Ashland Review

Photo Jenny Graham

“The Happiest Song Plays Last,” now at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Thomas Theatre, is part three of a trilogy by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Last year the Festival presented part two, “Water by the Spoonful,” directed, like this play, by Shishir Kurup.
The author, inspired by her cousin Elliot, the youngest Marine to be deployed to Iraq, has stitched his story to others, creating a colorful quilt of present-day issues.

photo Jenny Graham

Take two plays, one an ancient farce and the other a modern tale of lost love. Accidentally schedule them for a dress rehearsal on the same stage at the same time, and you have the starting point for “Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

photo Jenny Graham

“Antony and Cleopatra,” now playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is one of Shakespeare’s most confounding plays. Directors have a hard time deciding what it is. Battles, politics, lust, suicides, a little comedy, and a lot of short scenes alternating between Egypt and Rome.

photo Jenny Graham

“Long Day’s Journey into Night,” Eugene O’Neill’s gut-wrenching family drama, is playing in a superlative production at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Thomas Theatre.
When O’Neill fashioned this play based on his miserable youth, he stipulated it could not be published until 25 years after his death, and never be performed. But after he died in 1953 his widow soon had it produced on Broadway, and it earned Pulitzer and Tony Awards.

photo Jenny Graham

Among the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s summer openings, the funniest by far is the world premiere of the musical, “Head Over Heels,” at the Allen Elizabethan Theatre.
With a script by Jeff Whitty, author of the Tony-winning “Avenue Q,” and music and lyrics by the Go-Go’s, the wildly popular female band from the eighties, the much-anticipated show is hilarious, enticing and touching.

Christopher Acebo, Associate Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, will give a talk called “Guiding Space: An Exploration of Set Design in the Theater,” as part of Lane Arts Council’s First Friday ArtWalk on Friday, June 5th at 5:30 p.m. It will be at Oregon Contemporary Theatre, moderated by Bob Keefer. Christopher Acebo speaks with Eric Alan about using minimalism to engage the audience’s imagination, and the beauty of limitations.

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