OSF closes in on fourth go-round of Bard's canon

I've made it my life goal to see the entire Shakespeare canon — can I expect to do so in Ashland, or do I have to start saving money so I can travel to the Royal Shakespeare Company to see the more obscure plays?

— Margaret F., Medford

You didn't mention how old you were, Margaret, but assuming you've got at least a couple of decades of theater-going left in you, you likely won't need to leave the Rogue Valley to cross this one off your bucket list.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has completed the Bard's canon three times in 77 seasons and, at last count, was one play away from completing a fourth round. So assuming it keeps up such a pace, you should be able to see all of Shakespeare's 37 plays in 20 to 25 years.

OSF and other theater companies define the canon as the 36 plays in the First Folio plus "Pericles," which appeared in the Second Folio.

Want to know the most produced Shakespeare play at OSF? "Twelfth Night," which has played 16 times, followed closely by "As You Like It," which has played 15, including last season.

What's the least produced, you ask (and we knew you would)? "The Two Noble Kinsmen," which, since it has only played once, is obviously not considered part of the official canon. The other Shakespeare stinker is "Timon of Athens," which OSF has produced just three times to complete the canon.

Since you mentioned the Royal Shakespeare Company, we must tell you that you could've seen the entire canon in one year — 2006-07, when the company hosted the Complete Works Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. All of Shakespeare's plays, sonnets and long poems were produced in one place with the help of more than 30 visiting companies.

Email questions to youasked@mailtribune.com.

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