ASHLAND, Ore. -- The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is asking people across the world to help them put together a play, showcasing how Shakespeare's words were saved for future generations.
"The Book of Will" takes place after Shakespeare's death, telling the story of Shakespeare's friends worked to save his words.
"That little nugget of history felt so beautiful to me," said Lauren Gunderson, the playwright. "Suddenly this play idea blossomed about the brotherhood and sisterhood of theater, and legacy and things that we're part of that are bigger than ourselves."
Gunderson is also the first female playwright to have a show on the Allen Elizabethan stage at OSF. She said, she wasn't aware she held that distinction.
"It was totally surprising," Gunderson said. "It’s truly humbling."
OSF is asking people across social media to submit videos of themselves recording Shakespeare in any language to "The Book of Will" Facebook page, and using #BookofWillOSF. The point is to show the impact of Shakespeare's words through the generations, and across the world.
Kirsten Llanes sent in a video from Edina, Minnesota. She's never been to OSF, but wanted to contribute to the project anyway. She said she thinks Shakespeare's plays are timeless.
"I think there’s something that’s always going to appeal to different generations of groups of people because of the way he wrote his characters," Llanes said, "[There's] all sorts of ways to take in Shakespeare."
Joellen Sweeney, a Portland resident, also sent in a video. She tries to visit OSF every year.
"I can imagine this being a really powerful project if you have people submitting from many countries across the world, many from different backgrounds, and many ages," Sweeney said. "I think that would be a really beautiful thing."
Outdoor vs. Indoor
Putting together an outdoor show poses different challenges than an indoor show. The set has to be weather-proof, and the lighting has to change as the sunset times change as the season progresses.
"In June, when the play opens, it really means you're going to be performing the play in broad daylight for most of the first act," said Dámaso Rodríguez, director of "Romeo and Juliet." "So a play like Romeo and Juliet has scenes with her talking about the moon in the night sky, and dawn, and all of these things that you can’t represent with traditional lighting design like you can in an indoor theater."
Actors have to adjust for unexpected variables too, like bugs.
"I made it a point up until I moved to Oregon to not perform an outdoor spaces because I am terrified of flying insects," OSF actor Jennie Greenberry laughed. "But I think you get used to it here, and thankfully they seem to be more preoccupied with the stage lighting in the are dive-bombing the actors."
Rain storms also pose unique challenges.
"Sometimes we have rain ponchos that the costumes [department] has backstage," Greenberry said. "So if you’re lucky enough to catch us on a rain show, you might see any one of the actors in [a] lovely neutral colored poncho or perhaps a rain bonnet."