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  • Stage- ADOPT A SAILOR by Charles Evered

    BareBones Productions @ 21ten Theatre

    Good actors, good stories, told simply.

    Mobile theatre that aims to serve the community using the core ingredients of dramatic storytelling.

    directed by Chris Harder

    with Rocco Weyer, Brook Hogan, and Jeb Berrier

    March 15,16, 21, 22, 23 at 7:30pm &
    March 17 & 24 at 2pm.
    at 21ten Theatre


    A New York Couple Harbors an Idealistic Mariner in 21ten’s Production of “Adopt a Sailor”

    Geopolitics are a distant concern in Charles Evered’s witty and heartfelt play, which is preoccupied with domestic warfare in the most literal sense.

    Willamette Week Review – March 19, 2024 at 5:24 pm PDT

    Most playgoers snore at the prospect of performances that could be described as “nice,” “pleasant” or “appealing.” Yet as embodied by Rocco Weyer, star of 21ten Theatre’s production of Adopt a Sailor, those qualities become thorny and mesmerizing.

    Weyer, who was haunting as the spurned hubby in Shaking the Tree’s production of Blood Wedding, has long been a lithe and lively presence on Portland stages. Adopt a Sailor should solidify his reputation by showcasing his portrayal of a seemingly straightforward military man who turns out to be a tangle of contradictions.

    Written by Charles Evered, Adopt a Sailor was published in 2008, the year President George W. Bush appointed Gen. David Petraeus to lead U.S. war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Geopolitics, however, are a distant concern in Evered’s play, which is preoccupied with domestic warfare in the most literal sense.

    The warriors in question are Richard (Jeb Berrier) and Patricia (Brook Hogan), a middle-aged New York couple whose love/hate language is sniping. Richard backs his wife’s conviction that he’s a talentless pseudo intellectual—”I know what an idiot I am,” he confesses—but he’s still wounded by her disdain for his work as a filmmaker, which she mockingly characterizes as an endless pursuit of “the underbelly.”

    Richard and Patricia are comically obvious candidates for couples counseling, but the play gives them the next best thing: a nameless sailor (Weyer) who knocks on their door, seeking a meal and a bed before he ships out to parts unknown yet tragically obvious.

    Sporting a sword-smooth flattop and adopting a lyrical Arkansas drawl, Weyer looks and sounds the part. That matters. If the performances (and dialogue) were less authentic, the premise—purehearted Southern lad educates neurotic, self-sabotaging New Yorkers—could have descended into didactic parody.

    Adopt a Sailor demands its cast can sell the idea that all overthinking intellectuals need an earnest soldier to remind them how silly their hangups are. What makes this production compelling is how Weyer, Berrier and Hogan pepper that questionable melody with eerie emotional staccatos that enrich the text.

    In one scene, Richard interrogates the sailor, demanding that he admit that he’s more cynical and savvy than he appears. The sailor plays along, but Weyer adds a slight smile of amusement, suggesting the sailor is wise enough to know that it’s less trouble to agree than to reveal that he’s exactly what he appears to be: an idealistic young man who wants to serve his country.

    The lack of a twist is a twist in itself, but Adopt a Sailor is neither game nor gimmick. 21ten has constructed a lived-in world—from the battered dining table to the beautifully aged burgundy carpet—that allows the actors to give performances so casually human that you feel as if you have parachuted into the middle of a home movie rather than a theatrical creation.

    Adopt a Sailor is one of 21Ten’s BareBones productions, designed to be actor-centric and svelte. Consolidation serves the company’s ambition to tour the production, but it also reflects the play’s conviction that history is written not only on battlefields, but in homes where bonds are quietly forged, shattered and mended.

    For all its rumpled intimacy, Adopt a Sailor carries a whiff of magical realism. The sailor’s account of surviving a fall out of a plane is so absurd that you wonder if he’s something more than mortal—perhaps a Clarence Oddbody for jaded couples, or even a charlatan who dons a sailor’s uniform as a means to enmesh himself in the lives of strangers.

    I doubt that’s true—the point of the play is that every character is more or less who they claim to be—but it’s a testament to 21ten that Adopt a Sailor leaves you wondering whether you’ve witnessed a story complex in its simplicity or simple in its complexity. The play emulates the sailor’s directness, but it invites the audience to share in Richard’s hunger to be at once enlightened and confounded.

    Most of the answers lie beyond the play’s one-hour running time, but there’s truth to be found in Adopt a Sailor. Just watch and listen as the sailor tells Patricia he’s going to marry a girl from his hometown named Emily, then admits that he has neither dated nor spoken to her.

    “Kinda strange?” he asks. “No. Not at all,” Patricia replies. In those four words, Hogan conveys unease, understanding and motherly love. Patricia will never see this man again, but in that moment, she knows him—and so do we.

    SEE IT: Adopt a Sailor plays at 21ten Theatre, 2110 SE 10th Ave., 503-208-5143, 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday and 2 pm Sunday, through March 24. $15-$20.

  • Film – This Vast and Mysterious Ocean

    View the website and trailer at

    This Vast and Mysterious Ocean is a narrative short film written and directed by John Bergstrom and produced by Desert Island Studios.

    Jason returns from a long journey to find his home in ruins, his wife Leah in a trance-like state, and his daughter Chloe missing. He searches desperately for a way to return his family to the life they once knew, but his path is illuminated only by fractured memories of a trip to the ocean, where he and Leah fell in love so long ago.

    Currently touring festivals.

