Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Meet the cast:  Kendall Auel as "Sheriff Will Masters."

It is a pleasure to welcome back  veteran Wilsonville Theater Company actor Kendall Auel. After a four- year hiatus, Kendall returns to the Frog Pond Grange in the role of "Sheriff Will Masters" in William Inge's Bus Stop.  His first experience with WTC was back in 2007 when he started out working the light board, then appearing on stage in the role of "Harry Pepper" in Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park that same year.
Kendall went on performing in Arsenic and Old Lace at Boring, Oregon's Nutz-n-Boltz Theater in 2008; then acted in 2009 in Slue-Foot Sue & Pecos Bill for the Central Beaverton NAC. That same year Kendall returned to WTC in the role of "Charles Wilson" in A Ferry Tale of Wilsonville, then again in 2009 he was the Foley Artist in It’s a Wonderful Life: A live Radio Play at Beaverton Civic Theater.

Kendall Auel as "Will Masters". Photo: David F. DeHart
Obviously, now smitten with acting, Kendall  was in three plays in 2010: in Beaverton Civic Theater's The Nerd; and in A Christmas Carol. That same year he returned to WTC for Who's On First. For his fourth play at Beaverton Civic Theater, in 2011, Kendall was cast as "Larramore Mandrake" in Three Murders and Its Only Monday.  Last year, he was "Rocky" in the Fertile Ground Festival's production of Zombiella-The Musical.
Kendall has also contributed significant technical support for productions at WTC, as Technical Director, Sound FX Designer, Lighting Tech and Lighting Designer. Striving to learn and improve his art, he started out in 2006 attending a workshop at Portland Center Stage, followed by training at The Brody Theater, The Liberators Improv Comedy, and Curious Comedy Theater. In the summer of 2010, Kendall had the good fortune to study acting for film and television under renowned actor/director/playwright, Shelly Lipkin.

In his role as "Will Masters" in WTC's production of Bus Stop, Kendall portrays a tough yet good-hearted Kansas sheriff. This role called for both physical and emotional challenges, both of which Kendall carried off as a veteran actor.

Bus Stop will continue performances at the Frog Pond Grange in Wilsonville on February 27, 28 and March 6 and 7 at 7:30 P.M. A matinee will be held on March 7 at 2:30. Tickets may be purchased online at, or at the door. Bus Stop is not rated, but would probably be PG-13 based on some adult situations.
Dave DeHart
                                                                        Wilsonville Theater Company


