Ashland onstage

The West's most famous theater town will still surprise you

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Stage strategies

These days there's a lot more to theater in Ashland than the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. And there's a lot more to the festival than just Shakespeare. How do you make the most of your Ashland stay?

Personalize your festival experience. Depending on the month, OSF puts on four to nine classic and contemporary plays for you to choose among. They're staged in three very different venues―the outdoor 1,190-seat Elizabethan Stage/Allen Pavilion (open mid-Jun to Oct 9), the indoor 601-seat Angus Bowmer Theatre, and the indoor New Theatre, seating 270 to 360. Treat yourself to at least one play in each setting.

Think timing. Tickets and lodging are cheaper in spring and late fall. In any case, get tickets as early as possible for best seats.

Don't be afraid of Bill. Sure, Shakespeare's language is archaic, but the stories are timeless. Order this year's copy of Illuminations ($11 plus postage) from the festival box office (see "Touring Ashland," page 42). The deep background the guide provides for each play is essential reading for Shakespeare neophytes.

Branch out. Productions at Oregon Cabaret Theatre and Oregon Stage Works will add to your experience.

Making it a long weekend? Remember that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival offers plays every day except Monday, but other companies stage plays then.

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