DANNA SCHAEFFER (actor, playwright) grew up in New York and Los Angeles, where she married Benson in 1963. Rebecca was born in Eugene in 1967 and when she was 14 the family moved to Portland. At age 16, Rebecca struck out on her own for New York, where she soon landed acting jobs, starting with a role on a soap and ultimately a role on a sitcom which took her to Los Angeles.
Danna's first play, City Women, won a major award from the Kennedy Center in 1988. In 1989 Rebecca, by then a working actor in Hollywood, was murdered on her front step. Benson and Danna were shattered but survived. Danna went on to write more plays, teach playwriting, publish stories, articles, and reviews, produce two websites, write several novels and a memoir, and pursue a career in mental health.
You in Midair premiered last January at Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival.
Danna is grateful to her sensational you in midair creative team in Portland, Julie Akers, Tim Stapleton, Bobby Brewer-Wallin, Katelan Braymer, Phillip Johnson, Howie Bierbaum, and Colin Stewart.
JULIE AKERS (director) has been teaching acting, directing and theater history at the university level for the past twenty five years. She received an MFA in directing from University of British Columbia and has worked as a Professor at New Mexico State University, Willamette University, Lone Star College, and Portland State University.
In addition, she has been recognized for her work with young adults throughout her career. She has been nominated for an Emmy for the collaborative work she did with Teens and Company, in Portland, Oregon. She has organized and run summer-long theater camps for high school kids in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She has also worked with teens at risk in Austin, Texas, through the Creative Action Project. Her commitment to educational theater is absolute.
Some of her favorite directing experiences include: Importance of Being Earnest, Wit, The Bald Soprano, Lysistrata (the musical), The Glass Menagerie, and Spoon River Project.
TIM STAPLETON (scenic designer) A professional scenic designer for thirty-eight years, Tim has also worked with Oregon’s Regional Arts & Culture Council as a liaison to Social Services, and taught theatre courses for Willamette University, Central Washington University, Lewis & Clark College, and Slippery Rock University. A few of his Portland designs include This Lime Tree Bower (Drammy Award) , Killer Joe (Drammy Award), and recently, Waiting for Godot, and The Miracle Worker.
Tim’s paintings have been exhibited with The Kentucky Arts Commission, at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, the Mina Dresden Gallery and The California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. He is a published author and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow.
BOBBY BREWER-WALLIN (costume designer), is associate professor of Theatre and department chair at Willamette University, and he designs costumes for theatre, dance, television and film. With an MFA in costume design from CalArts he joined the Theatre Department faculty at Willamette University in 2000. In addition to designing costumes for all main stage productions, he teaches courses in costume design, costume history, the thesis course for theatre majors with an emphasis in solo performance, and a first-year seminar called Ball Caps to Ball Gowns: Clothing & Memory as Embodied Thought.
Recent productions include The Importance of Being Earnest and A Civil War Christmas at Artists Repertory Theatre, Macbeth and Lear’s Daughters at Willamette University Theatre, My Case Is Altered: Tales of a Roaring Girl with Twenty-First Century Chorus, The Snowstorm at CoHo Theatre, The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Third Rail, and Richard III and King Lear at Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre.
KATELAN BRAYMER is a Lighting Designer and Technical Director for theatre, dance and opera, based out of Los Angeles, CA and Portland, OR. Recent Designs: Jocasta Project (Ghost Road), Kiss, The Hairy Ape (Odyssey Theatre), Free Outgoing (East West Players), Berlin Diary (Hand2Mouth Theatre), Sammanflata (intertwine), and El Payaso (Milagro). Touring: Inflatable Trio, Ruth Doesn't Live Here Anymore (Lionel Popkin), Surfacing (Holcombe Waller), Object Lesson (Geoffe Sobelle), Half Life (Cloud Eye Control), and Stardust (David Rousseve). She has also worked at Jacobs Pillow, Kirk Douglas Theatre, 59E59, MCA Chicago, On the Boards, SFMoMA, Krannert Center, Bootleg Theater, and Artists Repertory Theater. Katelan is the Director of Production and Lighting for the upcoming Live Arts Exchange Festival (LAX). Katelan has been a Lighting Assistant at the LA Opera since 2011 and is an associate artist of Hand2Mouth Theatre.
HOWIE BIERBAUM (producer) has presented dozens of performers as an independent producer since 1987, among them Tim Miller, Eve Ensler, Quentin Crisp, Peggy Shaw and Dina Martina. Upcoming collaborations include Ari Shapiro’s one man show, Homeward, Storm Large’s Holiday Ordeal and a new show by Holcombe Waller. Past lives include Executive Director of Third Angle New Music Ensemble, a co-founder and manager of Wonder Ballroom and tour manager for Pink Martini. He is currently Executive Director of Oregon Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.
COLIN STEWART (stage manager) This is Colin’s debut as a stage manager, and he’s thrilled to share the experience with such talented artists both on and off the stage. Colin has worked professionally for the last three years around Oregon City, as everything from a scenic carpenter for Clackamas Community College to a sound engineer with Clackamas Repertory Theater. His most recent credits are with CRT as sound and projection operator for Hound of the Baskerville, and as backstage grip for Tigers Be Still. Colin is currently studying for an engineering degree, but he loves the theater and hopes it stays a part of his life for years to come.
You in Midair
ELEGY FOR A DAUGHTER
a true story written and performed by
Directed by Julie Akers