Post5 Theatre Company is on the move. It started in 2011 with a summer program of Shakespeare plays in the courtyard of Milepost5, a Montavilla artists collective. Every show was free, and the founding trio were all young actors in their 20s with sincere dreams of bringing Shakespeare to the people.
But it seems their dreams have changed. For the first time in the company's history, Post5 won't be staging Shakespeare after this summer. "There are so many companies doing Shakespeare in the summer," says artistic director and company founder Ty Boice. âWe can let them have that.â Instead, Post5 will be staging plays like Rashomon, a work made famous by Akira Kurosawaâs 1950 film.
Since its first courtyard production of Romeo and Juliet, the company has grown into a respectable midsize theater, and moved out of the arts collective into its own space in Sellwood in October 2014. This was largely thanks to the power couple of Boice and his wife, Cassandra, whose relationship was born and bred on Post5 time.
Cassandra Schwanke had grown tired of the acting game in New York City, so she traveled to 29 countries in two years and then settled down in Portland to open the Big Dipper, a Southern comfort food cart. When the Big Dipper failed, Schwanke turned to the famously lucrative realm of midlevel, regional theater. There she met Ty. Six months later, they acted together in Post5's inaugural performance of Macbeth in Milepost5's black-box basement. She wore a scarlet halter dress, and Ty's Macbeth channeled Marlon Brando, fistfighting in a tight wife-beater and jeans. In my 2013 review of the show, I noted their onstage sexual chemistry, writing that "the action verges on voyeurism when the two meet." Three months later they were engaged, and eight weeks ago the couple had their first child, Keaton. And what do artists in Portland do when they grow up and get married? They buy real estate in Sellwood, of course.
After all, Post5's new "forever home" has great equity potential, a walk score of 88 and close proximity to schools, according to a theater press release last fall.
This is Post5's first season in the Sellwood house-turned-theater, which sits camouflaged between a newly constructed line of condos and a community church. Posters from the company's past line the new theater's halls. Prominently placed by the dining-room bar, where you can order burritos at intermission and drinks are by donation, is a 2013 poster from Macbeth. The entire cast signed in silver Sharpie around the image of Ty and Cassandra's interlaced hands, dripping with blood. The tagline reads, âWhatâs done, cannot be undone.â
And, for now, Ty is still center stage, acting under his wife's direction in the current production of Twelfth Night. But that may change soon, too.
"I don't have any plans to be onstage in 2016," says Ty. "I might be moving beyond Post5 and even Portland. Our mission is in flux currently."
SEE IT: Twelfth Night is at Post5 Theatre, 1666 SE Lambert St., 971-258-8584. 7:30 pm Fridays-Sundays through May 16. $20.