Monday, October 23, 2023

SPIdER—Young Professionals Company—NE Portland


“Oh, What A Web We Weave”

    The Y/P Company of the Oregon Children’s Theatre presents this topical drama of our times, by Madeleine Adriance and directed by Matthew B. Zrebski.  It is playing at the Curious Comedy Annex Theater (parking in the rear and on the street), 5225 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., through November5th(for more information on the play and tickets, go to their website at or call 503-228-9571.

    Picture, if you will, a Creation, a world, left to it own devices, to reinvent itself at will, over and over again, into endless strands of a web.  And, let’s say circumstances, allowed this kinetic web to pause in its meanderings by, let’s say, a Virus, forcing the creatures to take a hard look at themselves.  And from that portrait, many tales erupt, some for good, some not…a cautionary tale at best. With  Social Media as its “god,” with a “Web” to connect the dots.

    These mini-stories are a microcosm of our world, of course, stories of isolation/loneliness; bravery and love; death and new life; hesitant love with a dream; loss and pain; hope and despair, et. al. and, perhaps, a “rage at the dying of the light. ”Enacted by an ensemble of very talented young people:  Aidan Colvin, Dylan Mojo, Elijah Tinker, Ava Anderson, Olivia Chesire, and Emma Lombard, embodying about a dozen plus characters.

    The events, intriguing as they are, can be a bit confusing, trying to keep straight.  But they do hit home, I’m sure, at some junction, with everyone in the audience.  One must ask, how is the author, Adriance, connect with all these varied stories, as she has certainly honed in on some basic truths of human nature and “attention must be paid.”  Bravo!  As well as to the director, Zrebski, a veteran of directing at Y/P, who has kept the staging to a bare minimum to flesh out the story and challenge the actors to fill it with their talent!

    This is not for everyone (ages 14 and up recommended) but this play, as with all the productions of Y/P (Artistic Director, Dani Baldwin), the youth are given a broad canvas to explore, vent, evolve and grow in this rapidly moving transition to adulthood.  They have a safe haven, a repertory period, to decide their own paths for the future.  If you want to see truths of who our young people of toady are, and what they’re going through, look no further than Baldwin and her intrepid band of Youth, demanding to be heard.  It doesn’t get any better than this, folks!  Bravo!

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


Monday, October 9, 2023

My Bedroom is an Installation—Imago Theatre—SE Portland


Photo by Kyle Delamarter

“The Illusion of Reality”

     This Premiere, dark comedy, is written by Jerry Mouawad and Drew Pisarra, and directed and designed by Mouawad, and produced by Carol Triffle.  It plays through October 22nd at Imago’s space, 17 SE 8th Ave. (off E. Burnside).  Parking can be an issue, so plan your time accordingly.  Recommended for 16 and up.  For more information, contact them at or call 


    The above quote is from Tennessee Williams, speaking about plays.  And, if you add Mr. Shakespeare to that thought process, “All the world’s a stage…” and we are simply actors upon it.  So, are we actually in a play ourselves and, thus, an illusion?!  And, perhaps, add to that perspective, the writer of “Zorba, the Greek” espouses, that everybody needs a little madness…to keep us sane (yikes!).  Keep those thoughts in mind as you experience this play.

    Once Upon a Time, in this dark, underbelly per-version of a, perhaps, apocalyptic, fairy-tale, there reposed on a myriad of mattresses, a princess called “Cynthia” (Anne Sorce), who was an insomniac (not because of a pea at the bottom of her bed, but a symbolic time-bomb). 

    Her “castle” was littered with boxes, as if she had just moved in (or was just to move out?).  Among her “belongings” was also a mute servant (more a like a ghostly image of her soul), named Solo (Sam Gordon)…a confidant, protector, instigator, and a little puppet of seemingly Eastern European origin, a gypsy (voiced by Sorce and designed & carved by Mouawad), called Whip.

    These three will rail against the elements together, in a cacophony of sounds and gestures, to discover the reason for their being here and, perhaps, the author of their plight, as she senses she is being…watched, and that this might be an experiment, an “installation” for someone else’s amusement.  But, if that’s the case, and one is looking out into the Void, it must perchance mean, the Void is looking at you!  (A perfect Halloween tale, perhaps).

    As you can see, I can’t really tell you the plot, as it would be a Spoiler, if I did.  These are only my perceptions.  It is more important that you decide for yourselves the meaning.  But the play is peppered with Shakespearean overtones, I believe, such as, The Tempest and King Lear.  Also, aspects of Pirandello and the great English playwrights, Pinter, and Beckett, as the search for the meaning of Life…and Death.

    Mouawad (and his pen pal, Pisarra) have created a tunnel of words and images to boggle the mind and disturb the soul.  The pathway is not meant to lead you to answers or home, but only to more questions, which will then open up venues for your own windmills of your mind.  As always, Mouawad (and Triffle) productions are, indeed, the leading edge of innovative theatre!

    Sorce is amazing in the dual (voiced) role of Cynthia and Whip.  My friend remarked, how can she keep all that straight in her head.  The simple(?) answer is that she is the best of the breed of actors, which all artists aspire to!...Bravo!

    And Gordon is a brilliant mimist/dancer/clown and adds miles to the fluidity of the production.  Mouawad’s Whip is a work of Art!  And the sound design, by Kyle Delamarter, is jarring, sounding at times like a rat gnawing his way out of a box.

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