ASHLAND, Ore. -- Community members are engaging in a new series this year at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, opening up discussions about local impacts of global issues.
It is called the Living Ideas Series, which is a new art and community dialogue allowing more interaction between audience members and the works being performed on the festival's stages.
The play Sweat is experiencing a powerful world premiere at OSF this year and is being featured in the first year of the Living Ideas Series.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage shares a look inside a Pennsylvania town at the turn of the millennium, showing the struggle of American workers during a time of industrial decline.
The play follows the lives of two generations of employees at a local plant in Reading, Penn. called Olstead's. The plant begins laying off workers in 2000 and less than 10 years later has all been shut down. The audience sees as characters on stage go through violent emotions of displacement from outsourcing, racial lines being drawn and finding ways to make their plant skills transferable into other lines of work.
The Living Ideas Series is pairing the show with discussions featuring speakers from the southern Oregon community about how the valley has experienced similar industrial decline compared to the town of Reading, Penn in the show Sweat.