Stage warnings: The theater season re-loads

Two Sue Mach plays, James Beard, Athol Fugard, more...

Portland theater’s Second Season roars into business this weekend in a big way, led by two (2) world premieres of plays by a Portland playwright at Artists Repertory Theatre and Third Rail. I don’t know that this is completely unprecedented, honestly, but I can’t REMEMBER another synchronicity quite like this. Maybe Charles Deemer back in the day had two plays running at once? Though probably not at two big theaters? Anyway, Susan Mach has the double going this weekend, and I think that’s amazing, so we’ll start with those.


8267045883_eaff86fefd“The Lost Boy,” Artists Repertory Theatre, Jan. 8-Feb. 10, 1515 SW Morrison: This play gets the tender ministrations of director Allen Nause (ART’s outgoing artistic director) and a solid cast of ART veteran actors. “The Lost Boy” is loosely based on the true story of the disappearance of a young boy in 1874 and the attendant media hoopla, involving PT Barnum among others. Media hoopla? That sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?


“A Noble Failure,”  Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Jan. 11-Feb. 3, Winningstad Theater, 1111 SW Broadway: So what’s the Noble Failure in the title? The American school system, which is a wonderful and seldom-visited topic for dramatic intervention. So, yes, “competition, quotas, retention, privatization, class size, corporate welfare, and litigation” all figure, and another good cast, directed by Philip Cuomo, is on hand to birth this Mach play.


image003“I Love to Eat,” Portland Center Stage, Jan. 9-Feb. 3, 128 NW 11th: The original Northwest foodie was the great gourmand James Beard, who was born in Portland and went on to become a central figure in the development of American cooking, once he made it to the East Coast. Playwright James Still captures Beard’s passion for food, his wit, his disappointments and the ethic and joy that drove him and our own food culture in this one-man show.


“The Road to Mecca,” Profile Theatre, Jan. 8-Feb. 3, 3420 SE Belmont: Profile continues its season of Athol Fugard plays with this three-hander about aging and society’s expectations. Director Adriana Baer, Profile’s new artistic director, makes her directing debut here, with a cast of Dave Bodin, Oregon Shakespeare Festival veteran Eileen DeSandre and Amanda Soden.


We should also mention a couple of short-run productions. Miracle Theatre is premiering a new touring show, the bilingual “Frida, un Retablo,” based on the life of artist Frida Kahlo, written by Miracle co-founder and artistic director Dañel Malán, and running Jan. 10-19. And direct from Moscow’s New Drama Theatre, “Natasya Filippovna,” an improvisation based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Idiot” is playing at ART, in Russian with English subtitles (except for Sunday’s closer, which will NOT have subtitles).

3 Responses.

  1. Charles Deemer says:

    Hey, believe it or not, I once had two full productions, New Rose and Th Workshop if I remember right (old man’s memory etc), going at once and a third staged reading at PSU, 3 diff plays the same night! No wonder I get nostalgic ha ha.

    • Barry Johnson says:

      I figured if anyone HAD done it, it would be you! Thanks, Mr. Deemer.

      • Charles Deemer says:

        Susan wins the prize. The one-act read at PSU (which sucked by the way) was the only premier event … the other two had had staggered premier nights and were still in their runs. This was before I caught the hyperdrama virus, of course, after which nothing in my dramatic career was ever the same (well, here. I did better overseas.)

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