From the Community Council: Alone in the Audience

I attended the last dress rehearsal of Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, which was a full run-through without pause. In sitting in a theatre in which you are the only person not connected to the production, you notice so many things you might not normally think of, such as the difference the absence of an audience makes, especially when, for example, a funny line is spoken. Getting to look behind the scenes makes crystal clear how much theatre is a collaborative endeavor with hundreds of small parts coming together to make an amazing whole.

-Pancho Savery, 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.

Community Profile: Our City’s Veterans

On Monday, November 13th we celebrated the end of this year-long program!  The emotional evening was a public performance of the veterans’ writing staged with professional actors on the Alder Stage.  

This reading was presented in conjunction with our rotating repertory production of Water By The Spoonful and The Happiest Song Plays Last, the final two plays in a trilogy of work centered around Elliot Ortiz, a veteran of the Iraq war.

 

From Artistic Director Josh Hecht

One of the things that most attracted me to Profile Theatre when I applied for the job of Artistic Director last year is the company's long-standing commitment to real community engagement. My desire to lead a theater company stems from my belief that, at its best, theater can help us have conversations we might not otherwise have. A theater that was already putting significant human capital and programming resources into community dialogue felt like the right home for me.

One of my biggest priorities as I start my new tenure at the helm of Profile is continuing to broaden the communities we reach and serve, and continuing to deepen the two-way engagement with our city.

At the center of our 2017 Quiara Alegria Hudes season we will present all three plays in Hudes' “Elliot” Trilogy: Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, Pulitzer Prize-winner Water By The Spoonful, and The Happiest Song Plays Last. The first follows three generations of a Puerto Rican-American family, all of whom have served in the US Armed Forces – the grandfather in Korea, the Father and mother in Vietnam, and Elliot who serves two tours in Iraq. The two subsequent plays follow Elliot's re-introduction into civilian life and his struggle to find his place in the world.

What better an opportunity to engage with our own veterans community. There are currently nearly 22 million American combat vets, 2.5 million from the current engagements in the Middle East alone. Profile has created a one-of-a-kind collaboration with the Writers Guild Initiative, the professional trade organization of screenwriters and playwrights, to bring award-winning writers from across the country to Portland. Here they will work with local veterans and their families, mentoring them in a writing practice designed to help them reflect upon and share their experiences through the written word. We've also partnered with the American Legion Post 134 in NE Portland, various Veterans Resource Centers at colleges in the area, and the Wounded Warrior Project's regional base in Seattle to identify local participants in these workshops.

The group gathered in February for two days of intensive writing workshops. They also saw our production of Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue. Throughout the year, we continued to meet one Saturday afternoon a month to create community, share work and continue our practice. Finally, in November, selections of their writing were presented with professional actors and director on Profile's stage alongside our repertory productions of Water By The Spoonful and The Happiest Song Plays Last.

Our goal is manifold: To use the theater as a site of community-formation. To think of the theater, not just as an institution that can start conversations, but as a place the community goes to have those conversations. But also, to provide a place where various communities can see their own lives reflected back to them on the stage, so that we might know ourselves and each other as necessary parts of this great American tapestry.

If you are interested in learning more about our veterans' collaborations this year, please don't hesitate to drop me a line. I hope to see you at the theater.

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Donation Drive for Do Good Multnomah

Throughout the run of Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, Profile is pleased to partner with Do Good Multnomah. Do Good Multnomah is a non-profit organization that provides low-barrier emergency shelter to houseless Veterans in Portland, Oregon. By partnering with the community, we are establishing a model for sheltering and serving houseless Veterans that emphasizes relationship-building, one-on-one engagement, and direct community participation.

When you come to the theatre  to see Elliot, consider bringing a donation to help local houseless veterans.

Needed items include:

  • Blankets
  • Socks
  • Hats & Gloves
  • Hand Warmers
  • Backpacks

Leave items in the donation bin by the box office.

Buy tickets to Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue here.

Learn more about Do Good Multnomah here.

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In Her Words: Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue Ten Years Later

Anthony Lam as Elliot in Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue at Profile Theatre 2017. Photo by David Kinder

From Quiara Alegría Hudes, January 2017

It's over ten years since Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue premiered in New York. It's almost fourteen years since my real-life cousin Elliot crossed the border north into Iraq from Kuwait. He was among the first marines to enter the conflict, and they were learning as they went. They were the real-life guinea pigs in a very real war. The medical response teams were unsure what the nature of the injuries would be, and therefore had to improvise treatment–there was much trial and error in those early years. One of the surprises was the amount of severe trauma that would be survived. My cousin described the scene in an evac hospital where there was row after row of guys in such extreme pain that the nurses practically threw pain meds at them. My cousin was one of those patients–and a fortunate one. He didn't have to lose his leg after his severe injury, though many surgeries followed and his physical health remains compromised.