Monday, February 16, 2015

Meet the cast:  Mark Putnam (Dr. Gerald Lyman)
In our ongoing introductions to the cast of Bus Stop, we come to "Doctor/Professor Lyman," a very complex, and one might say peculiar, individual. The role requires the actor to portray a variety of emotions: sad, lonely, depressed, intoxicated and happy. William Inge created this character to express not only the wide range of mental anxieties a person such as Lyman must go through, but to show that regardless of his quirky character, he is able to achieve that final satisfying resolution.  Obviously, this role requires extraordinary talent. Director Matt Russell has found that in Mark Putnam.
Dave:  Mark tell me a bit about your background. Where were you born and raised?
Mark:  In Orange County, California. I graduated from Fountain Valley High School, (Go Barons!) then I attended both Orange Coast College and Golden West College, two community colleges.
Dave:  Are you married? Have any children?
Mark:  Yes I am married and I have four children, two boys and two girls. In fact, one of my sons, Spencer, is the Sound Technician for this production.
Dave:  When did you became involved in theater?
Mark: While in high school. My first play was M.A.S.H. I performed the role of "Spear Chucker Jones" which was a little strange with a Caucasian playing the character who is African-American. But we managed to pull it off.  I was actively involved in plays in both my junior and senior years of high school, and took theater classes as an extracurricular activity.
Dave:  What was one of your more memorable plays?
Mark:  One was called Bashing the Bard. It was a play wherein they took several famous parts from Shakespeare's plays and looped them together in a non-traditional way. For example, we did 15 Minute Hamlet where we took a two-and-a-half, or three-hour-long play and compressed it to fifteen minutes, using all the memorable quotes. I also really enjoyed when I played two roles in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Oberon and Theseus.
Dave:  I assume you continued your interest in theater in college.
Mark:  Yes.  I took four semesters of drama classes at Orange Coast College, and three semesters of theater at Golden West College. Later I had a semester of professional acting school at South Coast Repertory Theatre. It was around this time I was involved in a serious motorcycle accident and spent three months in the hospital. This kind of curtailed my acting for a while.  I received my Associates Degree in Speech Communication and Theater. I later went to California State College-Northridge where I received a BA in English Education with an emphasis in Literature.
Dave: What brought you to Oregon?
Mark:  I worked for a company in Orange County who had an opportunity opening up in Oregon.
Dave:  What did this company do?
Mark: They processed medical claims and wanted to begin handling auto claims. A position opened up in Oregon and I interviewed for it and got the job. So that's what brought me and my family up here. We reviewed medical claims bills that came in to make sure they were actually supported and documented by the doctors.  I've been doing this for more than 15 years. That is sort of what I do now, except I also teach doctors how to code and support their surgeries and prepare the proper documentation.
Mark Putnam (L) Angela Van Epps (R)
Photo: David DeHart
Dave:  Let's move on to recent theater productions. I saw you in White Christmas at the HART Theater. I see on your resume that you have been in several plays since moving up here. Tell me about that.
Mark:  Yes, I've been in plays both at the HART Theater in Hillsboro as well as at the Theater In the Grove in Forest Grove. I played "Oliver du Boys" in As You Like It, and "Liver Lips Louie" in Guys and Dolls, and "Gandalf the Gray" in The Hobbit at Theater in the Grove. In addition to White Christmas, I played "Dr. Pain" in Crazy Old Man, at the HART Theater. I also performed multiple roles in All In the Timing at Portland Community College, Rock Creek Campus, mostly "Trotsky" in Variations on the Death of Trotsky.
Dave:  How did you restart your acting interests after moving to Portland?
Mark:  I wanted to get back into theater. I auditioned for a part in Midsummer Night’s Dream at the HART Theater. I didn't get the role, so I figured I better brush-up on my acting skills and enrolled in classes at PCC Theater Arts program. I then got a role in All In The Timing at PCC. That was my first play in Portland. It was a spoof sort of thing, about the variations in how Trotsky died. I played Trotsky and died eight times on stage!
Dave:  I assume your association with HART Theater was how you came to get a role in Matt Russell's White Christmas.
Mark:  Yes. Then I got a part in this play, Bus Stop. For the role of "Dr. Lyman."  Angela Van Epps, Lindsay Bruno and I, as well as my son, Spencer, were all in White Christmas.
Dave: What do you think William Inge was attempting to do when he wrote this play, Bus Stop?
Mark:  I think it's really a statement about love. How different people interpret love in different ways. For some people it's manufactured, for others they think it's true love, for some they don't know what love is and continue searching for the meaning. One of my favorite Dr. Lyman lines is “[Love] sometimes they keep it locked in their bosom forever, where it withers and dies.  Then they never know love, only its facsimiles which they seek over and over again, in meaningless repetition." Obviously love didn't work out for him. Three marriages, all failed, became a drunk, depressed, trying to pick up young girls. Love is more of a concept to him than an emotion. I think the play is really a statement about love and life and how they find that piece of love and cherish it.
Angela Van Epps (L) Mark Putnam (C) Lindsay Bruno (R)
Photo: David DeHart
Dave:   What is it about the role of Dr. Lyman that intrigues you?
Mark:  Obviously, he's different that myself, I hope! I think he is a very dynamic character. He goes through jolly, happy, depressed, despondent, child-like, adult-like, and professor-like. He has these wide ranges of emotions and fears. All of which he goes through in a very short period of time.   A character with all of those dimensions is challenging, but a lot of fun to play. It's a great range.
Dave: One last question. Why should people come to see this play?
Mark:  They will love to see all of the aspects you'd want to see in a play:  drama, romance, comedy, the dark side of life. It has so many of the things people look for in a play:  action, comedy, drama. And, it is a great cast.
Dave:  Thank you Mark. I see that Director Russell is ready for you to start rehearsal.
 Dave DeHart
