Friday, February 14, 2014

Medicare-fully Fabulous!—Triangle Productions—NE Portland

Young At Heart

This show is conceived, written and starring Wendy Westerwelle.  It is directed by Don Horn (Triangle’s co-founder and Artistic Director).  It will be playing at its space at 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. through March 2nd.  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-239-5919.  Note that they have their next Season Announcement Party on Tuesday, April 15th at 7 pm and it’s free to everyone.

Life is a journey, an adventure, with peaks and valleys, bumps and lumps, and cheers and tears.  With Westerwelle, crowned with her Tasti-Freeze hairdo, infectious laughter, and gut-wrenching honesty, it becomes a mirror for the audience.  She is the Every-Woman character straight out of an old morality play.  She is a story-teller of the highest order, appearing to converse intimately with anyone listening.  And, although her story may be personal, we identify with her plights, humanness and humaneness.

She begins her story at a very low point in her life.  A severe accident, a number of years ago, has her laid up in a hospital, waiting for the door to close on this phase of her existence.  She converses with God (wonderfully voiced by Sam Mowry) as he offers her a second chance, but only if she will change her ways.  No more gossiping, cut out the crappy foods and quit being so mean.  She vows to at least try and so a window is opened for her.

And, thus, we are exposed to her roots, her family, expertly playing all of a half dozen of her relatives in one sitting.  She endeavors to explore her Jewish background by telling the entire DeMille’s story of The Ten Commandments, playing many of the characters in about five minutes.  She attempts to expand her music horizons by becoming a country singer, like Loretta Lynn, complete with back-up singers consisting of Ritah Parrish and two puppets (designed by Mark Larsen)   And then becomes rap singer, via Queen Latifah, complete with home-grown songs (written by herself, Horn, Larsen and Jonathan Quesenberry, Teddy Deane and Anny Celsi).

She feels she needs to get in touch with her inner-self, so she goes to a therapist, Dr. Mallory (Parrish, again).  She also feels she needs to re-make her outer self, by not only eating better, but by getting a make-over.  So she visits Dr. Shelah (Westerwelle) a Botox expert and then Zumi (Westerwelle, again) to have her nails done.  Then there is the exploration of her sexual self in her mid-60’s.  Her conclusion, “my vagina looks like a Chia pet someone forgot to water.”  And, finally, there is the visit from her Aunt Golda (a familiar Westerwelle creation) who opens her eyes to the beauty/excitement that’s all around her here in her own hometown, Portland.

Her conclusion, just love life and be happy you’re alive.  Amen.  Westerwelle is a dream and all her homilies, stories, incarnations, and adages really do make so much sense.  I’m sure she will be back again next season with other lessons in how to make the most out of being alive.  May the winds of good fortune whisk Wendy away to her Neverland, to re-group, re-charge and re-imagine another episode in the adventures of her Westerwelle world.

Horn has again given us a wonderful show in which we can laugh, listen and learn.  He never fails to entertain and amaze!  I recommend this show but it is selling out fast, so best get your tickets now.  If you do go, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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