Oregon Shakespeare Festival
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The Globe, Pacific Northwest Style
This summer I got to see Henry V in the pit of the Globe Theater in London (yeah 5 pound tickets!). It was an amazing experience, but I realized I had traveled across the planet for the original, but had not visited my own state's famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Upon returning, I immediately bought tickets to see As You LIke It at the Elizabethian Theater in Ashland, OR. It was a beautiful 3 hour drive south of my home in Eugene. Ashland is a sweet town with a great public park, Lithia (that for my city parents, it was wilderness hiking) and fantastic restaurants. The highlight, though, was certainly seeing this comedy under the stars surrounded by lush green mountains. We rented flannel blankets, drank hot cocoa, and were entertained by a wonderfully adapted version of the classic. In fact, they had freedom to interpret the script in ways that I had never seen before: a woman playing the critical, cynical, and lonely character that is always male, and a deaf character using ASL on stage, and even their casting choices by race brought in some thoughtful commentary that I had not anticipated. Bringing in issues of gender, disability, and race made this more than just a night at the theater. Between that and the scenery, it made it a compelling presentation that changed the way I enjoyed Shakespeare and the theater. Well worth the trip! They also have contemporary theater in addition to Shakespeare. We will be back.
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