Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Cultural Problem at the Heart of Ashland

Here at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, the festival program declares that
We include a diversity of people, ideas and cultures in our work, enriching our art, our relationships with each other, our audiences and our community.
That means that OSF is always careful to include black actors and a black play every year -- August Wilson seems to be a go-to playwright, as elsewhere in the liberal drama world. And last night, at a performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor played with a female Sir John Falstaff,  there were blacks, Hispanics, and East Asians playing minor parts and an occasional Spanish phrase to demonstrate diversity and inclusion.

But really, should a Shakespeare festival give a damn about "other cultures?" Shouldn't its Mission Statement say that "we celebrate Shakespeare" rather than
Inspired by Shakespeare's work and the cultural richness of the United States, we reveal our collective humanity through illuminating interpretations of new and classic plays [etc].
Which is to say that "we are liberals" and our job as white educated liberals is to treat everyone else on the planet as our beloved pets, except for nasty cis-hetero-white deplorables who violate our Code of Conduct. They will be named and shamed and fired like Google's James Damore. Probably, that would never happen at a place like OSF because Deplorables don't have a chance in racist sexist homophobic hell of being hired in the first place.

I know. It really isn't as simple as that. OSF's audience is politically liberal and it expects the proper genuflection to liberal gods, and the artistic and administrative corps of the festival are also liberals that naturally enact and celebrate the canons of the liberal faith. So stop complaining, you whiner.

And the reality is that OSF doesn't do illuminating adaptions of anything. What it does, especially in these latter days, is dumb the plays down, and indicate, by a wafting a hand past the backside, when a fart joke has been made in Elizabethan English.

And because all its practitioners live and worship in the liberal bubble, OSF puts up stone-blind productions like a recent Julius Caesar as a woman CEO surrounded by Roman senators dressed as actors attending rehearsal in artistical black. Yeah. That's real illuminating. For rather more illumination try HBO's Rome on Netflix, which somehow, even though designed for a TV audience, manages to get the power politics of the patricians of Rome. No women CEOs, just aristocratic rich bitches manipulating things from behind the scene, as the aristocratic rich bitches have attempted to do from time immemorial.

Oh well. Today in Henry IV Part One, the Falstaff will be a man. But the Hotspur will be a woman.

Yeah. The most testosterone-fueled character in all of Shakespeare, including a duel to the death with who's-a-naughty-boy-then Prince Hal, will be a girl. Hey, why not? Wonder Woman can outfight any man in Illyria. So why not a woman as the Great Northern Hope of the Percy's, the Earls of Northumberland, marcher lords since whenever whose job was to keep out the Scots.

Well, you really can't expect these liberals to know anything. They are idiots and they are faithful communicants at the Church of Diversity and Inclusion, or you lose your job.

Meanwhile, I was reading that the later Dukes of Northumberland, no relations, assumed the surname Percy. Gee, I wonder why.

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