Fresh Eyes on Artists Rep’s “Magellanica”

Dear all,

I’m back at it again this winter as a “Fresh Eye” for Artist Repertory Theatre’s world premiere of the binge-worthy Magellanica. All the better, I get to share this experience with my partner-in-crime, Matthew Minicucci, who is bringing a poet’s eyes to the rehearsal process. Here’s the theatre’s synopsis:

In 1986, scientists and engineers from around the world converge at the South Pole Research Station to figure out, among other things, if there really is a hole in the sky. In the darkest, coldest, most dangerous place on Earth, eight imperfect souls are trapped together. Utterly isolated from the outside world for eight and a half months, this research team must face life or death challenges, their own inner demons and depend upon each other for survival.

With epic scope in the tradition of The Kentucky Cycle or Angels in America, this play takes its inspiration from the true story of the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer at the height of the Cold War. Part historical adventure, love story and mystical foray into the unknown, it’s about a world that can either tear apart or come together for its own survival. It’s a vital story for today and an extraordinary excursion for audiences to the ends of the Earth.

I would argue that rather in the vein of Angels in America, this show tracks with the much hipper and more recent trend for “binge” or event theatre productions. One of my favorite productions I’ve attended in recent memory was All Our Tragic, an adaptation of all the surviving Greek dramas into one all-day event. (I wrote about it here.) Likewise, this past October Portland enjoyed its “second season” of Nesting, a four part-play you could see in either two or all four installments. It is a kind of theatrical experience where you have to give yourself up to time and let in consume your interior world. It isn’t an everyday-kind-of-theatre, but it is one I happily give over to on occasion.

I’ll be keeping a running list here of the posts as they are published over the next eight weeks. Do stop by regularly to see what’s new through the end of January.

  1. Eight Voices in a Snow Globe (7 Dec 2017)
  2. Four Bear Stories on an Island (21 Dec 2017)
  3. forthcoming

¶ I can’t thank Luan Schooler enough for letting me have another go, as well as the production team who have been so incredibly welcoming and forthcoming with any questions that I had. Magellanica runs January 20 through 18 February. There are only 16 trips scheduled, so grab your tickets here while they last!

¶ Cheers!
 Elizabeth

Fresh Eyes on Artist Rep’s “Feathers & Teeth”

¶ Dear all,

Over the past month or so, I’ve been fortunate to sit-in on the process of developing Charise Castro Smith’s Feathers & Teeth for Artist Repertory Theatre here in Portland. The “Fresh Eyes” program, part of the theatre’s Table|Room|Stage initiative, invites respondents from diverse backgrounds to join rehearsals at all the different stages of development—from first-day design pitches to the champaign toast in the green room on opening night—and then to share their observations in a series of blog posts. Another local Shakespearean, Dr. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner (Linfield College), shared his posts for their recent Paula Vogel play, A Civil War Christmas, with me and I couldn’t resist.

¶ My current book project is on the repertory system and the ways in which it structured the Elizabethan theatre industry as well as the playgoing experience. Watching those companies that continue to use the system—even in its much-changed form—is immensely helpful at these early stages in the project. (Which might be to say, at this stage of re-conceiving the doctoral dissertation as a monograph.) All the better, I got to share the experience with Anthony Hudson (a.k.a. Carla Rossi), a powerhouse drag artists specializing in clown and/as horror. Not only did I get to observe practitioners in process, but I got to chat and get feedback from another observing practitioner! Here’s what we saw:

  1. Is it “a little ferret, a fox, or a rat”? (9 Feb, 2017)
  2. Hotdogs, Grandmas, and Nazis (19 Feb. 2017)
  3. REEL Blood & Vinyl Dining (24 Feb. 2017)
  4. The Girl in the Fable (5 Mar. 2017)
  5. Grief and Other Beasties (16. Mar. 2017)

¶ I can’t thank Luan Schooler enough for the lovely opportunity, as well as the production team who were so incredibly welcoming and forthcoming with any questions that I had. Feathers & Teeth runs through 2 April. Grab tickets here while they last!

¶ Cheers!
¶ Elizabeth