May we all learn from the lesson, before it is too late, of letting our pursuit of power for power’s sake corrupt us from within while forces from without wait, vulture like, to divide the spoils of the corpse of the state. This crackling and well-performed production at Post Five serves as just such a cautionary tale.
The material here is strong enough to rope in and engage even the most PC Portlandia audience, but many of the performances are not quite yet meeting the bar this play has set, in Artists Rep.’s Pacific Northwest premiere of The Motherf**ker With The Hat.
At times it was just like seeing that last song in Grease with all the kids dancing and singing through the audience….just….two of them were zombies. At other times, it was a little Beetlejuice complete with teen angst. It was thoroughly entertaining the entire time for me. The audience was more engaged at around age 9 and up, I’d say.
The Spectravagasm crew is back, with more brashness and off-the-wall humor for Spectravagasm IV: Opiate of The Masses. If you’re not tied down by dogma, or can chuckle at the ridiculousness of your own evangelistic ways, this show is guaranteed to make you laugh til you’re red in the face.
There’s a time and place for totally polished, upscale THEE-A-TAH, with an all professional cast, director and production values that make you lift your chardonnay glass at intermission and go, “Yes, very interesting effort in this season’s offering,” as you discuss the production’s writing in comparison with the works of, say, Edward Albee or Sam Shepherd.
The audience is bound to fall in line with the demented fun here, as the opening night crowd we saw it with did, but one also wonders if the debate hinted at in the theme over who controls the making of our cities isn’t thrown aside in favor of comic mayhem, with characters spouting a series of architectural luminaries and styles, like Van Eyck, Gaudi, Bauhaus and even the infamous Albert Speer, for effect?
So what I have for you today is not so much a review, as it is an encouragement to go see something tonight that might be just good for your soul, and the well-being of those performing it. Stories: From Teen Girls In Transition is a Workshop production – it is done from writings, poetry and even raps by the young women involved, from the local non-profit Boys and Girls Aid.
The show is the comedy brain child of Wallace Fessler (Banks), along with co-conspirators Joshua Fisher, Scott Rogers and Jimmy Newstetter of ALL CAPS Comedy (seen earlier this week at the Fertile Ground Festival and all here appearing as Banks’ devoted zealots and “success stories”). Fessler as Banks truly looks the motivational part, with close-cropped corporate attire and a never-ending stream of positive platitudes on anything.
The curation brain child of Scott Rogers and other stand-up comedy theatre nerd pals, ALL CAPS ambitiously seeks at Fertile Ground to find what happens when the trappings of stand-up comedy are taken away from the comedian and also when the theatre artist has to navigate set-ups and punch lines.
In a time where there’s a pill for just about everything that ails you, it can be tremendously overwhelming as to what actually helps and what just makes things worse. Everything has side effects, and that’s something the darkly funny short Therapy Hunger aims to point out.