Backstage with Evalyn Hansen: Under Alick’s direction, the Green Shows have become an eclectic series of performances.
Claudia Alick is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's community associate producer. She organizes the Green Shows, the free performances that take place every evening on the Courtyard Stage before the regularly scheduled OSF plays.
Under Alick's direction, the Green Shows have become an eclectic series of performances. She selects artists from the local community and from around the country. We met over lunch at Dragonfly Restaurant.
EH: Is your background in theater?
CA: Yes. I got my undergraduate degree at George Washington University; I was a theater major there. I got my graduate degree at New York University in performance studies, which is an interdisciplinary program that not only looks at the performances that happen on stages, you also study performances that happen everywhere — the performance of tourism or ritual as performance. I found it extremely helpful information for my job.
EH: You've really been successful. You changed everything, and it was an immediate success.
CA: I came here, and I observed what had already been around, what worked, what people wanted, and then I just did everything everyone has already done before. Originally the dancers and the musicians that performed, they lived here. Even though it was a resident company format, in many ways we're getting back to those local roots.
EH: You were new to Ashland when you started this. How did you make in-roads so quickly?
CA: I guess my strategy is to get to know the community. That means going to people's events, going to concerts, going to dance events, going to the local theater events, also keeping in touch with people in the community.
EH: Have the demographics of the Green Show changed?
CA: Not only have they changed from the demographics of the past, they change every day depending on what the act is. The audience has grown. Generally, on the average, about 250 to 300 was the highest number of people who would see the Green Show. Now when we hit our peak we hit 800 sometimes 900, depending on the group. When we did the Metal Shakespeare Company, with their heavy metal Shakespeare tunes, we had a bunch of heavy metal aficionados in the audience, which was hip and cool and exactly the point of what we're doing. I find that our audiences tend to have a large family demographic, locals that come with their kids. We also have a lot of people who are coming for the act, specifically because they are interested in that genre or that specific performer, who often come from farther away. And then we have our Shakespeare audience, as well.
I consider my curatorial job to be a gigantic mixed tape that takes place over 108 performances. So when you're making that mixed tape you want to make sure you have that slow jam, and then you want to make sure you have that fast piece, so it's an adventure.
Another project I'm excited about at OSF: We're doing an open-mic poetry slam at Stillwater on July 27. These open-mic poetry slams are a great way to connect with youth and explore contemporary heightened language.
EH: In general have the audiences changed?
CA: I do believe that our audiences have become more diverse, but I also don't think that this is anything new. I think the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is vanguard. They have been doing work on this for years and years.
The Green Show takes place at 7:15 p.m. at OSF's Courtyard Stage every night of the week except Monday. All performances are free. Stillwater Slam Sponsored by OSF featuring Universes is Monday, July 27 at 7 p.m. Cost is $5 at the door.
Evalyn Hansen is a resident of Ashland. She has a bachelor's degree in dramatic arts from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master's degree from San Francisco State University. She trained as an actor at the American Conservatory Theatre, and is a founding member of San Francisco's Magic Theatre. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.