OSF actress Miriam Laube strikes to New York Metropolis, movie in progress – Ashland Tidings
Seasoned OSF actress Miriam Laube (above) and her husband Rex Young are moving to New York City. Photo by Cynthia Smalley.
After 16 seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Miriam Laube moves to New York City with her husband and veteran OSF actor Rex Young.
They are selling their home in Ashland and moving back east in October. You are planning to renovate your own apartment. They rented it out during their OSF years.
Before the move, however, Laube will tackle a new project. In August, she begins work on “What If,” a film by Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor Billy Porter.
“It’s about a high school boy who falls in love with a transgender girl at his school,” said Laube. “I play his mother.”
When the boy posts online about his crush, the internet encourages him to do so. The film, which is part of the Orion Pictures relaunch, will feature rising star Yasmin Finney, a 17-year-old black trans woman from Manchester, England.
Laube hopes to return to OSF in the future.
“One of the greatest blessings of our lives,” she said, “was being part of a craft business where the work is greater than the sum of its parts.”
For the last 10 years before the pandemic, Laube and Young also hosted coffee for OSF premiere members and helped host producer weekends.
“I’ll miss interviewing fellow artists,” she said, “and curating experiences for OSF people.”
She counts several roles as one of her favorites at OSF.
Her role as the witch in “Into the Woods” from 2014 is particularly memorable for two reasons.
“Amanda Dehnert directed,” she said. “I loved all of their pieces, but this one stood out. And it was very special to be on stage with Catherine Coulson. ”Coulson played stepmother, Milky White and Giant in the production. She died the following year of complications from cancer.
Another favorite was the courtesan Vasantasena in “The Clay Cart”. Her performance was rated “Radiant and Charismatic” by the Oregonian. The 2008 play was staged by Bill Rauch in his first season as artistic director of the OSF. And Laube sees her two deputy directorships at Rauch as pleasant shared experiences.
It’s a relationship of mutual admiration. In an earlier interview, Rauch said of Laube: “As an employee, she has an uncanny ability to see the big picture. She is a total theater artist. “
A third OSF role on their list is Olivia in “Twelfth Night” from 2010. Her husband played the stereotypical fool Sir Andrew Aguecheek, a favorite role of many well-known Shakespearean actors.
The two shows that Laube served as Associate Director with Rauch were “Oklahoma” and “The Pirates of Penzance”. She finds satisfaction in both disciplines.
“As an actor, you focus more on knowing what instrument you are,” she said. “As a director you are like the conductor of an orchestra. I really enjoy conducting. “
One of her most demanding roles was Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra” by Rauch in 2015.
“I learned about architecture and scale,” she said.
The first scene takes place in a bedroom suite. It is an intimate scene, but “public” in the context of the staging and reflection of time. It’s a story told mainly from Antony’s point of view in a patriarchal society where women were subordinate to men.
“It felt intimate during rehearsals in the Great Hall,” said Laube. “But on stage, the bed felt like a symbol. It allowed the audience to make judgments, ‘Oh, she’s a whore.’ I wish I had twice the rehearsal time. “
Laube grew up in McKeesport, part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Her father came from Germany and her mother from India.
When she was 5 years old, a theater moved across the street. A piano studio she was taking lessons in was just down the street from the theater. I was a magical artistic triangle.
The first show she saw at the McKeesport Little Theater was “Man of La Mancha”.
“I remember the feeling of being in the music,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on on the show, but I remember the feeling, the energy.”
Nowadays she captures this sensation again in the language of Shakespeare and Sondheim.
“You say these words and they have a kind of fire, a taste – they feel good in your mouth,” she said.
As a child, she appeared in productions such as “South Pacific” and “Fiddler on the Roof”. At 14 she played the title role in “The Diary of Anne Frank”.
Ironically, she was cast as Aldonza during her high school in Man of La Mancha, with whom the character Don Quixote falls in love.
As much as she liked music and theater, she attended Boston College to study economics. On the second day of school she found out that the school was going to do “West Side Story”. She went down to the theater and never left. She was cast as Maria later that year and switched major in her junior year. She earned her MFA from the University of Minnesota.
After graduation, she went straight to Guthrie in Minneapolis and worked in repertory theater. She studied with the master directors Garland Wright and Dominque Serrand.
“In ‘Nagamandala’ I tried to add too many flourishes to my lines. Wright taught me to “just say the words”. I’ve learned that you have to trust the playwright’s words and respect them. “
In one of Serrand’s play, the stage was covered with grass. Serrand told her not only to see the grass, but also to smell it. “It was a lesson about being in the moment,” said Laube.
She later auditioned for Milwaukee Rep, where she met Rex. A few years later, while on a trip to Ashland to surprise his family for Christmas, he got off at the lake near Mt. Shasta, got down on one knee, and proposed.
In addition to her work for OSF, Laube appeared in the 2004 Bollywood musical “Bombay Dreams” on Broadway, worked for several regional theater companies and was even assistant to the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Labor Relations.
Her first OSF role was in 1996 as Yazmin in David Edgars’ “Pentecost”. Twice, in 1997 and 2016, it was seen in Shakespeare’s “Timon of Athens”, a rarity because it is so rarely performed.
Laube recently became Senior Producer for Play On Podcasts, the audio productions of Play On’s Shakespearean “translations”. It is funded by the Hitz Foundation and hosted by Next Chapter Podcasts.
The translations are not a literal explanation of what is going on. “Our mission is to create performable accompaniments,” said Lue Douthit, Play On Creative Director and former OSF production dramaturge. “They are new pieces in that regard.”
The pieces are performed with original music and feature the voices of many well-known artists, some of whom are OSF actors. “I’m really proud to be a part of it,” said Laube.
At ncpodcasts.com/playonpodcast you can listen to “Macbeth” and “Pericles” (episode 7 released last week) and learn more about the podcasts.
Laube is looking forward to the next chapter of her life, as bittersweet as the transition may be. She said the hardest part of moving on is learning to let go, “not holding on too tightly”.
But the bottom line is that she thinks she’s pretty happy.
“I can do what I love with the person I love.”
You can reach Ashland author Jim Flint at email@example.com.