Let me tell you a thing about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
It’s marvelous. Eleven plays on three theaters for around nine months. The actors are consistently superb, and the the plays never disappoint. I look forward to OSF every year, and try to glean as much advance knowledge about every season as I possibly can.
For example, I found out they were doing My Fair Lady around September of last year, so I have been looking forward to this season for something way too long. I watched the previews, researched the actors, counted down the days, and finally, finally, actually went to OSF and watched the plays.
I went with a group this year, as I have every year since 2010. It started out as a thing my literature group did, but each year, more people come who want to go to OSF with group rate tickets, and this time around we ended up with about fifty people, mainly teens and a few of their parents.
So obviously there was some carpooling involved, and, once again obviously, there was a lot of singing involved in that particular process. The people in my car were really good sports about this (you’re a woman of steel, mom). I shared a ride with my friends the Wasp, the Invisible Woman, the Scarlet Witch, and Mockingbird.
(Those are real people, by the way. Those may not be their real names, but I promise I didn’t just name four of my imaginary friends.)
Heading up the group is a person about whom I have blogged before, so you can feel as though you already know her (we’ll call her Martha Smith). You may remember a few months back when I spent an entire post trying to calm myself down because someone insulted my favorite book?
There she is!
I had thought I’d passed this particular stumbling block of rage in my life; I respect this woman after all, she is very sweet most of the time, and she used to write nice things in the margins of my essays when I was in her class.
The second morning we were in Ashland, Martha Smith called us all together after breakfast to talk about the play we had seen the night before, and the play we were going to see that night (I talk about those plays here). Somehow, it turned into a talk about something else entirely.
“I read a lot of books to find the right ones for our class. One of which was Wrinkle in Time, which was completely irredeemable, no value to be found…. I just wouldn’t waste my time on it.”
Read those last two sentences again, replacing “Wrinkle in Time” with the name of your best friend, and you’ll have a ballpark idea of how I felt. And I was in the front row, man. There were people around me. So, instead of growling like a feral dog, like I did with the whole email fiasco, I turned to the Invisible Woman and mouthed “Get me out of here.” She’s a good soul, and gave me her hand to squeeze until the subject changed.
But it came back.
Days later, but the subject did come back.
We had a couple more days full of unbridled awesome, brought to life by unhealthy amounts of references to fictional universes, quoting British dramas, singing show tunes, and using My Fair Lady-inspired pick-up lines (Hey girl. I’ve grown accustomed to your face).
Thursday was our last full day, and its most anticipated-events were showers at a swimming pool (Up until now, it had been forty-something teenagers with no showers for three days. Not ideal.) and an interview with an Ashland actor.
Our group has been doing this since 2011; we kidnap an actor as he tries to leave the theater and lead him blind-folded into our midst. We then pelt him with weird questions until he weeps. (at least, that’s what it feels like)
It’s good fun!
This year, we interviewed Joe Wegner, who played Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
One of the questions was about whether Wegner knew the actor who played the easy-on-the-eyes Robin Hood (John Tufts), whom our group had seen in Heart of Robin Hood the night before.
When Wegner answered positively, and mentioned that Tufts had recently had a baby with his wife, the girl in front of me headdesked.
Just let her head fall down on the table in defeat.
It was tragic.
I widened my eyes, distanced myself from her, and hoped that I wasn’t quite as painfully obvious when I fangirled.
And then I went home and blogged to strangers about my fangirlisms.
Halfway into the interview, in between references to Game of Thrones, Zoolander, and Bruce Almighty, Wegner began to address a question regarding the actor casting process.
“I’ve been cast for this one play, you guys might have read it; it’s actually a world premiere, Wrinkle in Time?”
Evidently, I forgot that real people were sitting around me, because I gasped like a drowning woman and adopted a facial expression not unlike the one I had on while Robin Hood was gallivanting around the stage with a certain ring.
So, you know.
“I play Calvin.”
I got to talk to this actor afterward, shake his hand (Didn’t want to creep him out by tackling him and telling him what a perfect Calvin he would make), and ask him about who was playing Meg.
She’s perfect, by the way.
Everything is perfect.
Wrinkle in Time and Ashland and Calvin and Meg and sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows
Sorry. I’m fine. Let’s get back on track here.
It’s worth mentioning that at the end of the trip, my friend Lestrade (once again: real person, fake name) talked to Martha Smith and confronted her with the beauty that is Wrinkle in Time and why it had a profound effect on her.
Martha even sort of apologized to the Madeleine L’engle fans the next morning.
Good on you, mate.
This was a fantastic trip, as it has been every time I attend. Oregon Shakespeare Festival is up there with Christmas on my list of favorite annual events. And while this trip certainly set the bar high…
I’m very excited for 2014.
Maybe I should read Wrinkle in Time again to prepare.