Tuesday, June 14, 2011
On with the show
Now that the 2011 Drammy Awards are laid to rest, we can look forward to the 2011-12 season, which is already shaping up to be exceptionally exceptional. Here are just a few of the many, many upcoming shows I wish were opening today.
First of all, check out Portland Playhouse’s entire season, which starts with my favorite August Wilson play (and also his most mysterious), Gem of the Ocean, and ends with one of America’s most dazzling young playwrights (Terell Alvin http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifMcCraney). In between are Tony Kushner AND Portland’s very own Greek goddess, Eugenia Woods. Wow. Plus here’s a teaser: stay tuned for some more good news from the Brothers Weaver very soon now.
ART has one of its strongest seasons ever coming up. Just two of its must-see productions are a new adaptation of The Duchess of Malfi by the Joe Fisher and Annie Baker’s profoundly affecting Circle Mirror Transformation. PCS looks strong, too; I’m especially looking forward to Universal Mind, a piece utilizing The Doors’ music and Allen Ginsberg’s writing.
Not to be outdone, Miracle Theater’s looking very groovy next year with strong plays by José Rivera (Boleros for the Disenchanted) http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifand Oedipus el Rey by Luis Alfaro. Theater Vertigo also has a strong line-up; I can't wait for the production of Scottish writer David Greig's play, The American Pilot, which will be directed by Matt Zrebski.
Northwest Children’s Theater has commissioned new plays from Milo Mowery, who wrote this year’s bracingly original version of Snow White, and James W. Moore (yes, he of defunkt fame). Who can resist James’ title: Rapunzel — Uncut!
And then along comes CoHo. Among three strong offerings this year, look out in particular for a demented new comedy by Ebbe Roe Smith titled Day of the Docent. Yes, that’s right. Prepare to be totally unprepared.
We expect an audacious season from Third Rail, but next year is downright gobsmacking. All three plays will astonish you, and also, I think, extend your sense of what this boundless company can accomplish. My personal fave: Penelope, by Irish genius Enda Walsh, which looks at the situation of Odysseus’ wife from the POV of……her suitors.
However, the grooviest production of all next year just might be Oregon Children Theatre’s adaptation of The Storm in the Barn, the celebrated graphic novel by Matt Phelan, adapted here by the always superb Eric Coble, about a boy’s startling face-down with a sinister presence in a Kansas barn, circa 1937. Original music by Portland band Black Prairie! Here’s a taste from the book’s trailer:
Nor do you have to wait till fall for good theater; next month brings the inaugural production of the long-awaited Portland Shakespeare Project with As You Like It, directed by AD Michael Mendelson.
So color me whatever, but if you ax me, we’re looking at the best season in Portland theater in a long, long time…..