Introducing the Cast of Men On Boats

Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. Based (broadly) on the true adventures of the one-armed pioneering explorer John Wesley Powell and his intrepid crew, Men On Boats is a gleefully subversive play that capsizes the white male conquest narrative and discovers the beautifully fluid depth and courage of a wholly different landscape.

Third Rail is excited to feature ten extraordinary actors in this remarkable adventure story. Read on to meet the marvelous cast of Men On Boats, opening March 2nd!

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Meet the Cast!


Amy Driesler, Dunn:
“I’m excited to be a part of this adventure with nine female actors, a mostly female design team, a female director and female assistant director. The future is female!”

Gwendolyn Duffy, Bradley:
“It’s a hell of a ride, the odds are stacked against us and the stakes are very high. I think it’s going to be really empowering and hopeful to see a group of women coming together to survive.”

Stephanie Gaslin, Sumner:
” …we’re doing a play where I get to explore my feminine and my masculine self and do a male role…. it’s going to be interesting in that regard… it’s going to be fun!”

Jessica Hillenbrand, Hall:
“…as a woman and as an actor, so often being able to exhibit strength or claim space is something I am doing as a fight…and with this show, suddenly strength and capability and authority are just afforded me. I am a man on a boat. Okay. Now what?”

Jennifer Lanier, Powell:
“Men On Boats is a great opportunity to dive into lives of some of the explorers and exploiters of North America. As a Native American/African American woman, I am intrigued by the perspective of men who were so quick to discount the knowledge and experience of the native folks who lived in the areas they explored, who were so arrogant as to name places themselves. It will be interesting to explore those senses of entitlement as active choices in everyday life.”

Anya Pearson, Seneca:
“I am excited about Men On Boats because I am excited by women reclaiming the male narrative…. it is amazing. liberating, and thrilling to be a part of a story that is female-centric, female-driven, all female in cast and direction, and is intentionally subverting the patriarchy.”

Kerry Ryan, Goodman:
“I am very excited to collaborate with a room full of intelligent, committed, creative, and talented women.”

Josie Seid, OG:
“The audition process for this production was one of the most fun, challenging and empowering processes I have experienced to date…. Now I get to lean in even farther and tell this story from this feminist lens and it thrills me to contribute to something that has the power to alter the perceptions of how we view adventure.”

Shalanda Sims, Hawkins:
“I’m excited to be part of this all female cast… I’m happy that we get to be explorers and to work together with a talented group of women.”

Amber Whitehall, Old Shady:
“I’m really excited to be in the company of women. I’m excited because we’re working on it in this time when women are being heard every day telling stories of being exploited by people with power. And I hope that it will lead to this culture of dominance being interrupted so that all women will be listened to. And that we might all talk with each other as people, each of us valuable in our own unique ways.”

Stephanie Gaslin joins the cast of Men On Boats as Sumner

Company Member Stephanie Gaslin will play Sumner in Men On Boats, opening March 2nd, 2018.

Stephanie is an actor, dialect/voice coach, and teaching artist. As an actor for Third Rail, Stephanie has performed in Recent Tragic Events, The Lonesome West, Grace, Dead Funny, Fabuloso, The Gray Sisters, The Wonderful World of Dissocia , Collapse and Mr. Kolpert. She has also been the dialect coach for The Lonesome West, Grace, Nobody’s Here But Us Chickens, A Lesson from Aloes, Dead Funny, Shining City, Skull in Connemara, Kiss Me Like You Mean it. Pain and the Itch, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Beauty Queen of Leenane, Noises Off, Midsummer…A play with songs, Mystery of Irma Vep, Night Alive, Bellville, Static, Mr Kopert, and The Angry Brigade

Regionally she has been seen acting with The National Shakespeare Company, Theatre Ten Ten, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Monomoy Theatre, Artist’s Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, The Haven Project, Clackamas Repertory Theatre, and Triangle Theatre. She has been a dialect coach for Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory, Profile Theatre, Public Playhouse, Oregon Repertory Theatre, Sojourn Theatre, Clackamas Repertory Theatre, Coaster Theater, Light’s Up Productions, Oregon Repertory Theatre, Portland Playhouse, Portland Actor’s Conservatory, CoHo, George Fox University as well as many individual performing artists in the Portland region.

