Sunday, April 27, 2014

33 and 1/3—Portland Story Theater—East Portland

Soul Mates or, the “Hot “Lunch

The title of the story is the number of years these two founders of the theater, Lynne Duddy and Lawrence Howard, have been married.  They are speaking to the audience, in tandem (or ‘butt-inski,” one butting-in on the story of the other), of the ups and downs of those years together.  Their current home is at the Hipbone Studios, 1847 E. Burnside St.  Today is the last performance of the show at 8 pm.  Go to their space at for more information.

Upcoming shows for them with Urban Storytellers will be on Saturdays, May 10th, June 14th and July 12th.  As of September, their new home will be at the Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta Ave.  It should be noted that the move was prompted by the fact that they have been garnering audiences and have simply outgrown their current performing site.  Last night’s show was sold out and was climaxed by a well-deserved, standing ovation.

It is not too often one can be entertained by just two talking heads for an hour.  But then you probably haven’t met Lynne and Lawrence.  And I emphasize “met” because once you hear these two, it’s as if you are simply sitting with old friends and listening to stories of what was…what is…and what could be, in their lives.  The only thing missing, perhaps, is you sharing your stories with them and how their stories connect with yours.  For we all made up of stories, aren’t we, and also part of other people’s stories, and so on, till we merge with what we could call the History of People on this Planet.

Many cultures simply rely on oral history to tell their stories to the next generations and have never seen the need for written language.  Does give you a hint, doesn’t it, of this computer age, and how far we are moving away from that personal contact or touch with one another.  But stories, in this medium, celebrate those old values, and may we never abandon them.

Soul mates these two are.  And the old adage that “opposites attract,” seems very appropriate in their stories.  He was a hippie during the 80’s and she a straight-lace business lady.  Living not too far from each other, they connected at a party at some friends’ house, strewn with hanging mistletoe.  She took advantage of the succulent greenery and promptly kissed him.  Fireworks ensued, like in any good fairy tale, and they were smitten by cupid’s arrow then and there.  A year later they were married.

But then, the test and trials would begin.  He was a “No” kind of guy, always seeing the pitfalls of an idea.  She was a “Yes” kind of gal, always willing to try anything.  He was Jewish, not terribly orthodox, though.  She was Catholic lass, Irish Catholic, no less.  She was adventurous/improvisational, he, more traditional/by-the-book.  He was raised appreciating Gilbert and Sullivan on outings, she, family BBQ’s in Denver or boxing on TV.  She, adopted, he, large family background.

But there could be no denying the chemistry, then or now, of that bond between them.  Perhaps, best expressed by poets as that attraction you sense when “you see a stranger across a crowded room and somehow you know, you know even then…” that your fates will be joined.  But “the beat goes on.”  They had two boys and their lives were encompassed by them.  Meanwhile, the two of them were drifting apart.  And finally they reached the point of the ugly “seven-“teen year itch and the word “Divorce” entered their vocabulary.

I can’t tell you the outcome but, suffice to say, they are still together.  And it might have something to do with reciting the alphabet, 20 second kisses, “Hot” lunches (no, you have to see the show to discover those secrets) and, of course, their wonderful stories.  I wish them well and may we all have such exciting and illuminating stories.  And, also, may we never stop verbalizing/humanizing the connective tissue that unites all, the Story of Us. 

I recommend this show and the group.  Catch a show if you can and, if you do, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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