At that time–when he enlisted–it seemed to me that was the beginning. But there's always a beginning before the beginning. I've been reflecting a lot since then on the war before the war. As a child of the 80s I came of age when AIDS was ravaging our Latino community in Philadelphia. Add to that the extreme toll the War on Drugs took on the same community. It left us decimated. Fathers, sons, brothers in jail–sentenced to decades for low-level possession, for the “crime” of addiction. Daughters, mothers, sisters left behind to the scrape up the pieces, to raise sons in this toxic environment where being a Latino was increasingly criminalized.

It seems to me our community's youngsters fled this domestic war–the War on Drugs–determined not to be a victim of its fallout, determined to “escape” the vicious cycle of addiction, dealing, and criminalization. For many of them, higher education was not financially viable. So they enlisted–the military offered prestigious, respected, paying jobs.

It seems to me a complicated web. Young men of color escaping a domestic war, determined to rise above, and thereby enlisting in a foreign war to go fight abroad. And some of them, when they got hurt, became a new kind of addict–opioids to cure the war wounds.

These generational echoes continue to resonate for me. These echoes are why I wrote Elliot.

Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue
February 2-19, 2017

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Cast and Creative Team for Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue

Cast


Jimmy Garcia*
Pop

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 Miracle Theater, Stark Raving Theater and Portland Center Stage companies. 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 ART's A Civil War Christmas and can next be found at Miracle Theater's world premiere Oye Oya.

Anthony Green*
Grandpop

Tony holds a BFA in Acting and a Master of Theatre Studies in Production and Design from Southern Oregon University.  Most recently Tony was seen in Defunkt Theatre's critically acclaimed production of Hir, Jewish Theatre Collaborative's production of Davita's Harp and Into the Beautiful North at Milagro Theatre.  Other Portland credits include American Night, O! Romeo!, How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent, BoomCrackleFly and the Drammy Award winning Oedipus El Rey at Milagro, Equus at Post5, Cymbeline with Anon It Moves, Antony and Cleopatra with Portland Actors Ensemble, King Lear, King John and Mary Stuart at NWCTC.

Anthony Lam
Elliot

Anthony is excited to be performing at Profile Theatre for the first time. He was last seen as Atómiko in Into the Beautiful North at Milagro Theater. He graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.F.A. in Theater Arts. He has done commercial work throughout the Northwest and recently played the tactical cop in the season premiere of Grimm. When he is not acting, he spends his time with his wife, chasing his three children all over the place.

Cristi Miles*
Ginny

Cristi is a performer, director and teacher based in Portland, OR.  Portland credits include: The Journey Play is the Whole thing, Enter THE NIGHT, The Three Sisters, Song of the Dodo and  R3 with PETE; Midsummer (a play with songs) with Third Rail Rep, Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Dying City with Portland Playhouse. She is co-artistic director of PETE, an Assistant Professor of the Theatre at George Fox University and trained at The Oregon Center for Alexander Technique (AmSAT certified teacher). Brandeis University, MFA.

 

Creative Team

Alice Reagan
Director

Alice is a New York-based freelance director.  Credits include Jackie by Elfriede Jelinek at Boom Arts, Or, by Liz Duffy Adams at Shakespeare & Company, Phaeton (a diggle of a fragment) by Mac Wellman at Classic Stage Company, Enter THE NIGHT by Maria Irene Fornes with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, The Miser by Molière with Brave New World Rep, Nomads by Julia Jarcho at Incubator Arts Project, I Came to Look for You on Tuesday by Chiori Miyagawa at La MaMa.  She is the recipient of two Foundation of Contemporary Arts Grants, the Princess Grace Award (Fabergé Theater Award) and Princess Grace Special Project Grant, and was a Drama League Directing Fellow.  Alice is Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Directing at Barnard College.  MFA: Columbia.  alicereagan.com.

Kaye Blankenship
Scenic Design

Kaye is a scenic, lighting, and props designer originally hailing from Sammamish, Washington. She earned her BA in theatre from Lewis & Clark College in 2012, and after a year working in New York, she is back in Portland and excited to work with Profile Theatre once again. Favorite past shows include: The Antigone Project (Profile), Annapurna (Third Rail), Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood LIVE (Mills Entertainment), A Winter's Tale (Anon It Moves), Static (Third Rail), Ramona Quimby (OCT), Snowstorm (CoHo), In The Next Room (Profile Theatre), and Waxwing with String House Theatre, where she is also a founding company member.

