Sam Clayton’s first experience with theatre was seeing Black Swan’s Willy Wonka in 2015. “ It looked like a lot of fun to act,” says Sam, but it took a bit more convincing from his cousins, Caitlin and Mallory Spanjer to finally convince Sam to participate in a play. Caitlin and Mallory, former actors of director, Susan Scott, were helping with Black Swan’s 2016 production of Peter Pan, when an actor had pulled out of the role of the Lost Boy, Nibs. Sam was suggested as a good replacement, and thus another actor was hatched at Black Swan.
13 year old Sam, says acting didn’t really click and become exciting until opening night of Peter Pan. “Performing in Peter Pan really helped me see how fun it was and I loved becoming my character and being on stage with amazing actors all in character,” says Sam.
This time around, Sam will be portraying the role of Dickon in Black Swan’s upcoming production of The Secret Garden, directed by Elizabeth Scott and Mallory Spanjer. “At first, I thought the hardest part for me in preparing for my role was learning the Yorkshire accent,” says Sam. “I had a hard time seeing the dialect written out, then speaking it.” Sam says in actuality, the part he’s struggled with is learning lines. “ I guess time just snuck up on me because I thought I had tons of time to work on lines…” He says the method to memorize that works best for him is walking around and just running all his lines straight through the play.
Sam has enjoyed getting into the role of Dickon, the boy who helps Mary to create the secret garden. “I love that Dickon has the freedom to go anywhere he wants, and even though he’s poor, he’s respected and everyone likes him because he understands animals, nature and people,” Sam adds.
Besides acting, Sam loves to take apart things, and rebuild them. He’s even made his own telegraph machine. Like Dickon, Sam loves being out in nature, and exploring and would love to explore a tropical rainforest one day.
Sam believes “everyone should come see The Secret Garden because all the actors are great at what they do and have really worked hard at their characters.” Don’t miss this touching story and beloved children’s classic. The Secret Garden runs March 16-18th a.t Sam Barlow High School’s Little Theatre. Tickets can be purchased here.
11 year old, Josie Lattin began her acting career at Black Swan as Marta von Trapp in the 2014 production of The Sound of Music. Since then, Josie has acted in nearly seven plays and looks fondly back on The Sound of Music as the play which started her love of theatre. She loves so much about theatre from the acting, where she “gets to escape the real world and be somebody else”, to memorizing lines, and studying character.
This upcoming March, Josie takes on her first lead role as Mary Lennox in the touching play, The Secret Garden. Josie loves studying character, and says she’s learned so much about Mary by reading the novel by Francis Hodgson Burnett. “ By reading the book, I learn Mary’s back story, and understand more about what is going on in Mary’s head, and this helps me know how to become Mary on stage,” says Josie.
Josie says although memorizing lines comes easy for her, this role has pushed her abilities. Josie appreciates experienced lead actors Sydney (Holwege) and Erik (Scott) “who have taught me new ways to memorize lines which has helped.” Josie says it’s actually much easier and enjoyable to memorize Shakespeare lines as “there’s a beat to the lines and his words help you find your character.”
Josie is grateful for this opportunity to play Mary Lennox and bring this play to life. “This play is so much about nature, gardening, and how being outside helps people,” says Josie. She also loves how Mary and the character, Colin Craven grow and learn to love through being in nature. “I love nature and being outside as well, and it makes me happy too, so I can relate.” Besides her love of nature, Josie is a voracious reader, who enjoys drawing and acting. She hopes to one day be an author.
Josie and the rest of The Secret Garden cast look forward to performing this beautiful play for audiences March 16-18th. Seating is limited, so get your tickets soon by going here: http://blackswanyouththeatre.seatyourself.biz.
For more info. on the play, visit this page.
Jessica Messmann–Rosalind. 25 yrs old/B.A. Liberal Arts at Southern Virginia University. 12 yrs, acting experience with: SVU, Young Shakespeare Players, Corbett Children’s Theatre, Black Swan. Acting Highlights: Puck/A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Young Shakespeare Players), Juliet/Romeo & Juliet, (Young ShaKespeare Players) Witch 1/MacBeth (Young Shakespeare Players), Porter/MacBeth (Black Swan).
