By Bob Hicks
Sunday was one of those days when Ashland repays all its debts and reminds you why you make the pilgrimage in the first place. The Scatters did a two-fer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival: an enthralling Julius Caesar in the round at the compact New Theatre in the afternoon, a warm and comically capacious Pirates of Penzance on the outdoor Elizabethan Stage in the evening.
If you haven’t read or seen Julius Caesar since that unfortunate high-school freshman English class a few years back, take heart. Nothing didactic or dutiful here: this is storytelling at its most elemental and joyous. Director Amanda Dehnert’s production takes advantage of a lot of the bells and whistles that the festival’s prodigiously talented technical staff can muster, but the heart of the show is squarely in the acting and the script. It’s stripped-down theater, strategically rebuilt.