Alex is originally from Ventura, California but has settled in Portland as an area actor, deviser and theatre-maker. Favorite credits include: An Octoroon (Artists Repertory Theatre), 26 Miles (Profile Theatre), The Oregon Trail (Portland Center Stage), db (COHO Theatre), Passion Play (Shaking The Tree & Profile Theatre), Dance For a Dollar, (Miracle Theatre), and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Portland Playhouse). She is dedicated to creating original devised theatre and is a proud member of String House, an independent producing title and new works laboratory, nominated for two Drammy Awards for “Best Devised Production.” When not onstage Alex is inspired by the impact theatre has on Portland’s youth and is proud to work as a performer with Portland Center Stage’s touring education program, All is Fair in Love and Shakespeare. She would like to thank her incredible wife for all her love and support! Now, LET’S REVOLT!
Q & A with Alex Ramirez de Cruz
TR:Do you have a story of a small (or large) act of revolt you’ve participated in?
AR: I think one of the integral acts of revolt in my life was shaving my head in college. It was a small gesture, but the first in a long series of reclaiming my body and learning how to advocate for myself as a woman, a lesbian, and a mixed person of color. Shaving my head allowed me to escape theatrical “types”, beauty standards, and cultural expectations that were placed on me and I was able to wipe the slate clean. There have been few moments in my life where I have felt so free. In learning how to fight for myself, I began to find my power, and that has made me better able to advocate for others.
TR:When have you felt part of a revolution?
AR: NOW! I have never been [more] politically engaged than these past few years. I am enraged, afraid, unapologetic, hopeful, fragile and I am using all that to fight for change. The time is ripe to Resist. Revolt. And Revolutionize. Minority voices that have long been silenced are rising up to demand change and I am among them and with them. I am continually working to acknowledge my privilege so I can clearly see the change that needs to happen within me and around me, raise others’ voices, and listen deeply to others’ experiences that are different from my own. I firmly believe that it matters where we put our time, resources, bodies and voices in this moment. The revolution is amongst us, so rise up and REVOLT!
TR:What are some titles, identities or names that you claim with pride?
Our next show, Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again., is an in-your-face firebomb of female power. In honor of this explosive new play, we’re featuring extraordinary women each week in our #womancrushwednesday series. This week, we are honored to celebrate Ellen Fader: extraordinary librarian, patron of the arts, and all-around amazing person!
In the words of a close friend, Ellen “blew into Oregon for a job at the Oregon State Library (OSL) in the spring of 1993. Her first day on the job was the same day as the Scotts Mills earthquake, the “Spring Break Quake”. Oregon hasn’t been the same since.” In her role as Children’s Services Consultation at OSL, Ellen helped to develop excellence in library services for children throughout the state. She went on to serve as the Children’s Services Director for Multnomah County Library, where she led with passion, vision and generosity.
Ellen’s contributions to library services have been recognized at the state and national level. In 2014, she received the Oregon Book Award’s Walt Morey Young Reader’s Literary Legacy award She also recieved a Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Library Service to Children in 2017. In the press release for this award, the Association described Ellen as “the librarian that we all want to grow up to become.”
Outside of her work in library services, Ellen is a strong advocate for equity, the environment and local arts organizations. She is an avid birder, hiker and world traveler. As her friend Barbara puts it, “[s]he’s a whirlwind of enthusiasm, intellect, and thoughtful generosity.”
We are honored to call Ellen part of the Third Rail Family!
We are thrilled to welcome Dré Slaman as Hawkins in Men On Boats,running March 2nd through March 24th, 2018.
Dré earned her MFA in Acting at Northern Illinois University where she studied the Meisner Technique under master teacher Kathryn Gately. She has also studied at the Moscow Art Theatre, the William Esper Acting Studio (NYC) and received her BA in Theatre Arts at University of Pacific. Dré has been most recently been seen in Profile Theatre’s The Happiest Song Plays Last. A few of Dré’s other Theatre Credits include: Jaffa’s Gate, The Stinky Cheese Man, Nine Parts of Desire, The Arab-Israeli Cookbook, Albee’s Everything in The Garden, DavidEdgar’s Pentecost, and Hair. Dré’s on-camera credits include GRIMM, MEDIUM, and others. She owns and operates local company Farm to Fit and is on the Board of Directors of the Portland Area Theatre Alliance.
