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Introducing the Cast of KISS: Dana Ghazi as the Interpreter

We are thrilled to welcome Dana Ghazi to the stage as the Interpreter in Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss. Ghazi also served as the Cultural Consultant for the production. Kiss opens March 15th, 2019 at CoHo Theatre.

Dana Ghazi was born and raised in Damascus, Syria before moving to the United States in 2002. She studied English Literature and Gender and Sexuality Studies for her undergrads and has a Master of Arts degree in Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies from Portland State University. Dana has worked with international programs focused on addressing major conflicts like the ones in Syria, Colombia and the Balkans and national programs focused on transforming structural violence, generational trauma and the role of the arts as a way for resistance and recovery during and post-conflict. Currently Dana works as an Arabic mental health counselor at the Intercultural Psychiatric Program with Oregon Health and Science University providing direct mental health services to refugees and victims of torture and war. Earlier this year, she joined the board of the Arab American Cultural Center of Oregon.


Q & A with Dana Ghazi:

TR: What excites you about Kiss?

DG: I think what most excites me about Kiss is that it is written by a Chilean writer who is using literature as a way of shedding light on what is happening in Syria. To me, it speaks to the power of literature in transcending all boundaries and to our human connection and solidarity beyond borders.

TR: Kiss draws inspiration from Soap Opera, which some might describe as a “guilty pleasure”. Do you have a “guilty pleasure” genre of theatre, film, television or literature?

DG: I like stand up comedies and I like science fiction genre in literature, which I think at times is under-appreciated for its subversiveness. Lately I have been watching Broad City and it is definitely a “guilty pleasure”.

TR: How do you view the role of theatre in political discourse, or theatre as political action? 

DG: In the Arab world, theatre has been a main form of cultural and political resistance in the post-colonial era. Much of our cultural memory is shaped by the cinema and theatre of the 1940s onward. Theater is not only allowed a collective space to address social and political tensions but also to express pains of political stagnation post-independence era or to celebrate major political wins against colonial powers. Thus, creating a shared national and trans-national identity linking anti-colonial liberation movements around the world.

TR: What do you hope audiences will take away from Kiss?

DG: I hope the audience is able to experience through Kiss the complexity of narrative surrounding conflict and the people who are impacted by it, especially ones happening in The Middle East where for so long generic narratives have masked such complexities. In one of the lines Calderón writes that romantic love is how Syrians connect with their past, identities and longing for country. For the play to take place in Damascus, one of the oldest continually-inhabited cities in the world, is to tell about this human energy of love and pain and longing, a tale of timeless perseverance and rich history. 


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Introducing the Cast of KISS: Rolland Walsh as Ahmed/Martin



Rolland Walsh returns to the Third Rail stage as Ahmed/Martin in Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss. The show opens March 15th, 2019 at CoHo Theatre.

With Third Rail Repertory Theater: Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again, Mr. Kolpert, Static, The Night Alive, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Noises Off, A Noble Failure. Also in Portland: Rolland has acted with CoHo Productions, Portland Center Stage, Artist’s Repertory Theater, Portland Playhouse and others; in Boston: American Repertory Theater, Club OBERON; produced: The Year of the Rooster, Weekend at Bernie’s: Live on Stage, Thom Pain (based on nothing) and Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. Rolland received his MFA in Acting from The American Repertory Theater / Moscow Art Theater School Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.


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Introducing the Cast of Kiss: Myriam Hamieh as Woman/Ameera’s Sister


Myriam Hamieh makes her Third Rail debut as Woman/Ameera’s Sister in Kiss by Guillermo Calderón. The play opens March 15th, 2019 at the CoHo Theatre.

Myriam is originally from Beirut, Lebanon and has been living in Portland since 2006. She is currently a full time dental student at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry. She enjoys painting and reading literary fiction as well as spending time with her family and of course her dog Ozzy.


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Introducing the Cast of KISS: Cristi Miles as Hadeel/Andrea


Guest Artist Cristi Miles will play Hadeel/Andrea in Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss, opening March 15th, 2019.

