So Portland's Metal Shakespeare Company, formerly Dagger of the Mind, has come a long way from its first gigs at Lewis & Clark College keggers. Tonight and tomorrow, June 24 and 25 (at 7:15 both nights) the band plays the Green Show at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.
If you aren't familiar with the Metal Shakespeare Company, fronted by former WW contributor/LocalCutter Jason Simms, just imagine what might have happened if the members of Iron Maiden had met in the English department at Cambridge instead of the streets of Leyton. The lyrics are all taken from Shakespeare and sung (well, shouted) to face-melting guitar riffs.
If you aren't familiar with the Green Show (more than likely, this being LocalCut), it's the free, 45-minute performance that takes place on the lawn outside OSF's Elizabethan theater. The usual performers are folk dance groups and wind ensembles, but this year the organizer, Claudia Alick, decided to change things up a bit. You know, by diversifying the schedule with Marimba groups, blues singers and a kickass heavy metal, um, troupe.
This has apparently caused some consternation among the locals. Check out this hilarious clip from Jackson Public Radio, Ashland's local NPR affiliate. The host says, "among the performers this year there's one called The Metal Shakespeare Company. They're going to do some Shakespeare scenes and play music. They're dressed in full costume." Then he warns us to "brace yourself a little bit for this" before playing a 10-second clip. Wild! Then he mentions the band's "Myface Space page."
Alick is quick to defend her, ah, unconventional choice for the Green Show, saying, "this is definitely outside of my own personal aesthetic, but I think we are going to have a lot of audience members who are going to love this."
[Ben Waterhouse is WW's Special Sections Editor and Theater Critic]
Metal Shakespeare Company
Photo by Annie Dimas