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All the world's our stage

ABOUT MERELY PLAYERS

Merely Players is an actor-managed traveling Shakespeare company based in Corvallis, Oregon. We make collaborative theatre that can travel anywhere in the Central Willamette Valley. Our goal is to make the classic plays of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries as accessible, interactive, irreverent, fast-paced, and fun as they possibly can be. We accomplish this by going back to the basics – a small group of actors, sans sets, sans lights, sans modern theatrical bells and whistles, connecting on a deep and personal level with the audience, with each other, and with the playtexts themselves. 

Meet the Players

John Carone
Treasurer

John Carone (he/him) moved to Corvallis before he turned one, and he's stuck around ever since! Getting started in theater back in college with a single line in "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," he has gone on to appear in OSU Theatre (including five Shakespeare plays), Albany Civic Theater (including four Shakespeare plays and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)), and the Majestic Theatre in Corvallis (including The Comedy of Errors and Wars of the Roses, a compilation of Shakespeare's Henry VI plays). He also appeared in this troupe's productions of The Winter's Tale and the adaptation Blaming of the Shrew.

Sanaya Forbes
Marketing Manager

Sanaya Forbes (she/her) was only cast as bit parts in high school Shakespeare and has become fueled by pure spite ever since. She holds BAs in both Theater and Cognitive Science from UC San Diego. She was a professional theater technician for a number of years but currently works as a corporate graphic designer so she has the time and money to just do this for fun. Recent credits include: Hilda (The Thin Place, Majestic Theatre), Katarina (Blaming of the Shrew, Justice Theater), #25 (The Wolves, Majestic), Queen Margaret (War of the Roses, Majestic), Viola (Twelfth Night, Pentacle Theater), and Luceny (The Concealed Fancies, Majestic).

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Chad Howard
Videographer

Chad Howard (he/him) has been a Shakespeare addict since he was assigned to read the role of The Porter in his high school English class. He's performed alongside other members of this cast several times, and has enjoyed roles in productions of Comedy of Errors (twice!), The Winter's Tale, Blaming of the Shrew (an adaptation of Taming of the Shrew for Justice Theatre @ the UUFC) and Mackers (no, he won't even WRITE out the name of that show). He would like to dedicate his performance of Berowne in Love's Labor's Lost to his cat, Tortiellini.

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Rachel Kohler
Literary Manager

Rachel Kohler (she/her) has dreamed of being involved in a collaborative Shakespeare company ever since she completed her M.Litt / MFA in Shakespeare and Performance at Mary Baldwin University in association with the American Shakespeare Center. She's done a lot of Shakespeare at other companies in the meantime, acting in local community theatre initiatives like the Majestic Theatre, Valley Shakespeare, and Bard in the Quad, as well as serving as artistic director of the Shakespeare Time youth theatre company in Winston, Oregon (now defunct) and Justice Theatre @ the UUFC (now in its sixth year of operation) here in Corvallis. Adapting early modern playtexts for maximum resonance with modern audiences is her jam.

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Laurie Mason
Venue Manager

Laurie Mason (she/her) lived most of her 60+ years under the misapprehension that Shakespeare is tedious.  Her wake-up came in 2022, when she was offered the role of Richard, Duke of York, in Rachel Kohler's Wars of the Roses, a director-penned adaptation of the Henry VI plays.  Mason looks forward to bringing Kohler's adaptation of Love's Labour's Lost to stages and grassy fields around the mid-Willamette Valley this summer, and awaits with pleasurable anticipation what Merely Players, LLC, will produce next season.

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Arlee Olson
Production Manager

Arlee Olson (she/her) moved to Corvallis after teaching drama, English, and social studies at international schools in Hong Kong, Manila, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco (with an odd but rewarding detour into fifth grade math in Germany.) While on a four-year break in Reedsport Oregon, she discovered a beautiful theater being used only for school assemblies and fly-fishing conventions, and helped found the community theatre, Rising Tide Live, where she both directed and performed. After joining Merely Players, Arlee realizes she has been looking all her life for a group of friends who are passionate about exploring Shakespeare’s scripts and bringing them to life in the most fun possible way.

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Britt Urey
Website Manager

Britt Urey (she/they) first heard the siren call of the stage at a 2001 production of H.M.S. Pinafore at the University of Michigan, with an autograph from Sir Joseph Porter enticing her to “come join us some day.” 19 years later they finally did, starting with online theater during the COVID-19 pandemic and graduating to stage performances the next year. Since then she has acted in roles including Christopher Sly (The Blaming of the Shrew, Justice Theatre), Riff Raff (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Whiteside Theatre), King Louis XI (Wars of the Roses, Majestic Theatre), Toy (The Concealed Fancies, Majestic Theatre), Antigonus (Twelfth Night, Justice Theatre), and Nell and Pinch (The Comedy of Errors, Bard in the Quad), as well as directing Troilus and Cressida and Gallathea for Majesticpiece theater.

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