Cristi Miles is a native of El Paso, Texas and is a theatre artist rooted in Portland, OR. She spends her creative time making art with PETE (www.petensemble.org) and other wonderful companies throughout the Northwest. Cristi is interested in art that pushes beyond its current definitions, seeks collaborations with unlikely sources and asks questions of its audience. She believes that the world’s artists are the world’s truth seekers, sayers, and mirrors. Cristi is an Assistant Professor of the Theatre at George Fox University and trained at The Oregon Center for Alexander Technique (AmSAT certified teacher). Brandeis University, MFA.


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Introducing the Cast of Kiss: Maureen Porter as Bana/Laura


Maureen Porter will play Bana/Laura in Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss, opening March 15th, 2019.

Maureen is a Core Company Member of Third Rail Repertory Theatre, where roles include Ensemble in Revolt. She said. Revolt again., Claire in The Events, Aphra Behn in Or,  Maureen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Belinda in Noises Off,  Marian in Sweet & Sad and That Hopey Changey Thing, Lisa in The Wonderful World of Dissocia, Pam in The Gray Sisters, Eleanor in Dead Funny, and Mom in Number Three. Other local credits include Erica in Bright Half Life with Profile Theatre; Dark Ahab in Or, The Whale with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Kate in The Taming of the Shrew at Portland Shakespeare Project, Elise in Crooked at CoHo Theatre, Estelle in No Exit and Emma in Betrayal at Imago Theatre. New York credits include Isabella the Pirate Queen in Wet at the SPF New Works Festival, Lady Sneerwell in School for Scandal, Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, Laura Lucretia in the The Feign’d Courtesans with The Queen’s Company, and Celia in As You Like It with the National Shakespeare Company.


Q&A with Maureen Porter:

TR: What excites you about Kiss? 

MP: I love a night at the theatre when I don’t see what’s coming and Kiss has that quality. It is funny and surprising as well as substantive  I love when I am in an audience and something happens that makes my heart beat faster, and my brain engage to figure it out, and my breath quicken. I like when a play stays ahead of me. Kiss is that kind of play. It is very exciting to be inside the work. 

TR: Kiss draws inspiration from Soap Opera, which some might describe as a “guilty pleasure”. Do you have a “guilty pleasure” genre of theatre, film, television or literature?

MP:   I don’t know about guilty pleasures. I can’t help myself, I do love 80s teenage angst, Brat Pack, romcoms when the mood hits me. Oh, I guess that I do also love really cheesy love songs from time to time. I mean, not always. But let’s be honest. Sometimes it feels really good to sing Against All Odds or Endless Love or Total Eclipse of the Heart really loud at the top of your lungs. Whitesnake? Hall and Oates? Anyone? You won’t publish this, right? 

TR: How do you view the role of theatre in political discourse, or theatre as political action?

MP:  I believe that theatre is many things, to many people. It is not monolithic. Fundamentally it is – as a concentrated expression of our culture, our times, our history – a way to enact and engage in a kind of civil discourse and communal experience. In that way it might always be political to some degree. It can help us to work toward the best aspirations of our democratic ideals. But I don’t think that is it’s only role. The lens can be political, sociological, psychological, satirical, humanistic…the list goes on. It must defy rigid and inflexible categorization and be responsive and in dialogue with the world in which it is made.  As Julian Beck of the Living Theatre said, “You must enter the theatre through the world.” 


TR: What do you hope audiences will take away from Kiss

MP:  I hope audiences will be moved in a way that is full and rich. That they will laugh and wonder and learn along with us. That an imprint of this story, and our shared experience of it, will last with them in a way that might even transform us all. I want them to take away things to think about and talk about and relish and enjoy. Things to ponder. I would love them to relive some of the moments in their memories days after they see the performance.I hope they will consider new perspectives. 

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Introducing the Cast of Kiss: Darius Pierce as Youssif/Daniel


Third Rail Company Member Darius Pierce will play Youssif/Daniel in Guillermo Calderón’s Kiss, opening March 15th, 2019.

Darius is a proud Third Rail Company Member and happy to be back on the Main Stage, after appearing in Middletown, The Realistic Joneses, and Lungs. He has also performed at Portland Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Folger Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, Broadway Rose Theatre Company, Portland Playhouse, Theatre Vertigo, Lakewood Center for the Arts, and more. He received a Drammy for Outstanding Lead Actor in Beard of Avon and a PAMTA for Supporting Actor in Les Miserables. Darius is a co-founder and the Artistic Director of the Anonymous Theatre Company. But most importantly, he collects turtles.


