Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Savage/Love—Imago Theatre—SE Portland

Where Love Has Gone

This abstract presentation on the many of the aspects of Love, is conceived from writings by Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin and directed, choreographed and designed by Jerry Mouawad (co-artistic director with Carol Triffle, producer).  It is playing at their space, 17 SE 8th Ave. (just off Burnside), for one more performance at 7:30 pm, Friday, March 10th.  Note, it is only street parking and this performance was sold out, so plan your time accordingly.  For more information, go to their site at www.imagotheatre.com or call 503-231-9581.

For all its ballyhoo and bravado, Love, in actuality, (to bastardize the old song title) is a “many-splintered” thing.  It is a Story of contradictions.  “I love you just the way you are—now change!”  It is a Story of contrasts.  To be in Love, one needs to be committed (using both definitions of the word, meaning institutionalized or dedicated).  People evolve and, in evolving, change, possibly growing apart.  No blame, no gain, just part of Life’s process.

But there are still the old romantics (like myself) who still believe that it is magic…that “when you see someone across a crowded room you know, you know even then…” that they are the one for you—no introduction or second thoughts needed.  But the rules of engagement now, with the electronic gods and social media, pretty much prevent that from happening.  It is no longer up to the Fates to ensure Love, but to mechanisms.  Bottom line, we are entrusting the wrong gods to direct our course.  A saying I trust:  “Do not seek out Love, for Love, if it finds you worthy, will guide your course.”

But now, the play:  It is abstract, with sign language, mime, pantomime, dance, stylized movement and music to tell their tales of wins and woes and so there is no traditional storyline to follow.  Mouawad has done his usual exceptional job of creating a totally unique piece that soars!  So, with abstraction in mind, I will attempt to do the same with this review—to express it in similar abstract forms, as when I was observing it, and afterwards:

A ballet of the senses…interpretive movements betray deception and despair, and lust and longing…mis-steps in time…forever love, until the next one…open doorways and windows, trading fears and dreams…tangled, complicated, killing love…invented personalities to please…empty words to connect to barren people…”music soothes the savage beast”…discordant sounds/music lead to dances of insecurity…universal search for intelligent life, if you love me, you’ll find me…clarity of meaning…body language shouts in opposition…Joplin screams, “take a little piece of my heart…!”

If this resonates with you, as to what you might experience if you see it, then this play’s for you.  The cast is remarkable in all aspects of the language mentioned above.  The ensemble consists of Gwendolyn Duffy, Fiely Matias, Emma Holland, Shannon Mastel, Emily Welch, Ed Alletto, Byran Smith, Haden Cadiz, Hayden Orr, and Anashkusha Beauchamp.  All amazing!  Sometimes my eyes would constantly fall on certain people (no names associated with parts so can only give you descriptions), not because they were better than anyone else, but just, since we are dealing with abstraction, in an instinctive sense:  The very pretty, young lady, in the powder blue dress; the man who looked like a young Orson Welles; and the older gentleman who had a sort of hang-dog look, all caught my eye.

And, as I’m always looking for ways to give shout-outs to specific jobbers behind the scenes that rarely get the credit they deserve, these kudos go to Stage Managers everywhere. They may be, after the director, the most important person behind the scenes, as they essentially run the show through its performances.  I know theatres/casts recognize how important they are but, from the Public’s perspective, they are the unsung heroes.  In this production it is Michael Cavazos, as I know him personally and know what a dedicated artist he is.  And so to him, and all the others, I salute you!

I do recommend this show but with only one performance left, best get tickets soon.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.