Stanley and I are on a book tour down the west coast: starting at Seattle and working our way down to San Diego by car (with a one night stand in Phoenix by air). We’ve had a super time the whole way, but the highlight so far must be our visit to Ashland, Oregon. Probably US readers know all about Ashland, but – excuse my ignorance – I did not. It’s an absolutely remarkable place. The sort of place where people come to visit for a few weeks and stay for the rest of their lives. No, really they do. We met some. And it’s quite easy to see why.
|The open-air theatre|
Now there are three theatres with an annual operating budget of $26 million running a nine month season of 800 plays seen by 400,000 people! The town has around 20,000 residents. It’s a truly outstanding achievement.
Michael - Thursday
The plays are absolutely top rate. Because of Maureen’s generosity we were able to see a performance of The African Company Presents Richard III. Based on the true story of a black actor in the early nineteenth century New York, it reflects the racism of that time but also it is a study of the human spirit’s longing for creativity. As the director asked in the program notes: “What is it that drives artists to keep making their art, in spite of animus, in the absence of creative acceptance?”
|Charles Robinson, Peter Macon & Mark Murphey in a scene from the play|