The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play on! project, which has commissioned 36 playwrights to translate Shakespeare’s plays into contemporary modern English, will present a staged reading of Shishir Kurup’s translation of Julius Caesar at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 9, at the Mountain Avenue Theatre at Ashland High School. Tickets for the reading are $5 and are available online, or by calling the OSF Box Office at 800-219-8161, or stopping by in person at 15 South Pioneer Street in Ashland.
This will be the third time a Play on! project product will be performed locally. An OSF team previously presented "Timon of Athens" and Ashland new Plays Festival produced "Edward III."
Shishir Kurup is an accomplished writer, actor and director. Previously at OSF he directed two plays by Quiara Alegría Hudes — "Water by the Spoonful" and "The Happiest Song Plays Last." His writing credits include "On Caring for the Beast" (Currican Theatre); "Merchant on Venice" (Lark Theatre); and "Merchant on Venice, The DNA Trail: Bolt from the Blue" (Silk Road Rising). He has been the resident composer/lyricist for Cornerstone Theater Company since 1994.
The director for the Julius Caesar reading is OSF’s 2017 Phil Killian Directing Fellow Olivia Espinosa. She is a member of Native Voices at the Autry’s Artist Ensemble, where she has taken on roles as an actor, director, playwright and stage manager. The dramaturg for the reading is Nancy Keystone.
The cast for Kurup’s "Julius Caesar" features OSF acting company members Jordan Barbour, Benjamin Bonenfant, K. T. Vogt, Catherine Castellanos, Jon Cates, Connor Chaney, Christiana Clark, Ted Deasy, Miriam A. Laube, Tamra Mathias, Armando McClain and Galen Molk. Several of these actors are in the cast of OSF’s 2017 production of Shakespeare’s "Julius Caesar" as well.
“We are so excited for audiences to hear Shishir’s complete first draft of his Julius Caesar translation,” said Play on! Director Lue Morgan Douthit. “It’s a vital step in the development of any new work to have fresh ears listening to the words and providing helpful feedback.”
Audience members will have the opportunity to participate in a talk back with the creative team after the reading.
In the nearly two years since Play on! was announced, Douthit and Assistant Director Taylor Bailey have worked with more than 463 actors, directors, stage managers and producers on readings, workshops, productions and demonstrations in 17 different cities around the world, collaborating with 23 different theaters and academic institutions. For more information on Play on!, go to www.osfashland.org/PlayOn.