By Cameron Crain

In 2009, at the urging of my school’s Headmaster, the late, great Bill Heim, I applied for entry into graduate school for Southern Oregon University’s Master in Theatre Studies in Production Design. It was a nerve-wracking time. I was teaching theatre full-time, directing a season of programming, running a Shakespeare company, and oh, helping my wife raise our twin daughters, who were two. The timing of taking on an advanced degree was less than ideal. And yet, I needed the professional development to advance my career. So it was a necessary madness.

I arrived in Ashland in July, and that’s when I met Shane Brown. The quiet, gentle-seeming, yet comically intense, sage from Idaho. My home state! What? Who was this guy who quoted Jung, jammed to Metallica and was from Jerome, ID? Becoming friends with Shane brought back the best of Idaho to me: a hard work ethic, a wicked sense of humor and connection to community. We shared almost as many stories as we did beer along with our good buddy Wayd–an Oregon boy, whom we adopted as a fellow “Idaho Boy.” Least we could do. Bein’s how we were in Ashland and all and Wayd was from Grant’s Pass.

Well, it was late one night walking back to the dorms after seeing a Post Modern adaptation of All’s Well That Ends Well when Shane first did the voice. And when I say voice, I mean, he unleashed the sting of a raspy, belligerent know-it-all. Think a redneck Muppet. On steroids. That’s the voice. Armed with ignorance and confidence, it captures the renegade sensibility of the West. And we were off imagining what the crispy critters from our Idaho childhoods would think about the very serious, very expensive theatre productions we were witnessing, courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival. And that’s when the germ of Idaho Boys was planted!

-Cameron Crain, 8/13/2015

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