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All the world’s a stage for Lewis & Clark theatre students

July 23, 2012

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    Alex Ramirez B.A. ’10, Gerrin Mitchell, Jessi Walters, Heath Houghton, Azalea Lewis B.A. ’12, Leah Hostetler, Phillip Berns, and Orion Bradshaw

Lewis & Clark theatre students easily find their niche in Portland’s art scene.

This summer, a group of Pioneers helped local theatre company Post5 put together a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—one of three in the company’s outdoor series. The group aims to provide the Portland community with energetic and accessible theatre at no cost.

Erica Terpening-Romeo ’14, Assistant Professor of English Jerry Harp, and eight alumni were involved in the production: from acting to costume design and stage management.

In this Q&A, Director Erica Terpening-Romeo ’14 discusses how her Lewis & Clark education prepared her for this experience.

What is it like to participate in a professional production with so many Lewis & Clark community members?

It’s lovely to work with such a large Lewis & Clark contingent. The pressure of such a big, high-stakes production is alleviated somewhat by the support and warmth of people I already knew as friends, which makes the whole cast and crew feel more intimate even though the group is quite large (cast and crew combined, we have over 35 people). It is also interesting to get to know people in a very different context; for example, my identity as a student or friend is very different from my identity as a director, and I bet it takes a moment to adjust to that.

How have your Lewis & Clark experiences prepared you for this?

There is such an emphasis on collaboration in the Lewis & Clark community that a project like this benefits tremendously from. We work very well together creatively and all seem eager and excited for the opportunity to share the load, rather than all being hungry for the reins or the credit.

What is it like to work with faculty outside of Lewis & Clark?

It is wonderful to work with Jerry Harp in a different setting. Jerry and I are also collaborating on a book about Romeo and Juliet, so we spend lots of time talking about Shakespeare, which is a real treat for me. His expertise is a valuable asset to the show, and it’s great to get to know him as an actor.

Where do you hope this experience will lead you in the future?

Directing Shakespeare is what I want to do with my life, so this opportunity is the best preparation for the future I could ask for.

 

In addition to Terpening-Romeo and Harp, the following alumni were also involved in the production: Caitlin Fisher-Draeger B.A. ’12, Alex Ramirez B.A. ’10, Jahnavi Caldwell-Green B.A. ’12, Azalea Lewis B.A. ’12, Emily Gregory B.A. ’10, Kaye Blankenship B.A. ’12, Ginnie Loomis B.A.’ 09, Annie Fassler B.A. ’11.

The theatre department at Lewis & Clark hosts performances throughout the academic year, both in the Black Box and on the main stage. Each semester, students write, cast, and direct one-act plays in the Once Upon a Weekend festival. Students collaborate on main stage plays, working all semester to design elaborate sets and costumes. Majors and nonmajors alike have ample opportunity to get involved in theatre at Lewis & Clark.

Zibby Pillote ’14 contributed to this story.

 

Department of Theatre