With all the lame attempts at stand-up comedy that exist on YouTube, slow witted, one act political diatribes and one person shows in which a performer sadly reflects upon his or her failure in Hollywood, date rape or battle with depression that exist in live theater today, it is nice to know that some companies still preform classic theater. What makes a play a classic is the subject of some debate. However, it is safe to say that a classic is something that has timeless themes and can be interpreted in many different ways.
Springtime in Portland brings many different opportunities to see classic theater. The productions range from straightforward to experimental and the actors come from all over the world.
Post 5 Theater
Ever since it began, the Post5 has thought up innovative way to make Shakespeare accessible and fun. This predominately female production of The Bard’s tale of jealousy, revenge and self-destructive behavior is no exception.
Othello centers on a Moorish general in the Venetian army who has eloped with a white woman named Desdemona much to the disappointment of both her father and her would be suitor Roderigo. Othello has a disgruntled employee named Iago who continually stirs up drama for the macho moor.
Iago, who is upset about being passed up for a promotion convinces Othello that Cassio, the man who was promoted is a drunk thug who is diddling Desdemona in secret. The gullible general takes Iago at his word and doesn’t handle the problem very well.
The Post5 production features women in the roles of Cassio and Iago and examines gender roles and domestic violence. Iago has often been portrayed as a gay man, so the production should be interesting to say the least.
The show now through April 23. Tickets to the show are $20.
Shakespeare’s comedy is presented at the Imago Theater by the Third Rail Reparatory Theater, in conjunction with Branagh Theatre Live. Branagh Theater Live, like its counterpart National Theatre Live, brings the best of London’s theater to the United States via high definition video.
The play is about the daughter of an exiled Duke who ventures into the Forest of Arden. Once in the forest she disguises herself as a boy, falls in love and meets a kaleidoscope of interesting characters, including one who tells her that,” all the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players.”
The show will be presented on Saturday, May 7 at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. Tickets to the show are $15.00 for students, $18.00 for seniors and $20 for everyone else.
A Streetcar Named Desire
Portland Center Stage
Ever since Marlon Brando peeled the shirt off his sweaty, muscular chest in the film version of this Tennessee Williams play, actors have shied away from the role of Stanley Kowalski. It is hard to imagine any actor capturing the animalistic, but sexually magnetic poker and bowling enthusiast the way Mr. Brando did. Nevertheless, there are some brave souls who have played Mr. Kowalski over the years. Beginning in May, yet another actor will take on the role of the testosterone infused traveling salesman, when A Streetcar Named Desire is presented by Portland Center Stage.
The story centers on Blanche, an aging southern bell who comes to New Orleans to live with her only family after her nervous breakdown and the loss of the family’s estate, Belle Reve. Blanche is a debutant and dreamer who quickly clashes with the comely but crude Stanley; the husband of her cute and complacent younger sister, Stella.
The show runs from May 14th to June 19th. Tickets to the show range in price from $25.00 to $47.00.
Eliza Gale – PortlandMetroLive.com Contributor
Eliza Gale began her blogging career interviewing aspiring actors and industry professionals on a Los Angeles based website called Curvewire. She started www.elizagalesintervviews in 2012 and has interviewed over three hundred people about their jobs and businesses since then. She has contributed many interviews to 360drinks.com, which is a Portland based happy-hour website. She also writes for Examiner.com and AXS.com.