Letter: ‘I won’t be wasting my time on them’

September 5, 2022

I’ve been an avid fan of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival since my arrival here over a dozen years ago. I volunteered there upon my arrival and truly I would have worked for nothing, not even free tickets, since I loved the theater so much. Each season there were one or two plays that I wasn’t wild about, but overall, they were simply stupendous. And the incorporation of multi-cultured actors just added to the glory

I have only seen two plays this season. I loooved the August Wilson play, and yes, it was a Black production. I hated the “Once On This Island” production. Most notably it dealt with stereotypes, such as the overweight girl being the one the prince did not want, and frantic “dancing” that can only be described as a caricature of a wind-up monkey. Also, the young female lead jumped into bed with the prince awfully easily, not a good model for our young visitors. The fact that the loud “music” drowned out the dialog didn’t help any.

The rest of the plays this year, and the schedule next year, put Shakespeare way in the background, focusing instead on Black/Latin/etc. problems. It has become BAT (Black Angst Theater), not the OSF that so many of us came to adore. Not a single play this year or next could be considered “traditional.” I won’t be wasting my time on them.

MaryAnn Shank


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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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