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Pull Up a Blanket and Enjoy Outdoor Theater This Summer

Pull Up a Blanket and Enjoy Outdoor Theater This Summer

Summertime calls you to move out-of-doors, to take as much pleasure as possible in bright sunny days and warm fragrant evenings. Even theater can be enjoyed in the fresh air. Here are three opportunities to be entertained under the open sky this summer.

Laugh among the trees at Enchanted Forest. Enchanted Forest runs their Summer Comedy Theatre starting in mid-June and continuing throughout the summer season.

Theater Director Susan Vaslev believes the outdoor setting is part of the pleasure of her production.

“The outdoor theater allows us more audience participation and we can get right out into the audience, depending on the show. Of course, it is the most beautiful setting, out among the trees,” said Vaslev.

Entrance to the theater is included with park admission. Shows run around 25 minutes with 4 showtimes between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“They really go crazy during the physical comedy and are very vocal. It’s a lot of fun. I would recommend the plays for people that like wild, crazy, silly, physical comedy with a little music thrown in.”

For more information, visit the Enchanted Forest website at http://www.enchantedforest.com.

Further south, the Majestic Theatre in Corvallis is closing its doors for summer repairs, but performances are moving outside. With the help of the Bruce Starker Arts Park in Corvallis as an alternate venue, the Majestic will be staging performances of two plays: “Persuasion” and “All The Great Books.”

“Persuasion” is adapted from the last completed novel by Jane Austen. It is the story of a woman who is persuaded to jilt the man she loves, and what happens when, after years of regret, that man returns to her life. “All The Great Books” also is a play drawn from great literature, but in this case, 89 separate works of great literature, which the play humorously and irreverently condenses into 90 minutes.

“We have been looking for ways to expand our venue and thought this would be worth a trial run – if it succeeds this year we will probably make it a yearly thing,” said Nancy Glines, development director for the Majestic.

Outdoor performances hold special trials and treasures for the Majestic team.

“While staging a production outdoors is a challenge to the actors, it seems to be a very intimate setting for the audience. The atmosphere is much more relaxed and informal and allows people to be able to share the performance,” said Glines.

Though the performances are family-friendly, the Majestic does not recommend the attendance of small children. They do recommend early arrival, and to bring picnic lunches, low-rising chairs and blankets to add to the comfort of the experience.

The performances of the two plays are interspersed, and there are matinees and 7 p.m. showings from August 22 to September 5th. Admission is $10 per person, and children 11 and younger get in free. For more information, go to the Majestic’s website at www.majestic.org.

The fourth annual Oregon State University’s Bard in the Quad performances will feature Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, Twelfth Night.

Twelfth Night is the story of a shipwrecked young woman, Viola, disguised as a boy, caught in a love triangle amidst scheming and clowns, and mistaken identities and sword fights.

Director Elizabeth Helman loves the challenges of an outdoor production.

“I love the freedom you have in a large outdoor space to create very broadly physicalized characterizations,” said Helman.

As with The Majestic’s outdoor production, blankets and picnics are highly recommended, though very small children are not.

“This production is going to be rather bawdy and sexy, so it’s up to parents to determine what’s appropriate for their very young children. It is a great way to expose young adults to Shakespeare, as long as they are respectful of other audience members,” Helman said.

Performances will take place in the OSU Quad, located behind the Memorial Union, August 5-16, with each show beginning at 7:30 p.m. “Early Bard” ticket pricing is in effect through July 20; costs are: adults $10, seniors & students $8, OSU students $5. For more information go to the Bard in the Quad website at http://oregonstate.edu/bardinthequad/.

So head outside to experience unique theatre in the Willamette Valley this summer. The stages are set and the scenery, sun, sky, and sometimes stars couldn’t be more beautiful.

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