Friday, January 31, 2020

LIFE…--Triangle Productions!—NE Portland

The Journey

A funny thing happened on the way to the theatre last night…I almost ran over a nice, old Jewish lady.  It was a dark and rainy night and she crossed the street right in front of me.  I stopped just in time and offered her a ride and she was going to the same theatre I was and said her son, Irving, recommended the play about a rich, gentile boy named Hamlet and she was going to meet her husband there.

     When we got there, she thanked me and rushed out of the car. I reflected for a moment she must be at the wrong theatre because, although Don Horn does some amazing productions, Hamlet would be unusual for him.  I found my seat and, sure enough, there was this young actor (Alex Fox) onstage, dressed in what appeared to be a costume from Hamlet’s time, and he was about to do the “poor Yorick” scene, when in rushed my little, old lady, loudly trying to find her seat.  She was disoriented and the young man onstage took pity on her and motioned her to come up onstage with him.  Not long after, her husband appeared from the audience and he proceeded to be onstage, too.  It was then that I glanced at my program and it proclaimed the title of the play was, LIFE According To Morty And Ruth, written by Donnie and produced, directed and designed by Donald Horn.  And away we went…!

    For the next hour or so, we were taken on a whirlwind journey through the lives of these two, precious people, Morty (Jay Randall Horenstein) and Ruth (Wendy Westerwelle).  They recounted family problems, secrets of neighbors, their sex lives, marriage, biblical history, Jewish jokes, the importance of food, death, life and all that jazz.  And they did it in such a way as a stand-up comic might, or like a vaudeville routine.  The actors played off each other like ole pros, which they are, and kept the audience in stiches.  And if I tell you any of their priceless tales, it would be like giving you, in advance, the punch line to a joke, so best keep silent on that score.

 To say the least, it is a very entertaining hour and spent on such a dreary night, and the actors seemed to be having a ball.  Fox, essentially playing the straight man of the trio, was very indulgent to these characters.  And Horenstein, playing the slightly infirmed and befuddled husband, was a perfect foil for his mate, Westerwelle, the loud, brassy, but equally loveable female of the species.  They are also old pros in Portland theatre and with Triangle.  Horn has written a script that could easily have been done on the stages of New York during The Roaring Twenties.  In these chaotic times, it’s good to be taken back to a seemingly less troubled era and be regaled in a culture that espouses, to really exist, you have to live Life to the fullest, with some laughter, love and a little cheesecake.  Good advice, I think.

    The show is playing at their space in The Sanctuary, 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. (free parking lot to the West of the bldg.)  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-239-5919.  Runs through February 15th.

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

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