“You’re watching a star. Impressive classical skills with the persuasive insinuation of Hollywood sex appeal.”
– Bob Hicks, The Oregonian
Ashland, Oregon is a very special place for me. My dad (Robert Page) was a member of the OSF acting company in 1964 and ’65, playing Orsino, Antonio, Duncan and several others. In a certain sense, I grew up there. I definitely developed my love for Shakespeare, and learned the language like a child in a bilingual family—by osmosis. Anyone who has been to Ashland knows that it is truly magical. Lithia Park lies just below the theatre, and when I was a boy the whole family would sit in the park for hours, playing in the creek and feeding the swans. In high school our drama teacher took us on overnight fieldtrips to the Festival, which were unimaginably exciting. I remember vivid productions of Macbeth, Dr. Faustus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Wild Oats. My dream took hold: one day I would work as an actor in Ashland. In 1990 that dream came true. Libby Appel invited me to join the company to play Autolycus in her production of The Winter’s Tale, and I was also given the role of Montjoy in Henry V. The following season I played Talbot in Henry VI (one of the lesser known leading roles in the canon, and probably Richard Burbage’s first Shakespearean role), and Marc Antony in the notorious 1991 Julius Caesar. It has become notorious because the nearly all male cast was dressed only in loincloths—sometimes in thong fashion with no covering on the rear! I quickly realized that not even Olivier could compete with his own ass. When it was uncovered the audience couldn’t look anywhere else—regardless of its shape or condition. I begged the costume department for a “butt flap” and they grudgingly complied. The production was not successful, but I had a great time playing Antony, and was told that my funeral oration could be heard at the college a mile away.