Posted in Books, Real Life

August Book Haul: I went to Powell’s…again

Listen.

My mom and I made the eight-and-a-half hour drive from Seattle to Ashland, Oregon WITHOUT stopping for books.

THAT IS SOME WILL POWER. Continue reading “August Book Haul: I went to Powell’s…again”

Advertisements
Posted in Theater

Converted by same-sex “Oklahoma”

A good adaptation can change your mind about a play.

To put a twist on the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival retooled “Oklahoma” as a queer romance featuring multiple gay, transgender, and gender-nonconforming characters.

Pairing
Bobbi Charlton and Tatiana Wechsler as Aunt Eller and Curly McLain

I won’t be able to watch straight “Oklahoma” ever again. The same-sex interpretation makes a lot of sense – barely any of the original text had to be changed to fit the f/f and m/m romances. In some cases, the original jokes become even funnier; one notable scene has the townsfolk shocked to learn Gertie Cummings married a MAN. Director Bill Rauch exhibits a keen sense of humor, advising actors to lean into the pronoun changes and other absurdities.

By abandoning historical accuracy, OSF’s production explores a fantastical world where same-sex attraction is a nonissue. This decision makes the now-homophobic Jud all the more frightening. His handsiness with both Laurie and Curly (and each woman’s subsequent discomfort), along with his description of burning down a farm after catching two girls together, threatens the accepting idyll of the Oklahoman townsfolk.

Before this, I hated “Oklahoma.” I scorned the original film, unimpressed by the supposedly “groundbreaking” musical.

I enjoyed the 5th Avenue Theatre’s 2012 attempt more, but that production still had problems. While casting a black man as Jud gave new energy to the material, Jud’s murder at Curly’s hands added a bleak ending to the thin story.

OSF’s “Oklahoma” strikes a balance: it retains the perky innocence of the original without leaning away from the horror angry men can bring. In fact, the same-sex interpretation boosts a fairly weak script, strengthening a once-tired classic for years to come.

“The world is changing,” cowgirl Curly says in the second act, “and we gotta change with it.”

I couldn’t agree more, so today I switch teams.

I’m Pro-klahoma and proud.

 

(You can catch “Oklahoma” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland Oregon now until October 27.)

Posted in Real Life, Theater

Inside the Worst Musical I’ve Ever Seen

The nightmare begins
The first speculative fiction novel I ever read betrayed me.

I stole The Sky Inside from a friend after watching her read it during math class. “What a unique plot!” I thought. “A colony of people living in a dome? Who engineer their own babies? And build robotic collies? Sounds like a one-of-a-kind reading experience!”

I wasn’t wrong.

After 229 pages, I wished death upon myself, the idiot protagonist, and his stupid robotic collie. The entire experience left me leery of “promising” concepts.

So when my mom told me she’d scored “primo” tickets to a musical version of Persuasion, I should have been suspicious. Instead, I turned off my inner alarm. I had theater, Austen, and one of my favorite people on my side.

Nothing could go wrong. Continue reading “Inside the Worst Musical I’ve Ever Seen”