    IMDB Page

  • Stage – 1984 by George Orwell

    a new play by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan
    directed by Dámaso Rodríguez

    Artists Repertory Theatre

    September 7, 2019 – October 6, 2019

    Artists Rep @ Imago Theatre
    17 SE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

    Always under the watchful eye of Big Brother, Winston has nowhere to turn and no one to trust as anyone or anything could be running surveillance on behalf of the government. The Thought Police monitor society and dole out nightmarish punishments on behalf of the authoritarian Party, who propagandize ‘Ignorance is Strength’. Based on the iconic novel by George Orwell, 1984 is an intense theatrical reflection of how far technology and falsifying reality has come. 

    “Chris Harder gives an incredible performance as Winston. “

    – Judy Nedry Reviews

    BWW Review: 1984, an Unsettling Play for Unsettling Times, at Artists Rep

  • Stage – Home Free & I, Human

    The One Act Festival

    Program I – Monday, April 25 @ 2PM & 7:30PM
    Program II – Tuesday, April 26 @ 2PM & 7:30PM

    Performances will be at Portland Center Stage in the Ellyn Bye Studio Theater.

    Join us for two days of short plays featuring TAC’s second year students, and the directorial work of Managing Artistic Director and Founder, Beth Harper, along with guest directors, Sarah Lucht, Chris Harder, and Andrea White.

    Program I – April 25

    I Don’t Want To End Up As A Douchebag Character In One Of Your Plays: A Play by Kate McMorran
    Directed by Beth Harper

    The Magic Tower by Tennessee Williams
    Directed by Beth Harper

    For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls by Christopher Durang
    Directed by Sarah Lucht

    Home Free! by Lanford Wilson
    Directed by Chris Harder

    Program II – April 26

    Boxed In by Mora V. Harris
    Directed by Andrea White

    The Universal Language by David Ives
    Directed by Sarah Lucht

    I, Human by E.M. Lewis
    Directed by Chris Harder

    A Second Of Pleasure by Neil LaBute
    Directed by Beth Harper

    Sing Me that Leonard Cohen Song Again by E.M. Lewis
    Directed by Beth Harper

  • Video – Time Capsule

    Time Capsule is an experimental on-line theatrical installation recorded during the covid -19 pandemic of 2020. An episodic miniseries unfolds, revealing the lives of 14 characters that were forced to socially distance and work through their personal dilemmas and relationships remotely. Coming soon…

    Created by Chris Harder. Developed in collaboration with actors: Adam Roper, Adrian Harris Crowne, Alexis Moore Eytinge, Amelia Segler, Brave Sohacki, David Poulshock, Jim Ambrosek, Katheryn Shamrell, Olivia Macfadden, Tamera Lynn, Trey Lackey, Theron Wells, Tyler Havener, Yule Donnald & video editor Jason Rouse

  • Stage / Livestream – From These Streets I Rise

    Created by Mikki Jordan
    Directed by Chris Harder
    Music by Samie Jo Pfeifer
    Watch the recorded Live Stream from CoHo Theatre November 15-30, 2020.

    Watch the show on YouTube. Please consider making a donation to Street Roots.

    Streets I Rise uses monologues and songs to honor the diverse stories and immediate experiences of Portland Street Roots’ vendors.  These stories are performed by one actress shifting seamlessly from one character to the next, and weaved together elegantly, taking the audience on a unique journey that explores community and resilience in the face of houselessness and pandemic.

    Read a REVIEW OF THE SHOW on Broadway World.

    “FROM THESE STREETS I RISE is just good theatre. Jordan’s performance was excellent and I loved the original music (also performed live) by Samie Jo Pfiefer. I’ve found online theatre hit and miss at best, but this show is a perfect fit for the medium. Thanks to Chris Harder‘s direction and the skillful work of the streaming team, I almost felt like I was actually sitting at CoHo!”  

  • Stage – Cop Out – Beyond Black, White & Blue

    Cop Out is a brand new, direct address style performance piece that reflects the complicated personal and professional experiences and emotions of police officers in our country today. In an effort to advance the dialogue between law enforcement and communities in a constructive way, The Red Door commissioned playwrights from across the country to interview a broad spectrum of police officers, including many officers of color and cops from diverse backgrounds, and write monologues to reflect their experiences.
    Cop Out will be presented as a series of monologues performed in succession with a talkback following each performance. Our intention is to more accurately reflect the complexity of emotions and experiences involved in what we too often think of as a binary, black-white, good-bad narrative, consistent with the Red Door mission of changing the racial ecology of Portland through the arts.

    Writers include (in no particular order): J David Shanks, Ben Watkins, Javon Johnson, J Nicole Brooks, Bonnie Ratner, Shepsu Aaku, Harrison Rivers, Nambi E Kelley, and Andrea Stolowitz

    Learn more about Cop Out HERE!

  • Portland Theatre Links
  • ALS Association of Oregon and Washington

    The Oregon and SW Washington Chapter of The ALS Association provides support and resources for people living with ALS, their families, and caregivers living in the State of Oregon and the six counties of Southwest Washington.

    Our Mission

    To discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest.

    Learn how you can help, or make a donation.

