Chamber Music Northwest Beethoven's Complete Piano Trios The Old Church Portland Oregon

DramaWatch Weekly: An Equinox Mid-Monther


The date: March 21. The weather: rain, thunder, and sun. The shows: small ones opening, biggies mid-run. We’re over the Ides. We’ve driven out the snakes. But we await the full flowering of the resurrection. Will you meet me halfway in an Equinox Mid-Monther?

The Mermaid Hour, (previewed adeptly last week by TJ Acena), opens at Milagro mañana with a few utterly unique circumstances to recommend it: it’s hand-picked by the National New Play Network for a Rolling World Premiere; it’s directed by the masterful Sacha Reich (of Jewish Theatre Collaborative); and in an ongoing and hotly charged theater community conversation about who gets to play transgender characters, it’s something of a clap-back: cast as writ, with a trans adolescent actor in the lead. Represent.

Kevin Jones, Ben Newman, and Val Landrum in “Between Riverside and Crazy.” Photo: Russell J Young

Between Riverside and Crazy is mid-run at Artists Rep. By the same playwright as The Motherf-cker with the Hat (which I quite enjoyed), it’s resonating on many levels with Marty Hughley, who calls it “a deceptively complex and artfully constructed play, delivered here with terrific verve and attention to detail.”  Local luminary Kevin Jones stars as a curmudgeonly ex-cop clinging to his longtime apartment in a rapidly changing neighborhood and “fronting” that everything’s fine. Sounds relatable AF right about now.

(Mid-run, by the way, is a perfect and under-sung window in which to catch a show: over opening-night jitters, pre home-stretch fatigue. Take it or leave it from someone who’s watched copious shows sprint through previews and lope to close: a show hits its stride mid-run.)

Sam Reiter as Margaret of Anjou in “She Is Fierce.” Photo: Dylan Wiggins

Aaand, what’s in the Shoebox? Two curios.

Enso Theatre’s latest begs clarifications: though its title, She is Fierce, surely riffs on the Hermia/Helena feud of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this is taglined “a play not by Shakespeare.” Furthermore, though it features “a bedraggled [yet presumably fierce] queen” bemoaning her lost love affair, it eschews the domain of your Hedwigs or your Ru’s-Paul (RuPaul, BTW, soon live at Portland’5). This is “queen” in the classic sense of the word, royalty. Anne, the ill-fated wife of Richard III, toasts her pending demise at age 28 with a glass of wine and a wry soliloquy.

That’s mid-run (see above), and bumper-to-bumper with Hellcab, a staged-reading redux of a Theatre Vertigo vehicle. That’s what Vertigo’s doing this season, their 20th: leafing through their files from prior years, reminiscing and reviving…scrapbooking, you might say, from a precious collection compiled in a teahouse and a Shoebox.


Chamber Music Northwest Beethoven's Complete Piano Trios The Old Church Portland Oregon

“Spider Drive,” at The Headwaters.

Oh, here’s something: Spider Drive? Staged at the Headwaters, produced by Torchsong, penned by an ardent and affable local, William Thomas Berk, this is a brand-new “modern noir rock musical.” (I met Berk years back amid the Post5-ers, and ran into him recently while buying bouillon cubes at Sheridan Fruit. This is in some ways still a small town.) FWIW, I’ve read a Berk script—not this one—before, and I saw potential. And I’ve seen a brand-new rock musical—not this one—performed at Headwaters, and I found it worthwhile. Can I promise Spider Drive will be the new hotness? Nope. But it’s at least conceivable that an adventure to that side of the tracks this week might reward you.

Is that all? Surely not, but the rest of the work can be yours. Feel free to comment on other shows that you see blowing through this mixed March wind.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Pacific Maritime Heritage Center Prosperity of the Sea Lincoln County Historical Society Newport Oregon Coast
Newport Performance and Visual Arts Centers Newport Oregon Coast
Chamber Music Northwest Beethoven's Complete Piano Trios The Old Church Portland Oregon
City of Hillsboro Walters Cultural Arts Center She's Speaking Live! Hillsboro Oregon
Grace Goudy Distinguished Artists Series Willamette University Salem Oregon
Portland State University College of Arts William Shakespeare Measure for Measure PSU Portland Oregon
Portland Chamber Orchestra Young Artist Competition University of Portland Free Event Portland Oregon
Portland Area Theatre Alliance Fertile Ground Portland Oregon
Portland Art Museum Virtual Sneakers to Cutting Edge Kicks Portland Oregon
Tilikum Chamber Orchestra Lake Oswego High School Fairy Tales and Folk Songs Lake Oswego Oregon
Portland Center Stage at the Armory Quixote Nuevo Portland Oregon
Portland Columbia Symphony Realm of Nature Beaverton and Gresham Oregon
Portland Opera The Snowy Day Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Keller Auditorium Portland Oregon
Northwest Dance Project Sarah Slipper Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
Corrib Theatre Contemporary Irish Theatre Portland Oregon
Seattle Opera The Life and Times of MalcolmX McCaw Hall Seattle Washington
Metropolitan Youth Symphony Music Concert Rooted Newmark Theatre Portland Oregon
White Bird Dance Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall Newmark Theater Portland Oregon
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