Theater Director Samantha Van Der Merwe

A theatrical worldbuilder with equal tastes for the sinister and the fanciful.

Fall Arts In science fiction, people often speak of “worldbuilding,” about writers and filmmakers who can construct an entire universe—its appearance, its laws, its technology, its history, its custom ... More

Sep 10, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

Portland Fall Theater Picks

Fall Arts Sans Merci Badass Theatre Company burst onto the scene with 2013’s Invasion!, a wondrous shapeshifter of a play that was devoured by a quartet of actors. For its second full production, it pres ... More

Sep 10, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

The Piano Lesson (Portland Playhouse)

Blood, sweat and tears—and ghosts.

Theater August Wilson used to talk about what he called “blood’s memory,” the collective history of American blacks that forever brings the past back into the present. In Wilson’s Pulitzer-win ... More

Oct 1, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

Theater Review: Parade

Cruel intentions.

Theater Presented in its stripped-down chamber version, this production of the Tony Award-winning musical Parade places its orchestra center stage. That’s where it belongs: The most impressive element ... More

Sep 24, 2014 12:01 am by JOHN BEER

Intimate Apparel

Par for the corset.

Theater If Intimate Apparel were underwear, it would be a pair of pale pink panties, maybe with a modest ruffle or two. This 2003 drama by Lynn Nottage, which opens Artists Rep’s season, is a sensit ... More

Sep 17, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

Smooth Operator

A phone-sex veteran takes her x-rated calls to the stage.

Theater Tonya Jone Miller received her first call as a phone-sex operator 10 years ago. Miller, dark-haired and half-Vietnamese, was in her late 20s. She imagined herself as a 19-year-old blonde. Over ... More

Sep 10, 2014 12:01 am by KATHERINE MARRONE

Sans Merci (Badass Theatre Company)

Without mercy, indeed.

Theater Johnna Adams’ Sans Merci is a test in emotional endurance: Where some dramas prod, this one pummels. For much of the play, directed by Antonio Sonera, the blows come steadily and hit squarel ... More

Sep 17, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

Battle Cry

A new opera explores the traumatic aftermath of combat.

Theater Midway through The Canticle of the Black Madonna, a war veteran named Adam curls into the fetal position. Discordant, frenetic music plays as Adam relives the deaths of his fellow soldiers in ... More

Sep 3, 2014 12:01 am by DEBORAH KENNEDY

A Matter Of Time

The Time-Based Art Festival shows some moxie.

Theater Perhaps the third time is truly the charm. That’s, at least, what this year’s Time-Based Art Festival suggests. This is festival director Angela Mattox’s third go-around with the genre-bus ... More

Sep 10, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

Hamlet & Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Anon It Moves and String House Theatre)

Shakespeare and Stoppard go head to head.

Theater When Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, he probably never imagined his protagonist as a woman. It’s even more unlikely he imagined two of the play’s minor courtiers caught in existential crisis. But ... More

Jul 30, 2014 12:01 am by KATHERINE MARRONE

The Sister Trap

With Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble makes ennui feel alive.

Theater Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble has never played by anyone else’s rules. In the group’s first production, 2013’s stark and disquieting adaptation of Richard III, actors slid tables ... More

Aug 6, 2014 12:01 am by REBECCA JACOBSON

American Psycho

Murders and executions, mostly.

Theater In both press release and pre-curtain speech, Trenton Shine has described his new theatrical adaptation of American Psycho as a parody of the film. It’s a claim that simultaneously overexplains ... More

Jul 23, 2014 12:01 am by JAY HORTON

Love’s Labour’s Lost (Bag & Baggage)

Shakespeare is livin’ La Dolce Vita.

Theater Love’s Labour’s Lost has never been very popular. One of the more convoluted comedies in the Shakespeare canon, the play went almost 250 years after its initial performance without a singl ... More

Jul 30, 2014 12:01 am by TREE PALMEDO
 

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