Eugene Weekly : Arts Shorts : 2.14.08

Stratagem: Cheap and Accessible

Free theater? Hunh? Yes, it’s true, a new company plans to offer plays all over town for no fee.

Sitting around talking late one night, friends Lisa Shea-Blanchard and Vicki Harckovitch conceived the idea of the Roving Theater Company. Plays will show where the founders can find free or sponsored spaces. And the company is working within the public domain, meaning they put on plays published before WWI, which do not require royalties.

“We were thinking about what would be the ideal theater company to be involved with and came up with this,” says Harckovitch. “We want to take theater out to the community, make it accessible location wise, but also financially.”

Both founders have a history in theater. Harckovitch has dabbled in theater from both the production and acting side, while Shea-Blanchard has a master’s degree in theater. The two met when Shea-Blanchard directed Harckovitch in a play.

The Roving Theater Company is “completely nonprofit,” says Harckovitch. Its crew and players are all volunteers, and the company can afford to run through grants and donations made by supporters. “In the future, if we need to charge, it will be a nominal amount so everyone can enjoy the theater,” says Harckovitch.

The company’s first show will be over Valentine’s Day weekend at The Strand (where Cozmic Pizza is located) with a production of Hannah Cowley’s The Belle’s Stratagem. Harckovitch describes the play as “absolutely hysterical and very relevant to the modern world in terms of what it has to say about relationships between men and women.”

Both Harckovitch and Shea-Blanchard are dedicated to making their company a success. “It’s absolutely a labor of love,” says Harckovitch.

Roving Theater Company will be holding auditions soon for summer shows — The Importance of Being Earnest and an as-yet undetermined Shakespeare comedy. “All jobs in the company are available to anyone who joins us,” says Harckovitch. Belle’s Strategem runs at 7:30 pm Feb. 14 & 15 and 3 pm Feb. 16 & 17. For more info, go to the website (


Final Vaginas

There’s nothing like the allure of Valentine’s Day, filled with roses, chocolate, romance and vaginas. Yes, vaginas. The award-winning Vagina Monologues is back for its tenth and last run by the ASUO Women’s Center at the UO.

Known for its discussions on violence and gender roles, Eve Ensler’s play has become somewhat of a movement now known as V-Day. “The script deals with many different issues, including violence, birth and stigmas surrounding vaginas,” says Lauren Zavrel, producer and events coordinator at the Women’s Center. The profits from this show and other performances like it around the world go to various organizations, including V-Day (,helping in the prevention of violence against women.

The original Monologues plays Feb. 14 & 15 in the UO’s Agate Hall, but an additional production will be held the following week. Although Ensler’s play deals with a variety of issues, “it does not necessarily include the stories that the cast want to tell,” says Zavrel. Because of this, the cast and crew will perform monologues written about their own lives in a separate performance called Body Talk: Stories from Our Lives, Feb. 21 & 22 in the UO’s Gerlinger Lounge. For more information, go to the ASUO Women’s Center website ( or call 346-4363 for tickets.


NOTE: Web exclusive! See our article on the UO’s Architecture lecture series online at