Days of snaps and nights of snippets

This week two theaters in the Rogue Valley turned the lights on during their dark days to present two very different evenings of a variety of works.

The first was the 20th annual Daedalus Project at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The festival has been faithfully holding this two-day event to raise funds and awareness for HIV/AIDS research.

Audiences filled the outdoor theater to enjoy the variety show. This is when cast members, Green Show musicians and dancers and OSF staff take the stage for an evening of celebration.

I wasn't able to attend as I had broken my right elbow on Sunday afternoon. I fell backwards playing with my grandchildren. They emerged unharmed. For my efforts, I now have my right arm — my write arm — in a splint, cradled inside a handsome blue sling providing a new twist on Hamlet's "slings and arrows."

A dear friend who is staying with us went to the Daedalus show and gave me a detailed report.

She couldn't stop raving about the "Tina Turner Song." I looked at her program and found John Fogerty's "Proud Mary" performed by Greta Oglesby, Gwendolyn Mulamba, Bridget B. Sullivan, Shona Tucker and G. Valmont Thomas. I can only imagine G. Val as Ike Turner and Greta as Tina.

Our friend commented on the beautiful medieval dance played by David Rogers on electric guitar and Terry Longshore on percussion.

She also was smitten by Mark Murphey's fiddle playing. And she loved how Ray Porter and Lue Morgan Douthit handled their roles as emcee of the evening and of the Underwear Parade, respectively.

The next night the Playwrights Unit of Oregon Stage Works presented an evening of short works. Some were one acts or long monologues. Others were samplings or snippets from much longer, full-length plays.

Since I am a member of the Playwrights Unit, was acting in one of the readings, and had a play of my own on the program, I had to show up, sling and all. I was greeted by my colleagues with comments like, "I said 'break a leg,' not your arm."

We had all read one another's plays during our monthly meetings, playing various parts. We had become quite familiar with each other's intentions and were able to provide valuable suggestions on how to realize those intentions more clearly in our scripts.

In the process of looking at all of the plays critically, we came up with some mighty astute observations, profound discoveries and exciting possibilities. Then we all went home and got busy rewriting — and rewriting some more. Rewriting is definitely the name of the game.

The next step was to hand those reworked scripts to a group of actors to embody our words, bringing our characters to life and sharing their stories with an audience.

Add a few deft touches by a director and comments from the audience afterward and once again, other people have made creative contributions to our plays. It truly is an amazing process.

So is learning how to type and manipulate a mouse with only your left hand.

Break a limb.

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