Fresh Out of the Box: The New Rogue Theater Company Presents Fragments
There is a little bit of betrayal. A little bit of loss. Some sex too. But, a whole lot of love. Fragments is the first production for the newly formed Rogue Theater Company opening March 7 in Ashland.
Jessica Sage, Artistic Director, has carefully assembled semi-autobiographical fragments and created a poignant, connected and clever theatrical production. The play is set in 1977 when she was in high school and her family was going through tumultuous times.
“It’s about relationships and the dark and light of every human being,” Sage explains.
A human mosaic perhaps; refracting and reflecting perceptions, emotions and experiences of reality. At first, Sage did a script reading of the material and got a good response and people wanted to see a full production. And ultimately a new theater was born. From Northern California, she made Ashland her permanent home in 2015.
“I have always wanted to build a theater company that focuses more on women in theater,” she says. The dearth of material available to women is a source of disappointment and frustration in Sage’s opinion, so her vision is to “turn the tides.”
The Messenger inquired (since there is a lot of theater in the area) how Rogue Theater Company is unique and different?
Sage explained: “There is a plethora of talent in the Rogue Valley. I don’t see a lot of it on stage. I want to put people to work that do not get a chance. These are people who may want to do smaller work like one-person and one-woman shows.” But putting a semi auto-biographical work on stage is risky business.
Was Sage nervous about the experience of having one’s life up there for everyone to dissect? She responded: “I have twin sisters. Every Sunday we have a three-way call. One of my sisters is petrified and the other one cannot get here fast enough to see it. In life and on stage, I do not hold back.”
Liisa Ivary, the Director for Fragments, is a long-time acquaintance of Sage’s. She had the privilege of directing her in Oregon Stage Works’ production of Annapurna in 2016.
“We had a great connection and loved working together,” says Ivary. “We actually met because we both are avid hikers. Jessica also co-founded ORD2 Indivisible and I’ve been an active participant in that political action committee because of her. We worked together on a large event called “United for Justice” at the Ashland Armory.”
Ivary describes Fragments: “This is a story about three generations of women and how they find their authentic power. I hope that everyone sees their own family reflected in the story; the love and the struggles included. It’s a compelling contrast, the choices and beliefs across these decades of women’s experiences and choices. Their interplay and reactions to their parenting/modeling are often poignant and sometimes downright hilarious.”
Sage ultimately envisions that her theater will: “Consistently present text-driven, superbly acted, quality work to the audiences of the Rogue Valley.”
She goes on to proclaim: “I am not doing this to make a healthy living, it’s because I do not have a choice.”
Ivary is a strong advocate for what Sage is creating and adds: “As a director, for me personally, it’s all about the team of collaborators. Jessica has created a brilliant team of artists at Rogue Theater Company. I rely on their talents and abilities and seek to support them. My job as a director is to essentially be the audience and reflect back to them what I’m getting—whether the story is clear, audible, and credible.”
Fragments by Rogue Theater Company
Preview Thursday, March 7; 8 pm Fridays and Saturdays March 8, 9, 15, 16; 2 pm Sundays matinees March 10 & 17
Bellview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Road, Ashland
$15 – $18