BLOOD ON THE BOOKS by Nick Zagone at Shaking the Tree

There are compelling dramatic threads and several strong performances here. But the central scaffolding does not always hold up. Perhaps too much direct address to audience, and not enough interaction between the characters. One thing that’s prescient though: One day Powell’s will go under. You heard it here first. Poof.

Suddenly, this weekend: Picks for the April onslaught

Here comes April. And with it, at least one highly anticipated show on the 2015 season calendar – SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER by Tennessee Williams at Shaking The Tree.

But there’s a few other good options for your entertainment dollar as well. So here goes.

SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER by Tennessee Williams at Shaking The Tree | Opens Friday

Perhaps you’ve seen the classic movie version with Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn? ’nuff said. Something happened to Sebastian Venable on a summer trip to Spain, and his mother definitely does not want to find out what. A gothic classic and sure to sing (scream?) in the hands of Shaking The Tree at their new SE space.

SLINGSHOT at Portland Center Stage | Friday & Saturday at 10 PM

If you’re paying attention, you already know that Shelley McLendon and B. Frayn Masters have multiple PhD’s in fun, comedy and hilarity. Come for the latest installment of late night comedy in the downstairs space at PCS.

BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS by David Hare | NT Live at Third Rail | Saturday at 2 PM & 7 PM

Ever wonder how big theatre can be? This is it. Direct from London, a massive story about a slum in the lee of the approach path to the Mumbai airport. Stunning, grand, inspiring. Forget writing plays for one or maybe three characters. Write for 30 and go big.

CYRANO by Edmond Rostand at Portland Center Stage | First preview is Saturday

You, already being in the know, don’t need to be told that there is no reason to EVER pay more than $20 for a ticket at PCS. Why? Because you can find tix at pitifully low prices on Goldstar. Or just show up and get a rush ticket any night. Also – catch a preview for ever more savings.

This updated version of a classic hits the stage Saturday night for the first time. There’s an all star cast. Ready to laugh?

From out of the blue | Brandon Woolley to produce and direct THE GOD GAME at new Shaking The Tree space in February

Often in Portland theatre, the most passionate and authentic shows are created by the smallest companies in the smallest spaces. Over the years, more than a few season highlights have been the result of motivated artists making their own opportunities in this way. Free from the large house imperative to fill seats or slots, the small scale project-driven approach mounts a show only when a compelling concept appears.

Well, it looks like another one has appeared.

Brandon Woolley is going to produce and direct THE GOD GAME by Suzanne Bradbeer in the new Shaking The Tree space in February. The cast is a Portland dream team: Leif Norby, Laura Faye Smith and Kelsey Tyler. The play is an Ashland New Plays Festival winner and sounds like a topical and bracing ride.

So get out the new year’s calendar and find some room.

Continue reading “From out of the blue | Brandon Woolley to produce and direct THE GOD GAME at new Shaking The Tree space in February”

From almost nothing, building a theatrical event that has everything | MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH at Shaking The Tree

Another stunner from SE Portland’s innovative trailblazer. Just goes to show: it doesn’t take money – it takes vision. Gloriously theatrical. Numerous talents abound, but Katie Watkins is a major discovery, and the fabulously able Matthew Kerrigan will presumably be decamping to LA for the big screen any day. Brilliantly alive.

Thru Nov 22

Shaking The Tree moves to 2800 square foot warehouse space in inner SE Portland

Shaking The Tree, one of Portland’s most interesting theatre outfits (of any size), is getting bigger.

A LOT bigger.

In mid September, the innovative Portland theatre company helmed by Samantha Van Der Merwe is moving from their current small studio location on SE Stark to a 2800 square foot warehouse space on SE Grant.

For those familiar with the unique and deeply theatrical worlds Shaking The Tree creates, such a giant upgrade in space is bound to launch equally big new things on stage.

According to Van Der Merwe, “It is very exciting to think of all of the theatrical possibilities that a large open space with 20 foot ceilings can provide. It’s definitely a leap into expansion on all levels.”

Both planned 2014-15 STT shows will take place in the new space.

Shaking The Tree.
Going soon. Shaking The Tree’s old studio on SE Stark.

Get ready for a big upgrade.
Get ready for a big upgrade.

Naomi Wallace’s ONE FLEA SPARE opens at Shaking The Tree in two weeks

Coming up next at Shaking The Tree: ONE FLEA SPARE by Naomi Wallace.

If the past is prologue (namely, the string of good shows Shaking The Tree has put on), you can be pretty confident this production is going to be a mid winter season highlight.

ONE FLEA SPARE.
ONE FLEA SPARE.

Directed by Samantha Van Der Merwe

CAST

Mr. William Snelgrave: David Bodin
Mrs. Darcy Snelgrave: Jacklyn Maddux
Bunce: Matthew Kerrigan
Morse: Kayla Lian
Kabe: Gary Norman