Sunday, June 9, 2019

Arlington (a love story)—Third Rail—NW Portland


        A World Gone Astray


    This Futuristic story is written by Enda Walsh and directed by Isaac Lamb.  It is playing at the CoHo space, 2257 NW Raleigh St. (parking is a challenge in this busy area, so plan your time accordingly), through June 22nd.  For more information, go to their site at www.thirdrailrep.org or call 503-235-1101.

    Once upon a time…in a far-off land (well, maybe not too far off, as it might be just around the corner…just within our grasp).  Anyway, there existed a city of Ebony Towers (no, not like the Black Tower from King’s, Gunslinger series…nor like the Dark Tower from Tolkien’s, Lord of the Rings), just some imposing monoliths, full of lost people and ruled by…well, no one is sure.

    Within one of these enclosures is the hopeful, Isla (Rebecca Lingafelter), waiting for her number to be called so she can move on…although she is not sure what that means…move on to where…why?!  Looking over her containment cell is a young man (Nick Ferrucci)…a sort of security guy for her…who is pretty good company.  It seems this place values hearing about one’s dreams, or re-arranging one’s memories.  Anyway, a sort of bond is built up between them.

    In another cell is a mute young lady (Kayla Hanson), who is forced…or does she volunteer…to respond to certain music, though dance, acrobatics, interpretive movement, etc., like a puppet on a string.  In the end, though, of all of her gyrations, she would “fly….!”  Sometime later, our young man also finds himself in a containment unit, lorded over by an unseen but very vocal Supervisor (Kerry Ryan).  He, too, is put through a drill, but this time there is a madness to the method…er, reverse that (or not). 

    Through all of this, think Flashdance…or, Soylent Green…or Orwell’s, 1984 and you will have some idea as to the scope and depth of the stories.  The traditional “…Ever After,” doesn’t seem to apply to the end here.  But, as one famous fictional character said, “In a world without [love], it is better to be dead.”  So, see it and decide for yourself.

    This weird, Kafka-like tale may not be to everyone’s taste but, trust me, it is compelling…and will have you discussing it long after it’s over.  And Lamb has chosen the perfect cast.  Lingafelter is a seasoned performer around this area and presents us with another powerful performance here, as a sort of “Everyman (woman)” character.  Ferrucci is very touching as the befuddled young man, who must follow a strict discipline blindly without knowing the what’s and why’s of it.  Ryan, although unseen, has a demanding presence in her voice.

    And Hanson is a marvel!  Her entire performance is in interpretive dance/movements (reminding me of Twala Tharp’s type of choreography—film, “Footloose”).  She flips and flies and walks on walls and is simply amazing, as her gyrations express pain, joy, madness, confusion, etc., all in her body movements/facial expressions!  It’s not clear from the program whether she choreographed it herself, or Lamb, or the “consultant” listed, Amber Whitehall.  But, however it was conceived, Hanson is a standout in this production!

    Also, of note, is the video designer, Michael Ward, as they are very effective.  I recommend this play.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

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