Q: How did you become involved with the Post5 Theater?
A: I founded the theatre in November of 2011. I was a resident here at Milepost5 and often worked on text in our centrally located courtyard. I remember it hitting me all at once: it was gorgeous, intimate and felt alive incredible venue for outdoor Shakespeare. I went out several more times and daydreamed. After about the third time, I knew what I needed to know. It was a simple, conclusive and very exciting. I called up my two of my best friends, (who also happened to be brilliant actors) – Orion Bradshaw who had just finished a season as at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. And Alex Klein, who was working consistently in Los Angeles. I pitched them on producing an abridged, con-temporized, Portland specific Romeo and Juliet. They loved the idea, a few months later we were holding auditions.
Q: The theater is heavy on the Shakespeare; what made you interested in his work?
A: As an actor, your job is made infinitely easier and more fulfilling when you have the privilege of working on good text, Shakespeare is the very best. He represents the human condition beautifully. His plot lines (borrowed or not), his characters, his language. It’s heightened, but most of it is timeless.
Q: What is the biggest advantage of working in a black box?
A: “Concealing the mechanism” nuance and realism is much more obtainable. It’s intimate, it’s about as close to film acting on stage as you can get!
Q: What is the biggest challenge?
A: Of working in a black box? See above! You’re under a microscope. There’s no room for “tricks,” but only truth with your scene partner.
Q: From The Bible to Shakespeare to Hollywood; nothing sells like violence. Why do you think people find violence so entertaining?
It’s drama. Unfortunately, violence is a bi product -revenge, wars, ambition all of it. Death, loss and injury all make for compelling pathos, and even comedy.
Q: Almost everyone I know says Hamlet is there favorite Shakespeare play and according to About.com it is his most popular. What is it about Hamlet resonates with people?
A: Again, the human condition. Shakespeare’s Hamlet personifies what it to be human. Doubt, ambition, and familial obligation/expectation it’s all there in one young man’s journey.
Q: What is your strangest backstage story?
Once in The Grapes of Wrath an angry mob was supposed to come out and beat Tom Joad up (me). They were busy playing cards in the green room and missed their cue and subsequent entrance- idiots! :). One ensemble member came running our late. There was an improvised fight, it probably looked terrible and wasn’t very safe. They all bought me drinks after the show for “leaving me hanging.”
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your acting?
A: I am a full time theatre artist, I am fortunate to not have a “day job.”
Q: What sort of background and training have you had?
A: I graduated from the Portland Actors Conservatory – a two year certificate granting program.
Q: What is the key to making Shakespeare accessible?
A: YES: DROP THE PRETENSE!!! These plays are opportunities for living documents, not dusty museum relics. I actually don’t understand why people still perform Shakespeare in period costume and setting. It makes timeless ideas, themes, plots and characters less relatable.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)