Tag Archives: Portland Theater

Behind the Design of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

The Designers of Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) are working away to build our world. Take a look at their works in progress!

Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)

Final Postcard - front

Northwest Classical Theatre Company concludes its seventeenth season withGoodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), an action-packed, hilarious homage to Shakespeare and the people who love his plays. This production will be the last for the company in its current format; moving forward NWCTC will no longer keep a resident acting company nor claim the Shoebox Theatre as its home.

In Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), Constance Ledbelly, a Shakespearean scholar, postulates that two of the Bard’s best-known tragedies, Othello and Romeo and Juliet, are based on comedic source material. Constance researches firsthand when she takes a tumble into her trashcan and lands in the worlds of the plays where her presence rapidly causes the plots and characters to change: Iago and war-like Desdemona team up, death-obsessed Juliet and bi-curious Romeo tire quickly of marriage, and Constance is tasked with finding the author of it all.

Join us for this adventurous production before we say goodnight to Northwest Classical Theatre Company as we know it, and stay tuned for more details on the rebirth and continuation of the company as we near the season’s end.

For tickets or more information go to: www.nwctc.org

Cate Garrison on Hannah Kennedy, Mary’s Handmaiden in Mary Stuart

In three sentences, describe the character you play in Mary Stuart.

Hannah Kennedy is Mary’s lady-in-waiting, nurse, servant, mother-figure, and friend. She is fiercely loyal and protective, almost to the point of denial of any kind of guilt on Mary’s part. She is also pragmatic and realistic, and tries to keep Mary’s feet firmly on the ground in her moments of romantic rapture. By the end, however, it is Mary’s strength that keeps Hannah from crumbling in the face of grief and injustice.

What is your favorite line in the play (yours or someone else’s) and why?

So many to choose from! I am going to pick a line/image from one of Mary’s speeches to Elizabeth, where she describes herself and her erstwhile hopes:


All my ambitions creep along the ground.”

I love the image of Mary as a lapwing…a bird so often to be seen on the Scottish moors. And what is so compelling about this is, of course, that the lapwing only appears broken. It “acts” broken, to lead predators away from its nest, and is therefore astonishingly strong. Is Mary truly broken? Or is she still hiding something? We know by the end that she is strong. Is she so strong that she can even go to her grave without giving everything away? This question is very much the crux of the encounter from which this quote is taken, and not resolved until the very end of the play, if at all.

So it is a beautiful, but also a clever image.

What is the biggest challenge for you to overcome in this role/play?

As with the previous question…so many, so many! But for the purposes of this blog, I think I would isolate the notion that Hannah is both very like me and very UNLIKE me. I have to focus on her forthrightness, her down-to- earthness, her absolute will to appear…and be…strong, where Cate would probably give in and let go much sooner and more often. Of course Hannah does let go also, but she and I have a very different tipping point.

If you could choose one song that represents this show for you, what would it be?

Well, speaking from my character’s point of view, Hannah’s love for and loyalty to Mary is so powerful that, although it is NOT by any means a romantic or sexual love, the song/poem that comes to mind is of course Robbie Burns’ “ A Red, Red Rose.” I think many people felt this way about Mary, both before and after her death, and of course that is what Elizabeth could not tolerate.

Here is my favorite version, by Kenneth McKellar (I defy you not to weep!):


O my Luve is like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June;

O my Luve is like the melodie

That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I:

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:

I will luve thee still, my dear,

While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve

And fare thee well, a while!

And I will come again, my Luve,

Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

If you could dedicate your performance to someone, who would it be and why?

My father, Allan Nicol, was a Scotsman. Hannah’s idiolect is based on his. He died, unjustly and innocently, in a senseless road accident when I was a little girl. His absence in my life has been as real as any presence. I would dedicate all Hannah’s words, and love, to him.

Clara Hillier on navigating Susan’s blindness

When we began rehearsals for Wait Until Dark, I was completely terrified. Now as we head into tech, I’m still scared to have an audience share the Shoebox with us, but I also can’t wait to share Susan’s story.

In addition to the typical challenges of rehearsals,the play presents me with the massive challenge of portraying a newly blind woman. In the months that led up to rehearsal, I’ve been researching, reading, watching videos and meeting people that live in this world. With each book or person, I’m fascinated by the struggles and joy of a blind woman. One book in particular, Laurie Rubin’s “Do You Dream in Color? Insights From a Girl Without Sight”, speaks to who Susan Hendrix is at the heart of all the chaos and fear she encounters over the course of the play. Laurie let nothing stand in her way, be that learning how to ski to join her family on winter holidays, attending Oberlin to study voice, and facing rejection in the performing arts.

From an interview with www.out.com:
: Growing up blind, how did you tap into your determination and find the power from within to keep going and continue to your goals?

Laurie Rubin: A lot of it came from just being ingrained in me, because when I was younger my family always supported everything I wanted to do, and they never told me that I shouldn’t be able to do something. They encouraged me to do everything from snow skiing to water skiing and river rafting to just going full force into singing. That and my natural feisty personality, I just don’t like to be told I can’t do something no matter what it is. And I certainly also had enough support beyond family too with teachers, mentors, and friends.”

Although Laurie has been blind from birth and the character of Susan Hendrix has only been blind for a year and half, I think the joy and fire that make up both of these woman are the really weapons they have to tackle obstacle and insecurities presented daily. Susan has her husband Sam, a fellow survivor and true partner to keep her strong and safe at the beginning of the play, but what I personally admire about the character of Susan, is that she must learn how to survive and stand on her own, without him by her side.

As we head into tech, and eventually add audience members, I stand backstage reminding myself of all that Susan has lost but also gained in the loss of her sight. She has been given the gift of truly discovering her inner strength and  purpose, and the power of trusting yourself. I do hope you’ll join us at the theater this fall!

-Clara Hillier, Susan Hendrix, NWCTC company member

Wait Until Dark presented by Northwest Classical Theater Company opens at the Shoebox Theater September 5 and runs through October 5th Thursdays-Sundays. Tickets are at www.nwctc.org.

2014-2015 Season Announcement!


Our love affair with Tennessee Red’s

Our love affair with Tennessee Red's

The bar “around the corner” from the Shoebox, more formally known as Tennessee Red’s, is known for its barbecue menu and delicious comfort foods like fried mac and cheese bites, chicken wings, and hamburgers. They’ve hosted many an opening night party, closing night shindig, and post-tech decompress for NWCTC. We’re excited to host our 2nd Annual Billy Awards and Season Announcement there for two years running. We recommend the frickles.

Above: company member Melissa Whitney.

Photo by Jason Maniccia, copyright 2014.

Seventeenth Season Announcement Party on Monday!

Seventeenth Season Announcement Party on Monday!

Seventeenth Season Announcement Party

Monday, June 30th at 7pm

Tennessee Red’s Restaurant

Above: Company members Deanna Wells and Tom Walton

Photo by Jason Maniccia, 2014.

Production Photos from Macbeth

All photos are copyright Russell J. Young photography, 2014.