BootsnAll Travel Network

Off to Ashland

Tomorrow I’m off to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This is thanks to my old friend Bob, who taught math at Smith while I was teaching theatre there. Bob now lives in San Francisco, and he and his partner Jeremy, who lives in Canada and who I haven’t met yet, are regular patrons of the Shakespeare Festival down in Ashland.  Jeremy will pick me up tomorrow on his way down, and Bob will come up, and we’ll see four plays in three days. They’ll be at a hotel, and I’ll be at a lovely hostel in the dorm. This should be great fun, and it is charged with meaning beyond the obvious. In the 70s, when I was dreaming of making it as a professional actress, my most passionate and persistent fantasy was that I would get a job in the company of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival–a real, regular acting job with benefits and everything. In my fantasy, I could take Seth with me, and eventually I would regain custody of Christopher, and everything would fall into place. If I could just get to Ashland and get a job in that company. It was one of those visions I believed in, my own magical thinking as a twenty-something, right on into my thirties. Every year I schemed and planned and saved in order to get to the auditions, which were held in New York City, and I never got there. It was one of the early proofs to me that visualization is not enough. Now I will really get there. Coincidentally, I read and re-read Shakespeare’s  Coriolanus at the same time (in my early twenties), and in the great sweeps of my romantic imagination I endowed Seth’s father with qualities of a modern-day Coriolan because of his combination of personal achievement (given considerable privilege) and his arrogant dislike of “common people.” Absurd to elevate a merely irascible man to the level of a mythic hero, but that’s the kind of girl I was. And probably still am, viewing the events and people around me as myths and archetypes. I’ve never seen the play performed anywhere but in my mind’s eye, so I’m really curious to see how they’ve managed to stage it for an “intimate” space. If I get a chance, I’ll send blog reports while I’m there.

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2 responses to “Off to Ashland”

  1. Diane says:

    Oh, Kendall, good for you. Have fun. What a special trip.

    Love, Diane

  2. “Absurd to elevate a merely irascible man to the level of a mythic hero” ? I’m not so sure about that, and why “merely” irascible. What hero was pleasant? I must hear more about this some time ….

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