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I was fortunate enough to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in June and saw an eclectic mix of plays – Measure for Measure, August Osage County, and The Pirates of Penzance – all in one weekend! At the time, I was wrapped up in the pleasure of being in charming, wooded Ashland, seeing three very different but excellent productions, and discussing them with friends in cozy restaurants. Now, back home, I’d like to read the plays and hear other renditions of the light opera.
The Play’s the Thing
The version of Measure for Measure that I saw had many present-day references including a Latino cleaning crew chorus complete with mariachi band. In what other ways has it been interpreted over the years? A visit to our online library catalog reveals a BBC-produced video recording, several audio recordings and multiple editions and criticisms of the text. It will be interesting to compare the ways in which these various formats treat Shakespeare’s themes of mercy, justice, and truth.
An American Theatrical Tradition
I’m very pleased to discover that my library – the Belmont Library – carries the text of the play August Osage County by Tracy Letts. An intense family drama in the tradition of Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams, this 2008 Pulitzer-Prize-winner deserves a thoughtful reading, and luckily, it is available.
The Pirates of Penzance can’t be topped for sheer silliness, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy Gilbert and Sullivan. Again, our library catalog does not disappoint. A quick peek reveals a video recording of a Joseph Papp production with Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kline, and a variety of audio recordings including the famous D'Oyly Carte Opera Company – just the thing to keep my spirits up as I complete my long overdue spring cleaning!
There are so many wonderful music, theatre and film festivals that take place in the summer. My experience at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival whetted my appetite for more. Sadly, my limited leisure time doesn’t permit more, but the riches contained in my local library more than compensate!
Photo Credit: marichica88
Even though Kathleen B. is a third generation immigrant, the passion for life-long education has not worn off. The public library embodies this ideal in an arena that invites engagement from all ages, ethnicities and social classes.