¶ 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.
¶ 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.