Stephanie has taught acting, playwriting, improvisation, voice and movement to children kindergarten thru high school and adults to senior citizen. She has had the opportunity to serve as a teaching artist for the National Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Ohio University, Young Players, Artist’s Repertory Theatre, and The Haven Project.

Q & A With Stephanie Gaslin

TR: What excites you most about Men On Boats? 

SG: I am super excited to work in a room of all women.

TR: What are your favorite spots for adventuring in Oregon? 

SG: My favorite place in Oregon was on the Eagle Creek Trail, so not sure what that area looks like now. Harris Beach State Park is a beautiful place as well.

TR: What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far? 

SG: The greatest adventure of my life has been being a parent. I am constantly challenged and asked to be better everyday. I toured the US for 9 months when I was 29, which was filled with adventure after adventure and demanded me to be in the present moment.

 

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Mentorship Alumna Jessica Hillenbrand Joins the Cast of Men On Boats

We are thrilled to welcome Jessica Hillenbrand, alumna of the 2013/14 Third Rail Mentorship Program, in her mainstage debut as Hall in Men On Boats

Born and raised in Portland, Jessica holds a BA in Drama from the University of Portland. You may have recently seen her underneath a great deal of eyeliner as Maya in Portland Playhouse’s fall reading of No Candy, or as Val in That Pretty Pretty with Defunkt Theatre. Other credits include Stupid Kids (part of Fuse Theatre Ensemble’s OUTwright Festival) and Comedy of Errors (Post5), Love Labour’s Lost (Portland Actors Ensemble), and bobrauschenbergamerica (Third Rail Mentorship Company).

 

 

Q & A with Jessica Hillenbrand 

TR: What are some of your favorite places to go adventuring in Oregon?

JH: My favorite thing about living in Oregon is that it’s so easy to escape to just about any adventuring terrain you could want. When I have the time, I love to go center myself at the beach or spend a day hiking around waterfalls in the Gorge. Probably dearest to my heart are the trails around Forest Park, which my trusty Star Wars water bottle and I have been hiking almost weekly over the past year. Thanks to Wildwood Trail I can squeeze in an adventure whenever the mood strikes and keep the wanderlust at a manageable simmer without even having to leave the city.

 

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Woman Crush Wednesday: Jeanne Baret

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Our next show, Men On Boats, capsizes the white male conquest narrative and features ten extraordinary women in the roles of John Wesley Powell and his intrepid crew. In honor of this gleeful gender-bend, we’re launching this #womancrushwednesday series, featuring adventurers from past and present. Check back every Wednesday to learn about these badass women!

This week’s #WomanCrush is botanist and explorer Jeanne Baret (1740-1807). Disguised as a man and under the assumed name “Jean Baret”, Jeanne Baret became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. An accomplished botanist, Baret enlisted as a valet on the global expedition of Admiral Louis-Antoine de Bougainville from 1766-1769, and worked alongside the ship’s botanist (her friend and lover) to collect samples and identify new species. Baret’s true identity was discovered at some point during the expedition (accounts differ as to the exact details), and she was ultimately left behind on Mauritius, then known as the Isle de France.

Read more about Men on Boats, Opening March 2nd

Amy Driesler Makes Her Third Rail Debut

 

 

We are thrilled to welcome Amy Driesler as Dunn in Men On Boatsopening March 2nd, 2018.

Amy recently moved to Portland from New York, where she is a regular member of the critically acclaimed The Queen’s Company. Recent credits include: Nut in Orange Julius (staged reading Profile Theatre), Lucentio in Taming of the Shrew (The Queen’s Company), Hal/Hotspur in Henry Four (Circo de Nada) and Cassius in Julius Caesar (Harlem Shakespeare Festival). She co-stars in several award-winning short films including Hens and Chicks and Elliot King is Third directed by Rose Troche (The L Word).

