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.
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.
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.
Tick Tick Boom, a Triangle Productions presentation at the Sanctuary 1785 NE Sandy, through September 27, is an autobiographical musical by Jonathon Larson. It is set in 1990. It takes place in the days leading up to Mr. Larson’s thirtieth birthday. The tick tick is the clock in his head that reminds him that he is now older than his father was when he was born, that many others, including Napoleon, had accomplished great things before they were 30, that his great plans had not come to fruition, that his life was tick tick ticking away with his dreams unrealized.
Luckily we have the Broadway Rose Production Company. They are dedicated to shortening the gap. Their mission statement: “To create unparalleled musical theater experiences that invigorate audiences and enrich our communities.” In fulfilling that mandate since 1992 they have tackled a great number of Broadway Musicals: From A Day in Hollywood a Night in the Ukraine to The Whole Wide World; from Oklahoma to Les Miserables. We should be thankful they are now doing The Music Man
The Portland Actors Ensemble is solid in their respect for Shakespeare. In 1970 they did their first Shakespeare in the Park free performance with As You Like It in Laurelhurst Park. Their mission statement: “To bring financially accessible classical theater to Portland communities in a nontraditional environment.” Since then many things have changed. At least a couple of things haven’t. This year it is Antony and Cleopatra.
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.