Libby Appel retired as artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2007. She says of plays she directed, “They were controversial in a sophisticated, interesting way.”
Appel’s productions are elegant and sparse, and she approaches her work with a deep sense of conviction. This is the second of a two-part interview; the first was published in this space on March 13.
LA: People see themselves on the stage, even if it’s something from Shakespeare. I remember I directed “Richard II” outdoors in its own period. George Bush was president, and we had begun the Iraq war. David Kelly played Richard, playing up the prideful and vainglorious Richard II, who fell by his own dreams of glory. When the first act was over, a man and a woman (who I didn’t know) were talking to each other. She turned to him said, “Boy, I wish George Bush could see this.” I thought that was just incredible. Here it was, in its 13th-century grandeur, and they saw a contemporary parallel. That’s why you do it. People recognize themselves and the people around them and it changes them.