Q&A with Darius Pierce:

TR: What excites you about Kiss?
DP: The script. It’s hard to talk too much about without giving too much away. But it’s really funny and insightful and surprising. It asks the actors and the audience to be in relationship with each other and with difficult issues in an profound way. And I have no idea what the last quarter of the show will possibly look like – and that is very exciting!

TR: Kiss draws inspiration from Soap Opera, which some might describe as a “guilty pleasure”. Do you have a “guilty pleasure” genre of theatre, film, television or literature?
DP: Hmmmm… Comic books, I guess? Some graphic novels. Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of British panel shows and game shows on-line. Maybe those would count? I don’t like the phrase “guilty pleasure” – people should like what they like and not feel guilty or judged about it. (Maybe a little judged…)

TR: How do you view the role of theatre in political discourse, or theatre as political action?
DP: I think that there is definitely a place and opportunity for it. I think the two things that theatre does better than any other performing art are comedy and in-depth discussion. (Theatre does many other things brilliantly, too, but film or dance or other forms can be on par, in my opinion.) Theatre is personal and intimate and a vital part of topical conversations with the audience. So, our role is just to talk, to share, to expand viewpoints, to create empathy… maybe, in the most extreme, to incite.


TR: What do you hope audiences will take away from Kiss?
DP: Well, I hope they laugh a lot. And leave with some empathy and self-reflection and hope. And, again trying to give away as little as possible, I hope they’ll think about how impossible it is to truly, truly understand the life experience of other people, and how incredibly important it is that we all keep striving to get absolutely as close to that level of understanding as possible.

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Introducing the Cast of JOHN: Company Member Jenn Lin as Jenny

Third Rail Company Member Jenn Lin will play Jenny in Annie Baker’s Johnopening November 30th, 2018.

Jennifer Lin has been working in Portland theaters since 2008. Her lighting design work has been featured at Third Rail, Artists Repertory Theatre, Opera Theatre Oregon, Profile Theatre and others. She attended Portland State University and in 2007 received The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Achievement Award for her lighting design for PSU’s production of Electra.  She is a company member of Third Rail and a member of IATSE Local 28.  She is incredibly fortunate to be making her Portland stage debut with this play, this cast, and this production team. This will be Jennifer’s acting debut with Third Rail, and we could not be more excited to share this aspect of her extraordinary artistry with audiences!

 

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Introducing the Cast of JOHN: Diane Kondrat as Genevieve

We are pleased to welcome Diane Kondrat back to the Third Rail stage as the mysterious Genevieve in Annie Baker’s  Johnopening November 30th, 2018. Diane was most recently seen at Third Rail’s production of The New Electric Ballroom.

Since moving to Portland in 2013, Kondrat has appeared with Third Rail, Profile Theatre, Shaking the Tree, Oregon Children’s Theatre and the sketch comedy monster Spectravagasm.  Her history includes 18 years as the head of an interactive theatre company that brought productions to prisons and universities, and 20 years as the creative impulse behind Oasis Productions, a stage company featuring small cast shows with great roles for women.  Recently she appeared in Coho’s Radiant Vermin and was in the fight cage of Girl in the Red Corner at defunkt theatre.  In spring 2018 she was honored to play Tracey in Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize winner Sweat at the Phoenix Theatre, and this fall she co-directed the inmates at Two Rivers in their production of Macbeth. Please consider a visit to www.dianekondrat.com.

 

Q & A with Diane Kondrat 

TR: What is the strangest or most unique place you’ve ever stayed while traveling? 

NF: Actors sometimes stay in strange places while working. Once I was in a dark house with lots and lots and lots of porcelain dolls and antique laces framed in velvets. Also, it smelled so much like Febreeze. I hate Febreeze. There were, however, goats across the street, and that helped make up for the weirdness.

 

TR: What was one of your favorite childhood toys or tchochkes? 
NF: My favorite things as a child were my ceramic animals. Dogs, horses, a few cats, the errant turtle. I made families, towns, tunnels out of up-ended books. So many hours with my fragile friends — I was always happy to be left alone with them. I still have a few.

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Introducing the Cast of JOHN: Nick Ferrucci as Elias

We are pleased to welcome back Nick Ferrucci to the Third Rail stage as Elias in Annie Baker’s  Johnopening November 30th, 2018.

