Film, TV and theatre star Anthony Heald ("Boston Public," Broadway's Love! Valour! Compassion!) plays Shakespeare, spelled "Shagspeare" or "Shag" in the play. The play concerns his company of players during the reign of King James I. OSF artistic director Bill Rauch directs.
The cast features Richard Elmore as Richard, Jonathan Haugen as Nate, John Tufts as Sharpe, Gregory Linington as Armin and Christine Albright as Shag's daughter Judith.
According to OSF, "Robert Cecil, minister to King James I, commissions Shakespeare to write a play about the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 — telling him to add some dialogue complimentary to the king — and witches. The king wants witches. The King's Men, Shag's theatre company, play about 20 roles: conspirators, executioners, priests, jailers, court officials and characters in two unnamed plays that we now know as King Lear and Macbeth. Their verbal acuity adds a dark humor to leaven the potentially perilous task before them. The play explores Shakespeare's struggle to write a play that will please — or at least not offend — the king, and what it means to tell the truth, to equivocate — and to lie — in politics, art and life."
OSF promises that "audiences will find that Equivocation deeply resonates with the political intrigues of Macbeth and Henry VIII." Macbeth is now playing in the Angus Bowmer Theatre and will run throughout the season, and Henry VIII will open on the Elizabethan Stage June 12 and run through Oct. 9.
The creative team includes associate artistic director and scenic designer Christopher Acebo; costume designer Deborah M. Dryden, lighting designer Christopher Akerlind; and music and sound designer Andre Pluess. Equivocation is the recipient of The Edgerton Foundation 2008 New American Plays Award.
For more information about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2009 season, visit www.osfashland.org.