Stage sense: the year in theater

“The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you,” the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tells us. But you — by which I mean we humans — are under an obligation, or at least a compulsion, to make sense of the universe. That’s easier said than done, of course, even if you’re focusing on […]

“Bell, Book, & Candle”: bewitched, bothered, bewildered

When I was a kid watching sitcom reruns, I had a major crush on Samantha Stevens, the good witch played by Elizabeth Montgomery in the long running ‘60s TV series Bewitched. I was even more, er, enchanted by her crazy supernatural family, including Paul Lynde’s goofy Uncle Arthur and Sam’s sly mom, Endora, perfectly overplayed […]

DramaWatch: God’s lottery calls Everybody’s number

“Ye think sin in the beginning full sweet, Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep, When the body lieth in clay.” — from The Summoning of Everyman: a treatise how the high father of heaven sendeth death to summon every creature to come and give account of their lives in this world and […]

Palmer’s got a brand new bag

Some years ago, Bag & Baggage Productions founding artistic director Scott Palmer was registering at a national theater conference and a staffer asked for his name. Palmer told him. “Palmer, Palmer,” the man said, trying to place him. “Oh yeah, you’re that annoying guy from Hillsboro!” “That’s exactly who I am,” Palmer cheerfully admits. “I […]

Into the “Deathtrap” and back out with the new

“Nothing recedes like success,” says the fading playwright at the center of Deathtrap. That’s also true of Ira Levin’s famous 1978 play, one of the most successful thrillers in Broadway history, which ran nearly 1800 performances and became a major 1982 movie success starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve. Yet you don’t see it staged […]

DramaWatch: Can’t pay? Must pay.

“To all professional theatre companies and their donors and sponsors, Susan and I will no longer donate to organizations paying less than minimum wage.” On July 6, that simple message was posted to the Facebook page of Leonard Magazine, who, along with his wife, Susan, is surely among the most devoted of Portland-area theater fans. […]

DramaWatch: Third Rail’s the charm

“When Third Rail first came on the scene,” says Maureen Porter, “there was little else happening. It was a different scene and a different city.” So it was, back in 2005 when Third Rail Repertory Theatre — already a couple of years worth of planning meetings into its life as a fledgling company — rocketed […]