Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

3815 - 3982 (14210 - 14377)

Today was a return to civilization, as I left the wilds of the redwood forest and the coast of California, crossed into Oregon, and saw two plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.

I really enjoyed my night in Crescent City, California. I stayed in a Hampton Inn right on the ocean. Despite being early March, I slept comfortably with my deck door ajar, with the crash of the waves and the smell of salt air to carry me to dreamland. Here is the view from my room.

A very short drive today, with plans to catch both the matinee and evening shows at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I travelled northeast through the Klamath National Forest, getting my last glimpse of the dense woods that I had come to enjoy so much.

Could not pass up this oddity: the Giant Fly at the O'Brien Country Store in O'Brien, Oregon. It sits on top of the roof of an outdoor bathroom; the keys to the men's and women's rooms are pieces of wood carved to look like fly swatters.

As I approached Grants Pass, Oregon, civilization encroached; shopping centers, industrial parks, chain restaurants. When I hit I-5, a great sense of melancholy set in. The truly adventurous part of the Excellent Adventure was coming to an end. I now would be on interstate the rest of the way home.

But first the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Ashland, Oregon is home to the OSF. They perform plays from February to November, in outdoor and indoor venues. Obviously this time of year there were only indoor plays. The matinee was Hamlet, a play I had read and knew the plot, but had never seen performed. They took a contemporary theme, setting Denmark as a paramilitary state. The Ghost performed using sign language. The actor playing Hamlet was superb. A good show, especially at the "Tuesday Rate," extra low prices. I had unknowingly arrived on the right day!

The evening play was Tennesse William's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, another play I had read but not seen before. I was impressed by the use of staging (with the audience around a semicircular stage). Good show. I could have used a comedy, however.

Tomorrow I head north on I-5, ultimately reaching my niece Kate's house in Portland. Thus my first night and last night on the road will be with Kate. It occurs to me that I saw a Shakespeare production on both my second stop (in Boise) and second-to-last stop in Ashland. What goes around comes around.

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