Shakespeare probably wasn’t thinking of a downtown Eugene parking garage when he penned the famous line, “All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players,” but it certainly applies to Eugene’s newest collection of local plays. In collaboration with Northwest Ten and the Oregon Contemporary Theater, the City of Eugene Epark Parking Services is installing panels of short plays on the west stairwell of the Overpark Garage at 10th Avenue and Oak Alley.
The new displays will take the place of older level markers that were in disrepair and scheduled for replacement. In addition to making parking garages easier to navigate and more inviting, the artistic panels also save money. “People respect the work of artists and the panels have significantly reduced the amount of vandalism happening in our parking garage,” notes Parking Manager Jeff Petry. “We’ve definitely saved more on cleaning and repairs than we spend on the panels – and they are a great addition to downtown.”
Mayor Piercy and and local playwrights, including Library Services Director Connie Bennett, will dedicate the new installation of “Step into Theatre” on Thursday, June 6 at 10:30 a.m. on west side stairwell of the Overpark Garage (on 10th Avenue near the elevator off of Oak Alley). Local actors will perform the five original plays at each level of the garage as a preview of the First Friday performance.
On Friday, June 7, the public is invited to come watch the performances at 5:00 p.m. starting on the fifth floor of the Overpark Garage.
Joining the parking garage’s north and south stairwells that feature poetry and prose, a short play will be located at the landing of each level in the Overpark’s west stairwell. The plays have been arranged to create a “book” with a Table of Contents available at the ground and top floors that identifies the play and playwright featured on each level. Plays include:
• Freedom by Gregory Foote
• Shall We Play? by Connie Bennett
• William Tate by Paul Calandrino
• Tweets to the Twits by Richard Leinaweaver
• Lost Prius by Dorothy Velasco
In addition, one panel featuring a play titled Street Tao by Walker T. Ryan will be located at the Oregon Contemporary Theater at 194 W Broadway. It will provide directions to patrons who want to find the other play, poetry and story displays downtown.
The project serves a number of goals including, incorporating art into parking, reinvesting parking funds where they are collected, and reinforcing the creative, distinctive culture of downtown while supporting local artists.
Northwest Ten has produced the Northwest Festival of Ten-Minute Plays annually since 2009. Each year, eight scripts are selected from original new work by Oregon playwrights and, drawing from the deep talent pool of actors, directors, and designers from the Eugene area, NW10 has collaborated with Oregon Contemporary Theatre (formerly the Lord Leebrick Theatre Company) to produce a festival of original works that has been wildly popular with audiences and critics alike.
Oregon Contemporary Theatre (OCT) creates bold entertainment, challenges expectation, inspires curiosity, encourages dialogue, and supports positive change. OCT believes that theatre can transform artists, students, audiences, our community, and the world around us. Since its inception by Randy Lord and Chris Leebrick in 1992, as Lord Leebrick Theatre Company, OCT has earned a reputation for high artistic quality and commitment to presenting challenging and diverse scripts. In 2013, the company name changed to Oregon Contemporary Theatre, coinciding with the opening of permanent new home at 194 W Broadway.