DS: The river, naturally. It’s like the 11th character of the play and its our job to embody it and bring it to life. That is exciting in and of itself. And I love the idea of telling this story from a different lens, examining what happens to the people and the history when we tell the story from a different perspective. How does this change what we think we know? How does it not change anything at all? And in the end, are relationships and circumstances all the same regardless of who’s telling it, because, ultimately, we are human? I don’t have the answers, but I know that we are pushing boundaries and I am discovering something new about it every day. That is thrilling.
TR:What are some of your favorite places to go adventuring in Oregon?
DS: To be honest, I am a little bit of a city rat so my definition of adventuring is hiking through Forest Park! Ha! Just kidding. But moving to the PNW eight years ago has indeed expanded my horizons beyond tall buildings and dense streets. I have enjoyed exploring all that Bend and Mt. Hood have to offer, among others.
TR:What has been the greatest adventure of your life so far?
DS: The dictionary defines adventure as “an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.” So that would be raising my daughter, Pierce, who is three years old. A close second is owning and operating my company, Farm to Fit. Both have been ventures into the great unknown, equally terrifying and thrilling, unpredictable and exhilarating, with as many joys as struggles. Although, the three-year-old tends to be more hazardous… luckily she’s cute!
If you’ve been following Third Rail on Facebook or Instagram over the last month, chances are you’ve become familiar with this beautiful 11′ rowboat.
With its gorgeous blue hull and sleek design, perhaps you’ve been eyeing it longingly, imagining yourself out on the river on a May morning. Well, my friend, you’re in luck! Thanks to our partners at Wind & Oar,the boat will be auctioned off in the Men On Boats lobby as a benefit for the students of George Middle School.
Wind & Oar Boat School is an Oregon nonprofit founded in 2011. Their mission is to engage young people and inspire learning through the art, science, and craft of building wooden boats. Wind & Oar partners with public schools to deliver STEAM programming to underserved youth ages 9-22 across the Portland metro area.
This particular rowboat was built by George Middle School 7th graders through a Wind & Oar STEAM education program. The program, funded by a Metro Nature in Neighborhoods grant, sunsets this spring. The silent auction of this rowboat will raise funds to continue this wonderful hands-on, math and science enrichment program at George MS.
What does a Wind & Oar Residency Look Like?
A unique hands-on learning experience for over 100 students.
A 1:6 Instructor/Student Ratio
50 hours of instruction in the math, science and practice of boat-building, resulting in a fully-functioning boat owned by the school.
Opportunity for students to get on the water during the craft’s maiden voyage!
Your bid helps George Middle School continue this outstanding program in the 2018-2019 school year.
Interested in bidding on the boat? Here are the details:
All proceeds go to George Middle School.
To bid, simply visit the boat in the Imago Theater lobby when you come to see Men On Boats!
The minimum bid is $500, and minimum increase is $50.
Third Rail will announce the winner at the end of the play’s run. As a bonus, the runner-up bidder may choose to match the winning bid and receive a similarly constructed boat. (The students have made 4 so far, and a 5th is currently under construction.)
We hope you’ll place a bid and help raise funds to continue this incredible program for the students at George MS! Fair Winds!
The incredible Billie Piper (Penny Dreadful,Great Britain) returns in her award-winning role. A young woman is driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child in Simon Stone’s radical production of Lorca’s achingly powerful masterpiece.
The theatre phenomenon sold out at the Young Vic and critics call it ‘an extraordinary theatrical triumph’ (The Times) and ‘stunning, searing, unmissable’ (Mail on Sunday). Billie Piper’s lead performance is described as ‘spellbinding’ (The Evening Standard), ‘astonishing’ (iNews) and ‘devastatingly powerful’ (The Daily Telegraph).