Miranda K. Hardy
Lighting Design

Miranda is a Lighting Designer based in Portland.  Previously with Profile she lit Bright Half Life and Master Harold and the Boys.  She is an associate company member with Portland Experimental Theater Ensemble designing lights for R3 [Drammy Award], The Three Sisters, All Well, or, the whale, and Procedures For Saying No, designing scenery and lights for Song of the Dodo and Drowned Horse Tavern.  She has worked on shadow/animation spectacular The Letting Go and Kaddish For Bernie Madoff.  Miranda has worked in New York City, as well as nationally and internationally including four seasons as the resident Lighting Designer at Festival Di Due Mondi (Spoleto, IT).  M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts.

Jenny Ampersand
Costume Design

Jenny is a designer based in Portland OR.   Her costume work was last seen at Profile for Bright Half Life.  She is an associate artist with PETE (Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble), Liminal, and The Late Now.  Other local credits include, costumes for Third Rail's The Realistic Joneses, Oregon Children's Theatre's Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Liminal's 7deadly Sins (Drammy Award), scenery for PETE's Enter THE NIGHT, Shaking the Tree's A Doll's House, Phame's Up the Fall, and puppets for Strawberry Theatre Workshop's This Land-Woody Guthrie.  She received her BFA in Scenic and Costume Design from Cornish College of the Arts.

Phillip Johnson
Sound Design

Phillip is a theatrical artist based in Portland Oregon and the Technical Director of Ridgefield High School’s drama program. His recent productions include Hands Up (Red Door Project), Worse Than Tigers (ACT Theater/Red Stage), Contigo Pan y Cebolla (Milagro Theater), The Antigone Project, A Lady Onstage (Profile Theater), and The Importance of Being Earnest (Valley Repertory Theater).  When he isn't designing or teaching Phil  is traveling the world spreading art education to impoverished areas. He most recently taught theater in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Phil Has a B.F.A. and M.A. from Ohio University. For updates, downloads and links to show soundtracks please visit PhilJohnsondesignstheworld.com.

D Westerholm*
Stage Manager

Profile Theatre: 2014 Tanya Barfield Season, 2013 Sam Shepard Season, 2014 Sarah Ruhl Season, The Road to Mecca. Other Portland stage management credits: Trevor, The Skin of Our Teeth (ASM), The Price (Artist’s Repertory Theatre); The Light in the Piazza (Portland Playhouse). Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Production Assistant: The Unfortunates (2013), A Midsummer Night's Dream (2013), Troilus and Cressida (2012), The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa (2012), Julius Caesar (2011), The African Company Presents Richard III (2011). BA in Theatre Management from Western Washington University, MFA in Stage Management from Columbia University. Active member of Actor’s Equity Association.

Esther McFaden
Production Assistant

Esther is making her Profile Theatre debut with Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue. Recent credits include A Christmas Carol (PA), To Kill a Mockingbird, Blues for Mister Charlie, The Heidi Chronicles, and Julius Caesar (SM Intern) at Trinity Repertory Company, and Trevor (PA) and The Skin of Our Teeth (PA) at Artists Repertory Theater. Other favorites include Upside Down, A Musical Tale After the Christ (SM) with the Upside Down Theatre Company, Godspell (SM) with YA4Ever, and Chicago (SM) with the Young Artists Ensemble. She is a graduate of Emerson College.

*Member Actors Equity Association, the professional union of actors and stage manager.

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From Lin-Manuel Miranda

What must have it been like to be August Wilson's neighbor?

I think about that sometimes when I'm having morning coffee with Quiara. We live in the same building–a lucky circumstance that allows us to pop into each other's homes for writing sessions or breaks or just catching up. She is funny and wise and brilliant–everything her plays reflect and more–she's also a goofball. We laugh a lot.

And then I see or read her plays–these heartbreaking, stunning, alive works that tell Latino family stories with more unflinching honesty and beauty than anything we've ever seen–and I realize, she's really doing it. Line by line, play by play, she is chronicling the interior life of our people. She reaches for all of our humanity, and gets it. Just as August Wilson went into his home and channeled the voices of his family, ancestors and community, Quiara finds the jazz and music in her people and gives us a brilliant, honest expression that could only have come from her.

And then sometimes she takes a break and we have coffee.

I am so lucky. I'm Quiara Alegría Hudes' neighbor.”

– Lin-Manuel Miranda

Season subscriptions to the 2017 Quiara Alegría Hudes Season now on sale

Click here or call the box office 503.242.0080

 Photo by Anita & Steve Shevett

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