Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

Shakespeare in Oregon and Nazi-Looted Art

Shakespeare in Oregon and Nazi-Looted Art
The Bard and His “Secure” “Scuffle” and “Swagger”

This weekend I caught the final performance of The Taming of the Shrew at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In this adaptation, director David Ivers modernizes the play through changing the setting to a boardwalk, outfitting some of the players in golf attire and hipster sunglasses, transforming Petruchio into a rock star while letting his entourage play guitar hero, and having Petruchio and Kate reveal their sleeve tattoos. The players managed to pull this unlikely adaptation off—despite myself, I was guffawing.

Walking around Ashland, where the festival finds its home, I found myself in bard universe, with businesses called All’s Well Herb & Vitamin Shop, Puck’s Donuts, and Four and Twenty Blackbirds Bakery. I saw Hortensio at a coffee shop; it turned out that my waitress was dating Grumio. My experience in Ashland made me start wondering how Shakespeare is faring in the U.S. in general. According to the open directory project, there are 67 Shakespeare festivals and companies. And, if that isn’t enough, I found a page on the over 1,700 common words that Shakespeare invented. Turns out whenever someone says “addiction,” “birthplace,” “skim milk,” “obscene,” “marketable,” “critic,” “puking” (the list continues), he or she is referencing Shakespeare. I’ve come to the conclusion that however intentionally or unintentionally we are all patrons of the Bard, keeping his legacy “lustrous.”

—Nicola Fucigna, Fiction Editor

1,500 Pieces of Nazi-Looted Art Found in Munich

From pop culture (the plot of White Collar’s Season 3) to literature (the best seller The Monuments Men and its forthcoming film), the issue of art looted by the Nazis is still pressing today. In fact, according to estimates provided by the U.S. Holocaust museum, the Nazis seized some 16,000 works, only a small fraction of which have been recovered. But, just this week, 1,500 pieces of artwork confiscated by the Nazis in the ’30s and ’40s were found in Munich. This discovery is suspected to include works by Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, and more, with an estimated value of $1.35 billion.

“It is 68 years since the Nazis were defeated” states The Guardian reporter David Lewis, “but only a little more than 20 years since the issue of war loot, and looted art in particular, became seriously addressed following the break up of the Soviet Union.” Lewis argues that it is not about the money, but about linking Holocaust survivors to their past. Let the reparations and investigations continue!

—Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach, Poetry Editor