Portland’s 33rd annual Drammy theater awards are tonight at the Crystal Ballroom, and to get you into the mood I’ve posted a couple of recent theater pieces on Oregon Arts Watch.
The most recent is How Arthur Kopit led me to wrack and ruin, a headline that grievously overstates the distinguished playwright’s culpability. An excerpt:
And then I signed up for a speech class, which was being offered through the theater department instead of the English department, and I met a girl who was, as she declared a little breathlessly, an actress, and as one thing led to another I found myself hanging out with the cast and crew of the show she was working on: yes, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad. And the people were frankly kind of nuts but also smart and a lot of fun.
The other is A crowd of singular sensations, a look at Portland’s sudden scramble of one-person shows, including The Centering and How Small a Thought. An excerpt:
For people who believe, as I do, that the heart of theater beats in the spaces between the performers, solo shows present a conundrum: with only one performer, where’s the vital mystery in the middle? A good solo show – and both The Centering and Hull’s piece are good ones – neatly bypasses the problem by taking the magic space directly to the audience, which becomes the “other” performer in the play. It’s really not much different from a soliloquy in a Shakespeare play, in which the character isolates himself from the “reality” of the stage and takes his case directly to the audience.
Photo: Arthur Kopit, dangerous man.