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.
A phenomenal all star local cast (plus @keikogreen down from #SEAthtr) generates more heat than the at times meandering script (and under air conditioned space) can handle. But there is plenty of promise in evidence. We need to hear more from Copeland – and see a lot more of Tiffany Groben.
Rare and welcome chance to see an iconic play by one of America’s greats. What stands out is both the artistry and pain of Tom Williams. Life cost him so much, and he dealt with it by endlessly working through his defining stories, like psycho therapy. Well done, but sad.
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?
The play is somewhat old-fashioned and formulaic – starting in minute one with extremely awkward seduction scene. It’s likely that hardball in the real corridors of Republican power is played considerably harder than this. But what is inspiring and excellent is three strong performances and entrepreneurial producing spirit of Brandon Woolley.
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.
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.
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.
As you know, Portland’s smaller performance spaces produce much of the city’s theatre gold each season.
And here comes the next show from stellar SE outfit Shaking The Tree.
Run – don’t walk – for your tickets.
A plague upon you if you miss this one…
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.
Directed by Samantha Van Der Merwe
Mr. William Snelgrave: David Bodin
Mrs. Darcy Snelgrave: Jacklyn Maddux
Bunce: Matthew Kerrigan
Morse: Kayla Lian
Kabe: Gary Norman