Play On Shakespeare With CSC And OSF Present PLAY ON! FESTIVAL

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Play On Shakespeare With CSC And OSF Present PLAY ON! FESTIVAL

Play On Shakespeare in association with Classic Stage Company (CSC) and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) presents the Play on! festival-featuring 39 readings of new, work-in-progress translations of Shakespeare's plays into contemporary modern English by some of today's most exciting playwrights-May 29-June 30 at the Lynn F. Angelson Theater at CSC (136 E. 13th Street).In 2015, Oregon Shakespeare Festival launched an ambitious 39-play, three-year commissioning project, Play on!, tasking 36 playwrights-more than half of whom were women and playwrights of color, each paired with a dramaturg-to translate Shakespeare's canon in celebration of the enduring impact of the Bard's work. Supported by a generous grant from the Hitz Foundation and inspired by long-time patron Dave Hitz's passion for Shakespeare, the project was and continues to be led by Lue Morgan Douthit. For more information, visit

Play on! grew out of the belief that every age, while hewing close to Shakespeare's original texts, simultaneously creates a parallel path of experimentation and exploration. Most theaters already make textual choices when they produce Shakespeare: reconciling quarto and folio manuscripts or trimming lengthy plays or rearranging tricky ones. Often, productions modernize Shakespeare's plays by altering the time, place, and political context in which they exist-while maintaining their Elizabethan English text. Douthit, who has served as a production dramaturg for more than 40 productions in her 24 years at OSF, wondered what might be revealed if the opposite approach were taken-updating the language so often perceived as untouchable. At the time of the project's announcement, Douthit posed the question: "What could we learn about these these plays if we looked at them at the language level through the lens of dramatists?" The Play on! festival offers audiences the first opportunity to experience collectively the dramatic, diverse results of this generous and open-ended query.

The Play on! translations are not adaptations. Play on! asked of its writers to take all the accepted given circumstances-character, story, action, etc.-and examine Shakespeare's language line by line, applying the same kind of rigor and pressure that the playwright himself did to his language. The original plays differ enough linguistically from one another that there was no option for codified rules, but every playwright was asked to keep in mind the meter, rhyme, rhythm, metaphor, rhetoric, and theme of the original. Pop-culture references and contemporary slang were discouraged, as was cutting or "fixing" the politics of the plays. In keeping with the open source spirit of the project, the ultimate translations do not belong to OSF, but rather to the playwrights who can, in future productions, call for specific contextual approaches they may want applied. Over the course of its trajectory to date, Play on! has also mirrored Shakespeare's process of working directly with actors across the creation of a new work, leading to a deeper understanding of how these scripts function structurally and emotionally.

Play on! Director Lue Morgan Douthit says, "I can say, by being in the room over the past several years, how humble, sincere, and full of integrity the playwrights, dramaturgs, and actors have been regarding this project. No one felt they're going to out-Shakespeare Shakespeare; that wasn't the project. Instead, the project asked what would happen if we weed and weave the language a little bit? If anything, pound for pound, I think we have even more respect for Shakespeare than we had when we entered this."

John Doyle, Artistic Director of Classic Stage Company, says, "The crux of the mission at CSC is to reimagine classic stories for contemporary audiences. Naturally, this project fits into that mold seamlessly, allowing audiences to experience the works of Shakespeare in a more modern form than they may traditionally expect-and who better to take on this project than 36 of the most daring playwrights penning new works today."

Bill Rauch, Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, says, "I am honored for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to be in partnership with Classic Stage Company and the visionary leader John Doyle to share the full breadth of the Play on! series with New York audiences. There are so many potential useful applications for these dynamic companion translations, but hearing the words aloud in the mouths of gifted actors is the most thrilling of all. Launching Play on!, giving this extraordinary group of writers the excuse to have a deep dive with a play by William Shakespeare, is one of the proudest achievements of my dozen years in Ashland."

Tickets for the readings featured in the Play on! festival are $26 and can be purchased at Please see below for a complete schedule.

