A broad range of events that explore the intersection of art and community fill the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's "The Living Ideas: Art and Community Dialogue Series."
Now in its third season, the program provides a commons to exchange ideas and engage in a number of venues on the OSF campus, in the community and via digital platforms using relevant themes inspired by the festival's stage productions.
This year, the program will dive deeper into themes of legacy, mentorship, storytelling, memory and history illuminated by William Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Part One," "Henry IV, Part Two," UNIVERSES' new musical "UniSon,' and playwright Randy Reinholz's new "Off the Rails." Also look for facilitated, post-matinee Talk Backs, poetry workshops and interactive digital conversations, along with a theater piece in the fall that will examine how audiences participate in the storytelling process.
Talk Back/Move Back post-play discussions will be offered Sunday, May 7, Wednesday, June 14, Thursday, July 13, Friday, July 14, Friday, July 21, Sunday, Aug. 6, Friday, Aug. 11, and Saturday, Sept. 2. The Talk Backs provide opportunities to explore themes and ideas that resonate in the performance and discuss connections between the play's characters and audiences' personal lives. A Move Back will use non-verbal expression to explore emotions following a performance, explore themes by using a kinesthetic approach, and collectively process and build community through movement. Talk Backs and Move Backs are free and non-ticketed. Talk Backs will take place in New Place and Move Backs will be in the Black Swan Theatre. See osfashland.org for details.
In the Boar’s Head poetry workshops, OSF’s resident ensemble UNIVERSES, creators of this season’s "UniSon," will lead participants toward its aesthetic in the birthplace of slam poetry — the community tavern — at Oberon's Restaurant and Bar in Ashland. Participants will learn how the UNIVERSES aesthetic developed, construct both a UNIVERSES-style and an iambic poem, then perform the pieces at Oberon’s. Boar’s Heads will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, Wednesday, June 28, Monday, July 17, and Monday, Aug. 21. These events are free and non-ticketed.
The final two offerings of The Living Ideas programming engage in the intersection of art and technology. In “OSF digistories,” storytellers, art makers and multi-disciplinary artists have been commissioned to create a series of short videos, prompted by themes of legacy, mentorship, responsibility, history and memory. These “digistories” will be unveiled on a multimedia Tumblr webpage — a platform for interactive conversation about the work that encourages audiences to create their own videos as they reflect on the stories. Further details and the web address will be released in June. See osfashland.org.
"Take Them Into the Dirt: An Immersion" will be a theater piece based on indigenous stories that explore legacy and how we as humans use our senses, identities and cultural frames to experience stories. Using live performance, virtual reality, projection techniques and sensory exploration, this immersive experience will ask participants to explore their personal construct of legacy and how they engage with storytelling. Participants will be asked to bring a personal item that represents legacy that will be used in the performance. Dates for "Take Them into the Dirt: An Immersion" will be in early October. Details will be announced at osfashland.org.