Monday, April 11, 2016

Love and Information—Theatre Vertigo—SE Portland

Death, Taxes & All That Jazz

This abstract play is written by Caryl Churchill and directed by Michelle Seaton.  It is playing at the Shoebox space, 2110 SE 10th Ave., through May 8th.  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-482-8655.

According to one writer, death and taxes are the only two certainties in Life.  And, “all that jazz,” is what happens in the meantime.  In a roller-coaster, 90 minutes, you will get a smattering of disjointed, distracted and disassembled voices from a little pebble in the Universe called Earth.  These mutterings and ramblings will rant and rail, coo and cajole, haunt and harass, and generally try to make sense of a seemingly senseless proposition…ergo, that there is a purpose to our existence.

Since there is really no logical or linear flow to the story, consider this:  a woman that remembers every single detail of her life; a celebrity hiding out from the public; someone in a witness protection program; a scientist modifying the brains of chickens; the meaning of words/language; relationships may not be what they seem, et. al.  Then, take all that, put it in a Washer on Spin and see what spews out.  What you may end up with is organized chaos (not unlike we really already may have).

And the brilliant perpetrators of this cornucopia of baffling profundities are Kimo Camat, Stephanie Cordell, Nathan Crosby, Nathan Dunkin, Joe Healy, Mindi Logan, Tom Mounsey, Shawna Nordman, Matthew Sepeda, Andrea White, Holly Wigmore and R. David Wyllie.  I can’t give more specifics, as they all play a multitude of roles, some of the scenes only last a few seconds and, at most, about three minutes.  And what a job the director, Seaton, must have had, trying to coordinate all the entrances and exits and then to deal with each actor as to characterization.  My hat is off to her!  But she has chosen her cast well, as I have seen many of them onstage before, and they are all amazing performers.

I really can’t give any more detail than that, because it really does have to be seen/experienced/sensed rather than having someone try to explain or summarize the story, mostly non-existent in the traditional sense, anyway.  If you remember the film, Inception, in which a team of people are traveling back and forth between “realities” and trying to decipher what is illusion and what is factual, that might give you a hint as to concept.

Could these characters be caught in a dimensional time warp; are these the final memories flashing through a dying soul(s); is there an alien entity out there messing with our brains (The Matrix?); or, are we all a dream, walking, et. al. ?  It is up to you to ponder, to wonder, to wrap your psyches around.

But, consider what the Bard has said, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth…than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” And, “We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”  Dreams, whether waking or sleeping, make us whole.  “To sleep, perchance to dream…” It is the waking from them that may be the scary and/or revealing part!

I recommend this play but consider the premise, for your mind will be challenged and nothing spelled out for you.  For me that is terrific.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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