Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0469.  Monday, 24 June 1996.

From:           Thomas H. Blackburn)<This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Friday, 21 Jun 1996 12:36:28 +0500
Subject:        Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland

The 1996 Shakespeare Season at the Ashland, Oregon, Shakespeare Festival

Though I will be writing a more complete review for SHAKESPEARE IN THE
CLASSROOM (to appear in the fall), I want to encourage any of you who can
possibly get to Ashland to indulge in this season's offerings. My wife and I
saw four plays in three days without surfeit and with delight. The highlight
for me was CORIOLANUS, in a production which masked none of the play's
ambiguous attitudes towards both the plebian demands and rights and the hero's
personal courage and integrity (and Volumnia's powers). As Coriolanus, Derrick
Lee Weeden earned a standing ovation for a protrayal that managed at once to be
moving and frightening in his personal anguish and in his arrogance and
capacity for impersonal violence. The production of LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST
maintained a pace and a level of visual support for both the verbal humor and
the amorous interplay which made the play work with unexpected liveliness for a
work which often seems to readers a dated piece of extravagance. ROMEO AND
JULIET survived an overly acrobatic Romeo, partly because of Vilma Silva's
feisty Juliet, and without resorting to gimicks lent decent new life to the
play's familiar language. The one weak spot in THE WINTER'S TALE, to my taste
at least, was Perdita (probably because of a powerless rendering of the flower
speeches), the only one of the three plays to be produced indoors at the Bowman
Theatre rather than under the stars at the Elixabethan. Though each of these
plays was directed by a different person, all of them showed a willingness to
mingle stylized movements and patterns with naturalistic ones when the
stylization would help make clear and present the heart of the action. As I
discovered last year, the depth of the repertory company means that supporting
roles are almost always as well-played as the principals (one plays principal
may well be the next's spear carrier, as it were), and the pleasure of hearing
the lines clearly and sensitively ennunciated without the aid and distortion of
electronic amplication cannot be underestimated. Get there if you can!

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