Hidden away in the sonic shadow of some still quite active train tracks on NE Farragut, The Headwaters Theatre is the kind of under the radar performance space you’d be forgiven for not knowing about or being able to find (the first time).
But it has also been the location in recent years of some of the most adventurous and rewarding theatre in Portland.
Remember Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble’s R3 last year? A season stand out.
Despite the procession of notable pieces through this venue, you have to pay pretty close attention to find out what’s happening at Headwaters.
Using a special counter intuitive logic familiar to long time Portland theatre goers, sometimes the best shows are the ones you know almost nothing about.
When you are attuned to these under the radar events, the absence of info – normally a bad sign – is in fact evidence that the show will be outstanding. The less info – the better the chances of an exciting show.
Perhaps as a result of the constantly increasing security and elevated threat levels of our age, performance details for shows at the NE Off Off Burnside space are closely held and only released at the last minute on a need to know basis.
For those of you without the time and technology to constantly monitor Headwaters and detect the first early rumblings of pending avant garde shows, staying in the know can be challenging.
So in an effort to better inform Portland’s citizens about activities in this unruly arts border zone, we have applied for and received a federal grant normally available only to the nation’s gleaming industry militarial complex.
And now, from high on Mt. Hood, our newly installed Department of Homeland Security -funded Theatre Early Warning System (TEWS – the feds love acronyms) has just reported the first radar blips for a brief, three night run of Gogol’s DIARY OF A MADMAN by NoPerks Theatre in two weeks at Headwaters.
Exhaustive searches of off limits (our grant approval documents mistakenly included all sorts of login codes) federal databases reveal almost no info (that we can tell you about) on this operation.
Except that they are from New York and “Schweiz”.
That’s Switzerland, people.
And sponsored by Voodoo Doughnut.
And the show itself is a fundraiser for Nangu’s Grocery, “an income-generating gathering place and affordable store”. Located in Babati, Tanzania.
Still with us?
More recently declassified info, such as the artistic team, looks extremely promising:
Mathilde Schennen – Director, Brussels – New York
Rafael Svarin – Assistant Director, Zürich – New York
Max Usata – Actor, Bienne – New York
Igor Stepniewski – Musician, Biel-Bienne
Lew Caramella – Musician, Zürich
M – Musician, Puerto Rico – New York
Now, you might think, if unfamiliar with the theatrical Waziristan region on the city’s northern fringe:
“The show has almost no marketing, is on for three nights only, and is timed to coincide exactly with the well publicized kickoff of Portland’s largest annual performing arts festival (PICA’s TBA), a nuclear powered circus which will be sucking all the oxygen out of any other show in town for two weeks. ARE THESE PEOPLE CRAZY?”
Well, “madman” is part of the show name.
But see, what you have to do here is put on the 3D glasses and take every contrarian indicator as yet more evidence that YOU CANNOT MISS THIS SHOW.
Normally all the signs would keep you away.
But in this case, flip the circuits, and realize you can’t miss it. Because if you do, it’s going to be that one crazy show that no one saw and everyone wishes they had seen.
The only way this production could become more intriguing is if NoPerks narrowed performance times to one show only at 6 AM on Christmas morning.
You have been warned…