Wilsonville Theater Company.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Meet the cast:  Daria De Lillo as "Grace the diner owner."
Once again I had the pleasant opportunity to sit down with a cast member. Daria De Lillo, a retired school teacher, veteran actress, singer, dancer and director has the whole package. Wilsonville Theater Company is very fortunate to have such an experienced cast for this production of Bus Stop.  It is sure to make it one of the best shows WTC has offered.
Dave:  Welcome to Wilsonville Theater Company.  Thank you for taking the time out of rehearsal to permit me to introduce you to our blog readers. First, let's start with the usual background information. Where were you born and raised?
Daria:  I was born and raised in Rhode Island. I graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in theater. Following graduation, my husband and I were married and moved to Germany for a  little over four years to fulfill his military commitment. After his military service we moved to Portland and I became a middle school English/Social Studies teacher in the Portland School District.
Dave:  Rhode Island? Nice place.  It seems so small to me. Almost confining.
Daria:  It is small, but you don't know it when you're growing up there. "Little Rhody" is slightly larger than Washington and Multnomah counties combined. While it may be small, it has some of the most beautiful beaches, and the water is warm! Also, Providence was just picked as one of the best cities to visit in the U.S.  Obviously I love the northwest, having lived here for over 35 years, but Rhode Island is a great place.
Dave:  What did you do during your time in Germany?
Daria:  Most of the time, I taught English at the Army Education Center in Hanau, Germany. I worked with soldiers preparing to earn their high school diplomas. It was an incredibly rewarding experience. My husband and I also took advantage of the many travel opportunities being in Europe provided.
Dave:  Where did you go after your tour in Germany?
Daria:  We spent a year at Tobyhanna Army Depot near Scranton, PA, before heading out to Oregon in 1977.
Dave:  Let's move on to your acting and directing career. What theater work were you involved in?
Daria:  In Hanau, I performed the role of 'Princess Winifred'  in Once Upon a Mattress with the Hanau Community Theater. In Munich, I was 'Salome,'  in Salome with the Munich Community Theater. Also in Germany, I directed Philemon on the University of Maryland campus in Munich.
Dave:  Have you done a lot of directing?
Daria:  I've done a fair amount, primarily at the middle school at which I taught in Portland.
Dave:  You've been a teacher in Portland for how many years?
Daria:  I taught in Portland over 28 years.
Dave:  I see on your resume that you were involved in theater at the Lakewood Center in Lake Oswego.
Daria:  Yes, I've taken some acting classes and performed in a few plays there. (Some of the plays in which Daria acted were: Quilters, Two for the Seasaw, Fiddler on the Roof, Pal Joey, and The Front Page.)
Dave:  Which do you prefer, acting or directing?
Daria:  I love both. Directing enables me to be creative on a number of levels without the challenge of learning all the lines; it is also a LOT more work. Acting, though, provides me the opportunity to get into the "skin" of a character and create something that needs to blend with the ensemble. In that sense, acting is more personal.
Dave:  How long have you been in theater?
Daria:  I have always been performing whether it was theater or music. In the first grade I knew I wanted to be a teacher; but in the third grade I discovered acting when I was in a class play. That was the beginning for me. In grade school I was always doing something whether it was putting on plays with kids in the neighborhood or performing in plays at camp or directing school plays with younger children at my school.  In high school, I was in productions and also wrote a couple of short plays which were performed. I also studied voice and learned how to play piano and guitar. This led me in a different direction. In my high school and college years I earned money as a folk singer and did a bit of the coffee house thing.
Dave: You started out very early. Many of the cast members of Bus Stop have had a similar experience.
Daria:  I know. It doesn't surprise me as they bring great depth to their characters. It's a great opportunity to work with them.
Dave:  Of all the plays in which you acted, what was your favorite role?
Daria:  I loved playing all the characters. They each had their own unique qualities and challenges. If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be Gittel Mosca in Two for the Seesaw. (OTAS Award.)
Dave:  When did you do that?
Angela Van Epps (l) Daria De Lillo (r) Photo by David DeHart
Daria:  That was in 1987. I was just starting graduate school at Lewis and Clark College when the director called and offered me the role. I was excited, but besides graduate school, I was teaching fulltime and had committee responsibilities at my school. There just weren't enough hours in the day. Then I sat down with a good friend who convinced me to take a term off from Lewis and Clark and do the play. I did and never regretted my decision.
Dave:  You play "Grace Hoylard," the restaurant owner, in Bus Stop. What is it about your role that you like?
Daria:  Everything. After I first read the script, I thought I knew Grace. Five weeks into rehearsal, I have discovered so much more about her, and I am still discovering things. I love her subtle sense of humor, her kindness, and her independence. She’s survived some difficult circumstances but still retains empathy for others. But don’t mistake her kindness for weakness; she’s no pushover.
Dave: What is it you like about Bus Stop?
Daria: William Inge’s writing is amazing. His use of punctuation and italicized words helps actors interpret the lines the way he intended. He also captures the mid-western dialects in his writing without making caricatures out of the play’s characters. His ability to find compassion and humanity in everyday life makes the story very compelling.
Dave: Why should people come to Wilsonville to see Bus Stop?
Daria: The play is both entertaining and thought provoking. It’s not as much a comedy as some may think. There are certainly humorous moments, but it’s nothing like the mid-fifties movie featuring Marilyn Monroe. It's more of a character study of eight people from different backgrounds who reveal themselves while confined for hours due to a blizzard. The audience will see the characters evolve over the course of the evening---whether it's finding true love, losing one's naiveté, or taking a second chance on love. 
Dave DeHart
Wilsonville Theater Company
Above Photo Credits: Daria DeLillo and  David DeHart
















