Monday, November 20, 2017

Psychic Utopia—Hand2Mouth—SE Portland

Beyond the Rainbow

This “Happening” was developed by it performers and company members: Sascha Blocker, Jean-Luc Boucherot, Liz Hayden, Erin Leddy, Jenni GreenMiller, Heather Rose Pearson, Judson Williams and Andrea Stolowitz, Jess Drake & Maesie Speer.  It is directed by Jonathan Walters (H2M’s Artistic Director) with original music/sound created by Seth Nehil.  It is playing at the Expressive Works space, 810 SE Belmont St., through December 3rd.  For more information, go to their site at

I would call this a “Happening,” because that is the word that folks of my generation would use when presented with a work that lives in the “here and now.”  I suppose it’s a Hippie terminology, which would also incorporate therapy or healing centers for the mind and spirit, also popular during this Age. Damn it, it was the 60’s, evolved from the Beats of the 50’s, as well as the European Bohemians from Europe of the same period, and nobody was going to tell us how to live and what to believe!

This event recreates much of that atmosphere, both good and bad.  It also created cults, like Manson’s, that went on killing sprees, and the Jonestown mass murders, and that local fellow that got high on Rolls Royce’s, as well as the Big Sur groupies (for a great parody of this, see the film, “The Howling”) et. al.  It is an all-inclusive, audience-participation show.  Early on, one of the questions they ask of the audience was to recall your earliest memory.  Almost to a person, all the remembrances involved water and, being that we may have, as a species, evolved from the Sea, are we having a type of collective memory?!

The cast all individually shared some of their “personal” experiences from their past, especially with a utopian group called, “The Center,” how it formed and how it disintegrated.  So, in that spirit, and since part of the purpose of this experiment/experience involves getting in touch with yourself, I decided to write down some random thoughts/words that occurred to me while engaged with this “play:”

Chanting & intoning mantras…Song of David…a higher purpose…journey to wisdom/self…energy…childhood & memories of a bygone era…meditation…self-healing…re-capturing childlike wonder…being welcoming/open…Native American pathways…tribal connections…mind-control/brain-washing…disillusionment…transformation/evolution…obelisk…group dynamics/behavior…”gone, long-time passing”…surrender…finding quietness…climbing…Life’s Journey…discovering one’s “saving grace….”  And the beat goes on!

If you go, you will no doubt experience/sense different feelings and, with this, a sort of cathartic experience, awaking thoughts, sensations that may have been long buried.  The atmosphere is charged and the conduit is You, so go with the flow.  We may be a strange breed and some of us can go “south” when evolving, like in the very good book and films of it, “Lord of the Flies,” but for every Ying, there is a Yang.  And there is always Free Will and Reasoning Powers, when sensibly applied, so all is not lost.  I am reminded of one of Anne Frank’s final entries in her diary, after spending weeks in a concentration camp, “I still believe people are basically good .”  “Out of the mouth of babes….”  Beside, we’re all we’ve got!  Might want to make the best of it.

The cast, composer and director have created a very authentic atmosphere for this event and its impressive how it’s conducted.  I recommend this “Happening.”  If you do choose to experience it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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