The play’s the thing in Sisters
Last updated 8/2/2022 at Noon
The Guerilla Shakespeare group is no ordinary troupe of actors and actresses. The “guerilla” concept of sweeping into town with few encumbrances and then heading to the next venue sets the acting company apart.
The group staged “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on Saturday evening, July 30, at the Fir Street Park under perfect midsummer conditions.
It’s the fifth time the group has played in Sisters over the years under producer and artistic director Clinton K. Clark, a Bend native, who created the company in order to bring more of the bard’s work to Central Oregon.
Clark, who has been residing recently in Chicago, said, “We take a spot and kind of ambush it with a play and as mysteriously as we arrive we’re gone again in about a half an hour and it’s just as it was before we came.”
We load everything into the back of a couple of cars and we only run for a couple of weeks so we sort of think of it as being like a Buddhist sand painting of theater. We are present for a very short amount of time and then we wipe it away and let it just live in our hearts afterwards.”
The entire cast hails from Central Oregon according to Clark, who explained now that he is living in Chicago his job has been to fly in, make sure the play is in good shape, everything is paid for and the paperwork is finished, and trust Raechel Gilland to do her magic as the director.
Gilland began working with the actors in mid-May, according to Clark, who arrived on the scene July 5. The play has been performed in and around Bend, including in a cemetery, as well as Sisters and Redmond.
Gilland, who has been involved in four of the five Guerilla productions, described the efforts as grassroots and collaborative.
“Shakespeare is timeless and we need to keep the traditions,” she said. “I like to showcase his work in a way that we keep his language but present the play in a way that, instead of trying to be so poetic, we talk more like regular people.”
While most of the players have acting experience a few had very limited or no previous time on stage, according to Gilland.
An intimate audience experienced the full play over nearly two hours and heard every line of the original. Traditional music by Janelle Musson contrasted with costumes that tended toward regular casual attire other than Puck, the King and Queen of the fairies Oberon and Titania and the fairies themselves. Of course, the character Nick Bottom does don donkey ears, hooves and teeth when Puck turns him partially into an ass.
“A Midsummer’s Night Dream” is a comedy of love and magic, along with a ridiculously silly play within a play. It is a favorite of many Shakespeare fans.