By Dan Shryock
It’s easy to look at the 2012 Oregon Shakespeare Festival season and say there’s something on stage for everyone. Facts are facts.
“As a destination theater, we want to offer a variety of genres and experiences and to give everyone something they’ll like,” says Amy Richard, festival spokeswoman.
“For people new to OSF, the plays of choice are usually Shakespeare. This season they might choose ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or ‘As You Like It,’ both Shakespearean comedies,” Amy says. “People who have been here tend to see more than one play.” They might go for Shakespeare’s “Troilus and Cressida” or “Henry V” and then try one of our world premieres, “Party People” or “All the Way.”
In all, there are 11 works to choose from during the 2012 season, which extends from February to November. Options range from ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to the Marx Brothers’ comedic classic ‘Animal Crackers’ There are new works and old works, and adaptations. For a complete list and more information about the plays, visit the OSF website - http://www.osfashland.org/plays/index.aspx
“I suggest people go to the website and read about the different plays, view the videos and decide what they want to see—particularly the Shakespeare plays.” Amy says. “It’s helpful to do a bit of research as the setting of the play and the director’s interpretation may be different than what audiences might expect. For example, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is set in 1840s California, not Verona, Italy. “The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa” is set in Windsor, Iowa.
And, ‘As You Like It’ is set during the Victorian Era.
“Frequently people want a more traditional setting, but a more modern or contemporary setting can bring a new understanding to the text,” Amy says, “If people remain open.”
Visiting for the First Time
“Many of our audience members are those passing through Ashland and they decide to stop in for one play. Those returning will generally see more plays, and purchase a ticket for a backstage tour, catch a lecture or go to a post-show discussion,” she says. “They’re going to spend more time on the OSF campus.
“Then there are those who aren’t looking for an immersive theatre experience but will come and see one play or two, do some rafting, maybe drive up to Crater Lake or go to Jacksonville. Perhaps they will stay in Ashland,” Amy says. “There are so many opportunities here in town and in Southern Oregon—not just plays, but many recreational and shopping opportunities.”
Those people who purchase tickets in advance will receive an email from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival about a week ahead of their visit with useful information that includes details about parking, what to expect in the theater, how to dress and more. It also provides information about events in Ashland they may want to attend.
Other theater experiences in Southern Oregon
Oregon Cabaret Theatre
Ashland - For an intimate theater experience, select a production at Oregon Cabaret Theatre and enjoy dinner while you watch. OCT is open year round just down the street from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
OCT has steadily grown and now annually presents more than 270 performances of five shows in a year-round season (early February through December). For a complete list of upcoming shows, visit www.oregoncabaret.com.
Talent - Camelot Theatre, a semi-professional company, features a refreshing mix of musicals, comedies and dramas, in that order, year round.
Camelot Theatre is housed in the brand-new intimate 164-seat state-of-the-art James Morrison Collier Theatre Building in downtown Talent. Camelot Theater Special “Spotlight” performances are interspersed between plays for an enriching mix. A schedule for 2012 can be seen at www.camelottheatre.org.
Medford- This is not your normal community theater. Randall Theatre strives to bring meaningful productions and theatrical events to the Rogue Valley that can be enjoyed by all. In addition to staging traditional theater productions in drama, comedy and musical theater with the best Southern Oregon actors, directors and technical staff available, the Randall Theatre’s large theatrical events showcase the themes in creative and entertaining ways. For a complete schedule of 2012 events, visit www.randalltheatre.com.
Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater
The sights and sounds of the world come to life on the stage at the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater. From internationally renowned artists to beloved local and regional talent, the entertainment assortment offered by Craterian Performances will move you to relaxing laughter, inspiring tears and joyful memories creating invigorating dreams. From August to June, the Craterian Theater offers the largest variety of artistic performances in the Rogue Valley! For more information about the Craterian Ginger Rogers Theater, visit www.craterian.org.
Ross Ragland Theater
Klamath Falls - The Ross Ragland Theater is a visual and performing arts center committed to providing quality, affordable, culturally diverse events and related educational opportunities. In the 2011-2012 season’s performances you might float on the crescendo of a violin; hang in the air with dancers extraordinaire; sigh as unrequited love becomes true. Your journey might also lead you to side-splitting comedy, exciting performers from other lands, poignant stories from our troops on the front line, and a variety of music to keep you dancing and singing all through the night.
Visit www.rrtheater.org for more information.
Klamath Falls - Over its more than 45-year history, the Linkville Playhouse has hosted more than 200 productions. As the oldest community theater group in the Klamath Basin, the Linkville Playhouse is devoted to presenting an annual season of dramatic productions.
Hosting such performances as “Spider’s Web,” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “The Baltimore Waltz” and special events such as “Little Linkville” and the “Klammie Awards,” the 2011-2012 season of live theater at the Linkville Playhouse will be an unexpectedly welcome addition to your visit to Klamath County.
Call 541-884-6782 for more information.