Monday, October 22, 2012

October 2012 at the Oregon Shakespeare

I flew to Ashland, Oregon, to the Shakespeare Festival for my  birthday, likely my thirtieth? fortieth?  time there.  I think   I first went in 1952, then sporadically for several years  before  attending with more  regularity for  at least twenty years, usually in September for I could claim  Labor Day  as part of my vacation time. 

For years, my husband and I drove.  Then we flew Alaska Air, San Jose to Portland to Medford with a shuttle to Ashland.  As a single, I continued with that for awhile.  Then tried  the bus,  then  the train - wrote about both of these trips earlier.  Gave up and have been taking  a direct United flight from San Francisco to Medford, still using the shuttle to Ashland. 

Same with accommodations:  I’ve stayed at half a dozen places:   early on, at Jackson Hot Springs and then in Ashland.  Motels at both north and south ends of town as well  downtown.  I’ve now settled on a Main Street hotel, above various stores, comfortable and cozy, with facilities down the hall.  They do have insuite arrangements, but I can manage otherwise.  In the lobby, overstuffed couch and chairs, hot tea available along with the New York Times.  What more can one want?

So I was there for Birthday time.  Besides plays, I had considered river rafting.  But the downtown office was closed for the season.  And it was nippy enough to require a wet suit - which I didn’t have.  So I settled for theatre though really wanted  to do something exciting at this time of life.  I have been on a camel trek, sky dived, flown an aircraft - five plays in two theatres in three days seemed tame.  So be it.

As usual, I did do some walking about this most picturesque town with leaves turning to rust and yellow.  Lithia Park is, as always, lovely, with various wildlife happily bathing in the ponds.  I have so often threatened to move here; every time I visit, I reconsider the possibility.  With the college and the Festival, there is much cultural activity.  Two things hold me up:  changing my medical coverage and the hassle of traveling out of  Medford. 

The plays were a mix:  Troulus and Cressida was my Shakespeare; Animal Crackers was more vaudeville than farce;  All the Way was a saga of LBJ, Party People was of the Black Panther days, and Medea/MacBeth/Cinderella was a musical mishmash of three classics - need to see that again to figure it out. 

The audiences were enthusiastic. - many of  the gray-haired   set with an assortment of canes about.  This bunch was balanced with   groups of students.  Though late in the season, the house was  well filled; several performances were sell outs.  And it was late enough that the pre show performances were over and the Elizabethan Theatre shut down.  I did attend several  after show discussions which were interesting and gave  insights into the play, the casting and production generally 

Coming home, the flights were running an hour or more late due to fog at SFO.   I was able to catch an earlier flight - which left at about the time of my scheduled flight - and made it home in time to feed Sam on schedule; his schedule.

Costs: United Express SFO-Medford was  $ 347.    Cascade Shuttle: Medford Airport- Ashland RT: $60.  .  Accommodation: $287.  Meals ran about  $150.     .

Plan for next year:  there is a shuttle from the Mountain View to Ashland:  $55 base cost.  I’ll give that a go.  And avoid the airport security hassle.

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