Year In Review 2013

I can honestly say that 2013 was one of the most productive years I've had in quite some time.  From Massachusetts to California, I kept quite busy.  It's the 2013 Year in Review! New Year's Day found me digging into the snow and Shakespeare in Lenox, MA.  I took the Month-Long Intensive with Shakespeare & Company for the second time in my life; the first time being in 1999.  I loved returning to the Workshop in order to give myself the environment I needed to ask myself the big questions, all the while diving into the text, Linklater, movement, fight, and much much more.

New Year's Day, 2013 Lenox, MA

I gained some deep perspective on this trip, and it was often difficult to bridge the gap between who I was in 1999, and the person I'd become in the years since.  In an environment such as this, where I had the freedom to be who I am, without fear of judgement, was such a gift.  And I know that there were many days of being afraid to reveal the layers and getting down to the heart of who I was.  Even a year later, I'm still trying to go there.  I can't say for sure that I was entirely successful in getting what I wanted from the workshop, because with time, there's so much to think about and reflect upon.  But I can honestly say, that if there's anyone out there who hasn't invested in themselves and this workshop, then you really should.

After the workshop finished up, I headed back to New York City for a week.  Re-entry into life after four weeks in a creative bubble can be quite an adjustment, and luckily I had planned ahead and given myself fun things to do.  Rented a car from Pittsfield, MA - threw my belongings in the back seat, and with a new friend I'd met in the workshop, we drove down to the City, and managed to get to Queens (to drop her off) just as a snow-storm was moving in.  As I headed back to Park Slope, Brooklyn, the snow was worrying me, but I managed to return the car on-time in rush-hour traffic, and came down with a cold because of exhaustion.  First thing I did after I got out of the car-rental office, was to walk into a Starbucks and order a huge mocha to welcome myself back.

Recuperating in NYC, I managed to feel better within a day to get back out into the city and meet up with new friends.  Highlights included my second return to "Sleep No More" - happily roaming the floors of The McKittrick Hotel and finding new characters and environments to interact with.  There was also the momentous occasion of seeing Tina Packer preview and perform her wonderful show, "Women of Will" - which is a must-see if you are interested in the female characters in Shakespeare's canon, with Tina's intriguing point-of-view to go.  It was an awesome lecture and demonstration of the various characters in Shakespeare's plays.

Upon returning to San Francisco in early February, I began auditioning, and immediately was asked to be a part of the PCSF 24-Hour Play Festival.  It was a blast;  I got to play a sex therapist counseling a couple, with some very crazy props to go with it.  I was also very close to being a part of Berkeley Rep's "Pericles" as an understudy this year.  And while I couldn't participate as an understudy in this production, just to be asked and considered was a huge acknowledgement.

I also found myself having to either say no to offers or back out of a project due to the work schedule I had with my job.  And while this was becoming more of a frustrating issue with me, I knew that at some point, things would have to change:  either quit, or drop to part-time.  I managed to miss out on some pretty awesome summer projects that I was asked to be a part of, and thinking back on it, I became more determined to stop saying 'no' to offers.

Joshua L. Green, Dan Clegg, Reggie D. White, & Scott Ragle

In May, I got a great opportunity to perform in a staged reading with Lorraine Hansberry Theatre.  Steven Anthony Jones, whom I admire so much as an artist, asked me to read in "We Are Proud to Present" by Jackie Sibblies Drury.  An explosive piece of theatre, it provoked strong and passionate feedback from the audience that day.

Then, I was finally asked by Wily West Productions to be a part of a wonderful production called "Lawfully Wedded".  I got to work with an incredible ensemble of actors, dig my teeth into various characters, and keep my skills sharp.  We had a great review, and I literally freaked out when the poster for our show was in the front window of the Exit Theatre.  The show was also nominated for two Broadway World awards in the acting and writing categories.

Lawfully Wedded:  Scott Ragle & Jeffrety Orth - July 2013


I had the unbelievable fortune to see "No Man's Land" at Berkeley Rep in late-August, with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.  I managed to grab a front-row seat - and was treated to a once-in-a-lifetime Master Class in acting.  Hopefully there will be more of these type of classes.  I'll never forget it; it was inspiring and lovely work to see.

Immediately following this, I auditioned for, and nabbed a slot in the Bay One Acts Festival.  This festival of playwrights, actors, and directors - all local artists - was so much fun.  It really allowed me to fly.  I was cast in a piece called "Write Dirty To Me" by Daniel Holloway, as Herman Melville.  A hilarious premise - "It’s erotic. It’s literary.  But nothing is following the plot." - it featured Sylvia Plath, Alfred Lord Tennyson (Tenny-Baby), Captain Ahab, and Hester Prynne working the phone-sex lines.  The Festival featured nearly 75 incredible artists altogether.  I was very sad to see it end after a 4-week run.

In early October, Dennis Krausnick of Shakespeare & Company was in town to lead a 5-day Alumni Workshop.  So, along with my Bay-Area cohorts from January's Month-Long Intensive, we all gathered together to work on monologues, do voice work and movement.  Hopefully this type of workshop will continue to be offered here for us.

Once the Bay One Acts concluded, I found myself with a break.  Under unfortunate circumstances, I also left my job.  It was a long-time coming, but it was time to take a new direction.  I immediately went down to Los Angeles in late-October to see a fantastic production of "Hamlet" with Lisa Volpe and the LA Women's Shakespeare Company.  I also took this opportunity to meet up with Dennis Krausnick (again!), also in town leading a 3-day Weekend Intensive with Shakespeare & Company.  I had the fortune of spending one day in his workshop, again working on a monologue, and meeting other local actors.

"Savage/Love" : Scott Ragle & Tina Rutsch December 2013

Beginning in early November, myself and several actors, along with Rachael Adler of Berkeley's Waterfront Playhouse & Conservatory, conceived and performed in a showcase entitled "Firebrand."  It was a great way to end the year, getting to meet and watch other actors develop their scenes, and work alongside Rachael again.  She has been a mentor for me in my career for (now counting) 16 years - where I was once a student of hers in her Meisner Technique program; then through our collaboration in the mid-00's with a short-lived theatre company called The Magnetic; and now this project.  I wrote about this project in a previous post, and this laid the foundation for some exciting projects that will come to life in 2014.

Which I can't say yet what those will be.  But news will come soon!

All-in-all, a year to remember.  I really did begin to push forward, and this year, I believe, will go even further.

I'm excited to continue sharing everything I'll be doing.  Thanks for following me on my journey.