After moving to Portland, Oregon a few years later, mom and dad announced we were heading south for our vacation to the city of Ashland, Oregon, to watch a performance of Shakespeare's, "Hamlet" during the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I must admit, I knew little about Shakespeare at that point except that the actors in his plays wore the most beautiful, ornate outfits, and the actor's English could be difficult to understand, at best. Olivia Hussey had not yet brought Juliet to life on the big screen and I was still too young to have studied very much about Shakespeare in school. During that lovely summer evening in Ashland, I remember the green expanse of lawn at the outdoor Theater and everyone in the audience sitting on blankets, some eating and drinking as we all waited for the curtains to open. The costumes on stage were as elegant as could be and the actors performed their parts with loud, commanding voices and with gusto. As dusk turned into night all continued to be performed and viewed under a dark canopy of twinkling stars. Later, as we left, I don't think I understood a word more than when I had arrived, but I'll never forget the warm, still evening, sitting in the grass, watching those around me as we hung onto every word, every gesture and sound, and how moved each of us were as the last bows were taken.
It's been many years since that most memorable evening in Ashland and unfortunately I've taken very few opportunities to experience Shakespeare and his plays as an adult; however, through a friend, my granddaughter, Emily, and I happily discovered a beautiful little theater a few months ago that is located nearby in the heart of the small historic community of Sellwood just minutes from downtown Portland, Oregon. Post5 Theatre hosts a variety of types of plays and while each stage performance we've seen has been wonderful, it's their adaptations of Shakespeare's comedies that have most recently caught our attention. It was impossible for either of us to sit through their latest performance of "Twelfth Night" without laughing, smiling, giggling, sighing, and even feeling incredibly sorry for the head servant, Malvolio, as he unwittingly became the brunt of a cruel joke. In the days of Shakespeare, women wouldn't have been allowed to perform on stage so it came as no surprise when Post5's Chip Sherman portrayed the most lovely and playful Olivia ever imagined and neither Emily nor I could take our eyes away as Olivia did her best to woo her true love, Cesario. Post 5's adaptation of "As You Like It," was equally as fun and imaginative and there were very few weekend evenings during its run that we couldn't be found sitting in the audience, cheering at last when almost everyone on stage had found their true love.
With much anticipation, Emily and I are, again, looking forward to an opening at Post 5 Theatre on Friday, May 29th at 7:30 p.m. This time, another most talented troupe of performers will delight their audience as they act out William Shakespeare's play, "The Comedy of Errors." This comedy will have been adapted and directed by Ty Boice, the incredibly gifted, young founding Artistic Director of the company who quite often can be found perusing rehearsal while sitting beside his 4 month old son, Keaton. While one is quite serious, the other grins from ear to ear, already enjoying the lyrics and script playing out before him.
It's been written that this may be the most humorous of all his comedies--whether or not that proves to be the case, I have little doubt Emily and I will remember how fun, entertaining, raucus and beguiling Shakespeare's plays have been, for many years to come. If "Twelfth Night" and "As You Like It" are true reflections of Shakespeare's ability to write, I think, then, it's very safe to say, he doth do love very well.
Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.
William Shakespeare - our lovely Olivia in "Twelfth Night"