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Theater

2017 Oregon Shakespeare Festival Plays: The Outlook


2017 Oregon Shakespeare Festival Plays: The Outlook

This month 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 usually 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.

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Decision Tree for Shakespeare Plays


Which Shakespeare Play Should You See First?

by Mya Gosling.

I found this ‘cartoon’ both humous and a fairly good breakdown of Shakespeare’s canon. To see more of Mya Gosling’s work go to her website called Peace, Good-Tickle Brain

Mya Gosling Flowchart

Mya Gosling’s Flowchart to Find a Shakespeare Play

 

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Neil Simon “I Ought to Be in Pictures” at the Camelot Theatre


I Ought to Be in Pictures

A Play Written by Neil Simon

October 12 – November 6, 2016

Neil Simon

“I Ought to Be In Pictures” by Neil Simon

 

About Neil Simon Play I Ought To Be In Pictures

In this Tony Award winning play, Herb Tucker, a Hollywood scriptwriter currently “freelancing”, is surprised when his forgotten past reappears in the form of Libby, his teenage daughter who’s trekked from Brooklyn to West Hollywood with hopes of becoming a movie star. Left 16 years ago, Libby barely remembers her father, but she is convinced that Herb holds the keys to the Hollywood Kingdom! With Steffy (his on and off again girlfriend) at his side, Herb decides to take another stab at fatherhood and hopefully this time, get it right.

About Camelot Theatre

Camelot Theatre Company is located in Talent, Oregon in the beautiful Rogue Valley, just a few miles north of Ashland. In just a few minutes drive from excellent lodging in Ashland OR, the Chanticleer Inn B&B.

The Camelot has a wonderful new state-of-the-art building, the James M. Collier Theatre. Here is the Mission Statement:
To be of service to the Rogue Valley, Oregon, by producing high-quality affordable plays, musicals and musical events while providing a supportive environment for professional and amateur theatre artists and technicians and inspiring and training adults, teens and children in the theatre arts.

You can read a short history of the theatre company if you click here.

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Inherit the Wind at the Camelot Theatre


“Inherit the Wind” a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

At the Camelot Theatre, April 27 – May 29, 2016

Inherit the Wind poster/playbill for the Camelot theater

Inherit the Wind

Inherit the Wind, the story:

While this Tony Award winning play debuted in 1955, its story is as relevant today as it was then. One of the most outstanding dramas of our time, Inherit the Wind is a fictionalized account of the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial.

The controversial subject of evolution versus creation causes two polar opposites to engage in one explosive battle of beliefs. Attorney Henry Drummond faces off against fundamentalist leader Matthew Harrison Brady in a small Tennessee town where teacher Bertram Cates has been brought to trial for teaching Darwinism.

Says playwright Lawrence, “We used the teaching of evolution as a parable, a metaphor for any kind of mind control. It’s not about science versus religion. It’s about the right to think.”

About the Camelot Theatre:

Camelot Theatre Company is located in Talent, Oregon in the beautiful Rogue Valley, just a few miles north of Ashland. The Camelot has a wonderful new state-of-the-art building, the James M. Collier Theatre. Here is our Mission Statement:

To be of service to the Rogue Valley, Oregon, by producing high-quality affordable plays, musicals and musical events while providing a supportive environment for professional and amateur theatre artists and technicians and inspiring and training adults, teens and children in the theatre arts.

You can read a short history of the theatre company if you click here.

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2016 Season


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!

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2016

River Bride

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…

 

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Solomon’s Blade at the Camelot Theatre


“Solomon’s Blade” by Lisa Beth Allen

A 2004 winner of the Ashland New Plays Festival

At the Camelot Theatre, February 3, 2016 – February 26, 2016

“Approached with great humor and humanity “Solomon’s Blade” speaks to anyone who has ever looked in the mirror and seen a stranger.”

Camelot theaters playbill poster of Solomon's Blade

The Story of “Solomon’s Blade”

Tamar Greenwold has been unexpectedly called to return from a long awaited vacation with her husband. Her sister-in-law Claire is lying in the hospital seven and a half months pregnant, brain-dead, on life-support. Arrangements have been made by Tamar’s close friend and attorney Kristin Joseph to have an Israeli immigrant adopt the child. Tamar, devoted to her Jewish faith, is thrilled… that is until she discovers the mother to be, Sahrrah Shouman, is Arab-Israeli.

Hannah, Tamar’s gifted eight year-old daughter becomes increasingly attached to the aunt she hardly new and the unborn child. In an effort to stem the tide of conflict between the adults Hannah evolves a plan with potentially deadly consequences. As the characters wrestle with the conflict, the nature of identity, faith and truth are called into question.

