Since I was 5 years old I’ve been convinced that I was born in the wrong decade. Growing up on a steady diet of syndicated programming from the Golden Age of Television, I was convinced that values, fashions, and attitude of post-war America (or at least the post-war America depicted in so many amazing shows of the era) were for me. Simpler times. Happier times.
I know nothing about opera. Scratch that, outside of having the Frozen soundtrack on heavy rotation in the family-mobile, I know nothing about opera. The lovely Sabrina asked me if I wanted to go on a mommy and preschooler outing with our kids to the Portland Opera To Go’s production of The Barber of Seville.
This is another one of those productions where I wish I was a fly on the planning room wall. The Oregon Children’s Theatre Powers That Be (I like to call them that, but they really do have names) must have said, and I paraphrase, “we must break molds, fill in ruts, shake up the system, rock the boat!”
Artists Rep. latest production, Tribes, is a strange mix of these themes: the production itself, deftly handled by Artistic Director Dámaso Rodriguez and his company, succeeds in well-honed performances by the cast and lovely multimedia touches and flourishes to underscore for the hearing in visuals that are akin to the deaf experience. Where the production stumbles is in playwright Nina Raine tendency to dip into the heavy-handedness and melodrama of one looking in at Deaf Culture from the the outside.
The theatre was packed! The seats throughout were staggered: adult, child, adult, child, child, adult…almost full on all 3 floors as well as I could see. That just warmed my heart to see! I like to think you’ve got the message – OCT is the best value to be found, and this all just proved my point.
There are so many words I can use to describe White Bird’s latest dance offering in Portland but I think the best word I can use is stunning. I have seen many, many, many dance companies in my years of loving the art form and I have to say Ballet Boyz does not disappoint. For two nights only at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, these magnificent men make you feel all the emotions.
Have you read Ivy + Bean? We think they’re great. They’re like…Superfudge/Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing or How To Eat Fried Worms, but with girls. And like How To Eat Fried Worms, which isn’t SO boy that only boys like it, the Ivy & Bean Series isn’t SO girly that only girls like them. They’re stories of sibling angst, secret pacts with friends and honest goofball hijinks that all preteens get into. I highly recommend.
If there’s a disadvantage to viewing a production inspired by popular music, it’s that many of us have already assigned meaning – whether visual, emotional, or both – to the songs in question. We have expectations based on our own life experiences with such songs, and we’re easily disappointed if those expectations aren’t met.
The Post5 company has always been known as a “low-budget, but we’re going to make it happen anyway” kind of company–and they have been quite successful in their accessible Shakespearian productions for the number of years that this reviewer has seen their efforts. It’s quite refreshing to see them bring something fresh (albeit about something rotten–zombies) to the stage.
It is against this conflicted yet abundant tapestry that we enter depths of Carlos Lacámara’s play [about the 1980 Cuban Mariel Boatlift] at Artists Rep., Exiles, as we follow a group disparate boatlift passengers, conflicted both in economic disparity and in points of view. And those differences make for a very rich evening of political theatre indeed, and deliverd excellently by Artistic Director Dámaso Rodriguez’s ensemble cast.