Chandler Duncan– Orlando, 17 yrs. old/Reynolds HS. 5 yrs. acting experience with: Reynolds MS/ HS. 4 Black Swan plays. Acting Highlights: Orin Scrivello/Little Shop of Horrors (RHS), Pirate King/Pirates of Penzance (RHS) Ross/ MacBeth (Black Swan) Mr. Darling/ Peter Pan. (Black Swan)
Elizabeth Laurent–Celia. 27 yrs. old/B.A. in Theatre at Southern Virginia University. 13 yrs. acting experience with: S.V.U., Young Shakespeare Players, Corbett Children’s Theatre, and Black Swan. Acting highlights: Lily St. Regis/Annie (CCT), Viola/Twelfth Night (CCT), Kathy Selsdon/Singin’ in the Rain (Young Shakespeare Players) Chorus/Showgirl/Annie Get Your Gun (SVU)
Drew Lewis–Touchstone, 23 yrs./MHCC. Two years previous acting experience: Barlow HS and Black Swan Youth Theatre. Highlights: Leonato/Much Ado About Nothing, (Barlow HS) Dr. Horrible/Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (Barlow HS)
Matt Hammel–Jaques, 25 yrs. old/B.A in Int’l Relations at Vassar College. 11 years acting experience with: Vassar, Corbett Children’s Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Young Shakespeare Players. Acting highlights: Tevye/Fiddler on the Roof (CCT) Feste/Twelfth Night (CCT) Howard Hill/Music Man (CCT) Edmund/Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (OCT
Ellie Leach–Phebe. 19 yrs. old/Theatre major at BYU-Idaho. 5 yrs. acting experience with: Barlow HS, 7 Black Swan plays, SOU. Highlights: Helena/A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Black Swan). Belinda/Noises Off! (Black Swan) , Elsa Schraeder/ The Sound of Music (Black Swan) Hope/Anything Goes (Barlow HS), Lady MacBeth/MacBeth (Black Swan).
Tyler Messenger–Silvius/Lord. 17 yrs. old/Reynolds HS, 5 yrs acting experience with: Reynolds MS/HS, 5 plays at Black Swan. Acting highlights: Seymour/Little Shop of Horrors (RHS), Willy Wonka/Willy Wonka (Black Swan). Captain Hook/Peter Pan (Black Swan )
Tabitha Card–LeBeau/Corin– 20 yrs old/studies at Cornish School of the Arts. 10 yrs acting experience with: Cornish, Reynolds HS, six plays at Black Swan, Corbett Children’s Theatre. Acting highlights: Mulan/Mulan (Black Swan) Hermia/ A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Black Swan), Elle/Legally Blonde (RHS), Cinderella/Into the Woods (Cornish).
Zak Enyart–Oliver/Forester– 18 yrs./Barlow HS. Acting experience: one year at Barlow HS in Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat and David and Lisa.
Mallory Spanjer–Duchess Senior. 27 yrs. old/B.A. History at Seattle Pacific, M.A. Modern History at York University. 10 years acting experience with: Black Swan, Young Shakespeare Players, Corbett Children’s Theatre. Acting highlights: Friar Lawrence/Romeo and Juliet, Witch 1/Macbeth (Black Swan)
Alex Giorgi–Duke Frederick/William, 23 yrs old/attends Southern Oregon University. 7 years acting experience with: MHCC, Barlow HS, six plays with Black Swan, GLT. Acting Highlights: The Beast/ Beauty and the Beast (Black Swan), Florindo /Servant of Two Masters (Black Swan), Sir Toby Belch/Twelfth Night (Black Swan)
John Nan-Charles/Amiens/Jaques de Boys– 19 yrs. old/MHCC. Previous acting: Pirates of Penzance (Reynolds HS). Mullins/ Peter Pan (Black Swan).
Maggie Young– Audrey/Lord. 24 yrs. old/Occupational Therapy, Casper College. 2 years acting experience with: Young Shakespeare Players. Acting Highlights: Lina Lamont/Singin’ in the Rain, Patty Simcox/Grease, Witch 3/MacBeth.
Blake Dunbar– Adam, 19 years old. graduate of Clackamas HS. Ten years acting experience with GLT, 12 plays with Black Swan, Clackamah HS. Highlights: Prince Humperdinck / The Princess Bride (Black Swan) Scrooge/A Christmas Carol (Black Swan), Orsino/Twelfth Night, Mercurio/Romeo and Juliet (Black Swan), Freddy/Noises Off! (Black Swan), MacBeth/MacBeth (Black Swan)
Caitlin Spanjer– First Lord. 27 yrs./B.A. History Education at Seattle Pacific. 10 yrs acting experience with: Black Swan, Young Shakespeare Players, Corbett Children’s Theatre. Acting Highlights: Malvolio/Twelfth Night (CCT), Witch 1/MacBeth (Young Shakespeare Players, Monty Python Show (CCT).
Madeleine Rex– Hymen, 20 yrs. old, graduate of Southern Virginia University (B.A. in Theatre. English & Liberal Arts) Two years acting experience, four years technical theatre. Highlights: Assistant director, The Importance of Being Earnest (Black Swan) Assistant director, The Secret Garden (SVU).
