General Auditions for Wooden O 2014 Productions

The cast of Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 Wooden O production of "The Tempest."
The cast of Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2013 Wooden O production of “The Tempest.”

Seattle Shakespeare Company will hold general auditions on Saturday March 1 from 11AM to 6PM for its two Wooden O summer 2014 productions directed by David Quicksall and Vanessa Miller.

Please email casting to schedule an available slot. To solicit a time for this audition please include a headshot and resume in your email message.

Where: Cornish Playhouse, 201 Mercer Street, Seattle WA 98109. The auditions will take place in the Founder’s Room located in the upper lobby near the bar. Please enter the building through the side door located near Seattle Rep.

Audition requirements: two heightened text pieces (90-second maximum per piece), and at least one of them should be by Shakespeare. The second piece will only be seen at the director’s discretion and request, so please be ready but don’t assume that both pieces will asked to be heard.  Also note, you may be asked to sing a capella.

Dates for the Wooden O productions are July 10 through August 17. Rehearsals will begin June 9, 2014. Both productions will perform in Walla Walla for one week.

Bright Spots of 2013

At Seattle Shakespeare Company, we start our staff meetings by sharing Bright Spots that have happened to us in the week. These are triumphant moments, both big and small, that acknowledge the positive aspects of our jobs.  It’s fun to share them with staff members who may not have been around to experience them directly.

This year, we asked our board, staff, and artists to give us their Bright Spots of the past year, and what they had to share is listed below. Did you have a Bright Spot at Seattle Shakespeare Company in 2013? Let us know in the comments section.

 

Jennifer Lee Taylor as Beatrice and Matt Shimkus as Benedick in Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 production of "Much Ado About Nothing." Photo by John Ulman.

The interaction with the water feature in Much Ado.

David Allais, Board member

 

Jennifer Sue Johnson as Nora and Michael Patten as Torvald in Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 production of "A Doll's House." Photo by John Ulman.

A standout for me was the entire production of A Doll’s House. Great director, wonderful cast and very appreciative audiences.

Rod Pilloud, Stage Manager

 

1) Here’s a serious answer:
Seeing the energy, skill, dedication, and passion that the Wooden O actors and stage managers brought with them each night to every park — new or familiar — was nothing short of inspiring.

2) And here’s a laugh:
Also, if you ever wondered whether or not it’s a good idea to melt chocolate over an open flame that’s propped up on some stones on the grass (or if a tea towel will sufficiently put out the inevitable grass-fire without bursting into flames itself) … it’s not (and it won’t). The Great Flaming Fondue Fiasco of 2013. Never Forget.

To all my friends at Seattle Shakes — thanks for a beautiful summer and some lovely lasting friendships <3

Kaeline Kine, Wooden O Site Manager

 

Amy Thone as Prospero in Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 Wooden O production of "The Tempest."

The most memorable moment with Seattle Shakespeare this year was the final performance of The Tempest , specifically the curtain call. Being surrounded by these amazingly talented people who had inspired and taught me so much, with a lazy summer sun setting in the background casting a pink hue on everyone. I looked around and promised myself to never forget that moment: Holding Pilar’s hand, and George crying harder than anyone else and every face in the audience smiling. I couldn’t have asked for a better or more beautiful moment to recognize that my life had profoundly changed.

Kellyn Traeckenschuh, actor

 

Betsy Schwartz as Mrs. Linde and Peter Dylan O'Connor as Krogstad in Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 production of "A Doll's House." Photo by John Ulman.

The atmosphere of the rehearsal room over at SCT for A Doll’s House was one of the most supportive and generous that I have ever experience. From Russ down to little Mia, the cast and crew worked so lovingly and honestly on this powerful play. My contribution was small but I felt so honored to be included in the production.

Laura Ferri, actor

 

The War of Kindness between Tempest and Henry 5!

Michael Patten, actor

 

Romeo and Juliet at Olympic Sculpture ParkRomeo and Juliet at the Olympic Sculpture Park – how the cast improvised to incorporate the roof top of the temporary house into the balcony scene – also watching casual passers-by stop, astonished, to watch the superb performance. They tore themselves away so very reluctantly.

Sarah Alsdorf, Board member

 

Kelly Kitchens as Kate and David Quicksall as Petruchio in Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 production of "The Taming of the Shrew" Photo by Chris Bennion.

Watching audience members cry because they were laughing so hard at the antics of the cast of Taming of the Shrew, then watching Bash supporters raise their bid cards after Kelly Kitchens (our “Kate”) lifted them with her own moving story. I’m proud of SSC’s wonderful works and our fabulous fans!!

Sue Petitpas, Board member

 

Loved the story that Kelly Kitchens shared onstage at this year’s “Bash.” She crystalized the art and idealism that drives Seattle Shakespeare to do what we do. Brilliant.

Jeannie Blank, Board member

 

Mike Dooly as Stephano and Brian D. Simmons as Caliban in Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 Wooden O production of "The Tempest."

While performing at Seatac Park this summer in The Tempest, a young man approached me during setup and asked me what we were doing. I told him we would be performing Shakespeare tonight for free.

