Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
from Shakespeare’s The Tempest
the path to joy and unity leads to a brewpub
I split this first day in Ashland taking care of needed business and participating in the activities of the town. I had several this I needed to,do,and first and foremost was the bicycle needed some work. Nothing major but my left pedal had been acting up since Crater Lake. It creaked and squeaked and occasionally would seize up. It seemed to recover somewhat but I needed to get it rebuilt, or more likely replaced. So I kept my eyes open for a bicycle shop and as I was walking around town looking for a place for lunch I spotted Piccadilly Cycles which had a clean, sort of Apple Store-ish layout and sold high quality commuter bicycles. So I went in and talked to the wrench there and as is so often the case on tour he was super helpful and immediately able to work on it. So I retrieved my Atlantis and he replaced the pedals with some decent cheap flat ones (I’ll send the Grip Kings back to Seattle where the fine folks at Free Range can rebuild them). He also lubed and adjusted my front derailleur cable which had become really stiff and hard to shift to the large chainring. Riding back to the hostel everything felt really smooth again (though missed the Grip Kings).
The rest of the afternoon was wandering through town and as I encountered needed places – the library, the post office, an outdoor shop – I stopped in and took care of business. It had been overcast and hazy but by late afternoon it had mostly cleared up and and warmed up. I returned to the hostel to relax for a spell before heading into town for the main event: The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s production of The Tempest.
OSF has an outdoor Elizabethan Theatre and two more modern indoor theaters. The Tempest was in the larger of the indoor theaters which whole not as impressive as the outdoor space was nice and cool on this hot day. The production design of the Tempest was fantastic, minimal, spare, abstract: right up my alley. The stage was basically a triangle with a raised point toward backstage and two angled ramps at the rear. The floor was surfaced with various coverings and there were two holes on the floor that stuff could be raised and lowered from. The props were minimal and were primary four butoh dancers. The four wore grey pants and the traditional white body paint. They were in “relaxed” poses on stage from before the play started and maintained those, occasionally changing them until it properly began. They would serve as props – for instance as a rock the king leaned on, or a table that the prince and Miranda played chess on – as extras at times, but most often they were the manifestation of Prospero’s magic. He would snap his fingers and someone would fall asleep and a dancer would gently lay them down. They also served in a way as kind of a Greek Chorus or commentary on the proceedings. The lighting and sound effects were used extremely well to reinforce the titular tempest, Prospero’s magic and to enhance the strangeness of the island. The actors as one would expect were all top notch with Prospero and his captive spirit Ariel particularly standing out.
I’m no theatre critic and while I do love the theater have only see so much, but I thought this was a great performance and really am glad I went. I did think though at one point how strange it was to be seated among 800 people at a lavish (and plenty pricey) theatre when the previous day I was alone in the woods.
walking back from town
the moon sails out of the clouds
– a distant chorus of frogs