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Saturday, July 16, 2022

"The Kiss" @ Lakewood

 "The Kiss" is a musical conceived by Will Vinton, I was friends with from a very young age, when I was making stop-motion animated short films, and a frequent attendee of his Portland Creative Conference.  So, it was nostalgic for me just to enter the lobby, and see the early sketches of various things in the production. (Make time to loiter a bit, it's well worth it.)

My favorite moments in the production are, unsurprisingly those that are reminiscent of animation. Those moments in which one is struck by an actor's ability to execute movements that would seem to be in the realm of cartoons. Such as, when Keaton Fields does his "seduction dance," insisting in song how easy it will be to procure the kiss he needs to turn him back into princely-form.  (Mr. Fields is a fresh from Acting School, his trajectory derailed by the pandemic. This is his debut-role, but --mark my words-- we'll be seeing much more of him.)  Another actor deserves similar praise for his fully-committed portrayal of a rodent, but doing so by name would be a major-spoiler. 

I felt honored to be among the first to see "The Kiss," Vinton's final creative work. Yes, it took me back to my past, but it also cemented my faith in Portland's artistic-future.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

"Gem of the Ocean" @ PCS

An August Wilson play is always appoint-viewing.  Add in top-flight Portland actors, (many of whom have done several Wilson productions over the years,) and you have unmissable, (and dearly-missed) theater. Wilson's often lyrically beautiful dialogue is the main-course. But, the dazzling implementation of the magical-realist themes should also not be given short-shrift. It's a classic, and deservedly so. As such, it almost seems arrogant of me to add any personal feelings. But,  I must say, of PCS' scheduled Season, "Gem of the Ocean" was the one I most fervently hoped would not be a casualty of CoVid. If ever there was a show worth venturing out for, this is it.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

"The Great Leap" @ PCS

 Take 2! 

I tried to attend Opening Night of ArtistsRep/PCS's production of "The Great Leap." The show was called off at Curtain for positive tests. 

It was worth the wait. 

"The Great Leap begins as a sports-story, but becomes far more:  A story about parents and their children amid the backdrop of Revolution. Playwright Lauren Yee is a voice I haven't otherwise encountered, and "The Great Leap" made me wonder what audiences had missed with "'Cambodian Rock Band" a musical by Yee, set to premiere Pre-Lockdown, and not yet mounted at PCS.

The Great Leap" is worth your time. It's full of the kind of drama we've missed for so very long.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

"Murder on the Orient Express"

 "Murder on the Orient Express" is the play I was looking most forward to, as live performances slowly crackled back to life on local stages. An added bonus is that this show is directed by my former teacher David Sikking. 

"Murder" is the kind of play I associate most with Lakewood Theatre since I first began going in earnest. The classic Agatha Christie tale, with its snowbound train is perfectly suited for a Winter's night. While I am far from a Christie expert, (my tastes gravitate more toward the grittier Raymond Chandler,) I'd say that "Murder on the Orient Express" is likely her best. 

As I sat in the theatre, waiting for the show to begin, I reflected upon how this was an ideal way to cautiously resume "normalcy." I was proven right. It really felt like "we're back!" I urge you to join me in that feeling. It's like feasting after a fast, and what a feast it is.