    Tim Stapleton

  • Film – 2021 Conservatory Graduate Showcase

    Filmed in person at Zidell

    Directed by Chris Harder & Shelly Lipkin

  • Podcast – Vinegar Tom

    Vinegar Tom, Caryl Churchill’s response to uncompromising systems of patriarchy both past and present, centers on unconventional women in a 17th century rural town. Their scandalous and inexcusable behavior includes sleeping with a stranger, owning an old cat, cursing at the neighbors, and disinterest in marriage and children. Steeped in a landscape of pride, poverty and prejudice, the question persists – what makes a witch? This play with music, born out of the second wave feminist movement of the 60’s and 70’s, is The Crucible meets Oooo Hooo Witchay Woman meets Handmaid’s Tale.
    Tickets for the streaming podcast are $10. Ticket holders will be given access to the password protected podcast via the TTC website. More information available at    

    Available for streaming October 30 – November 14.

  • Stage – 2020 Graduation Showcase
  • Stage – Wolf Play

    By Hansol Jung

    Directed by Dámaso Rodríguez

    March 10, 2019 – April 7, 2019

    Visit ArtistsRep.Org for tickets

    BWW Review: Artists Rep Scores a Knockout with World Premiere of Hansol Jung’s WOLF PLAY

    Morrison Stage

    In a world where people struggle to have children, one American couple decides to ‘un-adopt’ their young Korean son because they have a newborn at home. After an internet chat room search for the right family, the father ‘re-homes’ the boy with a lesbian couple, where one half is desperate for a child and the other half is fighting for her career. As the boy — who thinks he’s a wolf, but is really a puppet – adjusts to his new life, he forms bonds with the unlikeliest of culprits while the rest of the adults squabble about what is ‘best for the child.’ Wolf Play is a messy, funny, and moving theatrical experience that grapples with where family allegiance lies.

    • Awards for Hansol Jung: Whiting Award
    • World Premiere
    • A Table|Room|Stage Commission
    photo by David Kinder
    Photo by David Kinder
    photo by David Kinder
  • Stage – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    adapted by Simon Stephens
    ​based on the novel by Mark Haddon

    Presented by the Portland Actors Conservatory

    Visit the website at

    Photos by Owen Carey
    Cast List
    Christopher: Joey Kelly
    Siobhan: McKensie Rummel
    ​Ed: Virgil Hall*
    Judy: Sarah Hamar
    Voice 1, Mrs. Shears, Mrs. Gascoyne, Woman on Train, Shop Keeper:
    Alex Blesi
    Voice 2, Roger, Duty Sergeant, Mr. Wise, Man Behind Counter, Drunk1: Eric Viale
    Voice 3, Police woman, Mrs Thompson, Drunk 2, Woman with socks, London Police woman: Leslie North
    Voice 4, Reverend Peters, Uncle Terry, Station Policeman, Station Guard: Wolfie Beacham
    Voice 5, No. 40, Lady in the Street, Information, Posh woman:
    Voice 6, Mrs. Alexander, Posh Woman: Falynn Burton
    Creative Team
    Director:  Beth Harper & Chris Harder
    Scenic Designer: Sarah Kindler
    Costume Designer:  Wanda Walden
    Lighting Designer: Ronan Kilkelly
    Sound Designer: Chris Mikolavich
    Composer: Cal Scott*
    Technical Director:  Chris Mikolavich
    Projection Designer: Ronan Kilkelly, Sarah Kindler

    Production Team
    Stage Manager: Alyssa Longoria
    Properties Master: Wolfie Beacham, Eric Viale
    Set Construction:  Stage Coach

    ​*Guest Artist
  • Stage – It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

    By Joe Landry
    Directed by Beth Harper


    December 6, 2018 – December 30, 2018

    Artists Repertory Theatre @ NW Children’s Theatre

    The beloved holiday staple comes to life as a live 1940s radio broadcast with the story of George Bailey. George grew up in picturesque Bedford Falls, but dreams of leaving the small town behind to see the world. Obligations and unforeseen circumstances get in the way of his aspirations and he is tied to his hometown forever as he takes over the Building & Loan from his father and his uncle. When a terrible mistake leaves George on the verge of disaster, he considers ending his life on Christmas Eve until he meets a fateful friend named Clarence. Made complete by your favorite local talent and an onstage Foley artist, It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play is a fun, heartwarming delight for the whole family.

    For Tickets Visit Artists Rep’s Web Site Here!

  • Stage – Caught

    Photo by Russell J Young

    Photo by Russell J Young

     October 1, 2017 – October 29, 2017

    Artists Repertory Theatre on the Morrison Stage

     “Caught” is unlike any other play you’ll see this season. Not just because you never know what’s coming next. It’s a different kind of theater experience because it doesn’t just ask questions— Chen and company thoroughly explore a very specific, meticulously developed possibility. The work is an elaborate “What If?” with a firm, often very funny, reply.

    – Lee Williams, Special to The Oregonian

    BWW Review: Artist Rep’s CAUGHT is a Perplexing Puzzle for a Post-Fact World – 

  • Stage – The Thanksgiving Play

    By Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota)
    Directed by Luan Schooler

    April 1, 2018 – April 29, 2018

    Artists Repertory Theatre – Morrison Stage

    A group of mismatched teachers and actors have been charged by the school district to devise an ethnically sensitive play to somehow celebrate both Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month. In order to be as respectful and accurate as possible, the three white actors defer to the only Native American in the room for guidance and find their expectations of her insights are wildly misguided. In this wickedly funny satire, this foursome must find their way through a hilarious thicket of assumptions, historical perspectives and school district policies as the absurd pageant must go on! –  Artists Repertory Theatre.

