Ashland Theater Review

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.