Podcast 133: Theater Reviews from Oregon Shakespeare Festival

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This week’s podcast takes us off the beaten path of play-centric discussions and heads north to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and its five (count ’em) Bard-composed productions–The Winter’s Tale, Timon of Athens, Hamlet, Richard II, and Twelfth Night. Plus, I want to address some other, not-so-cool stuff happening in Ashland.

Timeline
00:00 – Begin podcast
00:27 – Opening
00:46 – The Winter’s Tale
04:37 – Timon of Athens
08:47 – Hamlet
11:45 – Richard II
15:43 – Twelfth Night
18:38 – Troubles in Ashland
20:10 – Some shameless self-promotion
20:52 – Closing
22:06 – End podcast

 

 

Podcast Credits

This podcast was recorded with the built-in microphone on an Acer Chromebook C720, using AudioRecorder from gideon.weissman (webaudiodemos.appspot.com). The interview itself was recorded over a Samsung Galaxy 3 using ACR (Another Call Recorder) software by NLL. It was then edited in Adobe Audition Creative Cloud on a Dell Inspiron 3847 computer.

The bumper music (Loop 90) and the segue music (Morning Show Segue) are courtesy of Royalty Free Music.com, which offers a comprehensive music library of production music for your various royalty free music needs including full albums, tracks and free music clips, loops, and beats available for download.

 

 

5 Replies to “Podcast 133: Theater Reviews from Oregon Shakespeare Festival”

  1. I held off listening to these reviews until we returned from our week at OSF yesterday, and now I really appreciate your comments and insights. My responses to TIMON and WINTER’S TALE were very similar to yours. I found TIMON to be really fresh and exciting, and thought the acting in WINTER’S TALE was very credible, although I, too, was disappointed by the statue scene. The glitzy hint of the supernatural hinted at by the light(en)ing in Hermione’s dress seemed to diminish the more human miracle of forgiveness.

    I think I found more to appreciate in Danforth Coming’s Hamlet than you did, although I agree that the set-up for his “To be” speech was an utter disaster. I also hated that Ophelia used a mic to perform her mad scene, and although I loved what Scott Kelly added to the production as a musician, I thought his Gravedigger was the weakest I’ve ever seen. But despite all those complaints and quibbles (and more), I left that production feeling that I’d been given an authentic experience of the play.

    By the same token, I think I found much less to admire in that RICHARD II and TWELFTH NIGHT than you did. TWELFTH NIGHT seemed too shrill, glib, and breezy to do justice to that dark, rich comedy. My personal conception of Richard II’s character is of a very flawed human and failed king whose struggles are intensified because of his poetic, sensitive (and squeamish) soul, and I felt that Christopher Liam Moore sold him short in that regard, as did Bill Rauch with that over-the-top robe and yet another gratuitous bathroom scene.

    But I really enjoyed your perspectives on these productions, and I’m grateful for how your appreciation and criticisms have invited me to reevaluate some of what I’d seen.

    Also, although I was sickened to hear that racism is so alive and well in southern Oregon, I’m glad you took the time to share that sad news with us. Black lives matter–everywhere!

    1. Jean,

      GREAT looks at the plays!

      I, too, thought Kelly’s music was core to the play’s experience, and loved it (and yes, his gravedigger…meh).

      Twelfth Night: glib and breezy… yeah, I totally buy that view. It didn’t bother me (as much), though.

      Richard II: I see your Richard characterization, and while I agree with it, I do think Moore’s performance highlights some of those flaws (though, admittedly, without the poetry–until his demise). I certainly don’t think it’s a definitive portrayal, but I do think it’s very good. I loved the “over-the-top robe”! Quick question: “Yet another gratuitous bathroom scene”? Though I was at the Festival last year, it’s been a while since I’ve been a regular attendee… is the bathroom a recurring motif in Rauch’s work?

      Again, great perspectives on the play… thanks!

  2. The bathroom scene I was referring to was in Rauch’s 2010 HAMLET where Claudius’s “My offense is rank” soliloquy took place in a kingly bathroom. At some point Claudius even threw up into a shiny black toilet, which he flushed at the end of the scene. Admittedly that was awhile ago, but then, too, I thought the staging strained too hard and that the gaudy spectacle got in the way of both the characters’ words and their inner struggles.

    For me, one of the great pleasures in reading and theater-going is being able to compare and discuss my reactions with other readers and theater-goers; thanks for playing (ahem) along!

    1. That’s right! I had forgotten all about that… thanks for the reminder (may need to be on the lookout for potty scenes in future years!).

      It’s funny, though…I was just walking the dog with my wife, and we were discussing your “bathroom” comment, and she noted that at least THE Hamlet soliloquy wasn’t done on the toilet. But thinking about it, it just might work there, as it is a “sh!t or get off the pot” speech.

      Cue rimshot.

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