Ashland Theater Review

osfashland.org

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland has hired a resident Intimacy Director.  It is the first regional theater company to hire someone to make sure actors are comfortable during intimate scenes.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

I’d better say it right away. “Between Two Knees,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is not about sex. The two knees referred to are two incidents: the massacre of 300 Lakota at Wounded Knee by American soldiers in 1890, and the 1973 occupation of the Pine Ridge reservation at Wounded Knee by Native American activists.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

If you speak any Spanish you can have fun with “La Comedia of Errors,” Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s bilingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s early comedy. If you speak a lot of Spanish you’ll have a rollicking good time. And if your first or only language is Spanish you’ll probably understand the show best of all.


Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

A perceptive production of “All’s Well that Ends Well” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival shows how deeply Shakespeare understood women, often portraying them as persons of superior wit.


Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

No matter how many times you’ve seen “Macbeth,” it’s time to see it again at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This astonishing production is currently playing at the Allen Elizabethan Theatre, but later in the summer it may move indoors if the air is smoky.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Indecent,” Paula Vogel’s highly acclaimed drama, has now opened at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which co-commissioned the work but allowed many other productions before it landed in Ashland.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“As You Like It” is one of my favorite comedies by Shakespeare. The new production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Rosa Joshi, offers much to enjoy, but also to annoy.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Hairspray,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is bound to be a hit for young and old. It’s a bright, bouncy, warm-hearted musical that’s been charming audiences since 2002 as it aims to encourage tolerance and good will toward all.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Mother Road,” by Octavio Solis, is an intriguing new drama at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. As directed by Bill Rauch, the tale of hard luck and hope is almost mythic.

Jenny Graham / Ashland Shakespeare Festival

Audio Pending...

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

In its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, “The Way the Mountain Moved” takes us to the western frontier of the 1850s, when traveling across the continent was almost as mysterious and dangerous as traveling to another planet in our time.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Snow in Midsummer,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is a modern adaptation of a classic Chinese drama written in the late 1200s.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Love’s Labour’s Lost,” an early comedy by Shakespeare now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s outdoor theater, has a simple plot that points toward greater works like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Jennie Graham/Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The intimate Thomas Theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is the place to discover new plays that explore important but under-exposed issues.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

What better place to see “The Book of Will” than at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Allen Elizabethan Theatre?

If you’ve seen too many high school productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!,” you may think it’s a tired old horse. The glorious production at Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival will change your mind.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Sense and Sensibility,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, certainly pleases the high school students who travel to Ashland for a taste of live theater.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare’s “Othello,” now playing in a well nuanced production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is always painful to watch. The Moor is a brilliant admiral who succeeds in protecting Venice from the Ottomans. But, like the hero of a Greek tragedy, his fatal flaw, being born black, guarantees his downfall.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

“Oh for a muse of fire.” Reminiscent of Homer’s Iliad, so begins “Henry V” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. As directed by Rosa Joshi, this compelling and inventively stylized production is a fine example of ensemble work.

Jenny Graham / Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Hola, mis amigos! I just saw a play by Karen Zacarias at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival called “Destiny of Desire,” and it’s more fun than a Mexican telenovela. Well, it is a telenovela, a Latin-style soap opera, but it’s in English, with added soundbites about dating and other vital social issues.

Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Dorothy Velasco reviews Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, the first play by Jiehae Park.

Dorothy Velasco reviews Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of UniSon, a musical based on the poetry of August Wilson.

Dorothy Velasco reviews the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of The Odyssey, adapted for the stage by Mary Zimmerman.

Photo by Jenny Graham

Guilt, anger, revenge. Riotous hilarity, mortal enemies, Falstaff bigger than life, Prince Hal in a hoody. Yes, it’s “Henry IV, Part One” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s intimate Thomas Theatre, to be followed in the summer by “Part Two.”

As directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz, Shakespeare’s great history play, peppered with surprises, is staged in the round and set in modern times. We can almost reach out and touch the actors, and the actors certainly touch us with their electrifying emotions.

Photo by Jenny Graham

In “Mojada, A Medea in Los Angeles,” playwright Luis Alfaro manages an impressive feat, melding a Greek tragedy with a heartbreaking story of Mexican immigrants.

Now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, with sensitive direction by Juliette Carrillo, this play follows the life of Medea, a young indigenous woman from Michoacán now residing in Los Angeles with her beloved Jason, pronounced Ha-sohn, their son Acan, and Tita, an old family friend. All are mojados, wetbacks, illegal.

Photo by Jenny Graham

When I studied Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in high school it seemed like ancient history having nothing to do with me. Well, now it’s ancient history that relates perfectly to our times.