    • Provocative Satire
    • Multiple Fellowship and Award-winning playwright
    • PEN USA Literary Award for Drama
    • TABLE|ROOM|STAGE commission

    “Artists Repertory Theatre’s production is perfectly cast. Chris Harder brings off-kilter energy to Caden, a history teacher with Broadway dreams who finds a little too much glee in telling stories of settler atrocities.”  -Ben Waterhouse, The Oregonian

    “The premiere of Larissa FastHorse’s “The Thanksgiving Play” at Artists Rep skewers liberal guilt and whitewashed history. It’s also very funny.” – TJ Acena, Oregon Arts Watch

  • Outdoor Stage – Shrew!

    New adaptation of Taming of the Shrew by Amy Freed at Sun Valley Shakespeare Festival’s outdoor stage.

  • Stage – Marjorie Prime


    Marjorie Prime

    By Jordan Harrison
    Directed by Adriana Baer

    February 7, 2017 – March 5, 2017

    Alder Stage

    In this inquisitive new drama, a family grapples with the difference between a life lived and a life remembered as 85-year-old Marjorie struggles to keep hold of her memories and identity, gently assisted by an artificial version of her late husband, Walter. An exploration of aging, memory and technology, MARJORIE PRIME peers into what lies ahead and how our past is rewritten to face today.

    • 2015 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama
    • 2017 film adaptation starring Jon Hamm, Geena Davis & Tim Robbins
    • Season 4 writer/producer on Orange Is the New Black
    • NW Premiere

    For Tickets and Information please go to

    “Harder’s a master of stillness and understatement (think back to that quiet yet emotionally staggering performance in 2014’s Intimate Apparel), and he strikes a delicate balance here — semi-sweet, pleasantly plausible, never quite artificial, just a little flat in spots. He’s a sandy-haired anodyne, earnest and inviting, drawing us into this brave new world, where memory is a prime motivator.”  ~  Oregon Artswatch Review

    “Possibly the most difficult aspect of the characters they portray is, when some are enacting the Primes, they cannot betray emotion but only an “imitation” of it.  Not easy, but they do it with conviction, especially Harder.” ~ Dennis Sparks

    Broadway World Review

  • Proscenium Live – Festival of New Work


    All performances are free!

    No ticket reservations are necessary and seating is general admission.

    August 4 – 7:30 pm

    Artist Repertory Theatre’s Table|Room|Stage Selection and Oregon Play Prize Winner


    by Steve Rathje

    Directed by Michael Mendelson**

    Cast Members:  Chris Harder*, Crystal Ann Muñoz*, Sarah Overman*, Claire Rigsby, Joshua J. Weinstein*

    Signs is a surrealistic comedy about love, purpose and the little things that seem to matter so much to us. April reads horoscopes. Lydia writes horoscopes. April reads them devoutly, using them to guide her life choices. Lydia just makes them up, using the money she makes from them to support herself while she completes her novel. When April comes in contact with Lydia, the all-too-familiar force who has been transcribing April’s fate through her horoscopes all along, the story turns upside down.  Signs is the winner of the $10,000 Oregon New Play Prize and is being developed and produced at Artists Repertory Theatre. Signs was also a finalist for the National Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference.

    August 5 – 7:30 pm


    by C.S. Whitcomb

    Directed by Michael Mendelson**

    Cast Members:  Claire Aldridge, Bobby Bermea*, Michel Castillo, Anthony Green, Matt Sepeda, Julana Torres, Lolly Ward*,                                           Danielle Weathers*, Mamie Wilhelm

    Santos is a new play set in Pasadena, California, circa 1968.  Rafael Santos, in his heart, is Don Quixote, but in the real world is just trying to get cast as a bandito bit player while teaching high school drama and keeping his family together.  A comedy with a side of tango.  C.S. Whitcomb wrote last year’s Proscenium Live offering Dracula’s Father (Stoker). Whitcomb was commissioned by Portland Shakespeare Project to write Lear’s Follies, presented in 2012. Recently produced in Portland have been her plays Seven Wonders of Ballyknock (Lakewood Theatre) and Holidazed (with Marc Acito, Artists Repertory Theatre).  She has been nominated for the Angus Bowmer, Emmy, Drammy, Edgar Allan Poe and Writers Guild Awards.  She has written roles for Jason Robards, Ellen Burstyn, Anjelica Huston, Martin Sheen, Gena Rowlands and many others. Her play Parnassus on Wheels will be produced at Lakewood Theatre beginning in January 2018.

    August 6 – 7:30 pm

    Three New Plays, Commissioned by Portland Shakespeare Project and Proscenium Journal

    A Maiden of Venice

    by Aleks Merilo

    Directed by Josh Rippy

    Cast Members:  John Corr, Chris Karczmar*, Claire Rigsby

    In the walled Jewish Ghetto of Venice, a girl comes of age with only her money-lender father to guide her. When her father lashes back at men who have persecuted him, she is forced to choose between love, faith, and the debts we owe to family. A Maiden of Venice an adaptation of Shakespeare’s most controversial play, told from the point of view of the Shylock’s daughter, Jessica.  Aleks Merilo is an award winning and internationally produced playwright from Palo Alto, CA. His script, The Snowmaker, was winner of the Playwrights First Award, Winner of The Chameleon Theatre Circles New Play Contest, and Playhouse on The Square’s New Works @ The Works Festival, and was a finalist for the Oregon Play Prize. His play, The Widow of Tom’s Hill, played Off-Broadway at 59E59, where Broadway World called it “A truly distinctive piece of theater.” His play, Exit 27, was called “The best original play to be produced this season” by the Houston Chronicle, and was voted best new play by Broadway World, Houston. He has an MFA in playwriting from UCLA, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.  He is represented by the Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency.

