Woodburn High School Theatre students have been following PETE's lead in preparation for their fall production.
PETE is not some dictatorial guy who shouts his name out in all-caps. To the contrary, PETE is an experimental, creative and collaborative method toward achieving an end composition and performance.
Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble – PETE – has been on campus and working with the students as they prepare two new short plays in a new project dubbed, "Devised Play Festival." The professional theatre artists from Portland steer the students as they create, refine, rehearse and perform the short plays.
The production opens at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, and shows run over two weekends: Nov. 1-2, and Nov. 8-9.
This model and approach is new to the students, and the outreach is something new to PETE as well.
"We're kind of the pilot program with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble," said Caleb Thurston, director of WHS drama. "They got a series of grants to help them bring their (program) out to the high school campuses."
Thurston had worked with one of PETE's founders and its co-artistic director, Cristi Miles, at George Fox University.
"PETE is a company of artists who make new plays in a collaborative way," Miles explained. "We train together and teach our work. We are committed to creative rigor, to the enrichment of our local arts ecology, and to connecting with diverse audiences.
"We challenge established notions of theatrical form and content with innovative practice, presentation, and organization," she added. "We strive to achieve a radical kind of presence shared with audiences in the performance event."
This partnership is made possible by a series of grants from Ellyn Bye, John Rothermitch & Shelley Turley, and The Blair Family Philanthropy Fund.The two-play WHS project is directed by Clifton Holznagel and Rebecca Miles.
Holznagel was barking directions and guiding students through rehearsals on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 22. He said the bulk of the early creative exploratory work has been accomplished, and they were working toward fine tuning at that point.
He said his personal experience has been primarily in traditional theater, and it is refreshing to take part in this innovative method.
"Most shows start with a script, parts, roles, remembering your lines; we start with an idea of what we want to see on stage, then discover as we go and start to think and collaborate," he said. "This is a composition, like a musical."
He likened the new approach to a "dream world."
Thurston noted that Devised Play Festival is the first of three shows that comprise Woodburn's 2019-2020 theatre season. The season is themed "change the ending," and all three season titles will explore characters who courageously take charge of their own futures.
"Our students are being exposed to a whole new way of making theatre that is deeply personal," Thurston said. "This is such a fantastic opportunity for students and myself to learn from artists of this caliber.
"It is really an honor to partner with PETE."
What: Woodburn High School Theatre &
Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble present the two-play
Who: Woodburn High School Theatre
When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 1-2 and Nov. 8-9
Where: Woodburn High School Auditorium, 1785 N. Front St.
Cost: $5 general admission tickets available at the box office 30 minutes before each performance. The two plays will perform back-to-back with a brief intermission.
DEVISED PLAY FESTIVAL
Cast & Crew
Directed by Clifton Holznagel
Stage Manager: Ollie Knowlson
Jeronimo Gaspar (Writer only)
Fern Freeland (Costumes)
Nayeli Torres (Hair/Makeup)
Valerie Cottrell (Props)
AJ Christensen (Lights)
Richard Garcia (Sound)
Directed by Rebecca Miles
Stage Manager: Jasmine Chapman Macrum
Emily Grenados Villejo
Kimberly Herrera Ortiz
Alix Martinez (Costumes)
Tanis Rees (Hair/Makeup)
Jayna Moore (Props)
Andy Mametieff (Lights)
Alexis Ortiz (Sound)
Box Office Team:
Alma Venegas (manager)
Set Construction Team:
Esmerelda Rubi Gutierrez Ignacio
Hair and Makeup Team:
Juana Cruz Herrera
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