Open-air theater

William Shakespeare's "Henry V" and "As You Like It," along with Alison Carey's "The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa" open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 15-17, in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's flagship theater, the Elizabethan Stage.

"Henry V," directed by Joseph Haj, kicks off the outdoor stage productions at 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 15.

OSF audiences have watched Prince Hal transform from prodigal son to monarch in "Henry IV, Part One" in 2010 and "Part Two" in 2011. Actor John Tufts continues his role as the disaffected prince who became the resolute king in the conclusional "Henry V."

"As marvelous and fun and complicated as the Hal ride is, it is no comparison to what's asked for from the actor who plays Henry V," Haj says in a video on OSF's website. "It's a deep and profound journey. John Tufts has been magnificent as Hal, and he's going to be brilliant as Henry V."

Haj is the producing artistic director of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Also returning for the third time in the "Henry" trilogy are Brent Hinkley (Bardolph), Richard Howard, Jeffrey King, Howie Seago, Christine Albright and Daisuke Tsuji.

At 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16, denizens of a small, fictitious Midwestern town fill the Elizabethan Stage, with Carey's Shakespeare adaptation, "The Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa," directed by Christopher Liam Moore.

Carey reimagines Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor" through a contemporary lens, looking at presidential politics, gay marriage and the larger conversation about marriage and love in the year 2012 in Iowa.

"Adaptation is about expanding the notion of what any play could be as time changes and as society changes," Carey says in an OSF video. "It's all about love of Shakespeare, welcoming the audience and expanding the vision. 'Merry Wives' is mostly not verse. There's a certain freedom to the text."

Carey and Moore met in 1984 and founded Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles, along with OSF Artistic Director Bill Rauch, in 1986. With Cornerstone, Carey and Moore adapted Shakespeare plays as a company and individually.

"Chris is incredibly funny," Carey says. "When you have a play that is about the laughs, you want Christopher Liam Moore in the driver's seat."

David Kelly plays Falstaff in the OSF production. Margaret Page is played by Terri McMahon, George Page by Ted Deasy, Alice Ford by Gina Daniels and Francie Ford by Robin Goodrin Nordli.

"As You Like It," Shakespeare's romantic comedy about runaway, young lovers who find fulfillment in the magical Forest of Arden, opens at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, June 17.

"The play is a passionate discussion between different points of view about the mystery, tangibility and ephemerality of love," says director Jessica Thebus. "It's really a sophisticated exploration of what happens when you love, why you love and what brings people together."

The cast includes Erica Sullivan, Christine Albright, Wayne T. Carr, Kenajuan Bentley, Howie Seago, Michael J. Hume, Kathyrn Meisle and Peter Frechette.

See or call 541-482-4331 for showtimes and ticket information.

See Page 4 for previews.

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