You can finish that line can’t you? Or how about “double, double, toil…” It’s fascinating to contemplate the lasting impact of Shakespeare upon generation after generation of audiences. As we assembled for last night’s Okalahoma Shakespearean Festival performance of Macbeth it struck me as ironic that in an age when a computer can create the fantasy world of Middle Earth for Lord of the Rings we had paid more than twice the price of a movie ticket to watch the oldest form of entertainment, live performers on a stage.
I must admit it has been a few years since I attended OSF. They have been around for over two decades, giving Durant and surrounding communities not only live performances, but workshops for actors and technicians, and The Children’s Theatre Workshop to train new generations. I had the privilege of working in the costume shop, years ago, for founder and artistic director Molly Risso, who passed away in 1998. She certainly had vision and I admired her passion for the theatre.
OSF has produced a variety of Shakespearean plays over the years, as well as more contemporary pieces. I have been a little taken aback by some of the more “creative” interpretations of Shakespeare’s work, such as Hamlet set in Viet Nam, but each has been a director’s prerogative. So I was overjoyed to watch last night’s more traditional rendition. While it certainly had some original, innovative styling, it was not so modern as to distract from the wonderful, original examination of the power of evil.
It still amazes me that our area attracts actors from all over the country, but that was part of Molly’s dream. Macbeth was superbly played by Neal Brasher, a native of Alabama, currently teaching at Liberty University in Virginia. Sherri Quaid was brilliant as Lady Macbeth. She lives in New York and is on the Board of Directors for Tempest Theatre Productions. My favorite performance of the evening was by Steven Brown who played Banquo. Steven is a graduate of the University of Memphis and just finished touring with “Poetry Alive!”. Other fine actors included Diana Adair, Travis Barnhart, Mike Battiest, James Bould, Shawn Sturdevant, young Phoenix Ortlip (from Durant) and of course the three witches: Jennifer Drew, Lora Meins, and Rebecca Riisness. A special thanks is due to the crews who created the set, lighting, costumes, and sounds that helped transport us to ancient Scotland.
My only complaint for the evening was the seating. I hate dinner theatre! Lots of reasons I’ll save for another blog. But one play during OSF is always dinner theatre style. In the past it has been in the smaller Visual Arts building and the other, larger auditorium on the main campus has been used for other performances. I’m not sure when that changed or why, but for some reason last night’s performance of Macbeth was in the same building with the same seating as the dinner performance of Smoke on the Mountain. I not only had to sit in a hard chair, but I had to turn mine around, away from the table, in order to see the stage. Gary’s seat was actually off to the right far enough so that he missed part of the scenes with the witches! Not good. I suppose though in ancient times our ancestors sat on rocks to enjoy Shakespeare! An uncomfortable chair is a minor inconvenience and certainly won’t keep me from attending again.
Today we are off to photograph the lake. It has gone over the spillway for the first time since 1990. Lots of coverage this week and lots of speculation about the impact of all this water on the local economy. Several marinas and restaurants are under water. Campgrounds are closed and tourists are staying away. I heard that the President has finally made our disaster official. At least people will get some help to rebuild.
More sun today! My mind is drifting to garden projects and flowers again. Maybe this week I’ll actually make some progress toward landscaping this barren hill.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.