¶ 2017 has been the summer of “Caesar.” It is one of the two new plays that OPS Fest has introduced into their repertoire. It is also playing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival down in Ashland. The director of that production, in a talk-back in February, stated that she doesn’t know why there are acts four and five (read: anything after the murder of Caesar). That is a common misconception if you think the play is an autobiographical account rather than considering what is tragic about the quality of a major political figure’s death. The title is, after all, “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” and not “The History of Julius Caesar.” Hence the on-going problems with the Public’s production of this play in New York, as company member Hailey Bachrach discusses here. What does OPS Fest offer to the spectrum of “Caesars” out there this summer?
¶ For the next three weekends, the Original Practice Shakespeare Festival (a.k.a. OPS Fest or OPSF) will be holding their WIL Festival. The aim is to perform all 15 Shakespeare plays they have in their repertoire—they add two each year—over successive weekends. Aside from the opportunity to get speedy exposure to half of William Shakespeare’s oeuvre, this is also as close as you might get to seeing the plays in the system for which they were designed: in repertory.