    Coyote Play

    by Susan Mach

    Directed by Josh Rippy

    Cast Members:  Bobby Bermea*, Lauren Hanover*, Steve Rathje, Samson Syharath, Danielle Weathers*, Mamie Wilhelm

    Coyote Play (working title) is a contemporary re-imagining of the French-Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, an absurdist piece which examines the normalization of Fascism.  Sue Mach’s plays have been produced by Theatre for the New City in New York, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Portland Repertory Theatre, Icaras Theatre Ensemble, Artists Repertory Theatre, Third Rail Repertory Theatre, and CoHo Theatre.  Her plays Angle of View, A Noble Failure, and The Yellow Wallpaper have all been finalists for the Oregon Book Award.   She won the Oregon Book Award for The Lost Boy.

    Patchwork Dreams

    by Patrick Wohlmut

    Directed by Brenda Hubbard

    Cast Members:  John Corr, Robert Hamm*, Sarah Overman*, Steve Rathje, Lolly Ward*

    Penny is a Patchwork: an automated, obedient servant created from the bodies of deceased people. But when an accident results in the development of consciousness, Penny becomes something much more complex, problematic, and potentially terrifying – not just to others, but to herself.  Patrick Wohlmut’s writing has been produced by several companies in Portland. His play, Continuum, was a winning commission from Portland Center Stage and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and was featured at PCS’s JAW Festival in 2011. It went on to be produced by Playwrights West – of which Patrick is a member emeritus – in 2012. His play, The Waves, was written for Southwest Stageworks at Wilson High School via the Teen West Project and was performed there in February 2014. He has also been a contributing writer to two productions at Shaking the Tree Theatre: 2011’s The Tripping Point and 2014’s Masque of the Red Death.

    *Member, Actors’ Equity Association, the professional union of actors and stage managers.                                                        

    **Member, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society


    This event is being produced by Proscenium Journal (prosceniumjournal.comand Portland Shakespeare Project, in association with Artists Repertory Theatre (  The festival is supported in part by an Ozy Genius Award, awarded to Steve Rathje by Ozy Media, and by Portland Shakespeare Project.  In keeping with Proscenium Journal’s mission to share new plays with the largest audience possible, all performances are free!

  • Staged Reading – Mnisose

    Portland Center Stage has commissioned four of the most passionate and inventive artists working today to lend their voices to a new series of plays, Northwest Stories. The four artists — James David Beaton, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Dan O’Brien and Lauren Yee — will craft plays that examine the Pacific Northwest with heart, humor and consummate humanity, creating works to enchant the senses and ignite dynamic dialogues about the events and places that define our region.

    The writing process will span roughly two years, during which time Portland Center Stage’s artistic staff will provide creative and dramaturgical support tailored to the needs of each artist. The commissions are supported in part by The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability program. PCS was one of 26 arts organizations selected nationwide for this six-year, $52-million initiative aimed at developing practical insights into how exemplary performing arts organizations can successfully expand their audiences. These four commissions follow two Northwest Stories projects that are currently in development: Astoria: Part One, based on the best-selling book by Peter Stark and adapted by Chris Coleman, and Wild and Reckless, a new musical event by local folk rockers, Blitzen Trapper.


    Portland Center Stage’s Northwest Stories series is a celebration of the essence of our region. From fresh looks at history to dynamic explorations of contemporary culture, Northwest Stories blends adventurous storytelling with local impact, all created with the immediacy and vibrancy that only live performance can bring. PCS already has a rich history of producing productions that touch on the Northwest experience — with celebrated shows ranging from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest to Snow Falling on Cedars and Crazy Enough. PCS also has a long history of developing new work for the stage. In the past 17 years, more than 70 scripts have been developed during its annual festival of new work, JAW: A Playwrights Festival. PCS has also produced 20 fully-staged world premieres. More than 150 professional theater companies have gone on to produce plays that were developed at PCS.


    Mary Kathryn Nagle was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. She graduated summa cum laude from Tulane University Law School, where she was the recipient of the Judge John Minor Wisdom Award. Her play Manahatta was recently featured in The Public Theater’s inaugural Public Studio workshop production series. Other recent productions include Amerinda Inc.’s presentation of Miss Lead at 59E59 Theaters in 2014. Nagle is an alum of the 2013 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, and an alum of The Civilians’ 2014 Research & Development Group, where she developed her play, Fairly Traceable. Nagle is the executive director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program, designed to develop Native voices in the American theater and ensure that Native plays reach the American stage. She is also a partner at Pipestem Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. She is the author of Sliver of a Full Moon, a play that has traveled to theaters and law schools across the country to educate the public on the need for restoration of tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians in the 2013 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act. She has been commissioned by Arena Stage and The Rose Theater in Omaha, Nebraska.



  • Stage – 26 Miles

    June 15 – 25, 2017
    Profile Theatre 

    Morrison Stage

    By Quiara Alegria Hudes

    Directed by Rebecca Martinez






    Charming, spunky, and ultimately heartrending. The car trip from Paoli, PA to Yellowstone Park is transforming and restorative. –The New York Times

    A desperate midnight phone call spurs a spontaneous road trip for a brilliant teen and her estranged mother. The reunited pair runs fast and furious from the secrets in their lives. So what if reality’s nipping at their heels? Colliding together, they find connection, forgiveness and a part of their identities that has been missing all along.