About the Camelot Theatre

Camelot Theatre Company is located in Talent, Oregon in the beautiful Rogue Valley, just a few miles north of Ashland.

The Camelot has a wonderful new state-of-the-art building, the James M. Collier Theatre. Here is our Mission Statement:
To be of service to the Rogue Valley, Oregon, by producing high-quality affordable plays, musicals and musical events while providing a supportive environment for professional and amateur theatre artists and technicians and inspiring and training adults, teens and children in the theatre arts.

You can read a short history of the theatre company if you click here.

Coming from afar, hotels and B&Bs are a plenty in Ashland Oregon near the theater.

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“The 39 Steps” Oregon Cabaret Theater Sept 10 – Nov 8, 2015


The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps

The 39 Steps

Based on the novel by John Buchan
Adapted by Patrick Barlow from an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon

A man with a boring mundane life finds himself pursued by a mysterious organization known only as the ‘39 Steps’.  Soon after, a woman he just met is murdered in his apartment. Part Hitchcock masterpiece, part spy novel, part over-the-top comedy, this two-time Tony-winning play is a fast-paced whodunit featuring more than a 150 characters, all played by a talented ensemble of four, featuring an onstage plane crash, a chase on top of moving train cars, some old-fashioned romance and, of course, non-stop laughs.

Plays from September 10 – November 8, for tickets go to the Oregon Cabaret Theatre,

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“Sweat” New York Times Review


“Sweat” Lynn Nottage’s latest play reviewed by the New York Time

Sweat

Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat”

“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.

To read the review go to the NYT’s article.   Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s website has more information on “Sweat”.

Tickets for “Sweat” are going fast, especially on weekends.

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Daedalus Project — August 24, 2015


Daedalus Project's 2015 Poster

Daedalus Project’s 2015 Poster

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.

Daedalus Play Reading

Daedalus Play Reading

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.

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“Head Over Heels” a Review


“Head Over Heels”
A Review by Desiree Remick

Play by Jeff Whitty
Music and Lyrics by the Go-Go’s,
Directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar

7-14-15

Head Over Heels

John Tufts, the clown, in “Head Over Heels”

“Head Over Heels”, true to its name, throws you head over heels into a world of enchanting musical madness, where entire kingdoms can pack up and hit the road on vacation, where a man disguised as an Amazon can be mistaken for a dainty lady in the dark, where the ability to dance is mandatory, and where everyone embraces her (or his) inner goddess. The play is three hours (with intermission), which in my opinion is a little excessive for a musical – but entertaining the whole way through. It blends old-fashioned themes and archaic language with modern speech and politics for a unique timeless flavor. Someone who struggles to understand Shakespeare and another who abhors twenty-first century lingo could find equal enjoyment in this theatre piece.
The play opens in the small kingdom of Arcadia, whose inhabitants are lifted from the 16th century Sir Philip Sidney classic of the same name. Duke Basilius tries his luck with an oracle and receives an unwelcome prophesy in four parts: first, that his eldest daughter will find love, but not with a man; second, that his younger daughter will take a liar to bed; third, that he and his wife will both commit adultery – with the same person, no less; and finally that before the year is out he will have given away his own crown. The good duke, who is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, announces his intent to take an extended ‘road trip’ to neighboring Bohemia, in an attempt to thwart his destiny. But of course, you can’t run away from fate.
There is drama. There is romance. There is comedy (much of it genuinely funny, which is not something that should be taken for granted). There is a lot of innuendo, breaking of the fourth wall, clever jokes and asides tailored to a knowledgeable audience – plenty of references that will slip past the kids – and don’t forget the music! There’s even a sword fight, which ends in the most unexpected way.

I did have some issues with the play as well. It takes an onerously long time to get going (long enough that the actors themselves start joking about it), and the ending also drags a bit. While the message of acceptance is a solid one, there are a few times where the writers allowed their enthusiasm to overflow, which resulted in a few unnecessary scenes and a soliloquy that does not fit with the rest of the script’s tone. Oh, and if your hearing is sensitive or you are prone to getting headaches from too much noise, I advise that you bring a pair of earplugs. The music is quite loud, and I was especially unfortunate in my seating arrangement, which placed me in front of some people who laughed and whistled directly into my ear at every chance.

In conclusion, however, I found “Head Over Heels” to be a lot of fun. If you love musicals or wild tales in the vein of Shakespeare, if you are a supporter of gay rights and the LGBT community, or if you just like to have a good time, this play is an evening well spent.