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Daedalus Project takes place Monday

For the 22nd year, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival will present the Daedalus Project, a benefit for AIDS/HIV organizations. It takes place Monday, Aug. 17, on the festival campus, 15 S. Pioneer St., Ashland.

The 2009 event will feature a play reading at 1:30 p.m. in the Angus Bowmer Theatre and a 7:30 p.m. variety show on the Elizabethan Stage/Allen Pavilion. Sunday's 5K Run & Walk will not be held this year.

This year's play reading, Tony Kushner's "Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika," will be directed by OSF actor Robynn Rodriguez, who directed last season's Daedalus reading of "Angels in America: Millennium Approaches."

"Perestroika" takes up from the end of "Part One, Millennium Approaches," wherein an angel had crashed through the ceiling of young Prior's apartment. In its 1993 review of the play The New York Times said: "'Perestroika' ... does not go out in a blaze of glory. It goes out in a blaze of compassion, which may be better. The virtues that Mr. Kushner demonstrated in the initial installment — an intrepid theatricality, stinging intelligence and an engaging proclivity for undercutting himself with humor — remain intact. Mankind will save itself. Or no one will. That is the daunting reality of Mr. Kushner's huge drama and also its humane promise. The choice is ours."

Actors in the play reading are KT Vogt, Kjerstine Anderson, Christopher Liam Moore, Sarah Rutan, Tyrone Wilson, Rex Young, Tony DeBruno and Jonathan Haugen. Robert Vincent Frank will provide stage directions.

The band Hamfist will play a mix of Americana, bluegrass and cowboy music from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. on the Green Show deck before the evening variety show.

The variety show, once again emceed by Ray Porter, features guitar solos, original dances, songs, poetry and skits performed by OSF actors, company members, and artists from the community. The finale of Act One is the Underwear Parade. During intermission, audience members vote with their dollars for their favorite underwear contestants. In 2008, the Underwear Parade gathered record-breaking contributions, raising $8,269 for the project.

The Daedalus Art & Treasures Sale will be held in the Angus Bowmer Theatre lobby Monday afternoon. The sale and silent auction includes items crafted by members of the OSF company, including paintings, sculpture and other hand-crafted works of art, signed photographs, plus other opportunities like sharing coffee or a meal with a company member. The Art & Treasures sale raised more than $5,000 in 2008. A benefit sale of T-shirts, baked goods, lemonade and other concessions will take place Monday during the afternoon and early evening hours on the bricks in the festival courtyard.

A handmade quilt fashioned by Ann Stephens, a veteran member of the OSF Costume Shop, will be raffled off at the Daedalus event. Raffle tickets may be purchased now for $2 each at the OSF Welcome Center, at the front desk in the administration building or on the OSF bricks on the day of the event. The quilt is on display in the Welcome Center and features fabrics from 2009 costumes signed by the actors who wear them.

OSF artistic associate James Edmondson had the original idea for an AIDS/HIV fundraiser 21 years ago.

The late OSF Artistic Director Emeritus Jerry Turner named the event The Daedalus Project after the story of Daedalus from Greek mythology. Daedalus and his son, Icarus, were imprisoned in a labyrinth by King Minos. By crafting wings from wax and feathers, Daedalus created a way out of the maze.

Following each year's benefit, the festival distributes proceeds to local, regional, national and international HIV and AIDS charitable organizations. Last season, OSF distributed $62,000 and festivsl officials say they hope to exceed that amount this year.

In 2009, OSF distributed funds to the following groups: $40,000 to OnTrack, Inc. — Alan F. Collins AIDS Project, Medford; $12,000 to Harm Reduction Center of Southern Oregon (Josephine, Douglas, Curry, Coos counties); $7,000 to Siskiyou County HIV/AIDS Foundation (SCHAF); and $3,000 to Africare.

Tickets for the play reading are $15. Tickets for the variety show are $25 and $30. Tickets are available at the box office, online at osfashland.org or by calling 482-4331.