Katherine Hardenbergh—Second Forester. 15 yrs. old/Barlow HS. Two yrs acting experience hwith: Barlow HS, Black Swan. Plays: Ensemble/Willy Wonka (Black Swan) Chorus/Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, (Barlow HS)
Emily Brady–Servant/Page– 16 yrs old/Centennial HS. 7 years acting experience with: Centennial HS, 8 plays with Black Swan Youth Theatre. Acting highlights: Mushu/ Mulan, (Black Swan) Puck /A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Black Swan) Louisa /The Sound of Music. (Black Swan), Addams Family (CHS)
Noelle Forkey– Denise/page: 17 yrs. old/ Glacier Peak HS. Previous theatre: assist. stage manager for The Foreigner
Kaden Moss, Forester: 14 years old. Centennial HS. Previous theatre: Centennial HS, 1o plays with Black Swan. Six years acting experience. Acting highlights: Puck/A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Black Swan) Charlie Bucket/Willy Wonka, (Black Swan) Peter/Peter Pan (Black Swan)
It’s been about five years since Alex Giorgi graduated from Sam Barlow High School, and acted at Black Swan. “ I had many great years with Black Swan and some of my favorite shows were Beauty and the Beast and The Servant of Two Masters and Twelfth Night. From my years at Black Swan, I really learned how to handle stress and when it comes to acting, it vital to succeeding in the professional world.” Alex’s favorite Black Swan memory was the 2011 trip to England.” It was a trip of a life time for me and it is one of my favorite memories. We visited some amazing places and watched some great shows. One of the
best times of my life.”
Nine years have passed since Maggie Young was last on stage. In that time, she graduated from Casper College, found a husband, started working in occupational therapy, and, most notably, perfected the art of making a mean Crab Rangoon. Maggie has previously entertained audiences in such rich and varied parts as Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain, a Witch in Macbeth, and Patty Symcox in Grease. Maggie is eager to get back on stage this summer, this time as the dim and homespun Audrey in As You Like It. “I wanted to act again because I missed the community of it,” Maggie explains, “At first coming back was intimidating and there were a few times I wondered if I lost all my acting skills, but once we started rehearsing and I let loose and a lot came back.”
Maggie asserts this production of the pastoral comedy As You Like It has a lot to offer. “There is something so fun and magical when a play is based in the forest,” says Maggie. The play will be set in the depression era, will include bluegrassy/folk music, and a few southern accents. “[With Shakespeare], a lot is up to interpretation, so no two groups will do a Shakespeare play in the same way,” Maggie says, “This leaves a lot of room for creativity.” This production also includes actors from ages 15 to 27, all in different stages in their lives. This, Maggie thinks, will give the play “a genuine depth to the play that not all plays have.” More than anything, the play is just full of fascinating and hilarious characters. “There is never a dull moment in this play,” Maggie remarks, “I think it will keep the audience at the edge of their seats. Mainly because they will be laughing so hard!”
As You Like It actually reminds Maggie a bit of her favorite childhood mini-series: The 10th Kingdom (If you are one of the unlucky few to have missed out on this piece of television genius, Maggie implores you to watch it immediately, but accepts that nostalgia is perhaps partly responsible for her obsession with it.) “It is similar because 10th Kingdom starts out, like, super realistic with a typical, you know, adult in New York; And then all of a sudden there is all this fantasy stuff going on,” Maggie explains, “And every character is a funny character. There are no plain characters.” Who would be the equivalent of Maggie’s character Audrey in 10th Kingdom? “The female troll?” she jokes, “Actually, maybe the guy with the wart face in the prison. He is so nice, but you feel so bad for him.”
Don’t miss Maggie Young (and her dazzling dancing) on stage in As You Like It, August 3 – 6 at Lewis and Clark park. “Come hither, come hither.”
In April 2015, while waiting for one of his friends to finish his audition for a Black Swan play, Chandler Duncan was encouraged by the producer, Chris Card to audition for their production, Brush Up Your Shakespeare. With no experience with Shakespeare, Chandler jumped right in and found he was a natural with the language despite the fact that at school English felt horribly boring.
Chandler, like many American students, had no idea that once lifted off the page, and taken out of the classroom, Shakespeare’s plays become very alive when presented by a group of actors who understand the language and character. “Since my first exposure to Shakespeare, I’ve started to see the beauty more prominently,” and he adds, “The language may seem difficult to understand at times, but once you analyze and get familiar with the words, you see the beauty.”
In this third Shakespeare production of Chandler’s, he is ready to take on one of Shakespeare’s beloved characters, Orlando deBoys, the chivalrous and romantic hero of As You Like It who is forced to runaway to the forest of Arden. Orlando’s love for the intelligent and fun-loving Rosalind creates moments of hilarity throughout the play. “This play gives me an amazing experience as an actor to feel the emotions that Orlando is hit with, which is a lot considering Orlando is a roller coaster of feelings,” Chandler explains, “This role has made me grow as an actor and as a person; That’s the magic of Shakespeare.”
With this being the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, it’s an ideal play to celebrate the greatest playwright of all time. As Chandler adds, “Even though Shakespeare’s amazing, beautiful, hilarious and tragic plays were written hundreds of years ago, they still teach us many valued traits such as acceptance and kindness.”
Come see Chandler as Orlando as well as the rest of the talented cast of As You Like It. August 3-6th at Lewis and Clark State Park. You can buy tickets HERE.