Theatre, arts, culture, politics, and snark from a practicing playwright and recovering journalist.
Friday, January 29, 2010
And Then There's Crazy
Play readings are very seldom reviewed--they usually only happen once, so there's no "consumer reporting" to be had ("go," "don't go," "I don't care if you go 'cause I had a few drinks before I saw this and I can't remember what happens"). Which is good because you're generally presenting a reading to test what works and what doesn't. But "The Rewrite Man"-- presented by Pulp Diction on Tuesday as part of the Portland Fertile Ground New Works Festival--actually snagged a mini-review by the Willamette Week. They dubbed it "occasionally mystifying"--which, given that it's meant to be occasionally mystifying, I'll keep...whether they meant it the way I intended or not.
And if I haven't said it already, many thanks to Matt Haynes, Brian Allard, the splendid cast, and all the crew at the Pulp Diction. You guys did a great job.
Pulp Diction Presents: The Rewrite Man Everyone has something to hide in this occasionally mystifying reading of a new spy thriller, written by Oregon Book Award winner Steve Patterson and delivered with a splash of neo-noir. “There’s cloak and dagger, and then there’s crazy,” announces WWII vet Frank Anderson (Brian Allard, director) to the intelligence officer tailing him (played by Andrew Bray), accurately summarizing the essence of this piece, in which Anderson attempts to grapple with his loss of wartime memory and wariness of all fellow characters. The trusty bartender Leo (Beau Brousseau) suddenly seems not so trustworthy, therapist Dr. Miles (Megan Murphy Ruckman) appears to have some shady advice, and mystery woman Wanda (Erin Shannon) couldn’t possibly be up to any good in a drama that ends with a flustered Frank accusing each character of ulterior motives in a doubt-filled, gun-pointing frenzy. Before and after the reading, alluring drag queen Phaedra Knight graced the stage, delivering witty quips and lip-synching Ani Difranco’s “Overlap”. This was one of a handful of unique particulars, the intimate nature of the Brody Theater (and the fact that it has a bar) being another, that serve as additional incentive to return for the subsequent showings of this week’s Pulp Diction late night series. Matt Haynes’ “The Night I Died,” an adventurous piece directed by Paul Angelo, will be showing Wednesday. “The Go-Girls,” written by Anna Sahlstrom and directed by Micki Selvitella, will be performed in anticipated hilarity on Thursday. The Brody Theater, 16 NW Broadway., 224-2227. 10:30 pm Wednesday-Thursday, Jan. 27-28. $15.
Steve Patterson has written over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Tampa, and other U.S. cities as well as in Canada and New Zealand. His works include: Waiting on Sean Flynn, Next of Kin, Farmhouse, Malaria, Shelter, Altered States of America, The Continuing Adventures of Mr. Grandamnus, Bluer Than Midnight, Bombardment, Dead of Winter, and Delusion of Darkness. In 2006, his bittersweet Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage's JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian.