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post #267
bio: jen
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10/2/2007
16:45

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The Tempest in the Chicken Coop


I was away last week. John and I went up to Ashland, Oregon to visit his friend, Mary. John wanted to build a chicken coop for Mary, so he also brought up his tools and various saws with him. He checked the tools. He didn't carry them on the plane with him.

I just wanted to get out of Los Angeles. The lack of rain was starting to get to me, then the clouds with their dark sense of humor poured onto LA two days before I left. Maybe it was a sign. Or maybe it was just rain.

I was especially excited about checking out the Oregon Shakespeare Festival while up in Ashland. It was one of the great west coast regional theatres, and I had heard a lot of nice things about it through the years. One night, we went to see their production of The Tempest in their outdoor theatre. The majority of the audience was dressed fashionably in fleece, fleece, knitted hats, fleece, and blankets.

The production was a well-balanced brew of a tempest in a tea pot. I've seen tempests with too much pretty fancy magic, so the experience was like really bad children's theatre. I've also seen tempests which could be renamed The Prospero Show because the lead guy (aka Prospero) took over and everyone else just hung out on the island.

Fortunately, this production had some darkness. Calaban and Ariel wore ropes to remind us that yes, they're slaves to Prospero and most likely don't have a health plan. Also, the actor playing Prospero was very good, but he was part of a strong ensemble. Everyone pulled their weight to keep the island from sinking.

To me, the play is about a man who wants revenge but discovers forgiveness and compassion–-and marries his daughter off in the process. However, I like see the rage for revenge, so the forgiveness and compassion have weight in the end. In this production, I got to see that process, so it was a most satisfying cuppa Tempest.

Most of the time, John worked on the chicken coop on wheels. All together, the project took about five days. John hammered, sawed, and drilled with breaks for lunch, cocktails, and dinner. The coop was four foot by three and about five feet high. I painted it blue.

Even though I had a relaxing time up in Ashland, I could never move up there. The people drive way too slow. Sure, we might drive too fast in LA, but come on people, there's open road in front of you. Even though I had my books to occupy me and I was supposed to be relaxing, I found myself feeling bored out of my tree. It was too mellow, too laid back. I needed more of something. Maybe it was baseball.

Also, there was a righteousness to the place which sometimes vexed me. Okay, I know you all are enlightened and recycling. But what about the baseball?

We did do a nice day trip to the Applegate Valley to do wine tasting, and I'll talk more in depth about that in my next post.

And Andy, so nice to see you back on the robot. Has it stopped raining where you are?

And happy birthday, Kelly!


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