OSF announced Dr. G’s Bingo Extravaganza, a new production immersing the local community in a joyous and magical world celebrating Ashland, Oregon’s own Dr. Geneva Craig, a civil rights leader, frontline nurse and movie buff. action with a penchant for Vegas glitz. This unique experience is created by the innovative artist collective For You (Erika Chong Shuch, Rowena Richie and Ryan Tacata), winner of the Creative Capital award, which brings together diverse groups of strangers and offers participatory performances as gifts.
A social bingo event that evolves into a fantastical world of performance, Dr. G’s Bingo Extravaganza invites participants to meet new friends, compete for spectacular prizes and pay tribute to a remarkable local elder. Inspired by the life of Dr. G and the friendship For You artists have forged with her, for one week (July 20-24), OSF converts Carpenter Hall into a temporary bingo hall, complete with ornate walls created by AfroScoutz, a Southern Oregon black youth group organized by BASE. Special guests from the community will join as bingo callers and surprise performers.
Alongside the in-person performance at Carpenter Hall, For You features an interactive website created in collaboration with playwright and media artist ruth tang: Dr. G’s Fan Club. The site takes the form of an endlessly scrolling Christmas tree with ornaments from Afroscoutz members that opens to a webpage with special stories about Dr. G and special messages from members of the local community. . This online fan club functions both as a true fan club for Dr. G fans locally and nationally, and as a new media companion to the in-person event, and is accessible through OSF’s ticketing platform. .
Dr. G’s Bingo Extravaganza is a collaborative venture between OSF’s three arts departments: Arts Programming, Innovation & Strategy, and New Work, and embodies Artistic Director Nataki Garrett’s vision for OSF as a home for artists. with several hyphens to explore the theatrical narration through tailor-made. forms and mediums. The project began as part of the OSF 19 Commissions program, which commissioned artists from all disciplines to create new work between 2019 and 2021, to be featured on OSF’s O! Digital scene.
Dr. Geneva Craig is a Registered Nurse with a Ph.D. in Nursing from Walden University. She volunteers with AARP Oregon and chaired its Diversity Advisory Committee for three years. Dr. Craig worked at Johns Hopkins Health Care Center before moving to Rogue Valley to take up a position as Clinical Program Coordinator of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Center at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. Born in Selma, Alabama, she marched with MLK in the marches from Selma to Montogomery. She drives a Chevy Nova named GENOVA and loves, loves, LOVES bingo.
For You is a performance group founded by Erika Chong Shuch, Rowena Richie and Ryan Tacata. Their productions, ranging from individual performances to large-scale theatrical works of an evening, are based on the lived experiences of the participants-collaborators. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and knowing that older adults were at higher risk of infection and experiencing hardships compounded by isolation, For You launched Artists & Elders to connect with older adults and develop new forms of distance socialization. In 2019, For You met Dr. G through an O! 19 Commission and spent a year communicating with her via Zoom. Dr. G’s Bingo Extravaganza is an extension of this work.
For You’s work has been supported and presented by The Momentary (AK), the Court Theater and Experimental Performance Initiative at the University of Chicago, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. For You is a project of Creative Capital, with additional support from Berkeley Rep’s Groundfloor, Rainin Foundation, Center for Cultural Innovation, Dancers’ Group, Global Brain Health Institute and Alzheimer’s Association, Encore.org, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA ), and the National Theater Project Grant. Erika’s participation in this project is made possible in part by her fellowship at the Headlands Center for the Arts. This work is part of a series of works entitled The Welcome, supported by NEFA. www.foryou.productions
The creative team for Dr. G’s Bingo Extravaganza includes Paul Adolphsen (playwright), Haley Baek (production assistant), Victor Cervantes Jr. (producer), Benajah Cobb (technical director), Chava Florendo (community liaison), Josh Horvath ( production manager) , Liz Lanier (Producer), WerdPace (Sound Designer), Val Pope (Lighting Designer) Sean Riley (World Builder) and Ruth Tang (Dr. G Fan Club Web Developer).