Archbishop of Canterbury (Richard Howard) assures Henry V (John Tufts) that there is no bar to his claim to France. Photo by T. Charles Erickson.
So I started off yesterday (well, Wednesday) with the Greeks as a theme, but Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella segues perfectly into the next two themes:
Music and Marriage
That bwessed awangement, that dweam wifin a dweam …
Right, that, but I want to start with the food of love: music.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director Bill Rauch has never hidden his love for musicals; 2009’s Music Man was one of his first smash hits as artistic director, and he’s had a surprising number of live musicians onstage for many plays since. But I have noticed an uptick in music within the plays that aren’t musicals since Rauch came on board permanently in 2008.
Shakespeare, as I was told by my high school “Shakespeare on Stage” teacher (Ms. Berit Lindboe, if you ever read this, this entire thing is your fault, and by “thing,” I mean my life as a Shakespeare addictnerd), liked to put songs in his comedies. Thank god our high school class never had to make up tunes to go along with the lyrics. But I digress: The point is that under Rauch, the festival has gone hog-wild with the music. Continue reading
Touchstone (Peter Frechette) entertains Rosalind (Erica Sullivan) and Celia (Christine Albright). Photo by T. Charles Erickson.
The short and sweet of my five days in Ashland during outdoor opening of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival:
- Go to As You Like It no matter what else you see. “It’s the play you take someone from out of town to,” said someone on Twitter, and I agree. Gorgeously presented, capably (often better than that) acted, with lighting and set designs that should win someone some awards.
- If you have a good tolerance for war plays, hit both Henry V (in a rather traditional staging, though not traditional costuming) and Troilus and Cressida.
- If you have a flexible mind and patience for a rather messy first act, and/or you love any of the plays involved, do go to Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella.
- If you know nothing about the Midwest, have no dear-to-you relatives or friends there, and/or enjoy constant punning and The Merry Wives of Windsor, go ahead and hit up The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa. Otherwise, you might want to stay away.