Monday, August 2, 2010

News in Brief: Coming soon to a PDX stage near you!

Todd Van Voris and William Hurt/Photo by Brett Boardman
Arts Dispatch loves news in brief. We hope you love it as much as we do, because we have several items to pass on, all of them theater related one way or another.  We've got some "Long Day's Journey Into Night" info, Bill Rauch info, Third Rail and Portland Playhouse seasons, Richard Foreman and 24-hour plays. Ready. Steady. Go.

First they crossed the Pacific, then they were extended: The sets for the Sydney Theatre Company/Artists Repertory Theatre co-presentation, "Long Day's Journey Into Night," have crossed the ocean and landed in Seattle, we learned via Twitter. Actually, though, this is just an item to remind you that William Hurt and co. will open the Eugene O'Neill play at the Newmark Theater on August 13, and we advise that you make your arrangements soon. You've got a few more seats to aim at because the run was extended through Sept. 5.  Portland, it seems, knows this is going to be BIG.

But we've got so much more!

Bill Rauch, much decorated: The Theatre Communications Group has given the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's artistic director, Rauch, its Visionary Leadership Award, which is awarded to someone who has advanced "the theatre field as a whole, nationally and/or internationally. Recipients of this award are individuals who regularly think beyond their day-to-day work in order to implement practices, new models, advocacy efforts, etc., on behalf of the field." Mr. Rauch has raised a ruckus since he landed in Ashland, and we salute TCG for noticing.

Third Rail Rep's new season: It's not exactly "news" at this point, but Third Rail has announced its 2010-11 season,which begins in October.  I've only heard of one of the three plays, which is excellent news for all of us! There's Chris Chibnall's "Kiss Me Like You Mean It" (an American premiere), Anthony Neilson's "The Wonderful World of Dissocia" (he wrote "The Lying Kind") and Steven Dietz's "Last of the Boys" (which premiered in Seattle last year). Bargain hunters will note the 20/20 program: For each performance the company is reserving 20 seats in the first two rows for walk-up business at $20 apiece. But subscribing has its very great advantages.

Portland Playhouse books four plays for 2010-11: Portland Playhouse has hit town with about the same intensity as Third Rail Rep did a few years ago.  Good acting. Offbeat but accessible aesthetic. A darn good night at the theater. The company's new season starts in October with Kristin Newbom's "Telethon," Center Stage's Rose Riordan directing and two Third Rail-associated actors in the cast. Christopher Shin's "Dying City" (a Pulitzer finalist), Nick Zagone's "The Missing Pieces" (which I saw, happily, in workshop at Fertile Ground) and August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (following up the company's successful production of "Radio Golf").

August is for Absurdity, Foreman style: Ever since Imago did a couple of Foreman plays in the late '90s, Arts Dispatch has had a taste for Foreman's dream-popping, synapse-hopping, scene-chopping brand of theater. Does it make specific, um, sense. No, but it can engage parts of your play-going apparatus you didn't think you had.  Linda Austin has advocated for Foreman the past seven years, and this version of her festival will be staged in two shows, 5 and 7 p.m. August 15 in the Someday Lounge.

They had 24 hours to make a play or fall flat on their faces:  Yes, CoHo Production's 24-hour plays are back at 8 p.m. Saturday, August 14. You know the drill: "Erin Thomas and her technical crew will lock 30 actors and four writers in the CoHo Theater for 24 hours to cast, direct, and perform four original one-act plays. This creative collaboration will bring together 34 strangers, through a completely random selection process under the most demanding of circumstances. Each writer will cast their actors by pulling their names out of a hat. The writers will have a limited amount of time to write and direct these actors in an original one act." What is theater really about? Strangely enough, this format gets at the question quite directly.

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