Monday, March 11, 2024

Port Authority—Imago Theatre—SE Portland

          The Pluck of the Irish

    This LIVE production, is written by Conor McPherson, directed by Jerry Mouawad  and produced by Carol Triffle.  It plays through March 24that Imago’s space, 17 SE 8th Ave. (off E. Burnside).  Street parking can be an issue, so come early.  Recommended for 16 and up.  For more information, contact them at or call 503-231-9581.

   What we see may not be what we get…but what we get may be what we deserve.  A random thought after seeing this play.  The mind/memories are a tricky thing.  When musing on the Past, what thoughts spring to mind which, of course, are only brief snippets of our history.  But why those, and why now…as we linger, perhaps, at a terminal waiting for the next transport?

    This play calls to mind some European shows, such as, No Exit, of a bygone era…or of one closer to home, Thornton Wilder’s, Our Town.  If given time to reminisce, “…what dreams may come?”  The sum total of our existence may not be earth-shattering, as we might anticipate…but like little cat paws upon an unbroken landscape, leaving not a trace behind.

    And so, we are left with three unconnected of three Irishmen at a terminal left to ponder and linger in thoughts of yesteryear.  I won’t go into the depths of their stories, for those should be absorbed by an audience’s virgin ears.  But you might consider your own biographies when listening to theirs.

    Kevin (Mikhail Duggan) has a rather uncommitted, carefree life, living at home with his parents until it is strongly suggested he needs to try and make it on his own.  So, he gets himself roommates of questionable types, except for Clare, who he’s a bit smitten with.  They carouse together with rock music being their common thread.  A life full of empty possibilities, until, toward the end, a long walk will awaken, perhaps too late, a more purposeful path appearing.

    Dermot (Matthew Sunderland), is a family man who has not found his niche in life yet.  And his meanderings down Life’s pathways, leads him to drug and alcohol as being just the right fit for him.  But, finally, the opportunity of a lifetime, a dream job, falls into his lap and he is on cloud nine, but his navigational skills are in need of repair.  Then truth and reality raise their ugly heads and it’s not a pretty road anymore.

    Joe (Tory Mitchell) is living at a Senior Center, whiling away in memoires, in the sunset of his life.  A harmless sort who has had a fine wife and kids but now only random memories invade his mundane existence.  That is, until a small package arrives with a photo and a note of a chance encounter he had left behind and it opens up a world of what-might-have-been for him.  A cruel footnote at the end of his journey, or a dream to hang his hat on?

    To me the stories themselves are not the only highlight of the production, but the way they were told, and the tellers, made a fulfilling couple of hours.  My friend remarked he thought they were talking directly to him, with their eyes on his, and I felt the same.  The intensity of those run-of-the-mill stories are what made them so compelling!  The combination of McPherson carefully crafted script, the astute direction of Mouawad and he the insightful performances of these three actors are very much worth your while!

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


Friday, March 8, 2024

Eleanor—Triangle Productions—NE Portland


“Something of Substance”

    This one-woman, live show, written by Mark St. Germain, and starring Margie Boule’, is directed by Donald Horn.  It is playing in their space at 1785 NE Sandy Blvd. (free parking lot next to the building) through March 23rd.  For more information, go to their site at or call 503-239-5919.

Eleanor (Margie Boule’) was the real, first woman on earth (with apologies to Eve), in my opinion.  The amount of firsts in accomplishments for women she introduced, is unparoled.  I won’t go into them all because that will allow you to experience for yourselves this play, and discover the cornucopia of treasures she unleashed upon our country…and beyond.

    And this was not from some flamboyant, rich kid from a Hyde Park family called the Roosevelts, two of which, Teddy and Franklin, would become president, serving six terms between them.  No, she was a simple, awkward girl, who her mom confided in her that she was homely.  But, despite all that, as she played with her fifth cousin, Franklin, as a child, she would eventually rise up and, with strong objections from his mother, Sarah, become the First Lady.  No mean feat when women had just recently been given the right to vote.

    So, with little to do of worth, she carved out her own path and became a voice for the underprivileged, the disenfranchised, “the huddle masses, yearning to be free.”  But she was disillusioned with marriage (via her husband’s mistresses) and so she had her own set of “admirers.”  She became a friend of the troops overseas when she visited.  She found her voice and spoke her mind at political and social rallies.  And to this day, many other First Ladies have emulated her stance and have truly become the Power behind the Power.

    And to think this is all pulled off by another treasure, of the stage that is, Margie Boule.’  Yes, one person carries the burden of this indominable woman, plus playing the parts of a dozen or so other characters over a number of years, including Churchill, Sarah Roosevelt, FDR, et. al.  My favorite of them was Lewis (or Louis), the erasable, campaign manager, who was perhaps her guiding spirit through the murky depths of the political game.

    Boule’ does this with such simplicity that it flows much like a beloved relative relating a very personal story just to you alone.  A storyteller of the first kind, relatable to all.  She is, of the stage, equal in stature to the person she is playing.  I can’t imagine anyone else doing this role…and with such grace and humor and longing, too, perhaps.  Kudos of the highest order to you, Ms. Boule’...long may your banner wave!

    And Horn is a treasure, too, as he (and I’ve said this before) always manages to entertain, inform, and educate an audience with his offerings.  I have rarely missed a production of his (and this is one of his finest, (as well as hers) and am quite a devoted follower.  The almost two-hour play with one woman is mesmerizing but, again, when you consider the geniuses involved with it, it is not surprising!

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