He then asked “What’s Shakespeare?” Inwardly I died a little, but I told him he should hang around and find out. He did. Sitting front row center with a huge smile. He came up after, shook my hand, and said than you. Best moment in my career.

Brian Simmons, actor

 

I suspect that most folks focus on the final product–the art. My highlight of the past year was watching the “making of” disc. George blossoming into his new role; Michelle and Casey coming into their own; John and George on stage opening night doing Martin & Lewis.

Phil Miller, Board member

 

Amy Thone (Prospero) standing on a big mossy rock in the island forest wilderness (the stage stairs/promontory), reaching her long thin arms toward the sky…my idea of an actor, reaching…

Susan Wilder, Board member

 

Love's Labour's Lost (2013)

Making my directing debut with Seattle Shakespeare Company last winter was a time of pure joy and deep fulfillment. Everyone in the Love’s Labours Lost family, both on stage and off, were so supportive, creative and loving that it made the process from first day of rehearsal through closing night unforgettable. On a personal note, Love’s Labours Lost was the first show I directed after conquering cancer last December and I cannot think of a more glorious way to celebrate life and art – my deepest gratitude and love to all of you!

Jon Kretzu, Director of Love’s Labour’s Lost

 

The Taming of the Shrew 2013When I cast Brandon Ryan as Biondello in our remount of The Taming of the Shrew… well, I had no idea how far we could go…

Because this actor is: CRAZY AND FREAKIN TALENTED!!!!

Brandon reminded me:

There are very few limitations in the theater…

We didn’t have to follow any of the rules!

What a joyful experience for a director to work with an actor who is so open to an organic, undetermined process!

Seriously – this is truly rare with any sort of actor.

Shrew will always hold a special place in my creative heart!

Aimée Bruneau, Director of The Taming of the Shrew

 

The absolutely stunning and poignant production of Taming of the Shrew – the intensity of the emotions and wonderful staging.

Shawn Aebi, Board member

 

The cast of Seattle Shakespeare Company's 2013 Wooden O production of "The Tempest."

Closing night of Tempest and Wooden O’s 20th anniversary season was one of the most moving events I’ve been a part of as an actor.

Jim Lapan, actor

 

Henry V 2013

It was so fulfilling to do the Fight Direction on Henry V for Wooden O. I had to leave for my honeymoon just before tech. When we returned 3 weeks later, it was an absolute delight to see the show after a few weeks of performances. It seemed that the players had really found their “sea legs” and I we truly loved the experience.

Peter Dylan O’Connor, actor/fight choreographer

 

The Taming of the Shrew 2013

The remount of Wooden O’s production of The Taming of the Shrew was last season’s highlight for me. The chance to be reunited with such a marvelous troupe of players was glorious. It was a real joy to rejoin Kelly Kitchens and unleash our inner rednecks while spouting the words of Shakespeare!

David Quicksall, actor

 

Love's Labour's Lost (2013)

All the bizarre rituals we created backstage during the run of Love’s Labour’s Lost. They got stranger and stranger as the run progressed.

Brandon Simmons

 

Much Ado About Nothing 2013

I truly enjoyed the hilariously funny Much Ado About Nothing, with its terrific set and cast. Seeing George Mount on stage as Don Pedro was a highlight!

Lynne Graybeal, Board member

 

Being present in the room at Bill’s Bash as Kelly Kitchens voiced the dreams of a little girl, brought to life by the visual power of live Shakespeare, and realizing Seattle Shakespeare Company has the power and the mission to continue that dream.

Roberta Greenwood, Board member

 

A highlight for me was our Bill’s Bash event this past spring. I was incredibly moved by the tremendous outpouring of support from our patrons and donors. It was a fun-filled night and the most successful fundraiser in SSC’s history, raising more than $210,000 to support our work in the community. Way to go, everyone!

Lauren Domino, Development Director

John Langs Named ACT’s Associate Artistic Director

John Langs directing cast of Antony and Cleopatra
John Langs in rehearsal for “Antony and Cleopatra”

Congratulations to director John Langs who has been named Associate Artistic Director at ACT Theatre. Langs is currently staging Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of Antony and CleopatraThe newly created position will support ACT’s Artistic Director Kurt Beattie in the planning and execution of their artistic programming.

Langs and Beattie first worked together on Seattle Shakespeare Company’s 2004 production of King Lear where Beattie appeared in the title role.  Nearly every other year since then Langs has returned to Seattle Shakespeare Company to stage a production including Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, and Romeo and Juliet. Langs’ production of Antony and Cleopatra opens on Friday, November 2.  He will then return to the city to stage ACT’s annual production of A Christmas Carol.  His full-time duties at ACT begin in January 2013.

Read the Seattle Times article on the announcement.

Rebecca Olson on Playing Celia in “As You Like It”

Rebecca OlsonIn As You Like It, Shakespeare created one of the great female friendships in theatre: Rosalind and Celia. There’s no other relationship like it in the canon. And for the game of romance in the woods, Celia is kind of Rosalind’s wingman. In Seattle Shakespeare Company’s actress Rebecca Olson plays Celia and shares her thoughts about the character and the challenges of playing the role.