    Featuring: Jimmy Garcia*, Chris Harder*, Alex Leigh Ramirez, Julana Torres*

    Creative Team: Kristeen Crosser (Lighting Design), Sarah Gahagan (Costume Design), Daniel Meeker (Scenic Design), Sharath Patel (Sound Design)

    Dates to Note:
    Previews June 15th & 16th.
    Opening Night June 17th.
    ASL interpreted performance June 23rd.

    Evening performances 7:30pm. Matinees 2:00pm
    Running Time: 90 Minutes. No intermission.

    *Member Actors’ Equity Association, the professional union of actors and stage managers.

    For tickets go here!

  • Stage – Head. Hands. Feet. Tales of Dismemberment

    |October 7th – November 5th 2016|

    Directed by Samantha Van Der Merwe

    Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30, and Sundays at 5pm.

    Location: Shaking the Tree Warehouse, 823 SE Grant St. (Corner of SE 9th & Grant)

    If you need extra assistance or have questions, please EMAIL us or call the box-office at 503.235.0635
    Nicole Accuardi, Claire Aldridge, Chris Harder, Matthew Kerrigan, Jamie Rea, Rebecca Ridenour, Beth Thompson, Isabella Villagomez, Katie Watkins, Nikki Weaver, and Kathleen Worley
    Creative Team~
    Annalise Albright-Woods, Ted Gold, Rhiza Architecture & Design, Trevor Sargent, Natasha Stockem, Samantha Van Der Merwe


    From the Portland Mercury Fall Arts Guide:

    Making ordinary things seem strange is one of the best things good art can do, but too often, theater companies play it so safe that it’s all but impossible to truly evoke a sense of dislocation from the everyday. Shaking the Tree isn’t one of those theater companies, and Portland’s performing arts community is exponentially richer for Artistic Director Samantha Van Der Merwe’s productions, which pair risky material with intricate, careful directorial and design choices in immersive performances that stay with you. This fall, Shaking the Tree is producing the spooky-sounding Head. Hands. Feet (subtitle: “Tales of Dismemberment”), which combines some of the darkest stories from fairy tales (e.g., the horrifying Bluebeard) and classical mythology (Iphigenia) into a play that’s sure to continue the company’s fall tradition of making theater that’s weird, dark, and well worth your time and attention. Shaking the Tree Warehouse, 823. SE Grant, Oct 7-Nov 5, Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun . 5 pm,

  • Stage – The Skin of Our Teeth

    The Skin of Our Teeth

    By Thornton Wilder

    Directed by Dámaso Rodriguez

    May 17 – June 19

    Alder Stage

    13240166_10153764192983931_5369260176267969708_nThis comedic masterpiece spans the entirety of history, with one ordinary American family who lives through it all. Dad’s just invented the wheel, Cain is throwing rocks at the neighbor kid, mammoths and dinosaurs lounge in the family room and mom frets about how to get all those animals on the boat two by two. Through Ice Ages, biblical floods and political conventions, the Antrobus family of Excelsior, New Jersey perseveres. With a giant cast and time-set across the ages, this theatrical allegory captures the human spirit – of brilliance, idiocy and ultimately sweet survival.

    • Rare and epic revival of the 1943 Pulitzer Prize winner
    • An evening of absurdist adventure in three acts
    EXTENDED through June 19
    RUN TIME = 2 hours 30 minutes including two 15 minute intermissions
  • Stage – We Are Proud To Present…

    We Are Proud To Present

    A Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915

    By Jackie Sibblies Drury12821614_10153566138978931_8700479498224235601_n

    Directed by Kevin Jones

    March 8 – April 10 2016

    Morrison Stage

    A multiracial cast of six idealistic actors sets out to improvise a story about the first colonial genocide of the 20th Century in Africa, but get lost in the reality of their undertaking. The unusual presentation, humor and inevitable discomfort of this provocative new play gripped theatre hubs like New York, Chicago, London, Washington D.C. and Seattle with its unique theatrical investigation of prejudice, power and perspective. “90 minutes of original, enlightening, pulse-pounding theater… It’s absolutely thrilling … it is visceral, fiercely intelligent and entertaining.“ – Backstage

    • Off-Broadway and regional theatre hit
    • Portland Premiere

    This play uses irony, satire, racially charged language and symbolic violence to examine power, racism and perspective.
    We recommend this play for patrons 16 and older.

    RUN TIME: 1 hour 45 mintues. No intermission.


    This production is intended to engender conversation.
    We invite audiences to stay or return for facilitated conversation about We Are Proud to Present… at these opportunities:

    Sun, March 13 post 2pm show with Lesli Mones, co-founder Red Door Project
    Sun, March 20 post 2pm show with Bennett Garner MD, MHSA
    Sun, March 20 post 7:30pm show with Aleksandr  Peikrishvili, LCSW, PW.Dipl
    Wed, March 23 post 11am show with Director Kevin Jones, co-founder Red Door Project
    Sun, March 27 post 2pm show with Roberta Hunte PhD
    Sat, April 2 post 2pm show with Jo Ann Hardesty, President, NAACP Portland
    Sat, April 2 post 7:30pm show with Paul Susi, The Color of NOW*
    Sun, April 3 post 2pm show with Dr. Sandra Jenkins, Oregon Psychoanalytic Center
    Fri, April 8 post 7:30 show with Renee Mitchell, Spit/WRITE* & Chisao Hata
    Sat, April 9 post 7:30pm show with Charles McGee, President & CEO, Black Parent Initiative

    Additional post show discussions and other events are anticipated, please check back for updates.

