Of Shakespeare and Pirates!

by Kimberly A. Cook              (Twitter @WarriorTales) 

Everyone needs a vacation and writers are no exception. While writers are “on” all the time observing, watching life and dreaming things in the space between our ears, we do need to refill our creative cup. One of my favorite places to go is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. www.osfashland.org

Me doing a fine job of holding down this sign. Notice the "first" part about the Elizabethan Theatre.

I recently returned from five days in this fabulous town and had a blast on the backstage tour and seeing Love’s Labor’s Lost and The Pirates of Penzance. See, I told you there were pirates involved.

This is the 76th season of the Tony Award winning regional theatre and they have 10 plays in repertory this year. The three theatres, the Elizabethan Stage, the Angus Bowmer and the New Theatre offer four different plays each day, which then rotate the next day. Mondays they all take a day off. Well earned.

This year an additional challenge occurred when the main supporting beam in the Angus Bowmer Theatre cracked and they had to move plays immediately. The technical crew and actors did an amazing job to deal with and recover from “Beamageddon” while still putting the plays on in alternate venues. It took six weeks for the beam to be repaired. We heard the inside scoop from our backstage tour host actor Jeffrey King who shared his love of acting and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 

Inside the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Elizabethan Stage in Ashland, Oregon on the backstage tour.

Being around artists of all kinds rewards and energizes the creative muse and lets the imagination dance.  I asked King what his thoughts were about the movie soon to be out, Anonymous, which tries to make folks believe Shakespeare didn’t actually write the plays and sonnets.

“To an actor, what really matters is the story,” he replied. “I believe Shakespeare wrote the plays, but for an actor, it doesn’t really matter who wrote it. It’s all about the story.”

Which brings us back to the true lesson in being a storyteller and writer.  It’s the story, stupid! Make it the best it can be. Sounds like an old Army ad, imagine that.

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