Friday, Jun 23, 2017

Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey King’

Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella

Along with Tracy Young, Artistic Director Bill Rauch, M/M/C (as it is called by nearly everyone) combines three mythologically grounded works: Euripides’ “Medea,” Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”, and the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical version of “Cinderella.” One the face of it, a deeply weird combination, but Rauch and Young felt that all three tales share common themes of magic, love, murder, obsession, and the struggle between generations.


Henry V

What would you do if you were an unruly prince who suddenly discovers that he wants to be king? We’ve enjoyed watching Shakespeare’s version of this tale in the two Henry IV plays, and it culminates in the ever-popular Henry V. A life of dissipation would not seem to prepare one to be king, but when John Tufts’ Henry turns his back on his barfly friends, it is a seminal moment of growing up.

Now, he is king. But France does not take him seriously. The Dauphin certainly does not, sending him a box of tennis balls to play with, abjuring him from ever coming to France. And so the tale is set and spun. We watch in joy as the young man grows in power, developing a canny political side, inspiring his troops in the face of seeming failure, and (in the end) softening to become an ardent wooer.


The Imaginary Invalid (2011)

The Imaginary Invalid has a hell of a pedigree to live up to. The play, originally by Moliere, has been adapted for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival this year by Oded Gross and Tracy Young, the same pair that adpated Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters in 2009. Likewise the play is directed by Tracy Young, as in ’09. And as the director points out in the program notes, she has drawn heavily on her own expertise (once again) in commedia dell’arte to guide this production. With so many similarities, and with Servant being such a fond memory for this reviewer, the question becomes inescapable: is Invalid just as good?

To answer, I must crib from another ’09 production and “equivocate” just a bit (ha ha ho ho, I am a wit…): yes and no. Moliere’s original work has far more of a point to it than Goldoni’s does, and likewise this adaptation finds itself more grounded, perhaps more nuanced… which is a fine quality in and of itself but not exactly in sync with the farcical tone that permeates the show for most of its duration.


Dead Man’s Cell Phone (2009)

Photo by Jenny Graham

Photo by Jenny Graham

Can a man fall in love with a theater? There’s nothing wrong with the Angus Bowmer or the Elizabethan, but man I’ve been enjoying the New Theatre for the last few years now. The latest treat is Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a new-ish play by Sarah Ruhl. The play itself is good, but the company does such a great job of executing the production that it is elevated to a truly special place.