Play planned for parking lot

A parking lot full of people in lawn chairs and the beds of pick-up trucks &

tailgaters before a football game or a crowd enjoying a free Shakespearean performance in downtown Ashland?

Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" will be staged in the open parking lot behind the Water Street Caf&

233; across from the Plaza on Monday night at 6 p.m. Even though Monday is usually considered a blackout day at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, theatergoers will be treated to a considerably different production than they usually anticipate when coming to Ashland.

Produced by the Members of The Twelfth Night Parking Lot Project in collaboration with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and directed by Ashland High School graduate Shana Cooper, this performance hopes to gather the energy and sense of community usually experienced at rock concerts.

"It's going to be the way Shakespeare was done originally," said Cooper, who recently completed her MFA in directing at Yale. "We're not charging admission and there's no intermission. People can talk during the performance, move around and even eat their dinner at Water Street Caf&

233; while watching the show."

Seating for "Twelfth Night" will be similar to Ashland's Fourth of July parade &

audience members can sit in lawn chairs or pick-up trucks provided by the production. Actors will be carrying their own microphones so that they can be heard over the downtown noise and traffic.

Cooper believes Ashland is the perfect place to try a new twist on an old classic.

"One of the things the other theater students and I would talk about is the energy and sense of community we would see when we go to rock concerts," Cooper said. "We wanted to capture the sense that an event is happening and we're all part of it together. If someone is walking down the street, they will be able to hear us before they can even see us. We hope to draw them in."

Producer and actress Andrea Day lives in New York and was impressed by OSF's response to this project.

"It's been exciting for me to see how encouraging the theater is and how supportive they are of projects like this," Day said.

"This theater is giving wings to the future."

The cast for "Twelfth Night" includes OSF actors Kjerstine Anderson, Mark Bedard, Anil Margsahayam, Tasso Feldman, Emily Sophia Knapp and Gregory Linington.

"This is not your mother's Shakespeare," said Linington, a longtime OSF actor who is playing Orsino/Sir Toby in the production.

This event is free and open to the public. It will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday. For more information contact Andrea Day at

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