“Feast here awhile”: Shakespeare for a Portland Autumn

Dear readers:

According to American Theatre magazine, “Shakespeare remains the most-produced playwright in the country, with 108 productions (including various adaptations). And this year his most-produced play will be Twelfth Night with 9 productions.” In fact, Shakespeare in Love was the most produced play of the year, with 15 full-scale professional productions nation-wide. This does not take into account all of the Shakespeare-ish works making the rounds to be excited for, including the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (Abridged) and Emma Whipday’s Shakespeare’s Sister. If you are in the Portland area this fall, there are a couple of exciting productions to keep your eyes peeled for.

Pericles Wet

This December, Portland Shakespeare Project will be producing a full-scale run of my colleague, Ellen Margolis’ adaptation of Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Based on the act printed in a recent issue of Proscenium and a reading I saw last year, this is likely to prove special. This re-magining refocuses on the assault of Princess Hesperides and the framing device of Gower.

Continue reading ““Feast here awhile”: Shakespeare for a Portland Autumn”

Amorous Rites: “Romeo & Juliet (Layla & Majnun)” — a world premiere

There is a vibrant tradition of performing William Shakespeare’s playtexts cross-, multi-, and trans-culturally. Such productions help us think through our own positions of privilege and reflect on the paradox of globalization—that to learn about other countries and cultures seems to always come with the threat of violence. For post-colonial writers, Gabriel García Márquez called this paradox the “crux of Solitude”: “poets and beggars, musicians and prophets, warriors and scoundrels, all creatures of that unbridled reality, we have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable.” A play interested in Shakespeare’s text as a shared vocabulary, and then putting that in conversation with other shared cultural vocabularies, Bag & Baggage’s world premiere of “Romeo & Juliet (Layla & Majnun)” is stunning.

From left: Benvolia, cousin to Romeo, a Bedouin (Cassie Greer); Tybalt, cousin to Juliet, a Warrior of the Cross (Signe Larsen); and Nawfal/Mercutio, a Bedouin warrior (Colin Wood).

Continue reading “Amorous Rites: “Romeo & Juliet (Layla & Majnun)” — a world premiere”