OSF's 'Hamlet' has its high and low points

OSF's 'Hamlet' has its high and low points

I'm a local poet and author, who specialized in Shakespeare and especially Hamlet while earning my literature degree from Southern Oregon University. Recently, I watched OSF's "Hamlet" production and am going to share my impressions with total honesty. I almost didn't write this letter because of Professor Allan Armstrong's role as text/voice director.

So, the highly difficult job of shortening and modernizing the titanic play fell to him, and I'm pleased to say he did the very finest job I've ever seen (Mel Gibson's version being the very worst in this respect.)

However, I'd like to think Armstrong didn't have as much influence on performance and voice, because there's ample room for improvement. Dan Donohue as Hamlet switches between brilliant and innovative ... and one-dimensional and overacted. However, he has nothing on Jeffrey King as Claudius, who shouts, cackles and bludgeons the role into a terribly familiar C-movie villain.

Better are Laertes, Polonius and especially Ophelia (Susannah Flood.) Also fabulous is Christopher Livingston as a gay Osiric.

The lighting, wardrobe, and music are all striking and excellent. However, a hip-hop/street-dance troupe is cast as the travelling players. This could be done well, but their act (which is impressive as of itself) is carelessly glued over the role rather than adapted to it.

Overall, the production is like a great Shakespearean laboratory experiment: full of innovative examples of what can be done with a modern Hamlet ... and what should never ever be done. Still, I recommend seeing it.

Sean Lawlor Nelson

Ashland

AHS's 'Being Earnest' was a top-notch play

I've lived here since 2001. Last week, I attended my first Ashland High School theatrical performance, and sadly, their last for this season. Since I'm not a grandparent, parent, relative, teacher or friend of a student, I never felt compelled to go. A friend gifted me a ticket last Thursday with the words, "I really think you'll enjoy 'The Importance of Being Earnest.'"

I was "earnestly" floored by the high level of acting competency of all of the students, the incredibly beautiful set designs, costumes and exquisite pacing of the entire performance! It was thoroughly entertaining with a quality and excellence easily on par with the other theatrical venues in Ashland. Kudos to all the actors, instructors and behind-the-scenes people who have co-created this live work of art.

I look forward to next season's offerings with great anticipation and excitement and highly recommend any "hesitant" folks to give top priority to Ashland High School's theatrical performances — and give a ticket to a friend!

Elise Lockhart

Ashland

Ashland developer has rich reputation

It is sad to see the financial devastation of local developer Larry Medinger (Daily Tidings, May 7). For many years Larry has been known for his positive business practices and high integrity. He has also been dealing with cancer, fighting a 10-year battle with courage and good humor. The nation's economic catastrophe has hit at all levels. It is painful to see this noble, public-spirited man undergo such trials. But we can celebrate Larry Medinger as having exemplified the best in American enterprise and business: one whose projects benefited our local community, and, who, in addition, contributed his energy and wisdom to non-profit public service to enhance public institutions.

Thanks, Larry. You have our gratitude and good wishes.

Ralph Temple

Ashland

Community should support spray ban

The Parks and Recreation Department met Monday to discuss the city parks pesticide policy. To read a copy of the "Integrated Pest Management Policy" go to www.ashland.or.us/News.asp?NewsID=2000 and click on "Version 4 of the DRAFT Integrated Pest Management Policy" or to 340 S. Pioneer St.

Ashland has always been a community of people working together. I would like to call on all organic supporters: organic farm and garden families, permaculture folks, garden club members, all the wetland, forest and wildlife helpers, and all the folks buying our beautiful organic foods and products (Ashland Garden Club does wonders in our parks) to facilitate "no spray" all-year-round by having monthly work parties at all locations. Neighbors helping in their local park, dog lovers helping in the Dog Park, hikers helping in our ridge parks and the entire town helping in Lithia Park. That would be nine more months of no spray. Let's make Ashland a model for other towns.

Write or call Parks and Recreation this week at 541-488-5340 or biancob@ashland.or.us or drop a note at 340 S. Pioneer St. in Lithia Park. Parents, please check your local school concerning pesticide spraying. Many years ago we campaigned to discontinue spraying in schools yards. Let's find a way for a permanent spray ban citywide.

R Ferrier

Ashland

Thanks for support against cell tower

When we dropped off the last of our testimony for the record on AT&T's proposed cinema cell tower installation, the planning staff said they had been getting 150 e-mails per hour in our support. Wow!

This overflowing of community support for those of us affected by AT&T's proposed actions is heartwarming and really affirms what kind of community we live in.

On behalf of all the businesses and residents potentially affected by this, we say, "Thank you, Ashland citizens!"

Rod and Brooks Newton

Ashland

Ashland