    *Community Partner Performance – 20% of ticket sale with special code goes to this organization.
    Seeing the show again? Support these organizations with your ticket. Look HERE for more info.




  • Stage – The Yellow Wallpaper

    cohoJANUARY 15 – FEBRUARY 7, 2016

    CoHo Productions with Grace Carter and Sue Mach present the world premiere.

    Written by Sue Mach20150803_Grace_Yellow-Wallpaper_515_square-580x579

    Conceived by Grace Carter

    Adapted from the short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    Directed by Philip Cuomo

    Performed by Grace Carter, Chris Harder & Christy Bigelow

    A new expressionistic performance of The Yellow Wallpaper by acclaimed Portland playwright Sue Mach, adapted from the American short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The story follows Charlotte to a single bedroom where she is confined by her doctor/husband for three months in 1890 as a “rest cure” for her postpartum depression and anxiety. Isolated and under-stimulated, Charlotte turns to an interior world of imagination, obsessing on the room’s ghastly wallpaper until a trapped figure appears to her in the pattern. Is it a hallucination, ghost or animus – the personification of her own trapped psyche? This multi-disciplinary live performance features immersive set design and original music, with a script that incorporates letters from Gilman. Descend to Charlotte’s inner landscape to follow this woman writer’s journey through constraint to creativity and transformation.

    “Chris Harder’s John has a steam trunk chest full of 19th century confidence in his practicality and the grand roads that empiricism is paving.”  –   Oregon Arts Watch  –  full review here

  • Stage – The Turn of the Screw

    By Jeffrey Hatcher
    Adapted from the novel by Henry James
    Directed by JoAnn Johnson
    October 1 – October 18, 2015


    Read a review from Oregon Arts Watch HERE and a review from Dennis Sparks HERE and from Willamette Week HERE.

    “There is, of course, the purely actorly pleasure of watching Harder switch from character to character, which he does not showily (he never even changes costume, wearing formal Victorian men’s attire from start to finish) but subtly, with the slightest twisting of the apparatus.” – Bob Hicks

    “Quite a feat and he does it brilliantly!” – Dennis Sparks

    12122575_948597531842281_3794342559075348535_n 12107806_943415272360507_8040923952809580384_n 11181961_950252101676824_8967215435719409154_n

    Chris Harder as The Man and Dana Millican as The Woman

    As Halloween approaches, Portland Shakespeare Project presents Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of Henry James’s spine-tingling novel that is part ghost story and part psychological thriller. Are the eerie apparitions encountered by a young governess conjured from a vivid imagination – or a chilling reality. Bring a friend.

    Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm
    Sundays at 2:00 pm

    Morrison Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre
    1515 SW Morrison Street
    Portland, Oregon 97205

    Ticket prices:
    Adults: $35
    Students: $20

    Purchase tickets:
    Click here to Purchase Tickets
    Or Call 503.241.1278

  • Drammy Award Finalists Announced!


    Mujahid Abdul-Rashid
    The Piano Lesson
    Portland Playhouse

    Joseph Costa
    The Price
    Artists Repertory Theatre

    Chris Harder
    Intimate Apparel
    Artists Repertory Theatre

    Todd Van Voris
    Northwest Classical Theatre Company


    Michael Elich
    The Price
    Artists Repertory Theatre

    Chris Harder
    The Snowstorm
    CoHo Productions
    + Many Hats Collaboration

    Heath Koerschgen
    The Seven Wonders of Ballyknock
    Lakewood Theatre Company

    Damon Kupper
    The Night Alive
    Third Rail Repertory Theatre

    Thank you Drammy committee.  Truly an honor to be nominated.  See the list of all the finalists at the link below.


  • Stage/Tour -The Centering

    image centering1-1 (3)The Centering Press - Steve Patterson- Photo Credit 004Written by Chris Harder & Steve Patterson

    The Centering Press - Steve Patterson- Photo Credit 045There is no escape from his interrogators. Driven to the edge, Davey’s memories reveal a dark and dangerous past. His only hope… the love and wisdom from his circus clown mentor.


    “…beautifully performed… Harder exhibits masterful command of the script… A mesmerizing and moving, well-written and affecting play- a superb fringe performance.” -SEE magazine – 4 1/2 STARS

    “A powerful actor who attacks his role here with a vengeance. …Harder’s performance is utterly riveting.” -VEUWEEKLY

    “His clowning talents alone are endearing and truly entertaining and this gifted actor enthralls with simple, yet timeless antics. …a profound, intellectual and intense experiment that succeeds in presenting an unusual theme.” -EDMONTON SUN – Sun Rating: 4 Suns (out of 5)

    “Harder’s performance is a tour de force… Most impressive is the ease with which Harder makes difficult, instantaneous transitions from one character to another — moving with suppleness across gender, ethnic and age lines.”
    -Richard Wattenberg – The Oregonian

    “Harder’s collaboration with local playwright Steve Patterson has produced a wonderfully crafted story that is both laugh-out-loud funny and deeply poignant.” -Eric Bartels – Portland Tribune

  • Fishing For My Father
    A family fishing trip turns adventure as an outdoorsman struggles to discover the meaning of fatherhood. This inventive solo show is packed with traditional monologues, impressionistic dance and surreal clown antics, along with original music and recorded interviews from the community. A fast-paced, funny and heartwarming world premier you won’t want to miss! Devised with some of Portland’s top theatre makers, Chris Harder collaborates with Jonathan Walters (Hand2Mouth Theatre), Philip Cuomo (Third Rail Rep), Steve Patterson (Oregon Book Award), Christine Calfas (Dance/Movement), Gretchen Corbett (Third Rail Rep), Rebecca Martinez (Sojourn Theatre), Tim Stapleton (Set), Jim Davis and Jonathan Kreitler (Music).  Photo by Owen Carey  The Oregonian Review.

