Tag Archives: Third Rail Rep

Scatter and yon: life in the old stories yet

Gavin Larsen is the wicked Carabosse and Javier Ubell her chief toady in the premiere of Christopher Stowell'sd "The Sleeping Beauty" at Oregon Ballet Theatre. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

By Bob Hicks

Scatterers have been sowing their wild oats elsewhere lately, and old topics are coming up new again. A quick update:

Meanwhile, some old friends are knocking on the door again.

  • Susan Banyas‘s fascinating memory play The Hillsboro Story, about a little-known but extremely telling small-town skirmish in the 1950s vanguard of the war for civil rights, returns for a two-week run at Artists Rep beginning Wednesday. The play has been getting lots of attention since we first wrote about it in January of this year, when it debuted in Portland’s Fertile Ground new-works festival, and it looks to have a long life ahead of it — as well it should — in school tours.
  • VOX, Eric Hull’s fascinating “spoken-word chorus” of poetry rearranged as a sort of spoken music, with the language conceived as if it were written as four-part sheet music, returns to Waterbrook Studio for shows October 15-24. Mr. and Mrs. Scatter plan to be there one of those nights. This version is called Achilles’ Alibi, and includes works by, among others, William Butler Yeats, Robert Burns, William Stafford, Ursula K. Le Guin, Michele Glazer, and Oregon poet laureate Paulann Petersen. We wrote about a night with the VOXites back in April, in the post Poetry off the page, or, the fat lady sings.


Gavin Larsen is the wicked Carabosse and Javier Ubell her chief toady in the premiere of Christopher Stowell’s “The Sleeping Beauty” at Oregon Ballet Theatre. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Most assuredly, a vote for entertainment

By Bob Hicks

The late lamented Charlie Snowden, Mr. Scatter’s boss at the old Oregon Journal (a newspaper that died when the industry was healthy), was a man who appreciated a good joke but also had unyielding standards.

Simon Russell Beale as Sir Harcourt Courtly in the National Theatre's filmed version of "London Assurance."  Photo: Catherine AshmoreAt his perch on the news desk, Charlie was known to lightly mock certain passages of flowery writing as he slashed through copy with his big black pencil. Sometimes he’d sigh or giggle and choose to overlook a phrase that not so privately drove him crazy: He knew which writers had permission to roam and which did not. But that didn’t stop him from pulling out his inkpad and his favorite stamp and branding the hard copy with his own gleeful judgment. The type was in a florid, immediately post-Gutenberg, barely readable old gothic. “WRETCHED EXCESS,” it said.

Ah, but what if the excess isn’t wretched?

That’s the sort of excess that courses through Dion Boucicault‘s ramshackle 1841 comedy London Assurance, which recently enjoyed a sold-out revival at the National Theatre. That production was filmed live in London on June 28, before the show closed, and it was screened for Portland audiences twice on Saturday by Third Rail Repertory, which has an agreement with the National to show its filmed productions.

Mr. Scatter will argue that it is precisely the excesses in this calculated crowd-pleaser that make London Assurance work — and the firm command of excess on the part of the performers that steers it clear of wretchedness.

Continue reading Most assuredly, a vote for entertainment

Gentlemen, do the right thing

Nurys Herrera and Vicente Guzmán-Orozco; photo by Russell Young

Tomorrow is St. Valentine’s Day. This is an important occasion, and not one to be taken lightly — or, horror of horrors, forgotten — unless you enjoy being a thirty-five-year-old bachelor living in your parents’ basement and spending all your free time playing online Dungeons & Dragons.

Pancho Villa did not waste his time like that. Pancho Villa did not spend his Valentine’s nights alone. Pancho Villa was a man, and he knew how to treat his significant other of the moment.

This may or may not be at the heart of Sabina Berman’s comedy Entre Villa y una Mujer Desnud (Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman), which opened last night at Milagro Theatre. The play’s performed in Spanish, with English subtitles, and although we haven’t seen it yet, as Milagro describes it, it sounds fetching:

Gina wants more out of her casual relationship with Adrian, a liberal intellectual who’s in it only for some good sex. Adrian shies away from any form of commitment – that is, until Gina takes up with a younger, more sensitive lover. That’s when the spirit of Mexico’s most famous revolutionary rides again, appearing as Adrian’s macho conscience ready to do anything to win this battle of the sexes.

This evening Mr. and Mrs. Scatter will hie themselves out to Hillsboro for the opening of Bag & Baggage Theatre‘s own contribution to the battle of the sexes: a scrunching-together of Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew and John Fletcher‘s Jacobean response to it, The Woman’s Prize, or The Tamer Tamed, in which Kate comes out on top. Do tell!

We might have gone to Third Rail Rep‘s new revival of David Mamet‘s American Buffalo, which looks like it could be a memorable production, but not this weekend. It’s about three loser guys trying to pull off a scam from a junk shop. What’s the percentage in that? If they couldn’t score a date, they should have just settled in for a round of Dungeons & Dragons.

Don’t let that happen to you, D&D boys. A last-minute tip: Flowers are always good. Chocolates, too. At Chez Scatter, we’re planning oysters and sparkling wine. We might be leaving our bandolier and hat on the hitching post, though.


PICTURED: Nurys Herrera and Vicente Guzmán-Orozco in “Entre Villa y una Mujer Desnud.” Photo by Russell Young.