Rebecca:

“Oh, I love Celia! I love Celia because she’s an optimist, but she’s also very pragmatic. Especially in this production, I really like what George has done. The world that she starts out in is not a happy place, but she has obviously made a choice to be optimistic and think that things are going to work out. She’s very loyal. She’s very funny. She’s just got all these lovers running around her, completely acting like morons. She’s almost the voice of the audience, pointing out to Rosalind (played by Hana Lass) saying, “You do realize you’re dressed like a boy?” (Laughs). Saying all the things you would say if your best friend was acting foolish. I love that her wit is really, really funny. And then at the end she gets smacked in the face with love, too, and it’s really unexpected and it comes out of nowhere.

“One of the challenges of playing the role is that she’s on stage a lot and not saying anything. George (the director) and I made a choice that we’re not just going to have Celia falling asleep in the background. If she’s on stage, there’s a reason she’s on stage, even if she’s not speaking. So finding what that is, activating that, and figuring out what I’m to be doing when I’m not speaking is tough. I spend a lot of time observing, and I think that helps in that journey, so when the one-liner’s come out. They’re real zingers. At least I hope that’s how it comes out.

“Celia’s got a pretty big arc. If you’ve never seen the play before, the first third at least, could be Celia’s play. It could be a story about a girl who gives up her kingdom to follow her best friend into the forest. And then all of a sudden Orlando shows up, and the things take a turn. The challenge is to keep Celia moving forward and not allow her to sit back in cynicism while her friend Rosalind falls in love. It’s hard to walk that line of telling her friend to come back down to earth and not make Celia sound like she’s jealous and mean. This is the only relationship like this in Shakespeare where there are two women who are equals and have equal stage time and are not villainesses and are not just ingénues. Orlando is the ingénue in this play. He’s the one being courted! Rosalind and Celia are the two best friends who are orchestrating this entire plot. It’s important to keep the affection between the two women because it’s such an important part of the story. I don’t want there ever to be a moment when the audience thinks that their friendship is over. You watch them go through the really natural ups and downs that happen when you have a best friend, regardless of what age you are. And then that person meets someone, and suddenly they’re not available to you as much. And then you have to renegotiate what the relationship is going to be. It’s a really fantastic relationship that they have. And it helps that I’m really good friends with Hana, she’s one of my closest friends.

Seattle Actor Profile: Nathan Graham Smith

Nathan Graham SmithNathan moved from Seattle to Los Angeles about 5 years ago but is back to play Orlando in Seattle Shakespeare Company’s production of As You Like It.  It’s a part he knows well as he played the role in the parks for Wooden O.  As the son of missionary parents, Nathan grew up as a world traveler and right after graduating high school he spent a year in South Africa. “Mandela had just become president, Apartheid fell, and they won the rugby world cup.  I was there for all that, and I was 18.  It was a phenomenal time to be there.  I can point to that moment in my life where I grew up in a big way.”

Reading

I read The Week. It’s a news digest and it’s how I get my news. I’m kind of reading everything I can about the play. When I’m in a play or dealing with a character, I tend to focus on that world, so I’m reading things about Shakespeare and his life and time period, anything that I can get my hands on. I’m reading the play a lot. It’s amazing that I’m still finding things in it and I’ve done the role before. I just picked up The Artist’s Way again for the third time. I brought that with me and I thought that would be good to have. Every artist should read that, I think.

Listening

I’m a big fan of KEXP here in town. I was really looking forward to listening to that while I’m in my car because I stream it when I’m LA. I listen to the radio a lot. I’ve been listening to a lot of Sarah McGuinn stuff. She’s doing the music for us. I’m trying to learn those songs. For some reason it’s hard for me to memorize lyrics if they’re just written down. But I can memorize a song just by listening to it over and over again.

Watching
I’m a big sports fan. I wasn’t so much when I lived in Seattle, but I became a big Dodger fan. I live right next to Dodger Stadium. In fact I’ve lived there for five years and I’ve been to over 60 Dodger games. It’s walking distance from my house. I’ve been watching the Sounders…super fun! It’s amazing how Seattle has really gotten behind that team. So I’m looking forward to seeing a live game. Also, I just finished up the first season of The Killing because I was coming up here. The homage to Seattle and the Northwest: so well done. The whole milieu is perfect.

I haven’t watched a lot of movies, but I did just watch Shakespeare in Love and 300 since I got here. You know, I’m playing the young lover and I’m wrestling with MMA style fighting. I go back and forth between gladiator films and period love stories.

What three characters from Shakespeare would you invite to a dinner party?

Shakespeare! I’d definitely like to meet that guy. The whole idea of who he was and the facts that we know about him. I’ve read a couple of different books on whether or not he wrote his plays, and I go back and forth on it, so I’d love to get to the bottom of that. I would love to hang out with other past actors who have played Orlando. And maybe Romeo, too. At least for this process. I would love to hang with the young lovers, pick their brains a bit. Romeo, Orlando, and Shakespeare. It sounds like a band!