 

 

Q & A with Amy Dreisler 

TR: What excites you about Men On Boats?
AD: I’m excited to be a part of this adventure with nine female actors, a mostly female design team, a female director and female assistant director. The future is female!

 

TR: What are some of your favorite places to go adventuring in Oregon?
AD: I’m new to Oregon so haven’t had tons of time to go adventuring here yet, but we’ve made it to the coast a couple of times, which is breathtaking, and hiking/sightseeing along the Columbia River gorge. The view is truly spectacular.

 

TR: What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far?
AD: My girlfriend and I spent a week in Iceland a few years ago. I am fascinated by cold remote places. It is such a beautiful country: rocky, rugged, ever evolving with active volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and the sea. We saw the Northern lights and even on a cloudy night they are other worldly. We got muddy and sea sprayed. We got almost as far north as the Arctic Circle. I learned some Icelandic. It was an amazing adventure!

 

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Josie Seid Makes Her Third Rail Debut

 

We are thrilled to announce that Josie Seid will portray OG in Men On Boatsopening March 2nd, 2018 at Imago Theater.

Josie’s past roles include:  Dido in Artist Rep’s An Octoroon as well as Viney in their production of The Miracle Worker.  The Queen/Angela/Hermione in A Maze (Theatre Vertigo);  Lina Darling in Nine the Musical (Lakewood Theater).  She also brought Lola to life in Cottonwood in the Flood as part of the Vanport Mosiac Festival, as well as being a member of the Drammy Award Winning ensemble of the Brother Sister Plays (Portland Playhouse).  Other readings for new works: Alan’s ConfectionaryMy Walk Has Never Been AverageBlind and Left Hook as part of Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival. Film credits include: ER Doctor in I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore.

 

 

Q & A with Josie Seid  

TR: What excites you about Men On Boats?

 

JS: I love collaborating with badass (can I say that on paper?) women!  The audition process for this production was one of the most fun, challenging and empowering processes I have experienced to date.  It was remarkable to feel like you were working together on a piece and not trying to beat someone out for something.  I was humbled and uplifted by the talent, strength and brilliance of these women.  Now I get to lean in even farther and tell this story from this feminist lens and it thrills me to contribute to something that has the power to alter the perceptions of how we view adventure.

 

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Gwendolyn Duffy Makes Her Third Rail Debut

We are thrilled to announce that Gwendolyn Duffy will portray Bradley in Men On Boatsopening March 2nd, 2018.

Gwendolyn was raised here in Portland. She studied dance and theatre from a young age and began her professional performance career in 2005 as a member of The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Portland Actors Conservatory, where she performed as The Stepdaughter in Six Characters in Search of an Author and Benvolio in Romeo & Juliet. Other Portland theatre credits include portraying the title character in Imago Theatre’s The Lady AoiEnsemble in Imago’s Savage Love, Movement Artist in Portland Opera’s The Little Match Girl Passion, and Rachel in CoHo Production’s The How and The Why (opposite TR company member Karen Trumbo).

 

 

Q & A with Gwendolyn Duffy  

TR: What excites you about Men On Boats?
GD: What excites me the most is the opportunity that this production gives female theatre artists! To explore and dive into a world that would usually be off limits to us. To be a part of such a large ensemble cast of women, as we dig in and discover the humanity of these different characters. And then to share the story of these characters, who were real people, as we go on their wild adventure. It’s a hell of a ride, the odds are stacked against us and the stakes are very high. I think it’s going to be really empowering and hopeful to see a group of women coming together to survive.

 

TR: What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far?

GD: I’m a bit of a bird nerd and I’ve had some excellent birding adventures in Oregon, Washington, Northern California and Montana. But the first time I went exploring the wilds of the Nevada desert with my husband was the greatest by far! I was blown away by the vast expanse of sky and earth. It felt like a whole new world to me; different plants, animals and life everywhere. Compared to the lush growth of the forests that I am familiar with, there is a resilience to life in the desert. It clings on despite the harsh environment and I was instantly taken with that.

