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Letters to the Editor, Aug. 23

OSF has lost its way

When I read Herb Rothschild’s opinion about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Aug. 3), I silently shouted out, "Yes!"

I expressed similar thoughts in a letter to the OSF Board of Directors, with a copy to Bill Rauch, to the box office when I returned my two remaining Shakespeare tickets, and to the Membership Department when I returned my membership renewal unrenewed.

The 2016 OSF season of Shakespeare plays went from good to deplorable. It was with some hesitation that I purchased Shakespeare play tickets in 2017. But certainly this year couldn’t be any worse. But by making Hotspur a female, OSF condoned male violence against women because Prince Hall must fight and then kill Hotspur and then Falstaff “finishes” the job.

But when those wild men came onto the stage at the beginning of Julius Caesar, I put my hands over my face and silently shouted No! and cried. This not only was not Shakespeare, it was making a mockery of all native people in the world.

I was 13 when I saw my first play at OSF. I sat on a park bench for three hours with no intermission and saw Julius Caesar. This was my first experience with live theater and I was enthralled. It was magic, and right then I fell in love with Shakespeare, OSF and Ashland. From then on, every year I came to see plays or I became a member and when I could do neither I dreamed of being in Ashland every summer to see Shakespeare.

When I left the 2017 production of Julius Caesar at intermission (I was not tired), I was heartbroken. I knew my 65-year association with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival had ended. I could not bear the thought of seeing any more “Shakespeare” plays and being disappointed or appalled. I turned in my two remaining tickets. I did not renew my membership.

OSF knows how to produce good, meaningful Shakespeare (just remember Pericles a few years ago). But it has lost its way.

I will miss seeing live Shakespeare, but I can watch plays on DVDs. And there is much more good live theater in the area. Just to mention a few: ACT, SOU, AHS, Camelot, Cabaret. So you will see me there but not at OSF.

Edith Montgomery