Nick was last seen in Third Rail’s production of The Angry Brigade. Other recent credits include Luna Gale at CoHo Productions, Astoria: Parts 1 and 2, JAW Fest at The Armory, and Peter and the Starcatcher at Portland Playhouse. 

Other credits include work with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Maples Repertory Theatre, Sierra Repertory Theatre, Commonweal Theatre Company, Heritage Theatre Festival and Bright Star Touring Theatre.

Nick holds an MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University, and a BFA in Theatre from Southern Oregon University. He has studied with the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia and The Second City in Chicago.

 

Q & A with Nick Ferrucci 

 

TR: What excites you about John
NF: I’ve always wanted to work on an Annie Baker play and I am truly honored and thrilled to be doing it with this particular group of artists.

 

TR: What is the strangest or most unique place you’ve ever stayed while traveling? 

NF:The strangest place I’ve ever stayed while traveling has to be on the floor of an apartment of a guy named Sloth in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It’s a long story.

 

TR: What was one of your favorite childhood toys or tchochkes? 
NF: I loved the movie Top Gun growing up and I had a toy F-14 Fighter Jet I remember always playing with.

 

TR: How does working on an Annie Baker play differ from approaching the work of other playwrights? 
NF: This is my first time working on an Annie Baker play, so I don’t think I’ll be able to tell you until after the work is over. However, recently I’ve been thinking how the word “acting” is such an unfortunate and misleading word for what we do, and that possibly Annie Baker is asking us to just live, be interested in each other, and curious about what we don’t know.

 

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Introducing the Cast of JOHN: Karen Trumbo as Mertis Katherine

 

Third Rail Company Member Karen Trumbo will play Mertis Katherine Graven in Annie Baker’s  Johnopening November 30th, 2018.

Karen was last seen in Third Rail’s production of Annapurna in the role of Emma. Other recent roles include Third Rail’s Noises Off as Dotty and as a member of the Ensemble in Middletown.

Local credits include Fifth of July  and  Season’s Greetings at PCS/OSF, Frozen, Mercy Seat , Inspecting Carol, and  Misanthrope at Artist’s  Repertory Theatre, Three Tall Women, It’s Only A Play, and  A  Walk in the Woods at Profile Theatre and in Boston Marriage  and the How and the Why at Coho Theatre. She also worked for several seasons with Portland Repertory Theatre in productions of  Arcadia, Lost  in Yonkers, Six Degrees of Separation, Little Shop of Horrors and All in the Timing ( Drammy Award for Best Ensemble).

Karen has worked in film, television and radio throughout the Northwest including several productions in Portland, Seattle and Los Angeles. Her credits include, among others, Claire of the Moon, Final Justice, Hear no Evil, HBO’s Last Innocent Man, Chrome Soldiers, Under Suspicion, Fifteen and Pregnant and Mystery Dance.

Karen has a BA in Theatre/English from UCLA.

This season marks the beginning of her fifth year as a Core Company Member of Third Rail Repertory Theatre.

 

Q & A with Karen Trumbo 

 

TR: What excites you about John
KT: What excites me about working on John is how the characters and story are revealed in such a slow, almost luxurious way. The realistic dialogue can be challenging and yet really delightful. I’m also thrilled to be working with Rebecca, Jenn, Nick and Diane. Who could ask for anything more!

 

TR: What is the strangest or most unique place you’ve ever stayed while traveling? 

KT: There was a hotel in San Fransisco that had this very long room at the end of the hall. It was a really nice older hotel that had been remodeled, but this particular room had a really strange vibe. I woke up in the middle of the night and had the very distinct feeling that some man had met his demise in that room. …I changed rooms the next night…

 

TR: What was one of your favorite childhood toys or tchochkes? 
KT: When I was about 5 or 6 I had a white stuffed kitty with extremely soft fur. (I shudder now to imagine what it was really made of…) I loved on that kitty until it was bald. My mom bought me a new one, but it was never the same.

 

TR: How does working on an Annie Baker play differ from approaching the work of other playwrights? 
KT: She creates complex characters and yet allows the actor to imagine the internal life and soul of the person. As actors, she asks us to make the choices that support the story and relationships within the play.

 

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