Resident Artist, Amelia Acosta Powell, shared with me insights into the 2019 Season at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
EH: What’s new and exciting for next season?
AAP: They all are. Octovio Solis’ play “Mother Road” which is inspired by “The Grapes of Wrath” is so beautiful. It is a beautiful play, and he’s a beautiful poet. It’s incredibly timely. It is a journey in the American West from California back to Oklahoma, which I think Oregon audiences will appreciate. I’m thrilled about that play.
I’m super excited about Lauren Yee’s “Cambodian Rock Band.” I don’t know how familiar folks are, especially the younger folks that come to OSF, with the Khmer Rouge or the history of Cambodian genocide. The way that Lauren has found to present that story is so exciting because: You can imagine a lot of people wouldn’t want to come watch a play about such a dark topic, but it is funny. There is fantastic music. She has found a way to welcome you in, break down those barriers of feeling uncomfortable, or feeling guilt, or feeling just overwhelming grief about it. A lot of resiliency, a lot of power and agency, which I think is a beautiful way in.
Continue reading Oregon Shakespeare Festival is back
As the line producer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Amelia Acosta Powell coordinates the creative process of play production with the artistic administration of the theater. Powell came to OSF from the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., where she was the casting director and artistic associate. We met at Starbucks Coffee Company on East Main Street in Ashland.
EH: Do you see the nature of theater changing?
AAP: Theater goes through national and international trends. The American theater is at a major tipping point because we’re seeing artistic leadership change all over the country. The vast majority of artistic leaders have historically been older white men. I’ve been excited to see recent announcements from major theaters announcing women artistic directors, some women of color, even some women who are earlier in their careers than the men who have been running these theaters. I think we’re about to see a real paradigm shift in terms of the priorities of the stories that are told and the values that are espoused in the work.
In terms of ticket sales, we’re seeing a lot more interest in new plays written by a diverse authorship, which is really exciting. In continuing to find a balance of how the classics are honored and celebrated for the beautiful works of literature that they are, OSF has been a leader in innovating with the classics, making every Shakespeare play a new play, to have resonance with contemporary times. Continue reading Theater needs to adapt to new audiences