Author Archives: Ron Clark

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It’s good to be home

Category : Uncategorized

“Artistic Home:” A phrase coined in the last 20 years or so. Where can you find it?
Like any good home, an artistic home should feel like a safe space that can shelter and nourish you and support your best artistic self.  When Jody and I were running Riverside Theatre, we always tried to create that sense of “home” with every company of every show we produced.

Unfortunately, even the finest artistic homes are temporary for most professional theatre workers.  The economic realities of regional theatres preclude almost any hope of keeping a company together for more that one project at a time. A few amazing exceptions dot the country but not many.

The best most of us can hope for is to develop a network of companies and institutions that will take us in to do good work from time to time.  And this past 12 months I have been fortunate to have had work that I have loved and that has paid the bills.

Creede Rep – I loved spending summer ’16 with you and I hope to do it again some day when the right role and the timing come together.  St. Ambrose University – your amazing students delivered a breathtaking RICHARD III.   I was honored to direct it, and I’ll never forget the experience.  San Luis Obispo Rep – I can’t tell you how excited I am to return there to direct RABBIT HOLE next month. Last season’s WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING presented an extraordinary challenge, but the work was well worth it.  Kevin Harris, you touched us deeply when you said you hoped SLO could be our new “artistic home.”

All three of the places I worked this last year filled me with joy throughout the process.  And now, we hit the road again in a couple weeks. I’m directing, Jody is acting and we look forward to being “home” at SLO Rep.


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“Damn, I want to live HERE!”

Category : Uncategorized

If you are lucky and you work in great places out on the road it makes you ponder. “What if…”

As an actor and director, I always find the best stuff comes from that simplest of questions. Asking “what if…” in rehearsals leads to discoveries and explore a play from a personal point of view.

What happens when I ask that same question about real life choices?

I spent the past five months in two of the most beautiful places in the country. High up in the mountains surrounding Creede, Colorado and on the central coast of California in San Luis Obispo – a community that lays claim to being “The Happiest City in the Country.” I think it probably is. Having worked there twice for a total of almost five months, I have a good feel for the community; it just got me thinking: “What if…” Creede or SLO vs. Iowa City? Are we ready for a change in permanent address?

We are now back to home base in I.C. It still feels good here; there’s a lot to be said for the comfortable and familiar surroundings of our home, my friends and, of course, Duke the Golden Retriever. I missed all of that. But the great work that I was a part of at Creede Rep and the theatre in San Luis Obispo – it’s almost dream-like.

I guess when you have such a great time working with talented people, it’s inevitable that the thought comes up.

We’re not packing any time soon but at the very least I am reminded that great theatre is happening all over the country. I am so grateful to now have the chance to expand my artistic horizons and consider this new possibility of working in new locales

And maybe even someday…

We’ll see.


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Where’s the air?

Category : Uncategorized

THAT was the question I kept asking my first two weeks in Creede, Colorado-elevation 8852′. Just walking up the street to my favorite new restaurant (Arp’s-check it out when you come visit) could have me puffing.

After a short period of acclimating, this beautiful little town in the southwest corner of the state feels like home. Surrounded by mountains, rife with hiking trails, near the headwaters of the Rio Grande, Creede is a Mecca for tourists who love great stream fishing and the arts.

Creede Repertory Theatre is the major growth industry in town. The company grows from a small year-round administrative staff to a company of over 80 artists who stage at least 6 fully produced shows every summer. People like me come from all over the country to work here. CRT’s reputation for excellence is well-deserved. Their award-winning productions and educational programs are extraordinary.

And the air? It is that RARE AIR that actors and audiences share in sublime moments onstage when everyone inhales an intimate reality that is completely ethereal.

I am so proud to be acting in the world premiere of THE HISTORY ROOM by Charlie Thurston. Audiences are raving about it and I wish you could see it.


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Away out WEST

Category : Personal , Reflection

I plan to run into the ocean to celebrate . . .
So, the journey for summer and fall work begins. I am headed to Creede, Colorado for a three and a half month gig there in the mountains. AND THEN:
When I wrap up the final performance of THE HISTORY ROOM by Charlie Thurston, it’s over the mountains, through the desert to San Luis Obispo, California (The Happiest City in America-no kidding) where I get to direct WHEN THE RAIN STOPS FALLING.
Two of the most beautiful places in the country, and I get to work in both of them. Plus, they are both terrific theaters that are under great leadership. I mean they are smart enough to hire me, right? And both artistic directors, Jessica Jackson and Kevin Harris respectively, have chosen extraordinary scripts for me to work on.
I’ll be back in Iowa City in time to vote in November.
To work in the American Theatre is a blessing in and of itself, but to be given opportunities like this…. This was well worth waiting for as I planned for this new chapter in my artistic life. Thank you, Theater Gods.


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On the road….

Category : Uncategorized

It’s going to be a great summer. I am so happy to be joining up with some old friends (and new ones too) as I head to Creede Rep in Creede, Colorado for a fifteen week engagement.
I will be performing in the world premiere of Charlie Thurston’s extraordinary dark comedy, THE HISTORY ROOM. It’s been in development for two years and I am thrilled to play a part in the unveiling.     Charlie Thurston is a member of the permanent company at Trinity Rep in Providence, RI – yes, he is an amazing actor as well.  I am unduly proud that he is a former student of Jody’s and mine.
We all know that many plays about Alzheimer’s disease are in the zeitgeist these days but I am sure you have never seen a take on it like this.
Creede Rep was founded in 1966 and is well known and respected among regional theatres; PLUS, it is in a gorgeous setting at almost 9,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains.
To learn more visit them at: creederep.org.
The freelance life is well underway. More coming soon.


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Great theatre & great tacos

Category : Reflection

On a recent extended trip to California I got to hang out with members of my family who have rejected their midwestern roots and winters.  Not ready to be a snowbird (yet), I did come to understand the allure of winter warmth and if a great gig in warmer winter climes comes along – why say NO to that?

I did see some great theatre out there.  At the San Luis Obispo Little Theatre, fellow Iowa Alum Kevin Harris directed a deeply moving and disturbing Cabaret.  It was grandly gritty with a truly perverse Kit-Kat club, deliberate demoralization of the working class and a terrifying certainty of the rise of the Third Reich.  Beautifully acted and designed, it made me anxious to get back out there and work in SLO again.

Further down the coast, in Los Angeles, another trio of UI alums are getting great notices for a world premiere at the Odyssey Theatre.  The Hinkler twins, Emily and Elizabeth, are turning in great performances in Janet Schlopkahl’s play, My Sister.  This amazing production, which was launched in the L.A. Fringe Festival, explores 1930’s Berlin in a more intimate portrait of twin sisters struggling to survive via the cabaret scene.  A powerhouse of a play that some smart producer should snap up for a movie deal.

The grand finale was a lunch I enjoyed while sitting on the curb in West Hollywood.  Roy Choi is the godfather of the food truck movement in L.A. and his Korean BBQ tacos are a great triumph of food fusion and a bargain – three for $8.00, soft drink included.  Forget the need for fine table settings; get yourself to one his three “Kogi” trucks next time you find yourself out there, but be prepared to stand in line.  There are none better.

Exciting theatre and curbside dining with February temps in the 80’s.  I am one happy Iowan.

 

 

 


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A word of thanks

Category : Uncategorized

Thanks to my son Andrew who got this website up and running for me. I thought I’d have to hire a 12 year old I.T. wizard to construct it, but my own flesh and blood had all the wisdom I needed to enter cyberspace. Drew, you’re the best. (Don’t tell your bros I said that)