Edward III, a New Play Reading
In March 2017, Ashland New Plays Festival, partnering with OSF, will produce a new play reading of Shakespeare’s Edward III. The play’s language will not be in King James’ English, but will instead be translated to modern English. As part of their “Play On!” project, OSF commissioned the renowned playwright Octavio Solis to translate Shakespeare’s Edward III play. This play will be one of the first to be presented among the 39 plays in OSF’s project.
Date: Monday, March 27, 2017
Location: SOU Music Recital Hall
About the Ashland New Plays Festival
For a number of years, I have attended the Ashland New Plays Festival. Of late, I have increasingly been impressed with the quality of work from Ashland New Plays Festival. With their new Artistic Director Kyle Haden, they have expanded from just a 5-day new play reading festival in October to much more. Starting in the Spring of 2017 there will be a number of events, including the reading of a new play Edward III.
Ashland New Plays Festival’s mission is to assist playwrights in the development of new works through public readings and offers an educational forum to the community through discussions and workshops. Many of the new plays selected go on to being produced by notable regional theaters, such as Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Last fall, Kyle Haden was interviewed by the Daily Tidings, go here for the article.
2017 Oregon Shakespeare Festival Plays: The Outlook
December is when the general public can start buying tickets for 2017 Oregon Shakespeare Festival plays.
Frequently I am asked about what I know and think about the upcoming plays. I can’t predict the future (wouldn’t that be nice!). I try to see all plays when they are in preview, and then write reviews; however sometimes the word quickly gets out about which one are the ‘don’t miss’ plays, then the tickets are hard to get. I think next year will be no exception.
The past can frequently predict the future
I can share with you a remarkably consistent pattern I’ve noticed over the last 15 years. Every season there are more than a few plays nearly every guest loves. Most of the time those plays are the new(er) plays, often those produced in the Thomas theater, and plays with social justice themes. I don’t think this pattern will be any different next year. Thus I look forward to seeing these 2017 Oregon Shakespeare Festival plays: Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, and Off the Rails. Personally, I have loved every play August Wilson has written, and I am a fan of poetry, so in addition to the ‘modern’ plays, I eagerly await Unison.
Furthermore, given how well done 2016’s Richard II was, I think the two Henrys are going to be in that ‘don’t miss’ category. Jeffrey King, who played Henry Bolingbrooke in Richard II, will continue with his same character into the Henrys. I am really looking forward to seeing the History plays.
Three of the Festival’s accomplished and popular actors, Danforth Comins, Rodney Gardiner, and Armando Durán, are leads in Julius Caesar. Given current political events, the subtext in this play will no doubt evoke more powerful reactions than other past Julius Caesar plays.
I am interested in seeing what OSF will do with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. At first I had reservations – Disney! Really? But since then I have heard that instead of strictly controlling the production to be a replica of every other Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, OSF has been given free rein to produce it how they want. Which is the reason OSF’s write up says: “Think you know the Disney musical? Think again. Expect originality, surprises and ingenuity in OSF’s gorgeous and powerful new rendition.” Personally, I hope OSF will evoke more the original 18th century version.
Based on current reservations for the Chanticleer Inn B&B, it already looks like we’re going to be busy next year. Yet, there are still plenty of rooms available during the 2017 summer months and more during the early and late part of the season.
The ANPF Women’s Invitational Debuts
Women’s Invitational — March 25 – 27 2016
Why a Women’s Invitational for new plays?
ANPF explains: “Great theatre consists of great storytelling, yet many beautiful, powerful stories go unheard due to barriers faced by talented women playwrights, particularly women of other cultures. On the last weekend of March 2016, to inaugurate our twenty-fifth season, Ashland New Plays Festival will present the ANPF Women’s Invitational—dramatic readings of the three winning plays received from 50 of the nation’s best playwrights.”
For the first ANPF Women’s Invitational, these plays and playwrights are the winners. For detailed information on each play and playwright:
- Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, by Jiehae Park
- Cost of Living, by Martyna Majok
- King of the Yees, by Lauren Yee
Please plan to join us March 25, 26, and 27, 2016, in the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University for this extraordinary event. The winning plays will be presented in matinee and evening performances. ANPF members will be given priority access to tickets, and reserved seating will be available.
Coming from afar? There are many lodging and accommodations offerings in Ashland Oregon near the SOU campus — a premier B&B is the Chanticleer Inn.
OSF 2016 Season
Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2016 season opens this coming weekend.
In its 81st year the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is still inventive and sizzling. In the last 10 years, Oregon Shakespeare Festival has produced 29 world premieres. Some of those plays, OSF commissioned — and one got the Tony!
Personally, I look forward to the newly minted plays, some of them become my season favorites. For this season, the River Bride which premiers early is one of those I am looking forward to seeing, but there will be others!
Last fall, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival announced that they will be commissioning 36 playwrights to translate 39 Shakespeare plays into contemporary modern English. Lively debates ensued (understatement) and will probably continue for some time. My bet is these plays will be very well received and will successfully be bridges for younger generations, who never became comfortable with, or were never introduced to, King James’ English, to cross over and embrace the original Shakespeare plays.
Go to the Portland Monthly magazine Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2016 season article for their description of the opening plays for the 2016 season…
“Sweat” Lynn Nottage’s latest play reviewed by the New York Time
“Sweat” is being hailed as one of the best plays of the 2015 Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s season by many of the Chanticleer Inn’s guests and now the New York Times.
