Meet the Artists, Part II
Another #TheatreThursday means another chance to dive deeper into the world of Players in the Park: Quarantine Comedy! For those hearing about this for the first time, we truly hope you'll come to our upcoming production in Quay Park. This series of nine vignettes will take place of September 12 (or, if rained out, on September 13) at 6 PM and is FREE! Audiences should bring their own lawn chairs or blankets, and bringing food from local restaurants is highly encouraged. Masks and social distancing will be enforced to the best of our ability. Should you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to us via our phone line at (724) 494-1680 or Facebook, where an event was added to our page last week. And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...
Meet Dorothea Cahan! She is an acting teacher, a director, and a writer of historical fiction and plays, both comedies and dramas. When not writing, she is painting or sculpting. Her short plays have been produced over 40 times throughout the United States, as well as the United Kingdom and Mexico. Her full-length play, Hope is the Thing with Feathers, was nominated for Outstanding Original Writing by The Desert Theatre League. A passionate world traveler, Cahan has circled the globe several times, and has homes in Florida & Pennsylvania. We asked her for an interesting piece of trivia about herself that wouldn't be found in a standard bio, and she gave us this great quote: "I bought a little goat on its way to the butcher and raised it in my second floor apartment in Mexico."
Dancing in the Elevator is a gentle script with lots of comedic moments and two strong female roles. The basic premise is that a wacky fortuneteller goes to read the tea leaves of a troubled young woman. Cahan said the idea for the play was borne of her interest in tea leaf reading. "While reading it, the character of Marushka, the gypsy psychologist, emerged," she said. "I conjured up her confused and timid opposite and let them interact." The role of Marushka is in great hands, played by Mary Romeo. While you may not know that Mary is on our Board of Directors, you will most certainly remember her from her many roles on our stage in shows like Enchanted April, Something to Hide, and Boeing Boeing. Joining Mary onstage is Kelly Kochick in the role of Kate. Kelly has been a part of multiple outreach programs with the Bobcat Players and was last seen onstage in A Very Oblonski Valentine. Cahan said that she hopes to deliver a lesson with Dancing in the Elevator: "I hope to remind audiences that they often sabotage their own happiness, that they can choose to reclaim their agency."
Our second script to explore is a hilariously fast-paced script entitled Hamlet Investigations by Ellen Abrams, a playwright from New York City. (Abrams is, in fact, so New York City that she once had jury duty with Liza Minnelli!) In her play, Hamlet is transported to modern times where he runs a detective agency. A young woman--who is generally pretty clueless and obviously has no knowledge of Shakespeare's masterpiece--goes to him because she doubts her fiance's real identity. We asked Abrams about her inspiration for her ten-minute one-act: "Funnily enough, I had seen the movies Kiss Me, Kate and The Maltese Falcon close together and it occurred to me that something along a similar line, but shorter and more contemporary, might be done with another work of Shakespeare's. Then Hamlet came to mind," she said.
Hamlet is played by board member and stage manager committee head, Andrew Mayle. You'll likely remember him from multiple outreach and main stage performances; his last role in Too Many Cooks garnered a lot of laughs. Andrew is bringing a new twist to this performance, though--he is acting opposite his wife, Stephanie. We are thrilled to have her finally join us onstage after years of faithfully supporting our group. Together, the two will tackle these hot-blooded roles and we know it is sure to delight audiences. We asked Abrams what she hoped viewers would take away from her show and we couldn't agree more with her sentiment. "I'd like audiences to see that Shakespeare is not fusty, overly difficult to understand, or boring," she said. "There is plenty of fun to be had in the characters and the stories, and in stretching both to fit a modern idiom."
Rich Rubin’s plays have been produced throughout the U.S., and internationally in Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. His work has been nominated for the L. Arnold Weissberger Award (Williamstown Theatre Festival), and has been selected as a winner of the Julie Harris Playwright Award, Todd McNerney Playwright Award, Fratti-Newman Political Play Award, Portland Civic Theatre Guild New Play Award, Playhouse Creatures Emerging Playwright Award and the Neil Simon Festival New Play Award. His plays have also been chosen as a finalist for the Playwrights First Award, Ashland New Play Festival, Woodward-Newman Drama Award, Trustus Playwrights Festival, Gulfshore Playhouse New Play Festival, New American Play Project (Utah Shakespeare Festival), nuVoices Festival (Actors Theatre of Charlotte), Oregon Book Award, Reva Shiner Comedy Award, Heideman Award (Actors Theatre of Louisville), JAW Festival (Portland Center Stage), ATHE Award for Excellence in Playwriting and the Burbage Prize (UK). Rich is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild, the New Play Exchange and Portland’s Nameless Playwrights and LineStorm Playwrights. You can find more information about him here.
His ten-minute play, How Nice of You To Ask, is not a true story, but based on personal experience and imagination: "I'm a retired primary care physician and med school professor," Rubin said. "As part of our work as medical educators, we routinely teach first-year med students how to take a medical history, including how to ask questions about topics that are usually considered very private and personal. The play is a made-up example of one such interview, where the person asking the questions winds up being extremely surprised by some of the responses." Brian Kane will make his Bobcat debut in the role of young interviewer, though he was originally scheduled to debut in this summer's outreach dinner theatre production of The President and later in our mainstage musical, Lucky Stiff. Brian will play opposite Joyce Hoellien, who you probably recognize from her numerous Bobcat credits. Joyce was last seen in A Streetcar Named Desire but his participated in many outreach productions and mainstage productions, both here and elsewhere. We know these two will play perfect foils to each other, and we know it will surely make you laugh your mask off!
Tune in next week as we explore the final three shows in Players in the Park: Quarantine Comedy!