Last week East coast people looking over our retirement community asked if we missed NYC. Of course, we'd like to see our Roxie more, even on Skype (hint to her parents). And there's a certain Jewish aura to the streets and citizens missing here.
But for having a good time, in addition to our local family, many possibilities keep springing up. Seems more accessible than New York. One has to look. Last spring we met Carol Storke and Michael Smith at the intermission of August Wilson's, "Radio Golf," presented in a converted black church in Portland's Albina neighborhood. Talking quickly, as New Yorkers are prone to do, we learned we had much in common from our urban pasts. One big difference: they are now farming in Silverton, Oregon. We heard about the town a couple of years ago from blogger, Lydia at Writerquake but had not been there yet.
Michael is a playwright, has written more than twenty of them--and poetry (read on his blog). His past includes time as a theatre critic for the Village Voice, a once-wonderful free weekly in New York. Like many other publications, it barely resembles what we read eagerly in the 1960s and 70s when he was there. We traveled to Silverton for his his latest, "Hamlet in Love" in a black box space at the local high school.
There was this brief summary in a Salem (state capitol) newspaper:
In this fresh take on Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet's father's ghost is only a voice in the young man's mind, and his suspicion that his uncle murdered his father proves not to be the case. His love for Ophelia blossoms, and no one dies.
Kristine Thomas, took time for a thoughtful interview with Michael for OurTownlive.com. She drew out more on why he felt compelled to reconfigure this particular Shakespearean drama. "I don’t believe in ghosts so I don’t necessarily believe what happened in the play is true.”
We sat very close. Young Hamlet (Kory Crozen), intense, saturnine, narcissistic--pulled us toward him in the first moments of the play. We were convinced he was a little mad. (He'd changed before I could get picture in authenic costume.) So too was Alfred St. John Smith as his friend Laertes. Ron was struck by how Alfred had been a light-hearted dinner companion then morphed a half hour later into Laertes (middle in photo)-- keeping all together for his good friend Hamlet.
Gertrude (Kelley Morehouse) gave a stately, measured performance and wore a terrific dress. We learned afterward that she'd never been an actor before and came aboard late in rehearsals replacing someone who had to leave. Claudius (Vere McCarty on left) cut a stately figure in an altered role for this up-dated view of Hamlet's story. I entirely missed a picture of Ophelia (Dianna Bates)--and another gorgeous dress.
Draining the warlike and bloody aspects from the old story pleased me. How Michael Smith pulled it off is for you to experience by taking a trip to Silverton (by November 14). Hard metal seats; take pillows.
We can't promise a delicious chicken meal with potatoes and peas from the garden like the one Carol prepared for us but we saw several places around the town center that we'd like to try on another visit.
Along with a good number of tempting vintage stores with small objects we try not to buy.