Friday, Jun 23, 2017

Posts Tagged ‘Bill Rauch’

Macbeth (2009)

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

The web page for this year’s production of Macbeth at Oregon Shakespeare Festival contain a line whose like I don’t recall: “there are scenes of witchcraft, the slaughter of a mother and her children, and a decapitated head. There is violence, sensuality and disturbing imagery in the production.” Sure enough, this is an intense, savage performance of the Scottish Play.

Every aspect of the production seems marked with an exclamation point, usually with verve but once or twice with questionable results. Director Gale Edwards and his design team (Scenic Designer Scott Bradley, CostumeDesigner Murell Horton, Lighting Designer Mark McCullough and Sound Designer Todd Barton) have put together one of the most, well, “theatrical” productions in years, but the question needs to be answered, with apologies to the bard: is the production full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?

The Clay Cart (2008)

I saw The Clay Cart at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival the same weekend as the plays in my first batch of reviews – the week leading up to July 4th. The fact that I’m just now finding the momentum to post this is probably a review all by itself, but the truth is more complicated than that. Reading just a little bit between the lines, I think it’s clear that The Clay Cart is meant to be Bill Rauch’s “signature play” for the season: “this is how things work on my watch.” I don’t think he’s trying to disparage Libby Appel’s work, he’s just making his mark; new kid in school and all that. The marketing material for members is fronted with a picture from the production, as is this year’s Illuminations. When L. and I bought the tickets last year we were excited, since Mr. Rauch had just knocked our socks off with his Romeo and Juliet.

Even my pre-play anticipation was stoked. The set by Christopher Acebo is gorgeous: a round stage with couches surround about 2/3rds of it in a way that makes the audience the last 1/3rd of a complete circle, including us in the company; beautiful lanterns are suspended over the stage and out into the audience… it was wonderful. When the company enters, they trickle in, bowing their way into the circle, and sing an invocational hymn. Yay! I’m ready to be awesomed.

And then the play starts. I have only three problems with it.