Throne of Blood
Dmae Roberts just got back from another trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. This season has been one of the best ever. She highly recommends taking a trip if you can to see the shows still running.
“Merchant of Venice”, directed by Bill Rauch and starring Anthony Heald as Shylock is a magnificent indictment on the cost of prejudice. Set both in contemporary and Elizabethan times, it rings true to today’s issues while still balancing the comedy and the tragic elements of this fine Shakespeare play. “Merchant of Venice” ends October 10th, so there’s only a few more weeks to see this play.
Two other productions stand out. “Ruined”, by Lynn Nottage was a searing and deeply affecting play about the rape of women in the Congo. The performances were brilliant and moving. The music pumped energy and hope into poignant, heartbreaking situations. It’s a must-see for everyone. The show runs until October 31st.
I also recommend “Throne of Blood” adapted by noted theatre director Ping Chong from the classic film by Akira Kurosawa. This multimedia play features and a stellar cast and talented designers. “Throne of Blood” performs at breakneck pace complete with video projections and Kabuki and Noh movement. It’s just under two hours without intermission. The show also runs until October 31st.
“Throne of Blood” stays true to Kurosawa’s frightening tale adapted from Shakespeare’s Macbeth with themes of murder, war, and madness. The standout performance for me came from Japanese-American actress Ako who is trained in Kabuki theatre. She played Lady Asaji, based on the Lady Macbeth character. Her portrayal of Lady Asaji is a masterful study of a calculating and ruthless woman. In this interview, she tells us how she handles this role with very few scenes and artful movement.
Dmae talks with Ako in this podcast, with music by veteran OSF composer Todd Barton. Click here for more information about the rest of the season, which runs until October 31st.