Reformers

The horror: LĒR is all around you

Also, the beauty: The Reformers' contemporary take on "King Lear" comes at you in everything from tumblr to a cooking video. Even onstage.

The beauty – or horror, depending on your perspective – of Portland theater company The Reformers’ LĒR is that it is going on all around you, right now, even as you read this. Whatever device you’re reading this on, you’re that close to LĒR. It’s on Facebook. If you look on tumblr someone is apparently leaking information about their process (apparently, without the Reformers’ authorization). Elsewhere on the internet, a mother is searching for her son who she fears has run off with some kind of cult. There’s a podcast. There is even a cooking video. And this week, opening Friday, it’s going to be live in front of your face at the Shoebox Theater.

“We’re motivated,” says Charmian Creagle, one-half of the husband-and-wife team that runs The Reformers, “by doing something different and taking chances and trying to create a new style.” For the last six years The Reformers, Creagle and her husband, Sean Doran, have been committed to dismantling the assumptions of theater audiences and replacing those assumptions with a more visceral experience than what theater audiences generally expect to have.

Trouble on the 21st century heath: a LĒR for today. From left: Sara Fay Goldman, Sean Doran, Adam Thompson, with Mishelle Apalategui on the ground. Photo courtesy The Reformers.

Of course, Creagle and Doran have been challenging audience’s perceptions for decades now. They started The Other Side Theatre back in the ’90s and were integral to the creation of defunkt theatre, still going strong twenty years later. After spending a decade in New York they came back and started The Reformers. Much of The Reformers’ work is heavily influenced and inspired by Julian Beck and Judith Malina’s The Living Theatre. That influence is still seen in their work today.

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