Hole in the Sky

By Octavio Solis

 

Image by Siskiyou Artist, Mimi Bailey

Directed by Kate Jopson

Produced by Camille Schenkkan

 

THE PLAY:

Disillusioned with her life in San Francisco, Connor returns  to her rural hometown. She finds her father desperately trying to keep  their ranch afloat during a 10-year drought.  In order to save her home, she must get help from her community and  face a tragedy that has haunted her for 20 years. Set in a fictional town in the near future, Octavio Solis’ Hole in the Sky is based on interviews with community members of Siskiyou County in rural Northern California. 

 

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THE PRODUCTION:

While the conflicts boiling in Siskiyou County could be simplified down to the issue of too little water yet many different people and animals who need it, on the ground, it is much more complex. There are histories of injustices on all sides, cultural identities and livelihoods at stake,  urban-driven legislation that affects rural communities, wildfires, climate change, personal tragedies, community tragedies, and above all a deep love for the land and the community. After nearly a decade away from her childhood home in Siskiyou County, Circle X Associate Artistic Director Kate Jopson realized that rural areas were being forgotten, politically, culturally and economically. It saddened her to see the community beginning to pull itself apart in the face of these struggles and it saddened her even more to see how unaware people living in urban areas were that the region even existed nevermind understand the complexities of the situation. So she commissioned Octavio Solis, who had moved to a neighboring community, to write a play that could capture what it feels like to live in rural Northern California.

With support from the California Arts Council, HOLE IN THE SKY will premiere in Siskiyou County in summer 2018. To fully embed it in the community and the themes of the play it will be performed in a field and barn on a local ranch. In fall of 2018, the production will tour down to Los Angeles and be performed in a location that highlights the agricultural and water history of the city.

Hole in the Sky Artist Statement

 

THE PLAYWRIGHT:

Octavio Solis is a playwright and director living in Oregon. His works Alicia’s Miracle, Se Llama Cristina, John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, Ghosts of the River, Quixote, Lydia, June in a Box, Gibraltar, The Ballad of Pancho and Lucy, The Seven Visions of Encarnación, Dreamlandia, El Otro, Prospect, El Paso Blue, Santos & Santos, La Posada Mágica, Prospect and Man of the Flesh have been mounted across the country at companies such as the Center Theatre Group, the Theatre @ Boston Court, California Shakespeare Theatre, the Yale Repertory Theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,  INTAR, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Dallas Theater Center, the Magic Theatre SF, South Coast Repertory Theatre, the San Diego Repertory Theatre, the Marin Theatre Company, Cornerstone Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas, Working Classroom, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Attic Rep, El Teatro Campesino, Teatro Vista, Teatro Dallas, Teatro Visión, Thick Description and Campo Santo at Intersection for the Arts. His collaborative works include Cloudlands, a musical co-written with Adam Gown and Shiner, co-written with Erik Ehn. Solis has received the 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Texas State University Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, the 2014 Pen Center Literary Award for Drama (for Se Llama Cristina), the United States Artists Fellowship for 2012, the 2003 National Latino Playwriting Award, the 2000-2001 National Theatre Artists Residency from TCG and the Pew Charitable Trust, the 1998 TCG/NEA Theatre Artists in Residence Grant, the 1998 McKnight Fellowship grant from the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, the 1995-97 Playwriting Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Roger L. Stevens award from the Kennedy Center, the 1994 Will Glickman Playwright Award, and the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays production grant. Solis is a Thornton Wilder Fellow for the MacDowell Colony, New Dramatists alum and member of the Dramatists Guild.

His anthology, “The River Plays” has been published by NoPassPort Press. He is working on commissions for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Circle X Theatre, Magic Theatre SF and Yale Repertory Theatre.

