Oregon ArtsWatch

I wrote a series of reviews for Oregon ArtsWatch about shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Check them out!

Two Gentlemen of Verona.
Perhaps the most stirring realization of the evening was the depth of talent evident in the cast. Even minor characters felt fully realized (Celeste Den’s ridiculous Thurio deserves mention), and not a line of verse was out of place. Both Gomez and Clark’s skill interpreting and delivering text places them with some of the best actors I’ve seen at the festival. It’s sobering to realize how little opportunity these women have to display their abilities within Shakespeare’s canon, and exciting that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival was willing to become one of very few professional theatres interested in producing an all-female Shakespeare play. Far more than a gimmick or a superficial gesture towards equality, this production offers ample proof that all-female casts can transform and illuminate the familiar texts—and in this case, perhaps even improve them (at least to the modern eye).”

Richard III.
Dan Donohue takes the [title] role, in his first appearance at OSF since he played Hamlet in 2010. His Richard is great. I will risk hyperbole and say that it approaches the perfect. He strikes all of the contrasts that make Richard so endlessly compelling and so unlike any version that had come before: the hilarious charm with which he courts the audience from his first moment and the blithe, remorseless recourse to murdering his own family; the fantastic confidence and profound self-loathing.”

Into the Woods. 
Like a good fairy tale, Into the Woods is deceptively simple. The morals of the story are easy to find, when the characters don’t state them outright. But much of their power is in this simplicity. As the show itself reminds us, fairy tales are used to teach lessons to children, so the point is not to bury the message too deeply. When it’s well done, Into the Woods, similarly, is less revelation than reminder of difficult truths. The actors and director here succeed beautifully not because they reinterpret, but because they inhabit what is written fully and truthfully.”

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