Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lungs—Third Rail—NW Portland

“From Womb to Tomb”

This two-actor, intense drama is written by Duncan Macmillan and directed by Rebecca Lingafelter.  It is playing at the CoHo space, 2257 NW Raleigh St., through August 26th (parking is a real challenge in this area, due to construction in the area and a slew of bars, so plan your time accordingly).  For more information, go to their site at www.thirdrailrep.org or call 503-235-1101.

Life is something that happens when you wake up…and then you die.  The life span of a house fly is around a week but some exotic tortoises live over a thousand years.  We are definitely closer in time on this earth to the fly and, according to some government officials who poo-poo the idea of “global warming,” our time might be just as limited as that fly if we’re not careful.  It is unfortunate that we, as “reasoning” creatures, caretakers of this once naturally, rich planet, have chosen to let greed and power rule our intellect and heart, and “let the world slide.”  Shame on us!

This play is about two “good people” (Darius Pierce and Cristi Miles) who are considering bringing a new life into this world.  But there are responsibilities and consequences that must be considered when making this decision.  Are you willing to give up any hopes of extended travel, high-powered careers, individual dreams of exciting adventures?  Willing to give up personal, alone-time with each other and being able to follow whims whenever you choose?  And what about the actual realities of the birthing process, the anxiety, physical pain, emotional tolls on both people, et. al.?  And what kind of world are we bringing new life into, anyway?  Considerations not to be taking lightly, to say the least.

The production of this play strips away all the trappings of actual realities, such as traditional set pieces and props, even the passing of time and miming of objects is non-existent, throwing the story fully into the viewers/listeners laps, seeming to dare us to accept the mantel of their plight, so that we can absorb their tears, joys, fears and anger.  The intensity is palpable, as both Pierce and Miles tear at each other in a type of stream-of-consciousness approach, in which one can experience the immediacy and urgency of their thought processes.  This story is not for the timid of heart, as it will linger with you long after the play is over.

Pierce and Miles are excellent and must be emotionally drained by the end of the show!  Lingafelter is a fine actor herself and certainly understands what an actor goes through to create a character.  Also her blocking, simple as it is, does give you a sense of changes in mood, space and time.  All in all, a very disturbing but oddly satisfying production.  (A side note, doubt anyone can tell me where the quote comes from in which I titled this review or, for that matter, the quote at end of the first paragraph).

I recommend this production, especially for the explosive performances of these two pros.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.