'What You Will'

Call it the Theater of the Parking Lot. Whatever you call it, it's something you don't see everyday.

Several Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors will work in a free production of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" set for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25, in the parking lot behind the Water Street Cafe in Ashland. The show is not associated with the OSF.

Co-producer Andrea Day, 34, of New York City, says it's based on the text "but definitely an exciting, fun, novel approach." Day will play Olivia.

Shana Cooper, an Ashland native who earned a master's degree in directing at Yale, will direct. Set and costume designer — contemporary with some urban flare — is by Scott Dougan.

Day promises lawn chairs for the groundlings and a ring of pickup trucks for "balcony" seating. Beer, sandwiches and other comestibles will be available.

"Twelfth Night" is one of Shakespeare's most popular comedies. It is the story of Viola, who washes up in romantic Illyria believing her twin brother, Sebastian, is dead. Masquerading as a youth named Cesario, she enters the service of Duke Orsino, who loves Olivia and decides to use "Cesario" as an intermediary. There's cross-dressing, mistaken identity and one of Shakespeare's best subplots, in which other characters plot to gull Olivia's pompous head steward, Malvolio.

"We all know the play," Day says. "This is a chance for a new approach.

"Theater has become so staid, that thing where you sit in the dark and you're quiet. We want people to think about it the way you might think of a concert.

"We haven't added or changed what Shakespeare said. We're just bringing it into a public sphere. If you don't inject a little something new, it stops being what it's supposed to be."

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