Shakespeare, Surprise, & Other Drugs

And in the wood, where often you and I
Upon faint primrose-beds were wont to lie,
Emptying our bosoms of their counsel sweet,
There my Lysander and myself shall meet
— Hermia, A Midsummer Night’s Dream 1.1

Walking into the Armory Theatre last night, home of Portland Center Stage, everything except for the play was unknown. I had not yet seen an Anonymous Theatre Company production, which in earlier years was by special invite. A regular fixture in the Portland theatre calendar, their one-night-a-year productions advertise only the director(s) and the play title, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The cast isn’t known to us, or even to one another. Last night, the night of the show, was the first they saw the stage, said these words in public, formed these relationships within the world of the play. The actors were come in amongst us, having taken their seats in the audience to wait out their cue—one even so long as act five. In a play about unexpected transformations, the added level of secrecy and coordinated reveals left me wondering to what extent I rely on the affect of surprise to buoy me through a theatrical experience.

Titania (Joellen Sweeney) falls in love with an ass, Bottom (Jessica Tidd).

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“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

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