This year every day out here in Ashland has been filled – to some some extent – with smoke. The wildfires in the hills which surround the Rogue River Valley continue to burn and the smoke levels rise and fall daily based on the prevailing winds and the temperature.
But the time has also been filled with family, friends, and theatre. Let’s do a recap of the past several days, shall we?
Bob finally arrived in Ashland on Thursday evening, having the spent the night on an unplanned detour into Detroit. He arrived too late to see King Lear. So, only one half of the MMSC contingent was in the audience on August 1 when Jack Willis took the stage as Lear in the Thomas Theatre on the OSF campus. OSF’s contemporary staging of the Shakespeare tragedy features two different actors in the role at alternating performances. The production is very “in your face.” By staging Shakespeare’s “King Lear” in the intimate, in-the-round Thomas Theatre and setting it in a contemporary time frame, OSF has certainly provided the play with immediacy and a clear visceral impact. Sometimes it’s too close. Fortunately I was on the opposite side of this very small house during the blinding of Gloucester, but the woman in the front row was obviously uncomfortable with the proceedings. Me? I was just glad to be hearing that wonderful language.
Then on Friday afternoon we were treated to a matinee performance of OSF’s wonderful production of Streetcar Named Desire. Excellent performances. Terrific set. And – for the most part – nicely staged. Again – some of the most beautiful language. It was lovely to once again hear that “sometimes – there’s God – so quickly.”
We’ve also seen a new play – The Unfortunates – and an old favorite – My Fair Lady – with an old friend, actor Anthony Heald – in the role of Doolittle. And of course, our favorite sound technician on the mixing board at the back of the theatre.
Still to come is a performance of still another new play – The Liquid Plain.
Yesterday was a trip to Crater Lake. Crater Lake is a caldera lake in the western United States, located in south-central Oregon. It is the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. The lake partly fills a nearly 2,148-foot (655 m)-deep caldera that was formed around 7,700 (± 150) years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. Human interaction is traceable back to the indigenous Native Americans witnessing the eruption of Mount Mazama. There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake; the evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall at a rate such that the total amount of water is replaced every 250 years. At 1,943 feet (592 m), it is the deepest lake in the United States, and the seventh deepest in the world. (Thanks Wikipedia!)
Today was lunch with our friends Tony and Robin, and a private viewing of the OSF production of Pirates of Penzance (which we had missed a couple of years ago.)
Not much time left out here and then it is back to New York. Stay tuned for the final entries.