 

Kerry Ryan Portrays Goodman in Men On Boats

 

Company Member Kerry Ryan will play Goodman in Men On Boats, opening March 2nd, 2018. 

Kerry is a graduate of Brown University and the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Program, a former member of Imago Theatre and Theatre Vertigo, and a proud current member of Third Rail Repertory (A Bright New Boise, The Realistic Joneses, The Angry Brigade). Kerry is also a member/founder of the Anonymous Theatre Company, and happily spends her days at the Oregon Children’s Theatre and managing Dog Adventures Northwest. Regional credits include Futura and JAW at Portland Center Stage, The Servant of Two Masters and The Tempest at the Seattle Shakespeare Company, and Julius Caesar with the Tennessee Shakespeare Company.

 

 

 

Q & A with Kerry Ryan

 

TR: What are some of your favorite places to go adventuring in Oregon?

KR: Cannon Beach, Sisters, the Sandy River, the Gorge, Mount Hood.

 

TR: What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far?

KR: Parenting a toddler.

 

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Shalanda Sims Makes Her Third Rail Debut

 

We are excited to welcome Shalanda Sims to the Third Rail stage as Hawkins in Men On Boats

Shalanda hails from the great Northwest and is a proud wife and mother of three. She is a performing artist, writer, teacher and advocate. Shalanda is the author of the newly-released children’s book Night Rhythm and has written several plays including Church Girls, Vanport, Too Good To Be True, Full-Time Woman and Who I Am Celebrating Me. Performance work includes Dreamgirls (Portland Center Stage), Pirates of Penzance (Portland Opera), Black Nativity (PassinArt) and Gospel Christmas (Oregon Symphony). When she’s not onstage or writing, she’s spending time with her family, teaching, heavily involved in her community or working tirelessly as the artistic director of World Stage Theatre.

 

Q & A with Shalanda Sims

TR: What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far?

SS: My greatest adventure has been being a wife and mother. Never a dull moment. Wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

 

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Amber Whitehall Joins the Cast of Men On Boats

 

 

We are thrilled to announce that Amber Whitehall will portray Old Shady in Men On Boatsopening March 2nd, 2018.

Amber Whitehall is a founding member of PETE (Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble). She is a performer/creator and teacher. Her research and teaching includes creative compositional process, embodied awareness and expression, and the symbiotic relationship between composition and improvisation. Amber is a regular practitioner and teacher of the Viewpoints and Suzuki actor training. She is a faculty member at the Institute for Contemporary Performance. MFA.

 

 

Q & A with Amber Whitehall  

TR: What excites you about Men On Boats?
AW: I’m really excited to be in the company of women. I’m excited because we’re working on it in this time when women are being heard every day telling stories of being exploited by people with power. And I hope that it will lead to this culture of dominance being interrupted so that all women will be listened to. And that we might all talk with each other as people, each of us valuable in our own unique ways. I’m really excited about the adventure!

 

TR: What are some of your favorite places to go adventuring in Oregon?

AW: Last summer I went for a 50-mile hike in 4 days, including 3 snowy mountain passes in the Wallowas. It was amazingly beautiful. And I was worn out! But had such a sense of accomplishment! Also, I love poking around the beaches. Jenny Ampersand took me to Roads End at Lincoln City at a minus tide once. Forests of long neck barnacles! And I saw Velella Velella for the first time – tiny, blue jellyfishy creatures with wind sails. Magic.

 

TR: What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far?

AD: Besides navigating the relationship terrain of being married, my biggest life adventure may be my company, PETE. We sweat together and love one another.  We try impossible things, see amazing beauty and we get hurt sometimes. We hold great respect for each other because we’re a little bit dangerous. We strive to behold something great that rises from amongst us, with rigor and commitment. PETE has given me a lot that I will try to bring to the Men on Boats project and this incredible company of women.

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