Tickets for “Sweat” are going fast, especially on weekends.
Britt Festivals commission composer Michael Gordon to capture the Crater Lake’s essence in sound.
By Bill Varble, for the Mail Tribune
Never mind the sound of one hand clapping. If Crater Lake were a symphony, what would it sound like? The question is no mere Zen koan. The Britt Music and Arts Festival has commissioned composer Michael Gordon to create a major musical work inspired by Oregon’s only national park.
Britt Music Director Teddy Abrams announced the ambitious project Saturday night at the last concert of Britt’s classical festival for 2015. The composition will have its world premiere the last weekend of July 2016 at the lake with the aim of connecting the iconic park’s unique vibe with an orchestra of 30 or 40 classical musicians performing live. Admission will be free.
The idea for a site-specific composition stemmed from Imagine Your Parks, a National Endowment for the Arts project celebrating the centennial of our nation’s national parks, a system that was created in August 1916. Britt officials have submitted a request for a matching grant of $100,000 to the NEA. The Neuman Hotel Group of Ashland has stepped up as the first major sponsor.
Michael Gordon, who lives in New York City, will make his first visit to the park this week when he and Abrams meet with park officials. He says the goal is to get a sense of the place.
“There’s a lot of sound in nature,” he says. “There’s rain and wind, thunder, birds, the rustling of leaves. But we push this stuff to the background and think about our walk or our drive.”
Abrams says the idea is to link the music specifically with the place.
“We want to use the actual park in the music as opposed to just having a concert there,” he says.
Famed for its beauty and its intensely blue water, Crater Lake was created nearly 7,000 years ago when so much material blew out of a half-million-year-old lava cone that the mountain collapsed, creating a caldera that filled with water from rain and snowmelt. It is the deepest lake in the United States and is noted for the purity of its water. It became a national park in 1902 only after a 17-year fight to preserve it led by William Gladstone Steel.
Michael Gordon is no stranger to translating famous places and our associations with them into structures of sound. In recent years he’s created major compositions based on New York City, Los Angeles and Beijing.
Over the last 25 years, he’s created music for a long list of major orchestras and high-energy ensembles.
In the past year or so alone, Gordon’s compositions have had world premieres performed by the Ensemble Modern, the Dublin Guitar Quartet and the New World Symphony, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.
Critic Alex Ross, writing in The New Yorker, said Gordon’s music combines “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz and the intransigence of classical modernism.”
Gordon says he plans to visit Crater Lake, where he will be artist-in-residence, often in the coming months.
“You have to live with it,” Abrams says.
Although it’s much too early to say, Gordon is thinking that the composition might have three sections, each dealing with a different aspect of nature at the park, such as trees, animals and ultimately the merging of environmental sound and music. He says he thinks of the results to come as a “symphonic tone poem.”
His compositions cast a wide net. “Dystopia,” his L.A. piece, begins with a lyrical and pensive movement and soon suggests out-of-control sprawl. “Gotham,” his New York City composition, begins with a musical evocation of the kind of quiet place New Yorkers search for as a respite from crowds and skyscrapers and traffic and city noises.
“It’s very personal, of course,” he says of creating a musical response to a place.
He’s not the first to do so, he adds, mentioning George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and Ferde Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite.”
He says the biggest hurdle in such an undertaking is finding a starting place.
“The first note is always the hardest,” Gordon says. “I usually sit around and stare off into space.”
Sometimes a musical theme will come to him in a dream.
“It’s always the greatest music I’ve ever heard,” he says. “The next day it’s never as good.”
Although the project is still in the conceptual stages, Britt officials say there will be at least two free performances at the park, perhaps with musicians dotting the landscape and playing here and there as visitors approach the site of the actual concert, which will be in full view of the lake.
Other plans include transporting veterans to the concert and possibly working with Southern Oregon University students to create a visual arts component.
Reach Medford freelance writer Bill Varble at email@example.com.
Daedalus Project — August 24, 2015
The Daedalus Project, in its 28th year, is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s annual ‘talent show’ event to raise money to end the spread of HIV/AIDS, and to remember and celebrate those who have died from this disease.
There are two events on August 24th. For the afternoon there’s a play reading and in the evening in the Elizabethan theater a variety show. Both promise to be entertaining and inspiring events.
Tickets for the Reading are $25. Tickets for the Variety Show are $30-35. To purchase tickets for the Variety Show online, click on August 24 on the calendar above; or call the Box Office at 800-219-8161. For the Play Reading, visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s webpage here here.
Catherine Coulson teaches a free class on OSF’s musical “Guys and Dolls”
Each year, a variety of OSF actors teach classes for the Siskiyou Center. Go to Siskiyou Center’s website to see the in-depth theater education programs and other free classes.
The classes are free of charge, but please call 541-482-0260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let her know if you are attending to arrange for the right amount of seating and refreshments.
Location: Ashland Springs Hotel, 212 E. Main Street
Date: May 9, 2015
2015 Ashland Farmers Market Opens
Always fun, the Ashland Farmers market, also called Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market, provides a wide selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables. As well as herbs, plants, soaps and crafts. Music and food booths add to the festive feel.
8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the National Guard Armory on 1420 E. Main Street