Friday, March 3, 2017

The Skin Coat--The Steep and Thorny Way to Heaven—SE Portland

The Art of Storytelling

This theatrical event is based on the old German fairy tale called, “Allerleirauh (thousandfurs) and is devised and directed by Megan Skye Hale.  “This is a private club:  Advance tickets or RSVP required.”  It is located on SE 2nd and Hawthorne and runs through March 11th.  For more information, reservations and directions please go to their website at

The art of storytelling and theatre could be said to be around from the beginning of Man, from cave paintings up through the latest escapades in the political arenas.  People always have stories, and stories within stories, as we are all interwoven into that giant story of Mankind.  But if you are relating a story to another in a theatrical fashion, you want to capture his/her attention and, if possible, touch them in an emotional way.  “Ay, there’s the rub,” as to what sparks one’s imagination, or gets in your crawl, or moves you to tears or laughter.

Fairy Tales have long been one way to tell firm truths disguised as harmless stories.  I really don’t want to give too much away about this event except to say that it is an Experience, a Happening.  It is a pleasant assault on the senses combining music, movement and mime.  It has some connections to Beauty and the Beast, as to loving what’s inside, not outside.  It has relationships to the frozen lands of the North, ala Snow Queen and Narnia, or Icelandic, Germanic and Nordic folktales.  A warm heart betrays a cold wind.

The story involves a broken-hearted King (Nathan H. G.), at the death of his wife, who must raise their daughter, Thousandfurs (Peyton McCandless) by himself.  There is also a Witch Woman (Megan Skye Hale, the director), who has a magic skin coat, which she imparts to the Princess.  And, far off in another Kingdom, there is a Queen (Kirsten Webb) who must teach her son, the Prince (Zed Jones), also by herself, to rule a Kingdom and find a bride.  More I cannot tell you without revealing important plot points in the story, keeping in mind this is all successfully done without words!

I was especially taken with the music, although it’s unclear as to whether it’s original or not.  The credit for Music Supervisor is given to Myrrh Larsen and it’s quite effective, fitting the story to a tee.  The coat itself is quite a work of art and is credited to the director/actor, Megan Skye Hale.  I loved it.  And the actors were all quite good, not overacting or re-acting to circumstances, but allowing the audience to contribute much of the emotions/feelings of the moments.

What questions should we come away with:  Is beauty only skin deep?  Should Position in Society (or age, religion, cultural, etc.) be a barrier to acknowledging love for another?  Can we really learn from past mistakes and make changes, accordingly, for the better?  All questions I gleaned from experiencing this production.  Right or Wrong, I don’t know.  But I believe you will do some soul-searching as well if you attend this show.  The measure of a stalwart person may be in ferreting out the Truth, wherever it may be hidden.  And, when discovering that Truth, being able to bravely thrust it forward into one’s own Kingdom…and beyond.

I recommend this play.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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