Friday, June 2, 2023

The Inheritance (Part 2)—Triangle Productions—NE Portland


        "…and so it goes…”

   This award-winning, epic drama is written by Matthew Lopez, directed by Andres Alcala and produced by Donald Horn.  It is playing at their space at 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. (free parking lot next to the building) through June 17th.  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-239-5919.  (Masks recommended because of Covid).

    WOW!  What a way to end 33 remarkable seasons at Triangle, with Donald Horn being the driving, inspirational force!  If the next 33 seasons are anything like the last ones, we are in for an amazing ride!  Horn has never failed to choose/produce/direct/design plays that are both educational and enlightening.  He has, in a creative tapestry of worlds, woven into the fabric of our lives, unforgettable experiences.  My hat’s off to you, my friend, and here’s to more of the same, but even better.  And Happy Pride Month, too!

     And now to the play, which has been a six plus hour roller-coaster ride, winding out this season with Part 2 of, The Inheritance.  Should you have seen Part I?  It would have been helpful but this story does a good job of standing on its own by giving references to its beginnings.  Suffice to say, it has an outstanding ensemble cast of 13 men being the narrators of, and playing the characters in, this story.  And it’s all done on an essentially bare stage, and with masterful direction by Alcala!

    I hesitate to give too much of the plot away, as the audience must make some discoveries on their own.  But it begins with a group of gay men having a need to express their stories onstage, via the intervention of the famous author, E. M. Forster (Gary Powell) who will gently guide their creative paths at times.

    It begins with Eric (James Sharinghousen) an emotionally involved political activist and his lover, Toby (Michael Teufel), an aspiring but erratic author/playwright.  They have broken off relationships at the beginning of this part and Toby has taken up with the lead, young actor in his play, Adam (Brave Sohacki), but it seems Adam has become somewhat temperamental, and so that union is not going well.  And so Toby takes up with a male prostitute, Leo (Sohacki, again) and a downward spiral begins, involving drugs and alcohol.

    Meanwhile Eric, has become involved with Henry (Gary Wayne Cash), an eccentric billionaire, who takes a liking to Eric and wants him in his life, but he is a bit of a recluse when it come to sex, as his only real love was with his former mate, Walter (Gary Norman), who has passed on.

    And underlying all this is the threat of AIDS and its devastating effects on this community.  All these lives will again intersect and overlap, some with touching outcomes and others end disastrously.  Others that interact with these major stories, playing various characters are Tanner Huff, Dylan Hankins, Matthew Sunderland, Kima Camat, Eric Zulu, Adam John Roper, and Julio Cesar Velazque.  (To flesh out more of these characters, read my review of Part 1).

    As I’ve said, I wanted to keep the synopsis simple so as not to be a spoiler.  But a great deal of discussion does go on regarding the color issue, political differences, the nature of creativity and love/intimacy, AIDS, etc.  It’s a very rick story but one that an audience should discover.

    Every one of the performances is vital to the success of this epic production.  Powell is outstanding as Forester, and is particularly touch playing Margaret, the mother of an AIDS victim.  Teufel gives a heartbreaking portrayal of a creative genius who is overwhelmed by his success (“the world is too much with us”).  Cash proves the old adage that money can by love, so he buries himself in work.  Sohacki gives us a realistic view of a tortured youth trying to navigate the big, bad world.  And Sharinghousen has the unenviable task of taking us on the lonest journey of self-discovery, which gives us hope for a better tomorrow.

    Alcala and Horn have some amazing handiwork here and all the blood, sweat and tears pay off in a powerful production!  This is not for everyone because of the subject matter and language.  I highly recommend this show.  If you do see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.