Bill Rauch really is shaking things up.
The word's been that the first-year A.D. at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has been making his mark by putting a non-Western play, The Clay Cart, for a long run on the indoor Bowmer stage and actually producing a non-Shakespearean work (well, Our Town, but still) on the outdoor Elizabethan Stage.
Two weeks ago, he announced that OSF — sort of on the model of Shakespeare's two interlocking tetralogies on medieval British history — has commissioned 37 plays over 10 years, to be called "American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle."
And some heavy hitters are involved.
Tony Taccone (A.D. at Berkeley Rep, and a truly exciting stage director (Bobo saw his Othello, Coriolanus and Pentecost in Ashland a dozen years ago) and Jonathan Moscone (A.D. at Cal Shakes) will collaborate on a play set in San Francisco in the '70s ... a play about the murder of the then mayor of S.F., George Moscone (Jonathan's father).
They plan 15 full productions at OSF (2010-19); the rest will be done as readings and workshops. Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Shakespeare & Co. in Mass. are also in on the project.
Playwrights include Lynn Nottage (Intimate Apparel, Crumbs from the Table of Joy), David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, Yellow Face, Golden Child, Flower Drum Song,Aida, Tarzan), Naomi Wallace (One Flea Spare), Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle), Suzan-Lori Parks (Topdog/Underdog, 365 Plays/365 Days, In the Blood; co-wrote screenplay for The Great Debaters; will direct Fences on Broadway next year), and Culture Clash, the site-specific Latino performance troupe (Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, Herbert Siguenza).