Thursday, February 5, 2015


Cast Interview – Meet Angela Van Epps (Elma)

It was nice to have a few minutes with Angela Van Epps, a vibrant, talented actress who is cast in the role of "Elma" the waitress in WTC's  production of William Inge's  Bus Stop.  I know, it is cliché to say someone "lights up a room" when they enter; however, in the case of Angela, that is exactly my first impression of her. She is a cheerful,  smiling, and of course, experienced actress.

Dave:  Welcome to the Wilsonville Theater Company. We are pleased to have you among the gifted members of this cast.  Just coming off of Director Matt Russell's delightful production of White Christmas at the HART Theater in Hillsboro, you find yourself back on stage. This time at our Frog Pond Grange Hall.

Angela:  Thank you. I'm happy to be part of this play.
Dave:  Let's start with some background information. Where were you born and raised?

Angela: I was actually born in Hudson, Wisconsin, but never lived there.  I was raised in a small railroad  town, Litchfield, Minnesota. I'm a Minnesota girl, so I know all about being snowed in and being cold.

Dave:  What high school did you attend?
Angela:  Litchfield High School.

Dave:  Were you involved in theater in high school?
Angela:  Actually, in middle school.

Dave:  What was your first role in a school play?
Angela:  The first role was "Polynesia the Parrot" in Doctor Doolittle.  It was my first play, so I was very excited.

Dave:  How old were you?
Angela:  I was in the seventh grade.

Dave:  What about theater in high school?

Angela:  Except for taking off one season to perform with our speech team, I performed in the musicals and one-act plays in high school.
Dave:  What were some of the memorable roles in those plays?

Angela:  I got to do "Mrs. Molloy" in Hello Dolly! She was the hat-shop owner, so it was kind of a big deal. My first high school musical was Once Upon a Mattress, in which I played the role of "Lady in Waiting." We did a really sweet one-act play called Yellow Boat. It was about a boy who contracted AIDS, before they monitored donor blood. It was a very moving piece. It opened the discussion of AIDS.
Dave:  Then on to college. Bethel University, same as your husband, Chase, right?

Angela:  Yes. I graduated in 2011. I received my BA degree in acting and directing.
Dave:  In college, were you more involved in directing or acting?

Angela:  Acting. But I did direct a bit.

Dave:  What was your first play at Bethel University?

Angela:  Brigadoon. The musical. I was a chorus girl. My first role there. You have to start small. (Laughing). My favorite role in college was when I was cast as "Viola"  in Twelfth Night,  and "Elvira" in Blithe Spirit.  That was a lot of fun.
Dave: After college. Did you perform in community theater? That sort of thing?

