ASHLAND — Two plays by William Shakespeare, one a classic tragedy and the other a nuanced love story, are among the trio of plays opening in the outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre the weekend of June 7.
Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and “All’s Well That Ends Well” will be sandwiched around something very different, an adaption of “Alice in Wonderland,” described as the story about “a young girl with a crucial superpower, curiosity and the beloved fantastical dream adventure in which she tries to figure out how to stay true to who she is.”
All three plays — “Macbeth,” directed by José Luis Valenzuela; “Alice in Wonderland,” adapted from Lewis Carroll’s book by Eve Le Gallienne and Florida Friebus, and directed by Sara Bruner; and “All’s Well,” directed by Tracy Young — will run through the weekend of Oct. 13.
The Green Show
The Festival’s popular Green Show, featuring free live entertainment on the Courtyard Stage four nights a week at 6:45 p.m., returns June 7 and will continue through Sept. 28. The lineup will feature music, dance, circus and theatre by artists new to the Courtyard Stage, such as Levity Circus Collective, DJ Prashant and the Jai Ho! Dance Troupe, and SURRIJA (Jane Lui of “Cambodian Rock Band”), along with such returnees as Phoenix and Four Directions, Medford-based Ballet Folklórico Ritmo Alegre, Charya Burt Cambodian Dance, and more.
The 2019 season is dedicated to the memory of Paul Allen. His foundation is credited with supporting many Festival program, including construction of the Thomas Theatre and the Allen Elizabethan Theatre.
Love and murder
Director José Luis Valenzuela terms “Macbeth,” which opens 8 p.m. Friday, June 7, “A great love story, the greatest love story ever, I believe. This idea that these two honorable people become cruel murderers because of their love for each other allows the story to evolve and develop, while both the characters and the audience explore their own humanity.”
In the title role is Danforth Comins, Other cast members including Amy Kim Waschke as Lady Macbeth, Chris Butler as Macduff, Al Espinosa as Banquo, Robin Goodrin Nordli as First Witch, Miriam A. Laube as Second Witch, Erica Sullivan as Third Witch and Rex Young as Duncan/Doctor/Porter.
Opening 8 p.m. Saturday, June 8, is “Alice in Wonderland.” Described as a faithful adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic books — including both Wonderland and Looking-Glass — the play is, “Sometimes delightful, sometimes dangerous, ‘Wonderland’ is a fantastical, nonsensical dream adventure.”
“This is a play that kids can enjoy. It has all of those layers and it has that joy to it,” says director Sara Bruner. “But there are deeper implications, like all of these stories that function on multiple levels. There’s comedy, parody, satire, fantasy and allegory for audiences age 8 to 80.”
“I love that in his heroine, Lewis Carroll has given her a full sensory experience,” says dramaturg Amrita Ramanan. “We have humans, animals, characters that are both human and animal, objects that are personified, food that’s personified, imaginative and invented characters by Carroll, and also imagined and invented characters by other sources. Through the exploration of this, Alice tastes, sees, touches, smells, and feels her way through the world, and I think that was just such a great invitation to put it in the theatre.”
The cast includes Emily Ota as Alice, Danforth Comins as Mad Hatter/Gentleman Dressed in Paper, Katy Geraghty as Eaglet/Five of Spades, Anthony Heald as Mouse/King of Hearts, Brent Hinkley as Caterpillar/Knave of Hearts, Cristofer Jean as Dormouse/Guard/White Knight, David Kelly as Cook/Seven of Spades/Humpty Dumpty, and Miriam A. Laube as Frog-Footman/Red Queen.
“All’s Well That Ends Well” opens 8 p.m., Sunday, June 9. Guest artist Tracy Young directs the “humorous, inventive and edgy production” of Shakespeare’s nuanced love story, with original compositions and movement. “The play is centered from the heart,” Young says. “It’s been said that the heart wants what it wants, and in ‘All’s Well’ the characters pursue their hearts’ desires with a fervor. The heart yearns for love, and suffers without it.”
The cast features Vilma Silva as Countess of Rossillion, Daisuke Tsuji as Bertram, Cristofer Jean as Lafew and Royer Bockus as Helen.
The three Elizabethan Theatre plays join five productions currently in the Angus Bowmer and Thomas Theatres: “Mother Road,” “As You Like It,” “Cambodian Rock Band,” “Hairspray,” and “Between Two Knees.” Plays opening later this season are “Indecent,” directed by Shana Cooper; the West Coast premiere of Christina Anderson’s “How to Catch Creation,” directed by the Festival’s incoming Artistic Director Nataki Garrett; and the world premiere of “La Comedia of Errors,” a bilingual adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors,” adapted by Lydia G. Garcia and Bill Rauch.
For ticket availability and more about the Festival’s 2019 season, which continues through Oct. 27, visit www.osfashland.org or call the box office at 800-219-8161.