(June 29, 2007, 2:16PM PDT, Special Report by Denise Battista)The Oregon Shakespeare Festival had it's matinee performance of Tom Stoppards's farce On the Razzle interrupted by a bomb scare, forcing all patrons of the sold-out performance to evacuate the Angus Bowmer Theatre.
Currently all the theatres have been closed down. Initially an unknown package with apparent batteries, wires and tape, was spotted at the base of the Lincoln statue in the area central to the closely-situated theatres. The OSF called the police and expected to have the situation resolved shortly, enabling them to continue with the performance, but at 2:17PM, OSF Director of Marketing, Mallory Pierce, announced to the crowd that the matinee is, indeed, canceled. The Oregon Bomb Squad is expected to arrive on the scene shortly (3:40PM). While it is still unclear as to whether it is a hoax or real, this is the first bomb scare for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in its 72-year history.
Officer Kip Keeton of the Oregon Police Department stated that as of 4pm PDT the bomb squad was still investigating the situation and we're on a manhunt for an individual in a green T-shirt who broke police lines. Keeton stated that the culprits in bomb scares often observe the situation from the perimeter.
LATE BREAKING NEWS (4:08pm PDT): Steve Boyersmith of the Oregon Fire Department confirmed that the Oregon Bomb Squad is on the premises and is using a robot and subsequent water cannon to try and determine if the package is, indeed, a bomb. The police lines were then extended an additional 100 feet.
LATE BREAKING NEWS (4:40PM) At 4:11PM a loud explosion fooled bystanders, who thought the package was detonated, when, in fact, it was the explosive roar of the water cannon at the "bomb" site. By 4:30PM, the Oregon Bomb Squad determined that the package was not a bomb. After a full inspection of the perimeter, police lines are expected to be removed.
This evening's performances of Shakespeare's The Tempest and As You Like It should resume as scheduled. The OSF has said they will either refund or exchange tickets from today's canceled matinee for another of the patron's preference. (Photos by Denise Battista, Editor-in-Chief)
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