Sunday, March 3, 2019

Leonard Cohen Is Dead—Imago Theatre—SE Portland

          The Edge of Reality
This original, imaginative production is written, directed and designed by Jerry Mouawad and produced by Carol Triffle (co-founders of Imago).  It is playing at their space, 17 SE 8th Ave. (off Burnside), through March 16th.  (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.

Do we actually know where we are…what we are…or when we are, in this space/time continuum?  Are we “…such stuff as dreams are made on?”  Or, is our existence just a fluke of Nature…a Cosmic joke…a semi-colon in the Great Book of Life?  All manner of religions purport to have answers…the One True Path to Salvation (as long as you have money for the toll fees).  But, in lieu of any specific conclusion, just being good to yourself and your neighbors, and then see what happens in the long run, might be as good a formula as any to follow.

    And what does this have to do with the play?  Everything…and Nothing.  Or, to put it another way, if you can blend the artistry of violance and dark humor of Tarantino (“Reservoir Dogs”); the balancing act of Sartre (“No Exit”); the mind games of Pinter (“The Dumbwaiter”); a daub of Keystone Kops; Kafka’s ambiguities; and couple them with an intricate ballet, you might begin to understand the depth and breadth of this presentation of an exercise in futility.

    If you need to hang your hat on a storyline (which is always dangerous with an Imago production), then it’s about five gangsters (Danny Gray, Stephanie Woods, Emily Welch, Kyle Delamarter, and Jonah Kersey) holed up in a motel room, surrounded by cops.  It seems they have kidnapped a trillionaire’s daughter for ransom but the caper has gone terribly wrong.  And, to add to the confusion, one of the cops (Sawyer Shipman) has chosen to defect from the law & order assembly, to join the gang.  But, a mysterious radio in the room seems to have echoing voices from the Past and weasels its way into the psyches of this motley crew.  What to do…what to do?!

    Mouawad has, once again, created a thought-provoking, mind-bending, time-warping piece, in which the Soul of the matter is firmly entrenched in the Eye of the Beholder.  As always, a unique exercise in pushing the envelope beyond the beyond.  His cast, mostly regulars from other productions of theirs, are first-rate.  Did favor Woods, as she was most engaging to watch, as was Shipman.  And the lighting (Jon Farley) and sound (Mouawad & Delamarter) were intricate parts of the production and added greatly to it success.

    I do recommend this piece, as it takes you out of your comfort zone and transports you to the Twilight Zone.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.

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