John Casker, World Traveler: Off to Ashland!


…wherein our hero abandons his family for a weekend of culture.

This is opening weekend for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and as I’ve done for … er, 3 years now?.. I’m heading down as a member of the press to take in every play. Yes, in the internet age literally anyone can be a member of the press. Unlike last year,  where the season was choc-a-bloc with let’s-call-them fan favorites (Hamlet! Cat on a Hot Tin Roof! Pride and Prejudice!), this year’s season .. well, isn’t. This doesn’t mean that I expect the plays to be any less engaging, it’s more that I’m still very much a theater neophyte so I don’t know what I’m getting myself into.

The four plays I’m seeing are:

The Imaginary Invalid is probably the play I’m most looking forward to. Yes, it’s theoretically a dated text by Moliere, but this is the same production group that did Servant of Two Masters a couple years ago and that was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. No, really. Measure for Measure is a “problem play,” so that’ll be interesting (never read it… I know, what the hell am I doing running a website for these things?). To Kill a Mockingbird will massage my white guilt (hur hur.. actually I expect it to be great given the cast), and The Language Archive… well, it’s in the New Theatre, which has housed my favorite AND least favorite productions – it’s where the Festival gets more experimental. So, we’ll see.

I’ve said this before, but this really is the year I put up or shut up with Ashland Link. It’s a fun diversion, but it’s only kinda-sort of a website and that needs to change. Either I’m done with it or I do more with it, starting with (knock on wood) finding more writers for it so I don’t have to go down four times a year. I love it in Ashland, but it’s starting not to be special, which makes our vacation trips there less exciting. That’s no good.


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