Behold the new: Liminal returns with “Marilyn Monroe contre les vampires”, an immersive video opera by Fassbinder


In the theatre world we have, a handful of franchised shows from New York play regional theatres struggling for relevance.  As the lights go down on that mass produced version of BAD DATES, VENUS IN FUR, etc., you could be anywhere.  Welcome to Olive Garden.

In the theatre world we need, instead of taking up the assignment as conveyor belts in a creaky colonial system, companies instead create their own authentic new work – stuff you can find nowhere else.  They engage with their community.  They make place and time specific art.  Their shows then travel the OPPOSITE direction –  from the hinterlands toward larger cultural centers, where audience members feel they have sampled something original.  Something authentic.  Welcome to Higgins, Pok Pok, Lincoln.

On that note, the noise in the underground laboratory of one of Portland’s unique theatre groups has been steadily increasing, and smoke and sparks have been seen shooting out of taped over windows late at night.  That’s because they’re working on a new show in there.  One that has never been seen.  And in a few short weeks – just in time for Christmas – you will have a chance to behold the new.  Bonus: it’s at one of the coolest venues in town.

That’s right – the next show from Liminal is coming down the tracks.

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Mike Daisey back in Portland with THE TRUMP CARD

The bomb-throwing storyteller of the land once known as America is back.  Truth be typed, he never went anywhere.  Funny, incisive, complicated, conflicted – Mike Daisey will never be safe for television.  Which is why we’re lucky to have him on the stage.

One night only, the Mainer turned New Yorker is back in Stumptown to talk about – what else – Trump.  Unfortunately the show is in the extremely bland and mediocre too big to fail complex horrifically named Portland 5 Alive.  Mike, next time book Revolution Hall!  But anyway, here’s your chance to see the man.

Mike Daisey
The Trump Card
September 25, 2016
7:30 PM
Newmark Theatre


All Rights Reserved

2013. The last time Daisey was in town.

A masterpiece you don’t know + an actor born for the role | HUGHIE by Eugene O’Neill starring Todd Van Voris at Imago

You know HUGHIE, right?  That small but great play Eugene O’Neill wrote late in life, in between all those big but great plays.  On that old desk in Tao House above.

You don’t?  Huh.

Somehow most people do not know this brilliant one act story of a downtrodden cheeseball gambler and teller of tales, Erie Smith.  Which is unfortunate.

But for Portlanders a chance to fill this gap in your repertoire is coming up soon.  Imago stages HUGHIE for two weeks starting Labor Day.

And center stage as Erie, a man born for the role – Todd Van Voris.

O’Neill wrote better gangster slang that Quentin Tarantino, and the lingo in this play is a world unto itself.  So get wise to the game and get a ticket before they’re gone like yesterday’s race tips.  Gene don’t roll no phoneys.  And the gambler Erie Smith is a character for all time.

Sep 2-18 at Imago Theatre



2econd Stage Theatre, New York.

New York’s Second Stage Theater to produce A PARALLELOGRAM by Bruce Norris in summer of 2017

New York’s Second Stage Theater is on a roll.

Not that they weren’t on a roll before. But now they are REALLY, REALLY on a roll.

After acquiring the Helen Hayes Theatre in April of 2015, this upstart Off Broadway producer has moved stoutly onto the Great White Way.  Even more impressive: the new Broadway space is dedicated to only contemporary playwrights.  That’s right.

The company now has three (count ‘me) spaces around Manhattan. And from the looks of it, new productions are lining up in the queue like planes at EWR.

You can see the exciting lineup for next year here.

But one to call out right now is the rarely staged A PARALLELORAM by Bruce Norris.

And another is THE MAN FROM NEBRASKA by Chicago double threat Tracy Letts.



Web version.  Beautiful!  Mysterious!  Dramatic!

A good web site is your best show

Before your audience can experience the show, they need to know about it.  And one way they find out about your company is the show before the show, i.e., every digital channel and physical touchpoint you have.  Among these, your web site reigns supreme.

Not everyone is skilled at acting, directing, or set design.  That’s why when you need good acting, directing or set design, you seek out those with experience.  Similarly, if you need plumbing, wiring or construction, you call a pro.  You don’t do it yourself.

Yet when it comes to web design, all too often theatre companies still decide to wing it and DIY.  The belief seems to be that it doesn’t matter all that much how good the web site is.

While that may be true with the current crop of aging theatre goers who still live outside the digital world, the next wave of audience members are very plugged in.  In the arts as in commerce, the faster someone can convert an idea (“I wonder what’s on right now?”) into actionable steps, the better the outcome.  Web sites are proxies for the brand.  And whether it’s fair or not, newly arrived viewers make a lot of instant assessments of the product on offer based on the web site.

Here’s a quick example of two theatre web sites on opposite ends of the usability spectrum.  It’s worth asking where yours falls.

The Good

As a maker of unforgettable live experience, you would expect Portland’s Liminal to have an equally intriguing digital presence.  And they do.  Whether on web or mobile, Liminal tells you clearly and simply what’s up.  But towering over the minutiae of details is the BRAND.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 2.32.15 AM

Web version. Beautiful! Mysterious! Dramatic!


On mobile. The essence of the experience comes through loud and clear.

The Not So Good

On the other end of the shelf is Imago, one of Portland’s oldest and most respected theatres.  Problem is, if you’re new and all you have to go by is the web site, it’s not a good experience.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 2.32.31 AM

Web version. The site is not responsive, so most space is not used. What little content there is looks massively dated.


The mobile experience is even worse. Pinch and swipe your way around the narrow view portal. Chances are, you’re going to bail soon.

And so now this

Ask how your web site channels the essence of your brand experience.  If you’re looking to grow an audience, a good show is important.

But the show before the show is crucial.


The drama is coming | OSF 2016 season opens Feb 26

Are you ready, theatre fans?  In just a few short days and rain-soaked weeks, the 2016 season thunders forth at one of earth’s great theatres.  Behold, way down in Oregon’s sunny south.  You know the place of which I speak.  The hamlet of Hamlet.  Stratford-upon-Rogue.  Broadway on Siskiyou.

I’m talking about Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  If you haven’t been lately to the mightiest theatre town of them all (ASHLAND, ORE-GONE), ye best hitch up the carriage and make haste.  Pronto.

Wondering when to go?  Try opening weekend.  Of course.  This traditional kick off to the season is unique in the arts world.  It’s like a three day blow out party with plenty of special events and star-studded local color.  You’ll see old friends and make new ones.  In addition to four shows and numerous panel discussions, you can go skiing to stay fit and order repeat affogatos at Mix to stay awake.


Tick tock.  Prepare to fill these seats.  OSF’s Bowmer Theatre was SOLD OUT over and over again last year for GUYS AND DOLLS.  [Read the following in the voice of Rodney Gardiner as Nathan]: “Don’t delay – reserve your seats today!”

OSF knows how to roll out the red carpet for opening weekend.  And if you’re really lucky, the Cascade weather gods will roll out the white carpet – as pictured above in 2011.

Here are some photos from past years.

Saddle up, folks.  It’s time for the annual rodeo!

See you there.

#TheatreMatters #OSF2016



You original theatre artists. You inspiring makers. You smart, witty subversives. FUCK OFF!! Please crawl back in your hole. You’re making everyone else look bad. Liminal smacks Portlanders upside the head with a wholly unique live experience. Impressive audience turnout of non theatre people. This is why we go. EXCELLENT!