a female veteran who was deployed to protect the Eastern Seaboard on a Destroyer on 9/11, and an Army infantryman who lost both legs in Iraq, and me. After I introduced them all and asked a few questions we opened it up to the audience and the questions were amazing, respectful, and intelligent. By the end of our little session we had changed many of their views on what, exactly, a veteran is. I know this because they told us… in those words. There is a stereotype of “the veteran” in our society. We are supposedly all white, male, gun ho, non-creatives with our souls and hearts torn apart by war. That stereotype was completely blown away after the meeting. I saw it happen in real time, and that is why I’m proud to be a part of Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue. This play helps people see the humanity in the warrior.

I’m honored to be a part of this production because it’s been my mission to not only help other veterans for the past 10 years, but it’s also been my mission to change how those who haven’t served see our military members. Yes, we have lived through very traumatic events and many of us suffer from those memories or even physical injuries, but we, as a society, should focus on our abilities and not our disabilities. We need to know that our veteran population (10% of this country) are just as diverse as the population as a whole.

-Sean Davis
Military Advisor for Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue and Profile Community Council

Profile’s Community Council are people from the Portland area of varying ages, ethnicities and  backgrounds who are invited to view the backstage process from beginning to end and share their perspectives with our communities.

 

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