Set in contemporary London, Piper’s portrayal of a woman in her thirties desperate to conceive builds with elemental force to a staggering, shocking, climax.
Tamsin Greig is Malvolia in a new twist on Shakespeare’s classic comedy of mistaken identity.
A ship is wrecked on the rocks. Viola is washed ashore but her twin brother Sebastian is lost. Determined to survive on her own, she steps out to explore a new land. So begins a whirlwind of mistaken identity and unrequited love.
The nearby households of Olivia and Orsino are overrun with passion. Even Olivia’s upright housekeeper Malvolia is swept up in the madness. Where music is the food of love, and nobody is quite what they seem, anything proves possible.
Simon Godwin (NT Live: Man and Superman, NT Live: The Beaux’ Stratagem) directs this joyous new production with Tamsin Greig (Friday Night Dinner, Black Books, Episodes) as a transformed Malvolia. an ensemble cast that includes Daniel Rigby (Flowers, Jericho), Tamara Lawrence (Undercover), Doon Mackichan (Smack the Pony) and Daniel Ezra (The Missing, Undercover).
Tennessee Williams’ twentieth century masterpiece Cat on a Hot Tin Roof played a strictly limited season in London’s West End in 2017. Following his smash hit production of A Streetcar Named Desire, Benedict Andrews’ ‘thrilling revival’ (New York Times) stars Sienna Miller alongside, Jack O’Connell and Colm Meaney.
On a steamy night in Mississippi, a Southern family gather at their cotton plantation to celebrate Big Daddy’s birthday. The scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies they tell. Brick and Maggie dance round the secrets and sexual tensions that threaten to destroy their marriage. With the future of the family at stake, which version of the truth is real – and which will win out?
Ben Whishaw (The Danish Girl, Skyfall, Hamlet) and Michelle Fairley (Fortitude, Game of Thrones) play Brutus and Cassius, David Calder (The Lost City of Z, The Hatton Garden Job) plays Caesar and David Morrissey (The Missing, Hangmen, The Walking Dead) is Mark Antony. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre, London.
Caesar returns in triumph to Rome and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate. Alarmed by the autocrat’s popularity, the educated élite conspire to bring him down. After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital.
Nicholas Hytner’s production will thrust the audience into the street party that greets Caesar’s return, the congress that witnesses his murder, the rally that assembles for his funeral and the chaos that explodes in its wake.
Academy Award® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock, The Imitation Game, Frankenstein at the National Theatre) takes on the title role of Shakespeare’s great tragedy.
Directed by Lyndsey Turner (Posh, Chimerica) and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, National Theatre Live will broadcast this eagerly awaited production live to cinemas.
As a country arms itself for war, a family tears itself apart. Forced to avenge his father’s death but paralysed by the task ahead, Hamlet rages against the impossibility of his predicament, threatening both his sanity and the security of the state.
Rory Kinnear (The Threepenny Opera, Penny Dreadful, Othello) is Marx and Oliver Chris (Twelfth Night, Green Wing) is Engels, in this new comedy written by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman. Broadcast live from The Bridge Theatre, London, the production is directed by Nicholas Hytner and reunites the creative team behind Broadway and West End hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.
1850, and Europe’s most feared terrorist is hiding in Dean Street, Soho. Broke, restless and horny, the thirty-two-year-old revolutionary is a frothing combination of intellectual brilliance, invective, satiric wit, and child-like emotional illiteracy.
Creditors, spies, rival revolutionary factions and prospective seducers of his beautiful wife all circle like vultures. His writing blocked, his marriage dying, his friend Engels in despair at his wasted genius, his only hope is a job on the railway. But there’s still no one in the capital who can show you a better night on the piss than Karl Heinrich Marx.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
We are thrilled to welcome Amy Driesler as Dunn in Men On Boats, opening 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).
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!
The mission of Third Rail Repertory Theatre is to provide a dynamic artistic home for theatre audiences in Portland by fostering a professional local company, which, through collaboration and discipline, brings to life exceptional stories that provoke dialogue, encourage empathy, and inspire curiosity.