Saturday, October 19, 2019

Smokefall—Defunkt Theatre—SE Portland



          “Past Saving”

    This dark chronicle, of a family history, is written by Noah Haidle and directed by Patrick Walsh.  It is playing at their space, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd. (in back of the Common Ground Coffee Shop) through November 16th.  (Parking is a challenge in this area, so plan your time accordingly.)  For more information, go to their site at www.defunkttheatre.com

    Relationships are never easy and family dynamics can be a bitch to handle.  But, from “womb to tomb,” you have no choice but to just deal with it.  This odd story, part dark fairy tale set in an alternate reality, and part romance (of sorts), gives us a glimpse into the psyche of one family over several years.  It has a lot in common with Tennessee Williams and his play, The Glass Menagerie as, in both stories, there is the father who “fell in love with long distance…trying to find in motion what was lost in space.”  And there is the shy or, in this case, mainly silent sister, and a narrator (Footnote) that has prior knowledge of the family and moves the story along, filling in the blanks as it goes, as well as some lovely poetic prose in the storytelling of both authors.

    The matriarch of the family is Violet (Brooke Calcagno), who is pregnant with twin boys as the story opens, with Footnote (Matthew Kern) giving us the lowdown on their history.  She lives in her father’s house, the Colonel (Chris Porter), who’s memory is failing him, and her daughter, Beauty (Jessica Hillenbrand), who chooses to eat paper, paint, dirt, etc., anything but food, and has chosen not to speak because she decided she simply had no more to say.  And, finally, there is Dan (Joe Von Appen), the husband, who will soon be a bleep in the family tree, due to his absence…this is the first Act.

    The second act is a wee more bizarre, as we get the perspective of the twins (Kern & Von Appen, again) in the womb, as they discuss the pros and cons of actually being born and facing an uncertain future.  The third act presents Beauty, now speaking, and eating normal food, connecting with one of the twins, John (Porter, again), her brother, on his birthday and meeting his son, Samuel (Kern, again).  Yes, a bit confusing but also very compelling and they do manage to tie up the ends together.  It is one family’s journey but there are elements within it that seem familiar to me, as it will, I’m sure, to others.

    The story grows on you, as does the style, and being an intimate setting, it feels even more personal.  Walsh has taken on what must have seemed like an impossible task at the beginning and molded it into quite an engaging piece of theatre.  And his cast pick is amazing, as I couldn’t image anyone else in these roles.  Porter is a stalwart of local theatre and is at his best here.  Von Appen does well, especially as the reluctant twin.  Calcagno has been too long absent from the stage and it’s good to see her back and just as strong.  Hilllenbrand is excellent as the young girl who blossoms before your eyes and becomes a determined woman.  And Kern, again, brandishes his acting chops and is powerful in more than one demanding role here.  Kudos to all!

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

6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I never thought i would be HIV negative again after been
      diagnosed in 2015, i ave tried everything possible in life from
      one doctor to another, one hospital to another, series of tests,
      different kinds of medication, i had already lost hope until i
      meet Great Dr okadibo online testimonies, a specialist in
      herbal medication from Africa, i contacted him ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) and he
      prepared HIV herbal medication for me which i took for 7days
      and now i am completely cured. i want to use this medium to
      express my gratitude to him for saving my life and curing me
      from HIV, for taking away all my pains and sorrows, I''m
      indeed grateful and i am so happy I''m now HIV negative. i will
      continue to tell the good news of your great works to
      everyone, if you have HIV or other disease contact him, Email:
      his email: ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) or whatsApp him via +2349032824947 thank you my great Dr okadibo
      for curing me keep up your great work

      Delete
    2. I never thought i would be HIV negative again after been
      diagnosed in 2015, i ave tried everything possible in life from
      one doctor to another, one hospital to another, series of tests,
      different kinds of medication, i had already lost hope until i
      meet Great Dr okadibo online testimonies, a specialist in
      herbal medication from Africa, i contacted him ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) and he
      prepared HIV herbal medication for me which i took for 7days
      and now i am completely cured. i want to use this medium to
      express my gratitude to him for saving my life and curing me
      from HIV, for taking away all my pains and sorrows, I''m
      indeed grateful and i am so happy I''m now HIV negative. i will
      continue to tell the good news of your great works to
      everyone, if you have HIV or other disease contact him, Email:
      his email: ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) or whatsApp him via +2349032824947 thank you my great Dr okadibo
      for curing me keep up your great work

      Delete
  2. I never thought i would be HIV negative again after been
    diagnosed in 2015, i ave tried everything possible in life from
    one doctor to another, one hospital to another, series of tests,
    different kinds of medication, i had already lost hope until i
    meet Great Dr okadibo online testimonies, a specialist in
    herbal medication from Africa, i contacted him ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) and he
    prepared HIV herbal medication for me which i took for 7days
    and now i am completely cured. i want to use this medium to
    express my gratitude to him for saving my life and curing me
    from HIV, for taking away all my pains and sorrows, I''m
    indeed grateful and i am so happy I''m now HIV negative. i will
    continue to tell the good news of your great works to
    everyone, if you have HIV or other disease contact him, Email:
    his email: ( drokadiboherbalcure@gmail.com ) or whatsApp him via +2349032824947 thank you my great Dr okadibo
    for curing me keep up your great work

    ReplyDelete
  3. Doctor razor has given me reasons to be happy by curing my HERPES with HERBAL MEDICINE. i was HERPES type 2 positive for over 2 years and all the means i tried for treatment was not helpful to me, but when i came on the Internet i saw great testimony about Doctor Razor on how he was able to cure someone from HERPES 2 this person said great things about this man, and advice we contact him for any Disease problem that Doctor razor can be of help, well i decided to give him a try, he requested for my information which i sent to him, and he told me he was going to prepare for me the HERBAL MEDICINE, which he wanted me to take for Two weeks, and after which i should go back to the hospital for check up, well after taking all the treatment sent to me by Doctor razor, i went back to the Hospital for check up, and now i have been confirmed HERPES type 2 Negative, I waited for three months and then went back to my greatest surprised it was still negative. Up still now I still can't believe that am HERPES  negative. You that is out there looking for help or cure , Reach him On email : drrazorherbalhome@gmail.com Believe beloved, you will testify after 18 days Whatsapp him on +2349065420442.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Doctor razor has given me reasons to be happy by curing my HERPES with HERBAL MEDICINE. i was HERPES type 2 positive for over 2 years and all the means i tried for treatment was not helpful to me, but when i came on the Internet i saw great testimony about Doctor Razor on how he was able to cure someone from HERPES 2 this person said great things about this man, and advice we contact him for any Disease problem that Doctor razor can be of help, well i decided to give him a try, he requested for my information which i sent to him, and he told me he was going to prepare for me the HERBAL MEDICINE, which he wanted me to take for Two weeks, and after which i should go back to the hospital for check up, well after taking all the treatment sent to me by Doctor razor, i went back to the Hospital for check up, and now i have been confirmed HERPES type 2 Negative, I waited for three months and then went back to my greatest surprised it was still negative. Up still now I still can't believe that am HERPES  negative. You that is out there looking for help or cure , Reach him On email : drrazorherbalhome@gmail.com Believe beloved, you will testify after 18 days Whatsapp him on +2349065420442

    ReplyDelete