By: Judy Shields/Steve Viero
Photos: Ophelia’s Jump
Upland, California (The Hollywood Times) 3/30/2018 “At some point we all have to take a deep breath and jump-especially we ladies. Let’s see what happens when Professor Vivian Bearing-delaying, obfuscating, tergiversating- finally decides to… Come to the Ophelia’s Jump production of ‘Wit’.” — Margaret Edson, playwright and educator.
Last Saturday night there was a very special event for Ophelia’s Jump members and subscribers
Playwright and educator, Margaret Edson, joined the Members and Subscribers via live video conferencing for a discussion about her Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Wit”, before the performance on Saturday, March 24.
Audience members had the opportunity to ask questions. The discussion was moderated by Wit Director Beatrice Casagran and OJP Co-founder and Stage IV cancer survivor, Randy Lopez.
The Hollywood Times have been to many of OJP plays and I will have to say this one was by far my favorite. It was so full of emotion and real character acting. I was without breath a couple of times and gave it my full attention.
This is one play that all of you should come out to Upland to experience. There are many restaurants in the area, so you can have a great dinner and then enjoy this extraordinary play. The theatre is just north of the 10 freeway and South of the 210 freeway.
The main character Vivian Bearing, Ph. D. was played by Kelly Ryan Kelly. She was last seen in OJP’s The Electric Baby and was part of OJP’s maiden voyage production, August: Osage County (Violet). She has been involved in various productions for the past seven years, including Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate at Chino Community Theatre. She hopes that he audience is touched and moved by this show and has a few laughs along the way.
The Hollywood Times talked with Ms. Kelly:
THT (Steve Viero) A rehearsal period of 5 to 6 weeks only gives an actor limited time to develop the character. Did performance use outside experience to develop such an excellent and incredibly real character?
Kelly Kelly: “Wow… such a wise and thoughtful set. This play is particularly difficult as an actress. The amount of lines, but more importantly for me, the notion of being connected to the audience for ninety minutes as a storyteller TO them.”
“I wanted Them to buy in, for her to remind them of someone they love, or hate, and take a walk with her. Cancer is difficult to explain, and to feel, and I wanted to get it right. Having said that, when Bea approached me, around Thanksgiving, I knew there would be other footwork.”
“I read through and believed that the WHOLE show was her in her head at the end of her life, until she sees E.M. Ashford, Ph.D at the end. The play is constructed in a way that allows me to respond to the “feelings” of cancer, without putting the audience through grueling medical exams.”
“OJPs rehearsal schedule is four weeks from read-through to open. I had never worked with these actors, and they were a lot of fun! In August: Osage County, I was a bit removed. I was their mother, and we naturally moved away, and that was good…this time it felt like that they were rooting for Vivian. That is when I knew I had a chance with the audience. The arc, the walk, demands that the audience come along. She’s also whip smart, so I knew if I rambled about Donne rather than show her love, her passion, the thing that kept her warm all those years through the poetry, the audience would find her boorish and elitist.”
THT (Judy Shields): How did you prepare for such an emotional roll?
Kelly Kelly: “I prepared by being in my head with the emotion of it all. To be alone-truly, at the end of my life would be – a time to reflect. When I first read through the script, Vivian says in the last scene ” It came so quick, after taking so long.” I like to think she’s talking about grace, compassion, not death.”
THT (Judy Shields): What type of emotion did you experience when you had to shave your head for the role?
Kelly Kelly: “I never ever contemplated doing the role with hair or a skull-cap. I didn’t want to disrespect anyone’s journey in the audience. And it has been a release.”
THT (Steve Viero): As an audience member, I left the show with an immense picture of what your character endured. Beside the fact that the audience congratulates you in giving such an outstanding performance, what emotion do you leave the Theatre with?
Kelly Kelly: “To buy in completely, frees the actor up as well. Bea has always known how to talk to me, and how to tap down my internal voices of panic.. Since I am not a poet, and had never done Shakespeare even, we spent a lot of time outside of rehearsals going over the poems, and studying Dunne.”
THT (Steve Viero): In my own personal experience I have been at the hospital when relatives pass. That emotion will be carried with me for the rest of my life. What are your thoughts on or if in performing the character will it have on your life?
Kelly Kelly: “The greatest lesson, the thing I’ll take away is this: We cannot control illness…it controls us. However, when we set up our life with people who SEE us, not for our achievements, we will be walked home with grace. And I am always so glad when the audience can see Vivian receive that. Even if it’s a Popsicle. So by the end, People are not clapping for me, but for Vivian. And I am happy for her. Thank you for coming.”
Become a member and you’ll get free access to this and many other wonderful special events and opportunities. Basic membership includes access to all our main stage productions, special events (such as this one) and perks like discounts on tickets for friends, concession discounts, and exclusive access to behind-the-scenes production activities. Membership runs on a calendar year basis, so it’s convenient and you don’t have to worry about starting in the middle of the season. To join our OJP family visit: https://www.opheliasjump.org/memberships—subscriptions.html
Get your Tickets today for this weekend’s and next weekend’s performances at: https://www.opheliasjump.org/
Kelly Kelly (Vivian Bearing)
Mel Chadwick (Harvey Kelekian)
Eric Dains (Jason Posner)
Aly Easton (Susan Monahan)
Ann Thomas (E.M. Ashford)
Kristina Meyering (Ensemble)
Sara Marie Sciarrillo (Ensemble)
Kiana Tor (Ensemble)
Michele Saba (Stage Manager)
Beatrice Casagran (Director, Scenic Designer)
Randy Lopez (House Manager/Box Office)
Margaret Woolf (Lighting Designer)
Caitlin Lopez & Virginia Platt (Sound Design)
Dylan & Noah Elhai (Light/Sound Board Operator)
Edith Dennis (Costumes)
Ophelia’s Jump has dedicated its entire run of “Wit” to help raise funds for Megan’s Wings. From now through the end of the run, anyone who pre-purchases a ticket can use the Code: “Megan” to direct $8 of the ticket price to the charity. The code will work for any performance but the ticket must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance either online or by calling the box office.
The charity assists families of children receiving cancer treatment at 9 Southern California hospitals and cancer centers.
Ophelia’s Jump Studio
2009 Porterfield Way, Suite H
Upland CA 91786
Contact us at 909.734.6565 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright ©2017 Ophelia’s Jump Productions, All rights reserved.
a CA nonprofit public benefit corporation, 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt ID: 46-2581112
Our mailing address is:
2009 Porterfield Way, Suite H
Upland, CA 91786
Conceived of and founded by veteran actor, director, and teacher, Beatrice Casagran and actor/improvisor, Caitlin Lopez, Ophelia’s Jump is a new theatre company in the Inland Empire that focuses on producing highly regarded, award-winning works that leave audiences asking questions and discussing big ideas – theatre that invites you to leap into the drama.
Our goal is to produce both creative new interpretations of classical and award-winning works, and new works by talented local and regional artists.
OJP’s educational mission includes developing workshops for educators in incorporating performing arts and drama into the curriculum to increase student engagement and learning.
About the OJP Studio
We’re thrilled to be in the our new venue since last June. Our intimate theater space seats 49 in comfortable tiered seating so there is not a bad seat in the house. Doors open an hour before curtain; enjoy dinner from the Big Easy Food truck and refreshments at our concessions bar. Conveniently in Upland close to the border with Claremont, we are centrally located close to both the Claremont Village and Downtown Upland. The OJP Studio is perfect for meetings and workshops. Call us for information about rentals.
By: Judy Shields/Steve Viero