“Head Over Heels”
A Review by Desiree Remick
“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.
Come see Kander & Ebb’s classic musical as you’ve never seen it before as the Oregon Cabaret space is transformed into the Kit Kat Klub in all of its 1930s Berlin decadence.
Cabaret plays from May 28 to August 30, 2015
For tickets go to Oregon Cabaret Theatre.
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
Siskiyou Center: Shakespeare, Women and Song
If you want an immersive program to learn more about Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s spring plays and meet those who actually make it happen, check out Siskiyou Center’s program April 19–24.
Theatre Instructor: Barzin Akhavan
Topics that will be covered:
- What’s the connection between Shakespeare and modern musical theater and how they overlap?
- Find out how a musical theater performer uses a score with language, not notes, to tell a story. Learn how an actor uses the musicality of Shakespeare’s words to make the language clear for the audience.
- Discover some of the unconventional female characters who are on stage at Oregon Shakespeare Festival this season, and how they contribute to the overall production.
- Delve into the world premiere production of the absorbing tale of Fingersmith, aptly described by Oregon Shakespeare Festival as “a wild ride of a Victorian crime thriller!”
Siskiyou Center Program includes pre– and post-show discussions with an Oregon Shakespeare Festival professional artist who will introduce characters and background information for each performance, and provide guest instructors to help you get the most out of your theater experience.
Click HERE to see a day-by-day schedule complete with class times, meals, and theater performances.
Program Fee Includes:
- Tickets to 3 performances at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
- Ticket to 1 performance at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre
- 13 lectures/discussions with theater professionals and Shakespeare scholars
- 13 meals (5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners—2 dinners “on your own”)
- Final dinner at a wonderful restaurant in Ashland
Oregon Shakespeare Festival Actors and Designers Receive 2014 Falstaff Awards
Today PlayShakespeare.com announced the nominees and winners for their 2014 Falstaff Awards.
Around the world, the Falstaff Awards recognize extraordinary and notable achievements in the categories of Best Play, Best Director, Best Performance by a Male or Female Actor, among other performance and technical categories.
Not surprisingly, a number of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s actors and designers received the 2014 Falstaff Award, and more were nominated in various categories.
For Kate T. Vogt‘s comic and notable role as Launce in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, she was awarded Best Female Supporting Performance. Many were delighted in how she tried her best to upstage Crab ably played by Picasso, the now famous Great Pyrenees dog.
In the technical categories: Daniel Ostling won Best Scenic Design and Alexander V. Nichols, was the winner of Best Lighting Design, (both for their effective and elegant work on The Tempest) and U. Jonathan Toppo won in Best Choreography or Fight Direction (for Richard III, it’s safe to assume that the award was for fight direction not for dance).
For the complete list of Falstaff Award nominees and winners you may visit PlayShakespeare.com’s website.
Identity of Shakespeare Mysterious Mr. WH Possibly Revealed
Many have debated to whom were the sonnets written by Shakespeare really dedicated? The only hint was the enigmatic Mr. WH.
Geoffrey Caveney, an American Shakespeare scholar, seems to have come up with a very plausible answer. Read here and come to your own conclusion!
The play ‘The Great Society’ a finalist for an Edward M. Kennedy Prize
‘The Great Society’ is a finalist for 2015 Edward M. Kennedy Prize in the drama inspired by American history category.
Every year, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize is given via Columbia University to a new play or musical. Excerpted from he Prize’s mission statement “…enlists theater’s power to explore the past of the United States, to participate meaningfully in the great issues of our day through the public conversation, grounded in historical understanding, that is essential to the functioning of a democracy.”
Few plays qualify more completely than Oregon Shakespeare Festival‘s “Great Society”
The Prize will be announced on or after February 22, 2015, the anniversary of Senator Kennedy’s birth. The winning play will receive an award of $100,000, and will be honored in a ceremony at Columbia later this spring.
Stay tuned, I get the feeling the “Great Society” will once again be in the news.
Oregon Cabaret Theatre does “It’s A Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play” Nov – Dec
Five actors, supported by clever sound effects and a piano present the classic holiday drama in a fresh and engaging way that makes us discover it anew.
As a New York Times review said: “Dear devoted fans of a certain 1946 Frank Capra holiday movie: Relax. This live radio play production has done absolutely no harm to the original. In fact, it has added another layer of nostalgia…it’s easy for the audience to get caught up in the fun of creating reality from imagination and obvious artifice.”
Step back in time to the golden age of radio and become the studio audience for this delightfully inventive re-telling of George Bailey’s heart-warming story.
November 21 – December 31
Previews November 19 & 20
Performances nightly @ 8:00 except:
Nov 24, 27; Dec 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 24, 25
Saturday and Sunday Brunch matinees at 1:00
Oregon Cabaret Theatre hits the spot if you’re looking for fun, talented and campy entertainment. Ashland’s only performing arts venue that has shows on Monday nights!
For more information visit their website