Angela:  I did perform a lot in Minneapolis after college. I worked with several great companies, and even created some original works with my friends at AEtheum Theater Ensemble. I also did some acting at a local theater company called "Intergenerational Theater Productions." It was a program that included kids as well as senior citizens. Located in Eagan, Minnesota.  I played the "Queen of Hearts"  in Alice in Wonderland.
Dave: Have you had any vocal or dance training?

Angela:  Not very much. I took some dance in my undergrad. It was part of the courses.
Dave:  So mostly acting, is that right?

Angela:  When I was in Australia I studied "physical theater."  I did two "study abroad" trips in Australia. After the first one, I fell in love with the country, so I went a second time.
Dave:  With whom were you affiliated in Australia?

Angela:  Wesley Institute. It's a little art school tucked away in one of the neighborhoods in Sydney.
Dave:  What theater did you do at Wesley?

Angela:  We did physical theater. We worked with this massive puppet dragon. I was the 'heart' of the dragon. We also did a Hans Christian Anderson play called the Red Shoes. That included a lot of mask work. Coupled with my training at Dell 'Arte in California, I came to specialize in Physical Ensemble Theater. After graduation,  I lived in Minneapolis for a year. Chase and I were married, then we moved to Blue Lake, California.
Dave:  What brought you to Blue Lake?

Angela:  I read about Dell 'Arte in a book titled The Art of Clowning. Because I was interested in Clown, Mask and Physical Theater, I applied to the school.
Dave:  Did you work outside the program while in Blue Lake?

Angela:  No. I was too involved in the program. We started at 8:45 in the morning, then a two-hour lunch break, and continued until 5:30 in the evening. Rehearsals generally run Monday thru Thursday 7 to 10. They would give you something on Monday or Tuesday and had just a couple of days to put it all together. In addition to the performance labs, you were required to do some volunteer work. I volunteered at the local library on Sundays.
Dave:  Did you come to Portland right after Blue Lake?

Angela: Yes. Almost two years ago.
Dave:  Why Portland?

Angela:  We wanted someplace to live away from cold Minnesota. We had brought all of furniture to Blue Lake, and we just wanted to ty another city on the West Coast. Chase had put in job applications in several cities and Trackers in Portland offered him a job. So, we moved up here.

Dave:  Trackers? Tell me about that.
Angela:  It’s a program for summer day camp for kids. They go hiking, archery, those sorts of things. He did that for the one summer.

Dave:  What does he do now?
Angela:  He is the Youth Pastor at East Woods Presbyterian Church, in Vancouver.

Dave:  And, what about you? What do you do here?
Angela:  I am the Library Assistant  at Valley Catholic Elementary School in Beaverton.

Dave:  What theater involvement did you have when you moved to Portland?
Angela:  After the intensive work at Dell' Arte, I took time off to process all that I had learned there. I didn't perform at all until this past Fall. I was in Arsenic and Old Lace with the North End Players Theater Company. I played the role of "Elaine." After that I played "Rita" in White Christmas, Directed by Matt Russell. That was the first musical I had done since Brigadoon.

Dave:  I assume your work for Matt in White Christmas brought you here.
Angela:  Yes. I auditioned for "Elma" and got the part.

Dave:  That brings us up to date. What are your thoughts, opinions, regarding the play, Bus Stop?
Angela:  I first read it before the cast did a reading. I thought, okay, it's alright. But when it was read by the cast, I really enjoyed it.  It's so layered, with things that are very funny, then times when it is sad. It shows the truth in people. It's a fascinating story.

Dave:  What is it about the role that you like?
Angela:  I relate to "Elma" so well. Growing up in a small rural town, with its Winters. I love the challenge of being on stage during the whole play, as well as how "Elma" doesn't judge anyone. She treats everyone the same way. She's joyful and open.

Dave:  One last question. Why should people come to Wilsonville to see this play?
Angela:  It's good acting. Very good acting. Everyone is cast perfectly and we work so well together as a cast.

Dave:  What will the audience go away with after the performance?
Angela: They will wonder, 'What's next?' Where will these people go?"

Dave:  Thank you very much. I appreciate you taking time away from the rehearsal so we can meet Angela Van Epps and "Elma."

Dave DeHart
Wilsonville Theater Company.

 (Photo: Mark Putnam and Angela Van Epps)