Libby Appel

Libby Appel
Libby Appel

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.

Continue reading Libby Appel

Advertisements

Libby Appel

Libby Appel
Libby Appel

Libby Appel, the fourth artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, served for 12 years and directed more than 25 plays. She championed ethnic and gender diversity in casting, and she placed a strong emphasis on production of new works before retiring in 2007. She continues to guest direct at the festival.

We visited one afternoon in her exquisite home overlooking the Ashland hills. This is the first of a two-part interview; the second will publish in this space on March 27.

EH: When you began directing theater, there were very few women directors.

LA: When I was young, women didn’t do a lot of things. The role of women in the ’50s and early ’60s was just terrible. I can see that now, but I don’t know that I understood that then. My mother’s motto for me was always to “fulfill your potential,” and that’s what it was about. I had to do the best I could. It’s only when I look back, that I see what the challenges and the glass ceilings were.

Continue reading Libby Appel