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The Original Practice Shakespeare Festival staged Much Ado About Nothing Saturday night.

It felt like a homecoming at the Elsie Stuhr Center.

From pre-school to seniors and everyone in between, the OPS players dominated the room.

William Shakespeare lives in Beaverton, if only for one night.

But it’s more.

On the same night audiences across the Portland metro area saw two other plays in Laurelhurst Park: As You Like It, and Hamlet.

In the tradition of the original productions where actors took the stage for many plays each month, Much Ado included scrolls.

Here they are in mid-play:


After the first few minutes, the scrolls seem to disappear. They become unnoticeable.


The enthusiastic skill of the players and their comfort with the material prove that William Shakespeare lives on.

The beauty of the enduring work wove its way through the entire audience.


“In Shakespeare’s Era, the audience knew the actors had not rehearsed and that the only context each had of the play was their own role on a scroll. The play was as fresh to the actors as the audience.

In our company, you’ll NEVER see the same cast do the same play in the same way. We’re dangerous like that.”


Adding to the fun was a prompter, a referee on stage to keep the action on track.

Dressed in modern gear, which did stand out from the Elizabethan costumes, the ref still fit in.

Her active participation eliminated confusion and showed the actors’ skill to pick up their lines.

If you’ve never seen this set up, you’re in for a surprise.

The ref adds context and opens a wider access to the classics.

She filled the role of prepping the audience and pumping up the thrill of live theater.


William Shakespeare lives in Ashland Oregon, London, Straford-upon-Avon.

His work lives large with Original Practice Shakespeare Festival, larger still at the Elsie Stuhr Center.

In the audience a woman sat with her kids. Her daughter played a part in her school’s production of Much Ado About Nothing.

Imagine their thrill watching Saturday night. Along with the excitement of the seniors in the crowd, it was contagious.

Last point: Can you remember times in your life that continue to influence?

If the children in the audience saw this as their first play, they will remember.

This troop caught their attention and held it for two hours.

Two. Hours. Sitting on the floor mesmerized, close enough that the actors included them for two hours.

They were proof enough that William Shakespeare lives in Beaverton.

With more shows scheduled, you can discover if William Shakespeare lives near you.

The biggest surprise you’ll find? He does.

About David Gillaspie
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