LA COMEDIA OF ERRORS And INDECENT Come to OSF
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival will open two new plays in early July with origins at the festival: La Comedia of Errors and Indecent.
Opening first is the world premiere of La Comedia of Errors, a bilingual adaptation by Lydia G. Garcia and Bill Rauch of one of William Shakespeare's zaniest comedies, from the Play on! translation of The Comedy of Errors by Christina Anderson. Directed by Bill Rauch in his final season as OSF's artistic director, the production will open on July 2, and will be staged in the Thomas Theatre and the Hay-Patton Rehearsal Center. Preview performances are June 29 and 30, and the play runs through October 26. In addition to OSF's usual performance times of 1:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., the show's full season schedule offers featured performances beginning at 5 p.m. and 10 a.m.
Paula Vogel's Indecent, the Tony Award-winning American Revolutions commission directed by Shana Cooper in its OSF homecoming debut, opens July 7 in the Angus Bowmer Theatre. Preview performances are July 4, 5 and 6, and the play runs through October 27.
Commissioned as part of the Play on! Shakespeare translation program and set in Mexico and Southern Oregon, La Comedia of Errors is the Festival's first attempt to create a truly bilingual work of art, to be enjoyed by monolingual English speakers, monolingual Spanish speakers and as those who speak both languages. Created with the flexibly to be performed on multiple stages with costumes, props and live music, without the need for theatrical lighting or pre-recorded sound, La Comedia of Errors is a unique, intimate experience emphasizing the connection between humans at the heart of the ancient art form that is live theatre. Featuring all the actors from Octavio Solis's world premiere of Mother Road this season, this work examines the true equity of two different but common languages in the United States, within the context of a not-so-serious case of misplaced identities.
OSF and the production will also partner with up to 18 community organizations throughout the Rogue Valley for community-hosted off-site performances, with the goal to engage in deeper collaboration with local communities by exchanging stories and creating space for ongoing dialogue about the issues in the play.
"La Comedia of Errors is doing so many things at once that it's almost dizzying, in terms of the bold experiments," says Bill Rauch, director and co-adapter. "For my last show as OSF's artistic director, it's truly been a joy to work with colleagues to translate Shakespeare's words to both a contemporary idiom and into Spanish, and determine how to reveal the comedy of errors, the misunderstandings through a profoundly political and aesthetically thrilling lens of language."
Lead Sponsor for La Comedia of Errors is the Hitz Foundation. Partner is Claudette and George Paige.
Inspired by the true events surrounding Sholem Asch's "God of Vengeance" and the Jewish artists who faced persecution when bringing it to Broadway in 1923, Indecent is an American Revolutions co-commission with Yale Repertory Theatre that had its world premiere there in 2015. Written by Paula Vogel and created with Rebecca Taichman, who also directed the Tony-winning Broadway production, Indecent explores the real-life controversy over a play artists risked their lives and careers to perform. The play is a spirited and revolutionary love story that celebrates the Yiddish language and literature.
"I see the act of performing this play with this extraordinary ensemble as the resurrection and protection of not simply Yiddish and Jewish culture, but the idea of culture itself," said director Shana Cooper, who grew up in Ashland, Oregon. "What makes Indecent a truly transcendent journey, is the way in which I've heard people of varied cultures, ethnicities, nationalities and identities describe seeing themselves in this play."
"I'm moved by the parallels between the historical circumstances of the period setting of Indecent and the contemporary setting of La Comedia of Errors, both of which test our empathy and compassion for characters who may not look like us, sound like us, or worship like us," says Lydia G. Garcia, co-adapter of La Comedia of Errors and production dramaturg for this season's All's Well That Ends Well. "Just what lessons have we drawn from the past to inform our present?"
Sponsors for Indecent are Amy and Mort Friedkin, The Hobbes Family, Thomas Castle and Pamela Howard, and Trine Sorensen and Michael Jacobson. Partners are Lynne Carmichael, The Almondleaf Trust, Julian and Willie Sue Orr, and Emily Simon and Maryann Gernegliaro in honor of Doris and Ken Simon.
These plays join eight productions already running in the Angus Bowmer, Thomas and Allen Elizabethan Theatres: Mother Road, As You Like It, Cambodian Rock Band, Hairspray-The Broadway Musical, world-premiere American Revolutions commission Between Two Knees, Macbeth, Alice in Wonderland and All's Well That Ends Well. Still to come in the 2019 season is How to Catch Creation, directed by OSF Incoming Artistic Director Nataki Garrett.