In response to an apparently epidemic increase in the number of Shakespeare productions blanketing the Portland area, Mayor Charlie Hales has called for a new blue ribbon commission to study the phenomenon.
“I’ve already got three staff devoted full time to tracking Shakespeare shows in the greater Portland area, and they are maxed out. If we wanted to cover Vantucky and all the way down the corridor to Woodburn – forget it. Guys, come on. Enough is enough. What about Aeschylus?”
Hales was grimly flanked by all four City Commissioners at a noon press conference inside the Five Portland’s Centers for the Dramatical Arts and Performance. Nick Fish explained the Mayor’s reasoning.
“We think it’s potentially damaging to minors and other at risk Portlanders to be repeatedly subjected to the same nearly incomprehensible stories about the same random murders, love affairs, political uprisings, and over the top emotions what have you. I mean, Will knew how to move people on and off the stage, sure. But this is too much.”
Counting high schools, middle schools, and kindergartens, the Mayor tallied almost 600 productions of Shakespeare in Portland last year. And every third household seems to be starting up a new troupe devoted to the bard.
Commissioner Fritz waxed apocalyptic: “This conjunction of an immense theatre establishment and a large Shakespeare industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. And especially in Portland. We recognize the imperative need for entertainment. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.”
While Hales said he was asking for a voluntary one year ban, his office would be happy to see any sort of downward trend at all.