Quintessence: Language & Imagination Theatre is a non-profit, 501(c) theatre company formed in 2000-2001 by Artistic Director Connor Kerns and actors Allison Batty, Debbie Hunter, Jonathan Molitor, and Rafael Untalan. The company is small and project-based; that is, artistic projects determine when and where and with whom the company performs. Connor and Debbie have co-managed the company since 2005.
Connor studied voice and text with mentor Cicely Berry, who was for many years the Voice Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, England. Here he is drinking tea with her at her home in 2006.
Based largely on Cicely Berry’s methods, Quintessence has developed a unique way of working on plays imaginatively through the language of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and Connor’s own plays. Cis recommended her colleague, Andrew Wade, to come work with Quintessence in Portland, which he did in 2004 and 2006. Perhaps most recognizable for his work on the film Shakespeare in Love, Andrew brought ways to specifically deepen how the company rehearsed as well as raising the skill levels of its actors and directors. One of our favorite things he said is: “Any good writing is chosen words, shaped music.” Here is a rather appalling photo of Andrew when he worked with the Hamlet cast in 2006; Andrew is in the back row, third from the left:
Past Quintessence full productions are listed below. We hope there are many more!
Tom(boy) Sawyer, 2017 (by Connor Kerns)
Persuasion, 2012 (adapted from Jane Austen’s novel by Connor Kerns)
Northanger Abbey, 2012 (adapted from Jane Austen’s novel by Connor Kerns)
Pride and Prejudice, 2009 (adapted from Jane Austen’s novel by Connor Kerns)
Much Ado About Nothing, 2005
Face Reader by Connor Kerns, 2004
As You Like It, 2003
The Child is Father of the Man by Connor Kerns, 2003
Treatment by Connor Kerns, 2002
Henry V, 2001
Infamy by Connor Kerns, 2001