 

THE DIRECTOR:

Kate Jopson grew up in Siskiyou County and is Associate Artistic Director of Circle X Theatre Co. She specializes in experienced-based productions, staging work on beaches, barns, and basements and most recently at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Los Angeles. In theatres, she uses the unique location or architecture to enhance the production. Directing Credits Include: Candide (Santa Cruz Shakespeare); Fefu & Her Friends  (Circle X Theatre/J.U.S.T Toys Productions, LA); 1984 (Greenway Court Theatre, LA); An Accident (Griot Theatre, LA), Twelfth Night (Coeurage Theatre Co. LA); Second Skin (The West/The Flagship Ensemble); A Willow Grows Aslant (La Jolla Playhouse—Without Walls Fest.); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Doll House, Casagemas, Elizabeth I, Cry Old Kingdom (UCSD); Jesus, She Said (Marin Fringe Festival: Critic’s Choice, Best Director). B.A UC Berkeley; M.F.A in Directing from UC San Diego.  www.katejopson.com

Read her blog about the development process here.

 

THE INTERVIEWEES:

We interviewed farmers, ranchers, leaders of the Shasta and Karuk tribes, wildfire fighters, business owners, educators, loggers, historians, mayors, environmentalists, and regulatory agency employees.

Charlie and Marlene Martin, Tom Menne,  JJ. Lewis Nichols,  Betty Hall,  Greg & Sherri Hanna, Mike & Jan Lee, Don Flickinger, Gail Jenner, Marilyn Seward, Buster Attebery, Tammy Thackery, John & Cathy Fitzpatrick, Cliff & Maryann Munson, Kate O’Brien, Larry Kelly, Millie Whipplesmith Plank, The Siskiyou County Cattlewomen, and the “Bookies” of Scott Valley.  (pictured below: L-R) Lynn & Mike Bryan, Hayley Moyles, Ric Costales, Rosario Aragon,  Keith Whipple, Melanie Fowle, Prairie Spaulding, Mary Carpelan.

 

Siskiyou Workshops

During the development of HOLE IN THE SKY, artists from LA and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival taught a series of free acting workshops to Siskiyou County Residents.  More workshops will be offered in August 2018.

Our past teaching artists:

Leon Russom is an LA-based film, theatre and television actor. He has appeared on Broadway, in numerous television shows (including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Bones, Jericho, Prison Break, and Cold Case),  as well as  many soap operas. He also played bit parts in The Big Lebowski (1998) and True Grit (2010).

William Salyers  is a theatre, film, and television actor known for providing voice over work in video games, movies and TV shows. He is known as the voice of Rigby on Regular Show and the voice of Reverend Putty and Mr. Littler on Moral Orel. He has also had roles in the film Bedazzled and the television series Judging Amy.

VIVIS  was recently seen as Tita in Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Getty Villa). She has also worked at theatres across the country including Thick Description, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, John Anson Ford Theater, The Alley, NY National Arts Festival, Teatro Campesino, Teatro Visión, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Sacramento Theatre Company, The Pigott Theatre, and the American Conservatory Theatre among many others.

Camille Schenkkan is a Siskiyou County native who is now the Managing Director of Circle X Theatre Co. She is also the Director of Next Generation Initiatives at Center Theatre Group, working in the Education & Community Partnerships department. She specializes in career development for actors and other theatre artists.

Regan Linton is currently Artistic Director of Phamaly Theater in Denver, CO, which casts actors from across the disability spectrum. At the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, she performed in Much Ado About Nothing and Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land. Additionally, she has performed at Mixed Blood Theatre, Griot Theatre, and Pasadena Playhouse among others. M.F.A UC San Diego

 

Thank You’s

Jen Kays, Sara Bruner, Rod Gnapp, Annie Paul, Leon Russom, Christopher Salazar, William Salyers, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, VIVIS, Martha Marion, Jerry Clarke, Paige Lindsey White, Michael Evans Lopez, and Denise Blasor. 

Siskiyou County Cattlewomen’s Association; Siskiyou Land Trust; Siskiyou Performing Art Center: Siskiyou County Arts Council

The California Arts Council

All our Rockethub funders!