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Ashland 9 September 2015

1029 : 979

Another Two-Play Day

We're taking it very slow today, breakfast in our room with our purchases from the Ashland Coop (one of the best stores in the world). We're storing up energy for two plays today. Ashland, on the edge of the Siskiyou Mountains, is a bit of an urban wilderness, and so we were not surprised to see this four-legged, 12-pointed gardening crew at work on the lawn next door.

<p>Out our motel room window this morning</p>

Out our motel room window this morning

1032 : 972

Rochelle: "I loved it!"

One of the best productions ever. A delightful, complex, deeply textured play; Shakespeare at his most powerful. The big question: Why is this play, so much beloved in its time and until recently, not more performed? I like it better than Tempest. It has music, humor, pathos, a dea ex machina, a drag queen, pirates, nobility, shipwreck. A play I've read and admired, but never seen.

The Thomas Theater, the littlest here (about 300 seats) and most experimental, is such a total delight. So intimate. This production, three-quarter thrust, seemed to be right in our second row laps. A woman, on exit, said, "Finally, a Shakespeare play that ends the way I want it to!" Maybe that's why it's so rarely performed?

1033 : 963

Early entirely satisfactory dinner at Wiley's World. The Green Show with the Elizabethan House Band. "All that music sounds the same," comments Rochelle. A far cry from the driving rhythms and weighty words of the Dylan tribute the night before ... and about half as many people. 


1034 : 959

Such an inventive, unexpected, high-energy, entertaining piece of theater! A Romantic musical (Perciles too was a romance), the plot based loosely on Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia from 1580 and the music adapted from the songbook of the Go-Gos, a girl band from the 1980s. One of the director's stated goals was to involve the audience, and with the typical Elizabethan audience of 1,200, that's a hard march. The actors, in particular the Fool, circulating in the audience, helped erode the barriers. Some folks pretended not to see the out-of-place actors, others high-fived them. Anachronism reined. Finally, the theme emerged as a celebration of "all the sexual combinations in the romantic universe." Great fun.

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