- Resident Artists
I believe in miracles. Especially the theatrical miracle. Over and over our LaGrande residency has proved that the theater owner in "Shakespeare in Love" was right when he answered the desperate question, “How will it be alright?” with, “I don’t know. It’s a miracle.”
Last week, POGO loaded up into the van on Monday morning and drove to Eastern Oregon University in LaGrande. The plan was to arrive early to mid-afternoon, check into the hotel and have time for a deep cleansing breath before I headed over to the university with David, our accompanist for our first rehearsal with the children’s choir for the second act of La Boheme. Oh, did I forget to tell you? We were going to stage the entire second act of La Boheme in just under 4 hours. As Christopher Mattaliano, our GD told me when he heard that that was my plan, “You do realize that that is the most difficult 20 minutes in all of opera to stage, right?” Well, Chris, I do now. But, then fools rush in where angels fear to tread, and, while I don’t think I am a fool, I am no angel!
Anyway, the Grande Ronde Community Choir, the children’s choir, three of the university students (thank you, Keil, Renee and Jon!), one university professor (thanks, Peter!) and the intrepid cast of POGO pulled it off. I cannot believe we did it, but we did. Granted, I pulled the principals into about 4 hours of rehearsal away from the chorus, but still. I was very impressed with the hard work and dedication that made it happen.
And I need to give a huge thanks to Michael Frasier—he pulled together the minimal props and built me a platform so I could get some of the bodies off of the floor. His efforts were heroic, and I appreciate him more than I can say!
In addition to blocking Boheme at night, POGO taught EOU voice and drama students during the day. I have to say that this is one of the most fun and rewarding things that I do during the year. There is some amazing talent being fostered over there in the utter east, and I cannot wait for them to burst forth upon us! I had a great time teaching, and watching some of my POGO colleagues teach, and come out of their comfort zones (in some cases) to do it. I learned so much!
It was a fantastic week. And if you don’t believe that miracles happen—they absolutely do! And the best miracles happen through hard work, dedication, perseverance, and maybe a little fairy dust and the benevolence of St. Genesius (patron saint of theater.) So congratulations, Grande Ronde Community Choir, Children’s Choir, Eastern Oregon University, and POGO—you made it happen!
Yours in haste,