Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Oregon Shakes

No, we have not had an earthquake in Oregon... nor a volcanic eruption. Oregon Shakes is what some of us call the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. I am just back from four days of plays and fellowship with friends. I'm exhausted. For some reason, traveling and play going and socializing is way more tiring than my usual hoof trimming, weeding, etc. on the farm. But I had a great time. The plays were unbelievably good. I cannot imagine a more talented group of actors, directors, and tech people than those at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I would see any of the three plays again in a minute... if I weren't so tired and ready to stay home.

Two Trains Running by August Wilson was especially wonderful because our good friend J.P. Phillips was on stage nearly the entire time, sounding just like himself. I began to wonder if Wilson knew J.P. and wrote the part of Holloway just for him.

Taming of the Shrew was equally wonderful, especially the ending. I've always hated the ending of this Shakespeare comedy but somehow the director managed to turn it on its head while not changing a single word. And My Fair Lady was far and away the most fun production of that musical that I have ever seen... and I've seen many. Wow!

We also took an awesome backstage tour on Saturday. I've taken lots of backstage tours at Oregon Shakes and learn something new every time. Partly because I don't remember all I learned on the earlier tours but also because each tour guide is an actor or tech person with the company, each with his or her own special knowledge and interests.

After the tour we went to a noon lecture on Two Trains Running. We were all glad to have gone to that to understand why the director did what he did and to learn the background of the play. Friend Toni, who drove down with me, and I had read the script but still learned much from the talk. Our play going compatriots, Judy and Don and Ruth were also thankful to drink in all that information. Then it was off to the play itself.

We didn't have much time to eat on Saturday since we raced from one event to the next. After the play, Toni, Ruth and I took J.P. out to dinner at the Thai restaurant in Ashland, as is our tradition of many years.  It was a wonderful, and wonderfully full day, after which I collapsed in bed.

Photos? I didn't take many. Toni and I stayed with Judy and Don in Jacksonville and the only photos I took, other than a few of "cool cars" for grandson Cedrus, were at Judy and Don's lovely home. Naturally, I snooped around their property and followed the sound of water to this hidden bubbling creek, which marks their property line.

It was unseasonably warm in Southern Oregon for our visit and we were able to eat out on their deck in view of the entire valley with Mt. McLoughlin in the distance.

In order to see Toni, Don and Judy in the photo above, I had to lighten it which makes the mountain disappear, so below is a brighter rendition of the mountain, with our table laden with food... and the people too dark to see. Judy fed us wonderful food every day, always gluten free for me. What a pal.

At the top of this blog is Mt. McLoughlin as seen from Judy and Don's deck but zoomed up closer. It is the white speck in the center of the above photo.

Their beautiful Labradoodle Rusty impressed us, as always, with his newspaper carrying duty all the way up the long road from the paper box to their house. What a great dog! Here they are starting out on their every morning walk.

And then on the way home...

After our Saturday marathon in Ashland, I did not feel well Sunday morning so begged Don to let me weed. Strange as it sounds, the act of sitting close to the earth, breathing her smells and pulling her weeds, helped me feel much better. I am really a country hick. While I did my earth therapy, Judy and Toni and Rusty hiked their legs off around Jacksonville. Then Judy and Toni and I met Ruth, who had driven up from California and was staying in Ashland, for lunch at a wonderful restaurant, the Greenleaf, with a gluten free menu and organic food, reasonable and delicious. Don joined us for the afternoon production of My Fair Lady.

After the play, Toni and I drove home, five hours to her house and another hour to mine. The time went quickly, though, with a good friend to share it.

Yesterday I unloaded the car and did little else. Today I hiked the farm, changing trail camera cards and taking lots of photos of spring beginning to spring. I'll save those for my next blog post.

I had a great trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. But there is no place like home.

Addendum: Toni took photos, too, and sent me these. Now I can prove I was really there... on the bricks sitting on the Green Show stage. The Angus Bowmer theater, where we saw all three plays, is behind me.

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