Ashland 2016: The Winter’s Tale

Winter’s Tale has always been one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.  I look at its peculiar structure as a challenge rather than an obstacle, and when it’s well-executed, the finale involving Hermione’s “statue” strikes me as one of the most dramatically satisfying scenes in all Shakespeare.  And of course there’s that famous stage direction…. I’ve …

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Ashland 2016: Twelfth Night

Ninety-nine percent of this year’s production of Twelfth Night at OSF is sheer genius.  The set design for its nominal 1930s Hollywood transposition is clever in all the right ways, nearly all the performances are exceptional, and the comic swordfight between Sir Andrew and Viola-as-Cesario gets the single funniest execution I’ve seen in the 40+ …

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Ashland 2016: Yeomen of the Guard

If you are a Gilbert & Sullivan purist, you may want to steer clear of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s current incarnation of Yeomen of the Guard — it is, I’m advised by the G&S purists in our tour group, a sufficiently free adaptation that they might as well have called it something else.  (Possibly Boys …

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It’s Aliiiive!!! (and reading)

And so, after a much-too-long hiatus, we return — with, I hope, rather more frequent updating in the weeks and months to come.  At the very least, I anticipate regular posts restoring the lyric archive from the old SFF Net site, and I also want to continue gradually importing the considerable file of reviews from …

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Errantry Anthem

Errantry Anthem words: © 2015 John C. Bunnell music: “Don’t Slay That Potato” (Tom Paxton) Inspired by Diane Duane’s “Young Wizards” novels (and some of the fanworks that have drawn on them).  Oh, magic, they say, is a game for the young, that’s played for the ultimate stake. It comes with a language unique and …

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Weeknight Update: Fanfic @ Eleven

I sent off some correspondence tonight to a friend who’d asked for a general introduction to the world of fanfiction — and realized, in the process, that my own essay on the subject elsewhere on this site was seriously out of date in some respects.  I’ve therefore done some light but long-overdue revising to account …

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Ashland 2015: Shakespeare, Sweat, and Singing

Five plays in three days — that’s the schedule for my annual visit to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, hosted by the Whitman College alumni office (which books the rooms and the tickets) and curated by our designated Whitman English professor (who picks the plays).  This latter job is a perennial challenge, as there are usually …

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OryCon 2014: Where I’ll Be

OryCon begins tomorrow (where did the time go?), and I have an unusually busy schedule for the weekend.  (Three panels as moderator?  What was I thinking?  What were they thinking?  Don’t answer that….)  Here’s where you’ll find me: Friday, 4 pm • Oregon • Funny Filk *Andrew Ross, John C. Bunnell, Cecilia Eng, John R. …

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Ashland 2014: 3 Bards, a President and a Tesseract

Back from our annual pilgrimage to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival — as usual, well-stuffed with (mostly) very good theater. First up this year was Richard III, a solid traditional production on the Elizabethan outdoor stage, with the bonus that Richard was/is played by fellow Whitman College graduate Dan Donohue. Dan graciously appeared after the performance …

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Why Bad Books Are Good For You

Counter-intuitive thought for the day: reading a bad book can be good for you. Yes, really.  Let me explain: From a craft standpoint, sometimes one way to figure out how good prose works can be to look at clunky prose. Looking at someone’s clunky Cinderella retelling side by side with someone else’s lyrical one may …

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