“Darling Buds”: Shakespeare for a Portland Spring

There is a lot of great Shakespeare lined-up in the Portland region this spring. While there are usual summer seasonal companies—my own Original Practice Shakespeare Festival opening on midsummer eve and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival—there is a lot of exciting shorter runs closer to the city to take in. This past fall was a treat, and I didn’t get to nearly as much as I wanted. This time, I’m buying tickets early and blocking out my calendar – and so should you. Here’s a list and details of what is coming up early modern this spring in PDX.

Let me know what you think!

Who thought this was a good idea for a chocolate brand? #ShakespeareInTheWild

That Midsummer ✓

As part of the Fertile Ground festival of new work that kicks off the new year in the Portland theatre community, this piece is in tandem with Twilight Theatre Company‘s season focusing on “how theater enriches our lives; be it told via a play within a play, plays about the acting and directing experience, influential plays that have changed the course of theater, or plays that have helped shape our culture and society today.” MidsummerHamlet, and Love’s Labours Lost are the three most invested in moments of meta-theatre by Shakespeare, staging moments about staging. Adding another layer always has potential to do something special in my experience.

Winter ✓

Written, directed, and produced by local theatre-maker Meg MorriganWinter is also part of the Fertile Ground festival. The description for the this workshop reads: a “’psycho-spiritual vision quest that draws inspiration from Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, this in-development text uses a free-form, stream-of-consciousness style in its exploration of womanhood, mothers and daughters, the multiverse, free will, and spirituality.”

The Rape of Lucrece

This chamber art musical of Shakespeare’s poem, “The Rape of Lucrece,” promises an intense, intimate production featuring a combination of spoken word and original song. A special benefit performance on February 1st will donate all proceeds to the Sexual Abuse Survivors Movement/Process Group.

Love Drunk: Shakespearean Love Stories ✓

In the vein of the Drunk History web series, actors will attempt to manage iambic pentameter while hammered. The production promises to feature my favorite practices: roles are drawn from a hat on the spot, and actors will attempt to costume themselves and stage their scenes in-the-moment. I know Bag&Baggage loves me.

Twelfth Night or What You Will

It is hard to tell if setting this playful romp in 1920s Cuba will be in poor taste or right on the pulse.

Macbeth ✓

As a production company noted for being creative with visual patterns and tableau, Shakespeare’ Scottish play will no doubt prove fertile ground. Have run away with a number of Drammys in recent years, this forthcoming project is something to watch for.


Yup. You have not one, but three chances to see the Scottish play this March alone. Will say that it was this play done by this company that converted me to “original practice” techniques. This take on the sleepwalking scene is particularly special. All the better, you can see it as Elizabethans would have: with a beer in hand. Best of all, it’s free.

  • Run: 3/26 at 6:30PM, only.
  • Tickets: Free.
  • Venue: McMenamin’s Mission Theatre (1624 NW Gilsan)
  • Info: http://www.opsfest.org.


This performance by the newly re-planted Fern Shakespeare Company is actually part of the Seattle Celebrates Shakespeare festival happening all spring a couple hours north on the Pacific coast. Details are unclear as yet, but it is a tough sell considering that Seattle Rep is also doing a take, “Mac Beth.”


Ok, so it isn’t quite Shakespeare. Marlowe’s Shakespeare’s contemporary wrote an interesting adaptation of Goethe’s story. So, by merit of two degrees of separation, I usually have my eye out for a Faust. That, and it is way out into spring, not going up until June. This is being coproduced by Portland Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, however, and there will be only be four performances, so get your tickets early.

As You Like It

 Little is known about this production yet except that it will be small cast adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. After this company’s hit last summer, “Romeo & Juliet / Layla & Majnun,” hopes are high.

  • Run: 7/12 – 29, 2018
  • Tickets: to be announced.
  • Venue: The Vault (350 E. Main St., Hillsboro)
  • Info: https://bagnbaggage.org/about-us/jobs-volunteering/.

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