by Alisha Rosas
An opportunity to experience a small-town atmosphere, wondrous play productions and earn college credit is what one may gain by attending the Ashland Theatre Festival.
The week of July 3-11 will be filled with events for anyone who will be in Ashland, Ore., this summer.
Dr. Rhoda Kachuck, professor of English, first introduced the festival to the University of La Verne 20 years ago.
Attending the festival can be both an entertaining experience, as well as an academic one.
For students to receive either English or theatre credit, a 10-, 15- or 25-page paper must be written within a year of the trip regarding the experience and contrasting the live performance to the written text of the plays viewed. The credits are determined by the length of the paper.
The trip, however, is not only for the enjoyment of the ULV students. Faculty, staff and people from the community are able to attend.
The group travels together and is able to attend group sessions with Dr. Kachuck and meet with actors from the performances.
This integration allows the participants to fully comprehend the productions viewed individually and as a whole.
“There is a certain joy in live theatre,” Dr. Kachuck said. “It’s not only from seeing live actors, but also from sharing the experience with other people.
“What is special about the trip is that we have read the plays before we’ve seen them, we’ve talked about them so that the participants, who are all from various disciplines, know what to look for,” she said.
Dr. Kachuck said that after viewing a play, the group meets again to “talk about what was seen” and have members of the theatre’s company talk to the group.
Dr. Kent Badger, professor of health services management, who has attended the festival for the last three years, also spoke highly in regard to the quality town of Ashland, as well as the productions.
“The theatre has been consistent in terms of the excellence of the performances,” he said.
The town of Ashland, which is known for its theatre festival, is best described as a town that has its “university and theatre as two of its major industries that attract its tourists,” according to Dr. Badger.
Dr. Kachuck said, “It’s a small town. It is very, very lovely with the mountains in the distance.”
As for the Ashland community, Dr. Badger said, “They are very hospitable … it’s a very friendly, very little town.”
“Nine plays in nine days” is the theme for The Ashlander, the newsletter that Dr. Kachuck created for the ULV community regarding information on the festival and its annual events.
The main advantage to attending the play with the ULV group was pointed out by Dr. Badger.
“For all reasons, a person going alone, or not with ULV, can’t take advantage.
“We get great seats at reasonable prices and the discussion groups of what we’re seeing,” he said.
“Theatre is more fun with friends, with people that you know,” Dr. Kachuck said. “That sharing extends to the fact that we are a group. We talk about the material together.
“It’s the opportunity to hear from people other than the classmates you would regularly expect,” she said.
Besides the plays, anyone who attends with the group is also able to participate in “park talks and picnics, biking, hiking, horseback riding, river rafting, swimming or tennis,” according to the newsletter.
Three of the nine plays are works by William Shakespeare and include: “Othello;” “Henry IV, Part Two;” and “Much Ado About Nothing. ”
However, one does not need to know Shakespeare’s writing like the back of one’s hand, to understand what is happening on the stage.
“One of the wonderful things that this theatre does is that it’s very innovative in translating the works,” Dr. Badger said.
Dr. Badger points to Dr. Kachuck’s discussion groups as a helpful way to comprehend the plays. “It is a good idea to read the plays,” he said, in regard to preparing for the trip.
Another preparation that must be made by participants is the cost to attend the festival.
The price of the tickets includes admission to all plays, lodging in the Southern Oregon State Colleges’ dormitory rooms, different backstage tours and lectures, numerous actors’ visits and the chance for academic credit.
Single occupancy tickets cost $670 and double occupancy tickets cost $580 per person.
For other people who wish to attend the festival without earning college credit, there is a participation fee of $130, along with the original occupancy costs. These costs do not include transportation to the festival.
Dr. Kachuck is still interested in students attending this year’s festival. However, tickets must be purchased as soon as possible.
Dr. Kachuck may be reached either in her office, which is located in Miller Hall, Room 219 or at ext. 4351.