To: Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Stop Modernizing Shakespeare's Plays

This is a petition to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to end its "Translation Project", which is dedicated to the wholesale revision of Shakespeare's plays to accommodate modern audiences.

Why is this important?

As forewarned in the New York Times, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has received $3.7 million from the Hitz Foundation to create so-called TRANSLATIONS (as distinguished from Reformation amendments, adaptations, parodies, etc) of Shakespeare's plays for 21st- century audiences. In this massive, 39-play Alternative Shakespeare Canon classical references are to be minimized or "contextualized," ambiguous meanings simplified or streamlined, and words amended or replaced . . . “bringing fresh voices and perspectives.”

(A) Opinion piece in The New York Times by James Shapiro, "Modernizing the Bard?" (October 7, 2015, page A27)
(B) Article in New York Times by Jennifer Schuessler, "Oregon Shakespeare Festival Plans Shakespeare 'Translation' Project" (October 1, 2015, Arts Beat--Theater)
(C) "Why 'Translating' Shakespeare for the 21st Century Is a Bad Idea" by Dennis Abrams ( The Markets)
(D) Oregon Public Broadcasting "Oregon Shakespeare Festival To Modernize The Bard's Plays"
(E) Facebook "Play On: 36 playwrights translate Shakespeare"


Reasons for signing

  • Shakespeare sucks
  • Shakespeare does not need translation; his plays are in modern English already. And, judging by the samples, these "translations" destroy the sense of the text, as well as its beauty. An abomination, pure and simple.
  • Anytime you translate into a current language you lose the true meaning of what was said in the first place. It's up to the people who are watching the theater to understand and study what is being said and I'm true meaning behind those words.

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