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Monday, April 16, 2018

"Always Patsy Cline" @ Broadway Rose

"Always Patsy Cline" appears from the playbill to be a frequently revived Broadway Rose production, and I now can see why. It's a two character play, and yet seems to be bursting with tunes that would tax a cast of many more. Not only is it frequently revived, it is revived with the same cast, which certainly increase its specialness to Broadway Rose itself, especially considering that one of the two characters is played by Artistic Director Sharon Maroney, (I have eagerly awaited her return to the stage after her truly memorable role in "Gypsy.")

The show, unlike others of its type, actually has a decent amount of "book" providing details of the characters' relationship, and leading to a few very impressive duets. It is a show for fans of Patsy Cline, and more than usual, a show that seems to be particularly attached to its venue. This makes it a must-see.....

Monday, April 9, 2018

"The Thanksgiving Play" @ Artist's Rep

"The Thanksgiving Play" is a brisk, hilarious 90 minutes. But, its briskness and humor does not mean it's light. The humor is disarming, because the themes at the center are quite heavy.  I was particularly impressed by the way the script handled the "moral," which I will not spoil here. Suffice it to say that in lesser hands would feel rather hollow. This is a show for everyone, but I think that Portland audiences will be especially receptive to its skewering of New Aginess,  because we are sort of a mecca for such things. That its targets are varied is yet another plus, from Hollywood, to Revisionist History, to the theatre itself.  It's ease of flow and general balance are remarkable. I truly enjoyed myself, and you will too.

"And So We Walked" @ PCS

Delanna Studi's "And So We Walked" is probably the first One-Woman show where the word "epic" can be properly applied. Yet, despite its breadth, I enjoyed its small moments most. Moments like when Studi was a grade schooler, and Native Americans were called "extinct" by a virtue on a rule in the curriculum, which Studo's father- a towering presence in the show- managed to get overturned. Or moments where little traditions are revealed, like defacing $20s because of the presence of Andrew "Indian Killer" Jackson. These brief stories truly inform the whole, and give the Big Event at the play's center huge personal meaning.

The recurring motif of dreams is also effective, but to uninitiated eyes, the lines between them can occasionally be blurred.

I wonder if the bookending with Artist's Rep's "The Thanksgiving Play" was intentional, because they complement each other tremendously, because "And So We Walked" is a show in which a Native Woman tells her story, and "The Thanksgiving Play" is about what happens when others try to tell stories for others. The contrast is remarkable, even beyond the humor. I feel privileged to have watched these shows by voices so neglected, that in all my years of theatre going, I believe that they are the only two I've seen from a Native perspective.