A Tale of Two Theatres You Might Not Know About (But Should): Ashland Contemporary Theatre and The Archetypal Theatre
CURTAIN RISES; NARRATOR SPEAKS:
What say ye of these two theatres in the Rogue Valley?
In the fair town of Ashland long, long ago (May of 1991), several fair maidens and gentlemen who were friends to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival collaborated and established Ashland Community Theatre (ACT). That same theatre kept its acronym but is now called Ashland Contemporary Theatre.
A DETERMINED FEMALE WITH A STRONG VOICE NAMED JEANNINE GRIZZARD ENTERS:
“At ACT we aren’t compelled to produce just to produce. We look for quality first. We can explore whatever we want as a community theatre.”
And an even longer time ago (in 1989), a long-haired nymph from Eugene, Oregon living in Los Angeles began The Archetypal Theatre to give voice to the divine feminine. Her name is Vajra Ma.
SPOTLIGHT ON A MATURE WISE FEMALE NEXT TO HER BELOVED, WOLFGANG NEBMAIER:
“We feel that the audience should come out of the theatre feeling nourished. To connect with people at a level that makes you feel you are a part of humanity; theatre is a place big enough to do that.”
After pursuing feminist spirituality for 30 years, and a blessed union with Wolfgang, Ma resurrected The Archetypal Theatre in Grants Pass in 2016.
HER BELOVED SPEAKS WITH A GERMAN ACCENT:
“The theatre we produce is unpredictable and an encouragement to trust life.”
NARRATOR: In this dramatic tale, both venues offer opportunities to experience the human condition in its colorful continuum of emotions and drama.
Grizzard directs Ashland Contemporary Theatre with an emphasis on regional new work while Ma directs and collaborates with Nebmaier to create original plays through The Archetypal Theatre.
At ACT, there is no subscription series to purchase, nor building, nor actors on a payroll. Ashland Community Center is home with some performances also at Grizzly Peak Winery. Their purpose is to provide “challenging artistic opportunities for the people who live in the Rogue Valley area with the founding mission specifically for Ashland.” An email roster 1,200 strong boasts a loyal fan base and actors are always paid something to perform.
Almost yearly, they do a short-play festival with both ten minute and 20-40 minute one-act plays, sometimes based on a selected theme. “It’s all about making an integrative evening for the audience,” says Grizzard.
In total, ACT does three or four plays a season. One of their most successful performances ever was “Red,” in 2016, starring Peter Alzado based on the life of artist Mark Rothko.
Grizzard promises its 28th season features a treasured performer in the Valley.
Equally interesting is The Archetypal Theatre with its mission to dive deep into the visceral human experience while also entertaining. No one wants to show up and be walloped with self-awareness without a good dose of laughter and spectacle too.
Ma, who coached Marisa Tomei on Broadway for her dance as Salome, has written, “Medea Everywoman,” based on the Euripides play. The myth is more than, “she kills her children because she is pissed at hubby. It goes into the woman’s psyche and how she buys into patriarchy and must uncover the deepest motive of her deed,” Ma explains.
Additionally, Nebmaier has written a three-act play entitled, “The Healing of Melanija Knaus (Formerly Trump).” And they are casting for a two-act play written by Nebmaier called “The Feminist’s Three Man Play.”
Ma and Nebmaier invite interested theatre-goers, actors, fundraisers, production experts to visit their website (www.TAT.Shakti-moon.com). And while building their audience, they can bring The Archetypal Theatre to the community. “We are portable,” they say.
To find out more about ACT, go to AshlandComtporaryTheatre.org and request to be their e-mail distribution list.
ALL EXIT STAGE LEFT