June Blogroll: PDX Summer Shakespeares Edition

Dear readers,

After the 400th anniversary celebrations, one would assume it likely that Shakespeare performances might wane. After all, we did have the Cultural Olympiad, featuring the World Shakespeare Festival, as part of the London 2012 Olympics. In 2016, there were an incredible number of events across the globe, including world tours and major city initiatives (such as the Chicago City Desk project), that staged unprecedented cycles of Shakespeare originals and adaptations. It would seem, however, that this glut of Shakespeare has stabilized an appetite for productions rather than causing audiences to be surfeit. Lucky, lucky me.

I have now had a year to get a sense of the Shakespeare landscape here in the Pacific Northwest, with the  help of some friends—most notably, Linfield professor and regular New Yorker contributor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner. Oregon is a hub for Shakespeare due to its award-winning regional festival in Ashland. The Henry IV plays they are running this summer are something special, by virtue of the ensemble, the lead Daniel Jose Molina, and the thoughtful direction by Lileana Blain-Cruz. If the five-hour drive and ticket prices are a deterrent for you, do not fear: there are a number of interesting Shakespeare events closer to the Columbia this summer.

Continue reading “June Blogroll: PDX Summer Shakespeares Edition”

Fresh Eyes on Artist Rep’s “Feathers & Teeth”

¶ Dear all,

Over the past month or so, I’ve been fortunate to sit-in on the process of developing Charise Castro Smith’s Feathers & Teeth for Artist Repertory Theatre here in Portland. The “Fresh Eyes” program, part of the theatre’s Table|Room|Stage initiative, invites respondents from diverse backgrounds to join rehearsals at all the different stages of development—from first-day design pitches to the champaign toast in the green room on opening night—and then to share their observations in a series of blog posts. Another local Shakespearean, Dr. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner (Linfield College), shared his posts for their recent Paula Vogel play, A Civil War Christmas, with me and I couldn’t resist.

¶ My current book project is on the repertory system and the ways in which it structured the Elizabethan theatre industry as well as the playgoing experience. Watching those companies that continue to use the system—even in its much-changed form—is immensely helpful at these early stages in the project. (Which might be to say, at this stage of re-conceiving the doctoral dissertation as a monograph.) All the better, I got to share the experience with Anthony Hudson (a.k.a. Carla Rossi), a powerhouse drag artists specializing in clown and/as horror. Not only did I get to observe practitioners in process, but I got to chat and get feedback from another observing practitioner! Here’s what we saw:

  1. Is it “a little ferret, a fox, or a rat”? (9 Feb, 2017)
  2. Hotdogs, Grandmas, and Nazis (19 Feb. 2017)
  3. REEL Blood & Vinyl Dining (24 Feb. 2017)
  4. The Girl in the Fable (5 Mar. 2017)
  5. Grief and Other Beasties (16. Mar. 2017)

¶ I can’t thank Luan Schooler enough for the lovely opportunity, as well as the production team who were so incredibly welcoming and forthcoming with any questions that I had. Feathers & Teeth runs through 2 April. Grab tickets here while they last!

¶ Cheers!
¶ Elizabeth