Monday, October 14, 2019

A Clockwork Orange—Bag & Baggage—Hillsboro, OR

        “To Be or Not to Be…” Free

    This classic novel from yesteryear by Anthony Burgess has been adapted by the author for the stage and is directed by the Artistic Director of B&B, Cassie Greer and choreographed by Mandana Khoshnevisan.  It is playing at their own space, The Vault Theatre, 350 E. Main St. in downtown Hillsboro, through October 27th.  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-345-9590.

    What to do…what to do…when faced with the above dilemma?  Sounds easy, doesn’t it?  But with choosing Freedom, that comes with responsibility, and not just for yourself but for others, as well and Nature.  Or, to live in a world where everything is decided for you, even what you believe or think, or what is good or what is evil (via Orwell’s 1984).  But, whatever you decide, it involves…Choice.  Ah, “there’s the rub.”

    Alex (Aaron Cooper Swor), in this futuristic society (or alternate universe) in London, is the leader of a gang, the Droog’s, consisting of George (Ty Hendrix), Pete (Abrar Haque) and Dim (Eric St. Cyr), who terrorize the city streets and its citizens, including one F. Alexander (Robert Durante), the future author of this novel.  Alex has been warned by his teacher, Mr. Deltoid (TS McCormick), that he must chang his ways or risk going to prison, if his antics turn deadly.  And, sure enough, one night on a home invasion, an old lady dies, and so it is reform time for ole Alex.

    In prison, he comes across a holier-than-thou Chaplin (Joey Copsey), who tries his best to “save Brother Alex,” who plays along for a while, as he’s heard of a program where, if he resorts to certain tests by the powers-that-be, he can gain his freedom.  And so, with the permission of the chameleon, Minister of the Interior (James Luster), and the administrator of the tests, Dr. Brodsky (Andrew Beck), they proceed.  In essence, the tests consist of brainwashing, so that he is revolted by thoughts of violence (as well as any kind of passion, as well).  But society (and the author) are not so easily appeased and so we are faced with, perhaps, being safe but stupid, or being free but uncertain.  The Choice is Ours!

    This is a highly inventive production by Greer and her choreographer, as many stylized dances and movements, as well as music are present, and songs.  The innovative lighting (Jim Ricks-White), versatile set (Tyler Buswell) and bland costumes (Melissa Heller), all add to the dark magic of the production.  And many kudos to the cast, who play a variety of roles, as they are quite marvelous!  And Swor, as the lead character, is amazing in a difficult role.

    Greer has tackled what would have appeared to be an impossible dream and has created rainbows for us to enjoy and ponder.  She is a tremendous actor in her own right, as well as the artistic creator of literary classics.  “May she live long and prosper!”

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

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