July 12th, 2009

cirque balancers

The Ashland visit Report: July 2009

When you go to Ashland, Oregon to attend plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and you're usually seeing two plays a day at 2:00 pm and at 8:30 pm, and the plays last 2.5 hours or so each, life quickly reduces down to the basics, as follows:
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Ashland is an absolutely great town, because besides the plays there are many fun shops, many bookstores (used and new), great scenery and parks, plenty of tasty places to eat, and a nice, friendly atmosphere. Cars stop and let you cross in the crosswalk. They stop!

Ashland also has a nifty Fourth of July parade where many of the surrounding communities come and take part in the parade, along with all the different businesses or schools or activist groups in Ashland itself. There's floats, and horses, and bands, and dignitaries, and stilt walkers, and fancy cars, and community groups, and lots of candy being tossed to the crowd. Everyone loves free candy!

But the main reason you go to Ashland is, despite what my 8-year-old daughter says, not the candy or the swimming pool. It's the plays. OSF Ashland is one of the finest regional theatres in the country. C and I are big theatre fans, and I actually have BA in Drama, so we have a great time with the plays.

The Quick Summary
- What I saw: Macbeth; The Music Man; Death and the King's Horseman; Equivocation; Henry VIII; Servant of Two Masters; Don Quixote;
- My favorite play: Equivocation, most certainly.
- My favorite production: either Equivocation or Servant of Two Masters. Servant of Two Masters was already a fun commedia dell'arte production, and the "special circumstances" around this performance (described below) might give this production the edge.

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In summary, it was another relaxing, and enjoyable trip to Ashland. Here's the first three plays I would recommend, in order: Equivocation; Servant of Two Masters; Death of the King's Horseman. C and I are going to return in October, and we'll see the first two again, as well as "Paradise Lost" which hadn't opened yet.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a great theatre company, and Ashland is a wonderful town. It's an easy 4-5 hour drive from Portland or Sacramento, and only 6.5-7 from the Bay Area. Anyone who is anywhere near to Ashland owes it to themselves to head down for a few days and check out the plays and the town itself. Good times await you!
homer d'oh

DEFYING GRAVITY, the tv show (or, Yeff was ahead of the meme curve again)

A bunch of astronauts, on a long-term mission, every minute of their existence broadcast back to Earth for everyone to watch. And their lives are a bit of a soap opera, aren't they?

First VIRTUALITY, now DEFYING GRAVITY.

For those who were at Orycon in 2007, and went to the long-form Open Reading and Critiques, or who were in my crit session of Baycon in 2008, you received a story I wrote called either "Real Space" or "The Reality of Space" which was about exactly this situation. Alas, I did what I do far too often which is to put the story aside and never touch it again.

Now, there's two shows out with this concept and I'm sure plenty more in script slush piles around Hollywood and beyond. Which somewhat renders my story concept a little played out, perhaps?

In any case, I will say this: At least my characters were a lot more international and multi-cultural than the all-North American and (nearly) all-white folks in DEFYING GRAVITY. I can't speak for VIRTUALITY, as I haven't seen it yet. I'll certainly check out DEFYING GRAVITY when it comes around.

But in the end, the lesson is this: I need to finish stories and send them out, instead of sitting on them.

Now here, for your enjoyment, is the trailer for DEFYING GRAVITY (IMDB entry, CTV.CA article).