Play on! - Complete Schedule

Wednesday, May 29 at 7pm
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Playwright: Amelia Roper
Dramaturg: Kate McConnell

Thursday, May 30 at 2pm
The Taming of the Shrew
Playwright: Amy Freed
Dramaturg: Drew Lichtenberg

Thursday, May 30 at 7pm
Titus Andronicus
Playwright: Amy Freed
Dramaturg: Lezlie C. Cross

Friday, May 31 at 7pm
Henry VI, Part 1
Playwright: Douglas Langworthy
Dramaturg: Mead Hunter

Saturday, June 1 at 2pm
Henry VI, Part 2
Playwright: Douglas Langworthy
Dramaturg: Mead Hunter

Saturday, June 1 at 7pm
Henry VI, Part 3
Playwright: Douglas Langworthy
Dramaturg: Mead Hunter

Sunday, June 2 at 2pm
Richard III
Playwright: Migdalia Cruz
Dramaturg: Ishia Bennison

Monday, June 3 at 7pm
The Comedy of Errors
Playwright: Christina Anderson
Dramaturg: Martine Kei Green-Rogers

Wednesday, June 5 at 7pm
Love's Labor's Lost
Playwright: Josh Wilder
Dramaturg: Davina Moss

Thursday, June 6 at 2pm
Edward III
Playwright: Octavio Solis
Dramaturg: Kimberly Colburn

Thursday, June 6 at 7pm
Richard II
Playwright: Naomi Iizuka
Dramaturg: Joy Meads

Friday, June 7 at 7pm
Romeo & Juliet
Playwright: Hansol Jung
Dramaturg: Aaron Malkin

Saturday, June 8 at 2pm
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Playwright: Jeff Whitty
Dramaturg: Heidi Schreck

Saturday, June 8 at 7pm
King John
Playwright: Brighde Mullins
Dramaturg: Drew Barr & Katie Peterson

Sunday, June 9 at 2pm
The Merchant of Venice
Playwright: Elise Thoron
Dramaturg: Julie Felise Dubiner

Monday, June 10 at 7pm
Much Ado About Nothing
Playwright: Ranjit Bolt
Dramaturg: Lydia G. Garcia

Wednesday, June 12 at 7pm
Henry IV, Part 1
Playwright: Yvette Nolan
Dramaturg: Waylon Lenk

Thursday, June 13 at 7pm
Henry IV, Part 2
Playwright: Yvette Nolan
Dramaturg: Waylon Lenk

Thursday, June 13 at 2pm
Merry Wives of Windsor
Playwright: Dipika Guha
Dramaturg: Christine Sumption

Friday, June 14 at 7pm
Henry V
Playwright: Lloyd Suh
Dramaturg: Andrea Hibler

Saturday, June 15 at 2pm
As You Like It
Playwright: David Ivers
Dramaturg: Lezlie C. Cross

Saturday, June 15 at 7pm
Julius Caesar
Playwright: Shishir Kurup
Dramaturg: Nancy Keystone

Sunday, June 16 at 2pm
Playwright: Lisa Peterson
Dramaturg: Luan Schooler

Monday, June 17 at 7pm
Twelfth Night
Playwright: Alison Carey
Dramaturg: Lezlie C. Cross

Wednesday, June 19 at 7pm
Troilus and Cressida
Playwright: Lillian Groag
Dramaturg: James Magruder

Thursday, June 20 at 2pm
Measure for Measure
Playwright: Aditi Brennan Kapil
Dramaturg: Liz Engelman and Andrew Ian Carlson

Thursday, June 20 at 7pm
Playwright: Mfoniso Udofia
Dramaturg: Ayanna Thompson

Friday, June 21 at 7pm
All's Well That Ends Well
Playwright:Virginia Grise
Dramaturg: Ricardo Bracho and Natsuko Ohama

Saturday, June 22 at 2pm
Timon of Athens
Playwright: Kenneth Cavander
Dramaturg: Lue Morgan Douthit

Saturday, June 22 at 7pm
King Lear
Playwright: Marcus Gardley
Dramaturg: Nakissa Etemad and Philippa Kelly

Sunday, June 23 at 2pm
Antony and Cleopatra
Playwright: Christopher Chen
Dramaturg: Desdemona Chiang

Monday, June 24 at 7pm
Playwright: Migdalia Cruz
Dramaturg: Ishia Bennison

Wednesday, June 26 at 7pm
Playwright: Sean San Jose
Dramaturg: Rob Melrose

Thursday, June 27 at 2pm
Playwright: Ellen McLaughlin
Dramaturg: Alan Armstrong

Thursday, June 27 at 7pm
Playwright: Andrea Thome
Dramaturg: John Dias

Friday, June 28 at 7pm
The Winter's Tale
Playwright: Tracy Young
Dramaturg: Ben Pryor

Saturday, June 29 at 2pm
Henry VIII
Playwright: Caridad Svich
Dramaturg: Julie Felise Dubiner

Saturday, June 29 at 7pm
The Tempest
Playwright: Kenneth Cavander
Dramaturg: Christian Parker

Sunday, June 30 at 2pm
Two Noble Kinsmen
Playwright: Tim Slover
Dramaturg: Martine Kei Green-Rogers

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