Summer is a notoriously difficult time to produce theater in Portland. With the short reprieve from rain that our city offers, leisure time is likely spent participating in activities that require sunscreen. Local companies often capitalize on this by staging outdoor productions or, alternatively, dragging theatergoers into the cool confines of an auditorium by spoon-feeding them sweet pabulum along the lines of Phantom of the Opera or Disney High School Musical On Stage.
Legends of the fall
Summer is a notoriously difficult time to produce theater in Portland.
With the short reprieve from rain that our city offers, leisure time is likely spent participating in activities that require sunscreen. Local companies often capitalize on this by staging outdoor productions or, alternatively, dragging theatergoers into the cool confines of an auditorium by spoon-feeding them sweet pabulum along the lines of Phantom of the Opera or Disney High School Musical On Stage.
Thank God for fall.
Turning away from their fluffier offerings, the fine men and women of Portland’s theater community are now putting their efforts into proving that you live a town that can rightfully lay claim to a “cutting edge” theater scene.
COHO ProductionsThis company, whose focus is on co-producing with Portland artists, will present The Receptionist October 17 through November 22.
Obie award winning playwright Adam Bock’s exploration of office culture opened October of 2007. Presenting itself, initially, as a typical office comedy a la The Office or Office Space, The Receptionist focuses upon Beverly Wilkins, whose company is much more complicated than it initially seems. Pay attention to everything in this one.
Public Playhouse Public Playhouse will be presenting Daughters September 12 through October 4. Four generations of DiAngelo women gather in the kitchen to discuss the fate of the family’s ailing patriarch. This attempt at a serious family play was accused by the New York Times of perpetuating “sitcom-itis” in the theatre. If your own life consists of fighting with your female relatives in the kitchen then this won’t qualify as escapist entertainment.
Portland Center StageWhat do Bob Hoskins, Jane Krakowski, Marlon Brando, Robert Guillaume, Nathan Lane, Ewan McGregor, Frank Sinatra, Patrick Swayze, Don Johnson and Peter Gallagher have in common? They have all performed in major production of Guys and Dolls, as has almost every theater geek from the last four decades. PCS fills the seats with the 1950 musical September 23 through October 26.
Hopefully, the seats will stay filled for their follow-up, R. Buckminster Fuller, a relative newcomer first produced in 2000. The one-man play explores the mind of one of the 20th century’s most brilliant thinkers. The eponymous Fuller was an architect, engineer and inventor known for his long-winded tendencies. Check out Fuller distilled October 14 through December 7.
Artist Repertory Theatre Always adamant about their commitment to cutting edge plays, ART is presenting Blackbird, September 3 through October 12, to be followed by Eurydice, September 16 through October 26. Blackbird centers on the meeting of a middle-aged man and a young woman. It has been 15 years since their last interaction, when, at the age of 12, she was sexually intimate with him. Blackbird has received consistently positive press since its 2005 debut.
Eurydice is a re-telling of the Orpheus myth from his bride’s point of view. Though both of the plays deal with loss and remembrance, Eurydice is fraught with whimsy, poetry and visual joy. They do little to alleviate the heavy themes being explored.
Hand2Mouth Theatre A collaboration between Hand2Mouth and La Comedia Humana results in Dos Pueblos, playing September 19 through October 4. According to their website, “the stories of the overlapping cultural histories of Mexico and the U.S. have warped, forcing emotions deeper and wilder. Yet we remain connected as much as divided. In this cantankerous reflection of our relationships, we reveal our codependence, our brutal rage and our undeniable mutual attraction.” Possibly worth seeing just to figure out what it is they’re describing.
Northwest Classical Theatre CompanyKnown for its focus on artistic merit and entertainment in opposition to sheer ticket sales, NCTC is one company where you will not find a production of Phantom of the Opera. Instead, Hedda Gabler is currently running and will continue through October 12.
First performed at the turn of the century, Hedda Gabler exemplifies realism, and the title character has been referred to as the female Hamlet. From October 16 until November 9 NWCTC presents their One Act Festival followed by Sherlock Holmes: The Speckled Band from November 21 through Dec 28. It’s typical Holmes fare. Someone dies mysteriously and using science, Holmes amazes all.
Portland State TheaterPSU’s very own theater will also be returning to the classics this fall. Performances of Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love will run from November 21 until November 29. Marivaux, a contemporary of Moliere, builds on the latter’s foundation of romantic comedy. Featuring cross-dressing, intrigue and farce, this comedy should enchant you with its giddy energy.