Saturday, May 5, 2018

To Fly Again—Imago Theatre—SE Portland

A New World [Dis]order

    This original production is written, designed, choreographed and directed by Jerry Mouawad and is playing at their space, 17 SE 8th Ave. (just off Burnside) through May 12th.  (Parking is a challenge in this area, so plan your time accordingly.  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-231-9581.

     “In Dreams, [she flies]…in Dreams, [she flies]…but only in her Dreams.”  It is a place and setting in an alternate universe, a place out of time…and space…disjointed…at the apex of the Alpha and the Omega, not unlike, perhaps Beckett’s “…Godot” world.  It is inhabited by Stink-Bomb (Mark Mullaney), one of the “unwashed masses;” Tater (Stephanie Woods), a virgin bud; Bob Jake Ottosen), a stick-in-the-mud; and Togo (Nathaniel Holder), the maestro of the tunes that “soothe the savage beasts.”   Together, these Clowns, form a coven, of sorts, in a desert, from which, in time, will spring an Oasis, or so we hope.

     But, for now, they are on the verge of…well, they do have memories, which are fleeting, of another existence, but now that existence has disappeared and they are left with…???  A do-over, perhaps, or maybe, like a broken record, or squeaky wheel, someone will come (again?), to silence the whining, like the shining black man in the white beard, who will get tired of the repetition and rhetoric and will rewind the toys, these fish out of water…perhaps.  Otherwise, left to their own devices, what will they do…what can they do…what possible…impossible…conclusions?  Ah, but “to sleep, perchance to dream”…of…???  A fragment of a song occurs to me…

     “Send in the clowns, there have to be clowns…don’t bother, they’re here!”  (think about it). 
     Just one problem, there are those pesky dancers/floaters, the non-thinkers, the mutes, the lemmings, who dance, dare I say, fly.  What to make of them?  Left over from the Old World Order who ruled at one time, maybe with the Clowns?  But everybody should march to their own beat, their own drummer, and when those drummers/dreamers meet, connect, merge…then a new day may evolve!

     Is this a review?  Yes, it is, in the sense that any true artist worth his metal, will spill his talent across a broad canvas and induce/dare, perhaps, seekers and let them glean what they choose, as does Mouawad.  He dips his pen into his heart and writes in blood, not ink….and, as it flows outward, other views may come into focus.  Beckett famously said, when asked who Godot was, he replied that he had forgotten, and said to the questioner, who is he to you?  And so it is with this piece of Art.  What does it mean to you…no right or wrong answers, really, just absorb it.

     As always, he has created something entirely unique and thought(soul)-provoking.  And I loved the tree and his choice of music for the production.  Wish I could accurately credit the actors, but no names were attributed to the main ensemble of actors, via characters.   But the two ladies that stood out for me are Stephanie Woods, who was “Tater” and she is wonderful.  She really connected with the audience (and with me, my heart went out to her character’s plight).  Hope to see more of her onstage.  Also, her counter-part , the drummer of the dancers, Amy Katrina Bryan (I believe), was also invested in her role and was notable in her performance.

     The rest of the cast of Dancers were Nathan HG, Kaician Kitko, Andrea Larreta and Emma Holland.  All excellent and I apologize if I got names confused.  A really fine show by all concerned.  I recommend this play.  Please tell them Dennis sent you if you choose to see it.

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