Friday, October 26, 2018

A Map of Virtue—Theatre Vertigo—SE Portland




          Bird-Speak

    This Halloween-appropriate story is written by Erin Courtney and directed by Emilie Landmann.  It is playing at the Shoebox Theatre, 2110 SE 10th Ave., through November 17th.  For more information, go to their site at www.theatrevertigo.org

    We all have memories of past events we wish we could erase, and choices we’ve made that we wish we hadn’t.  We have all come to those Crossroads in Life where we look back and wonder…what if….  The elusive Frost enigmas, The Road Not Taken, emerges.  But the fact remains, we are who we are today Because of those choices, not in Spite of them.  And so, as we near that time of year once again, when evil is strongest, this story fits right in.

    A warning, though, this has elements in common, I believe, with the masking in Texas Chains-saw Massacre, the enigma of Blair Witch Project, and even the non-sense verses of Dr. Seuss.  It is not for everyone, as there are many adult situations and scary scenes involved.  But, again, Tis the Season….

    The tale is told from a Bird’s (Jacquelle Davis) perspective, as she appears in their lives from a dramatic event and continues to influence their stories until, perhaps, like the Phoenix, she’s consumed by fire (to rise again from the ashes?).  The Bird passes from Mark (Samson Syharath), in an odd way, to Sarah (Paige Rogers), then starts appearing in some of her paintings.  And Mark keeps reappearing in her life and she and her husband, Nate (Joel Patrick Durham) form a friendship.

    Before long they all party together and meet up with a strange woman, June (Kaia Maarja Hillier), who takes them to her house in the woods, where they meet her very strange friend, Ray (Gary Strong), a child-like man and many ugly things occur there (like in any good horror film).  But will Victor (London Bauman), who has a connection to one of these folks, be able to find them in time and save the day?  You’ll just have to see it for yourselves…if you dare!

    I haven’t been able to tell you much of the story without being a spoiler but, believe me, if this is your sort of genre, you’ll enjoy it.  In fact, the story has all the elements of making a good thriller film.  The set (Kyra Bishop Sanford) is simple but very effective for this tale and director, Landmann, has varied the suspense with some meaningful pauses, which only heightens the terror.  And she has chosen a very good cast, all of whom are enough to creep you out at the appropriate moments.

    I recommend this play but, as mentioned, only for the most discriminating tastes.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

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