Just Opened: The Sweatermakers

A review of a new play by Portlander Andrew Wardenaar.

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Arts & Books
On dark, cold days, a cozy sweater can make all the difference. That’s the general conceit behind Portlander Andrew Wardenaar’s new play, The Sweatermakers, which in some ways feels like an exploration of another world entirely. The protagonists, siblings Brin (Jen Rowe) and Henry (JR Wickman), knit sweaters for a mysterious organization that delivers the garments to those who’ve experienced ...   More
 
Monday, August 11, 2014 TREE PALMEDO

Just Opened: The Tempest

A review of Portland Shakespeare Project's production of Shakespeare's stormy play.

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Arts & Books
The Tempest, generally believed to be Shakespeare’s final play, is both a bumbling island adventure and a philosophical meditation on humanity. This Portland Shakespeare Project production will disappoint purists or those craving weighty intellectualism, but it will satisfy just about everyone else, thanks to Michael Mendelson’s lighthearted—if not particularly lighthanded—direction. Most notably, ...   More
 
Monday, July 14, 2014 ENID SPITZ

Just Opened: The Last Five Years

A review of Portland Center Stage's production of the contemporary musical.

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Arts & Books
The Last Five Years begins at the end of a love story—but also at the beginning. That might sound like a sappy rom-com tagline, but don’t be mistaken: This two-character musical, presented by Portland Center Stage and directed by Nancy Keystone, features separate timelines, one going forward and the other backwards, as our couple falls in and out of love (or out of and into love).Written ...   More
 
Monday, May 5, 2014 KAITIE TODD

Just Opened: Othello

A review of Portland Center Stage's production of Shakespeare's tragedy of love and jealousy.

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Arts & Books
Othello can be a bit of a tough sell. Not only is it one of Shakespeare's most racially insensitive plays (and that's saying something), but even the most credulous audience member might wonder why the title character, a warrior with a reputation for bravery and a Moor known for his passion, can be so easily persuaded to think the worst of his great love.The key to our willingness to suspend disbelief ...   More
 
Monday, April 14, 2014 DEBORAH KENNEDY

Just Opened: Hamlet

A review of Post5 Theatre's production of Shakespeare's tragedy.

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Arts & Books
From the opening moments of Post5 Theatre’s abridged Hamlet, it’s evident this isn’t the version you saw in high school. King Claudius and Queen Gertrude resemble the picture-perfect parents from a ’50s sitcom, servants snap photos with smartphones, the guards carry guns, and Ty Boice as Hamlet swaggers into the room wearing sunglasses and a fancy suit, every bit as bitter and melancholy ...   More
 
Monday, March 31, 2014 KAITIE TODD

Just Opened: A Pigeon and a Boy

A review of Jewish Theatre Collaborative's adaptation of Meir Shalev's novel.

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Arts & Books
Nobody really likes pigeons—they poo on your car windows and peck annoyingly for crumbs at the park. But the homing pigeons in Jewish Theatre Collaborative's adaption of Israeli author Meir Shalev’s novel A Pigeon and a Boy are sentimental reminders of the past, of loved ones and, most importantly, of home. The characters speak about themselves in the third person, and the play’s structure is ...   More
 
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 KATHRYN PEIFER

Just Opened: Ardiente Paciencia

A review of Miracle Theatre's production of Antonio Skármeta’s Spanish-language play.

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Arts & Books
Miracle Theatre’s production of Antonio Skármeta’s Ardiente Paciencia—Spanish for “burning patience”—is a dizzying and viscerally funny exercise in metaphors and layers. For the young Mario and Beatriz, patience is what they lack: Their burning desire leads to a child, but they’re not solely to blame. Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, played by the regal Enrique E. Andrade, is Mario’s poetic ...   More
 
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 MITCH LILLIE

Just Opened: Tartuffe

A review of Post5 Theatre's production of Molière’s farce.

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Arts & Books
Molière’s 17th-century comedy Tartuffe gets a Texas twang and country tunes in this rollicking Post5 Theatre production directed by Tobias Andersen. It’s the story of unyielding patriarch Orgon (Keith Cable), who is entranced by Tartuffe (Garland Lyons), a slimy charlatan who wears a veneer of religious zeal and lusts after Orgon’s wife, Elmire (Christy Drogosch). In Post5’s close quarters, ...   More
 
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 KATHRYN PEIFER

Just Opened: Aida

A review of Stumptown Stages' production of the Elton John-Tim Rice musical.

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Arts & Books
Originally optioned by Disney from a children’s storybook—which was itself based on the Verdi opera of the same name—Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida retains all the depth of an animated feature, with the erotic undercurrent of a Danielle Steel novel. Sure, the slave girl may actually be a Nubian princess, but you can still take her roughly in your palace bedchamber. Stumptown Stages’ adaptation ...   More
 
Monday, February 24, 2014 PENELOPE BASS

Just Opened: Bo-Nita

A review of Elizabeth Heffron's one-woman show, starring Kate Eastwood Norris.

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Arts & Books
“You’ve got to find your own personal beat,” says Bo-Nita, the titular teenager of Portland Center Stage’s one-woman production. It’s a sentiment, however familiar, that the show never abandons. Written by Seattle playwright Elizabeth Heffron and directed by Gretchen Corbett, Bo-Nita follows the spunky 13-year-old and her mother, Mona, as they react to discovering Bo-Nita’s sort-of stepfather ...   More
 
Monday, February 17, 2014 KAITIE TODD

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