Theater (161)

Summer Hits The Stage

Once again, PortFringe has kicked off Portland’s summer of theater, and you have through June 24 to catch some of the crazy — check out last issue’s PF Roundup and this issue’s capsule reviews.    Summer usually proceeds with a measure of Shakespeare, but some of the usual suspects are mixing things up interestingly this year. Fenix Theatre Company is instead staging Chekhov in Deering Oaks Park: Three Sisters runs in the band shell July 13 through August 5. And while Bare Portland…

Early Highlights from the PortFringe Festival

The Fringe goes on! This year, the PF team has had the great idea to offer “first looks” at shows, written by local friends of PF and posted at http://portfringe.com/first-looks/, and here are a few of my own highlights from the first weekend: The Yellow Wallpaper (Bare Portland – Portland) + from the rib vault in the room that has become mary (New Fruit – Portland) Absolutely stunning. This jointly devised installation and performance, an abstracted riff on Charlotte Perkins…

Giving In To Trickery — Bess Welden's 'Legbala is a River'

To hear the story of Legbala is a River, we’re invited into a bright, round tent of white cloth, to sit with our feet bare in red sand. A woman moves among us to tell her story, and what we hear first is a question: “Is it ok for me to say,” she asks, “that I don’t miss him all the time?” “He” is her husband, a doctor, who has left her and their two kids, for…

Bloomsday's Back — Tony Reilly's AIRE Renews a Love of Joyce

Tony Reilly in "Ulysses for Beginners" The American Irish Repertory Theater (AIRE) is bringing back their original show "Bloomsday for Beginners," its celebration of June 16, the day that the action takes place in James Joyce’s much-revered-but perhaps-lesser-read masterwork, Ulysses. In one hour, the troupe will take you through the perambulations of Leopold Bloom, the main character and Irish Odysseus who wanders the Dublin streets and pubs and, at one point, a brothel. It's there…

Fear, Cruelty, Friendship — Smoke and Bubbles debut 'Oriana's Eyes'

By any account, the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci had an intense and incredibly ballsy life: she distributed grenades with the Italian Resistance as a child, was embedded all over the world as a war correspondent, and, during an interview with Muammar Gaddafi, defiantly removed her headscarf. But at the end, she was bitter, alone, wracked with fear and Islamophobia, and losing her sight to cancer. As her personal assistant in New York until shortly before her…

Speak the Language — Ziggurat's Electric 'Ninshaba'

In the 1920s, a Syrian farmer discovered some very old bones, which turned out to be from the graves of the lost city of Ugarit, circa 1400 BC. Archaeologists also found Ugaritic texts, including one story, written on 10 clay tablets, that they think dates to 8000 BC Turkey. It tells of a young woman named Ninshaba who dreams that her long-lost mother is a goddess on a mountain, and who sets out to find her. Ziggurat Theatre Ensemble re-tells the…

Every Moment Counts — The Dazzling 'Constellations' at SPACE Gallery

The stage of Constellations is an intimate six-sided space, beneath a geometric frame of shimmering panes — the stage is like one small cell in a cosmic honeycomb. What transpires here is all possible worlds of connection between Marianne (Phoebe Parker), a physicist studying quantum cosmology, and Roland (Matt Delamater), a beekeeper. Nick Payne’s two-hander is on stage now in a transporting show at SPACE Gallery, directed by Sean Mewshaw (the director behind legendary SPACE shows Killer Joe and Gruesome…

Draw the Horns Before the Bull — Pie Man's 'Lascaux' at Mayo Street Arts

Our first glimpse into Lascaux, Kevin O’Leary’s suspense thriller, is an image from the famous French cave drawings that give it its name: primitive beasts, a large charcoaled bull. Simon (Josh Brassard) has drawn these animals from memory; as a child, over 40 years ago, it was he and his friend Marcel (J.P. Guimont) who discovered the Lascaux drawings. Now, in 1983, traumatized Simon sketches bulls in a mental institution, while Marcel has gained fame for the discovery. And what will happen now that Simon’s psychiatrist, Katherine…

Identity and Its Discontents: Portland Stage's 'Disgraced'

Amir (Alex Purcell), a corporate lawyer, and Emily (Roya Shanks), a painter, live in an expensive apartment high over Manhattan, with tall windows and haut-Orientalist décor, Moorish-cum-Art-Deco ceiling lamps. Emily, who is white, is fascinated by Islam and has been using its forms in her paintings, but Amir, born to Pakistani immigrants, denounces his ancestral religion. This tension between them is but the first of many in Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer-winning conflagration about race, religion,…

Reading Homer in the End Times: Mad Horse's 'Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play'

In a near-future scourged by nuclear fallout, these few humans, banded together, probably look a lot like humans of the far past: they huddle around a fire in the dark, telling stories. The main story they’re telling is a certain episode of The Simpsons, called “Cape Feare” — a riff on a film that’s a remake of a film that’s an adaptation of a novel. How this already intertextual story continues to evolve, across 80 years of the…
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