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Theater artists chosen for OSF history cycle

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland has announced a second round of theater artists to be commissioned for its ambitious "American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle," a 37-play, 10-year project.

Project director Alison Carey said the playwrights were chosen to present "a lot of perspectives and a lot of styles to tell these stories both in process and in product."

The commissioned artists are:

— Young Jean Lee, Korean-born playwright and director, who was named by American Theatre magazine as one of the 25 theater artists who will shape American theater in the next 25 years.

— Universes, a touring ensemble company of writers and performers who fuse poetry, theater, jazz, hip-hop, politics, blues and Spanish Boleros to create theatrical works. Core members include Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, Gamal Chasten and Ninja (William Ruiz).

— Rhiana Yazzie, an award-winning Navajo playwright whose recent work includes "Rainbow Crow" and "Las Madres." The choice of Yazzi means an opportunity to develop a co-production with Public Theater.

OFS's intent is that "the plays in the cycle will have other artistic homes," Carey said.

As with previous commissions, the exact stories these artists will tell is not yet determined.

The plays of American Revolutions will look at moments of change in America's past. Inspired by the scale and scope of Shakespeare's history cycle of plays, the project will bring together more than 100 artists, historians and institutions from around the country. Up to thirty-seven new plays are slated to result in up to 15 full productions at OSF between 2010 and 2019. Every work commissioned, even if it does not receive a full production, will be presented to OSF audiences through workshops or readings.