If the play’s the thing Mr. Shakespeare – this Interlude includes a revealing visit to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival theatres and auditoriums including behind the famed Elizabethan Stage. The Festival annually produces eleven plays on three stages during the season that lasts from February through early November.
After exploring two charming and historic towns it’s “wine time” at a great winery, followed by a scrumptious dinner – the steaks are phenomenal but then so is everything else on the menu! After a leisurely dinner, head back to the Oregon Shakespeare Theater to enjoy great seating for one of their fantastic plays.
I always like to know how things got started so I did some investigating. It seems the OSF can trace its roots back to the time of Chautauqua’s, which brought both culture and entertainment to rural areas throughout the country in the late 19th century.
The first Chautauqua building, on the site you will be visiting, was built in 1893 and as early as 1905 it was enlarged to accommodate audiences of 1,500! During those days, people flocked to see performers such as John Phillip Sousa and hear William Jennings Bryan during the ten-day season. When the Chautauqua movement died out, early in the 1920’s, the building fell into disrepair. However, the cement walls remain today and they surround the Elizabethan Stage.
I find it fascinating to look back at a long history and compare. Officially, the Shakespearean Festival was born on July 2, 1935 with a production of Twelfth Night. The Festival presented The Merchant of Venice on the 3rd and Twelfth Night again on the 4th. Reserved seats cost $1, with general admission of $.50 for adults and $.25 for children. Believe it or not, even at these prices, the Festival covered its own expenses. Their Mission Statement is crystal clear:
“Inspired by Shakespeare’s work and the cultural richness of the United States, we reveal our collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays, deepened by the kaleidoscope of rotating repertory.”
Please review the complete itinerary of this diverse and interesting Oregon Guided Vacation.
Eadie, Interlude Blog Team
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