    Theater review: Even with a cast of one, there’s a lot to like about ‘Fishing For My Father’

    Charlie Chaplin taught us years ago that Everyman can both act the clown and demonstrate enormous dignity, and Chris Harder’s fisherman shows us the same thing.

    In “Fishing For My Father,” Harder makes struggling into his fishing waders a solemn occasion with the ceremonial seriousness of a knight putting on his armor before battle, and also as gently funny as the spectacle of a child trying to zip into his own snowsuit.

    Here is a person, we understand, suiting up for everything that is complicated. Fishing is about life and manhood and fatherhood and being a son and passing on everything you know to be important to the next generation so that a thread of yourself runs true into the future.

    Seeing this one-person play is to experience something profound with one of Portland’s best actors. And, the production was created by an impressive group of theater hotshots, including director Jonathan Walters.

    Harder’s character goes on a fishing trip with a brother and nephew we can’t see, and through his side of the conversation we learn about their family history, what kind of men they are and how they got that way, and how they are teaching the next generation. At natural pauses in the story, he shifts gears and moves in a primal, pre-language way that is part dance, part pantomime, to the voices of people telling stories about their fathers. He also interacts with the audience (which is fun but not necessary – he already has us).

    Harder’s character is a working man. That his portrayal shows great affection for the character is a refreshing change in a medium that tends to play such people as single-faceted, Stanley Kowalski-type brutes.

    The fisherman does have some Kowalski in him, but he is a complex person who, though he shows some bluster in his stance, betrays by his smaller movements that he is unsure of how he fits into the universe. He has a troubled relationship with the very air around him, and we can hear him breathe, as if he’s testing to make sure the oxygen will continue to sustain his life.

    But it’s the water that makes him understand what he is.

  • Cyrano – Portland Center Stage


    April 4 — May 3, 2015
    On the U.S. Bank Main Stage

    Previews are Apr. 4-9 | Opening night Apr. 10
    By Edmond Rostand
    Translated by Michael Hollinger
    Adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner
    Directed by Jane Jones

    Set in 17th century France, the classic romantic comedy Cyrano tells the story of a great swordsman with a beautiful soul, who is handicapped by a huge nose that makes him believe he is incapable of being loved by the beautiful Roxane. When he learns that Roxane and a handsome young soldier named Christian are infatuated with each other, he writes beautiful love letters for her suitor that lead to a tragic love triangle. Filled with swordplay and wordplay, Cyrano is beloved for its affirmation of love, friendship and the power of a well-developed sense of humor.


    General Performance Times:
    Evenings: Tuesday – Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.
    Matinees: Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m.
    Thursdays at noon
    View the season calendar.

  • The Snowstorm – CoHo Productions

    snowstore2January 16 – February 7, 2015
    By: Eric Nordin

    Directed & Choreographed by: Jessica Wallenfels
    Musical Direction & Piano Performance by: Eric Nordin
    Script Advisor: William S. Gregory 

    Performers include: Kira Batcheller, Chris Harder, Elisha Henig, Brian Demar Jones, Matt Kerrigan, Garland Lyons, Jamie Rea, and Beth Thompson. 

    This visceral, sonically vivid new performance piece brings the classical piano music of Rachmaninoff to life through cutting edge physical theatre spun around a classic romance with magical elements of puppetry and mask. The power of music to connect, to ignite, and to heal weaves through this original fable by some of Portland’s most inventive and cherished collaborating theatre-artists.

    “Chris Harder’s Dmitri is very impressively drawn. Early on Harder ably portrays the sullen, restrained father who seems to avoid any intimate contact with his son even subtly withdrawing his hand when Pavel reaches for it during their first scene together. Later, however, Harder effectively conveys Dmiti’s struggle as he tries to break through the emotional walls he has erected around himself.”   Read a review of the show on Oregon Live Here!

    “As the widower, Chris Harder couldn’t be better; he’s stern and unyielding at the beginning, but he gradually melts, and he has some lovely moments throughout; when he finally smiles, it’s like the sun breaking through, and you can’t help smiling back.”    Read a review from Broadway World Here!

    “the “Ice Dancing” scene, which was so realistic I wasn’t sure that if I walked across the stage I wouldn’t slip on the icy pond.”   Read a review from Dennis Sparks Here!

  • Intimate Apparel – Artists Repertory Theatre

    Intimate ApparelArtists Repertory Theatre
    September 9, 2014 – October 5, 2014
    By Lynn Nottage
    Directed By Michael Mendelson

    Set in 1905 NYC, this riveting tale is about the empowerment of Esther, an African American seamstress who creates exquisite lingerie for Fifth Avenue boudoirs and red-light brothels. As she yearns for a different life, she finds unconventional friendships with clients that defy race, religion and class. Artists Rep kicks off the 2014/15 season with the long-awaited Portland debut of this award-winning, Off-Broadway and regional theatre sensation by a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.
    Portland Premiere

    “Chris Harder is the production’s secret weapon as Mr. Marks, the Romanian Jewish fabric salesman whom Esther visits weekly. His lilting accent and shuffling appearance has the effect of hiding a character of real depth behind a caricature, but the steady unfolding of his connection with Esther, a connection forged over a shared appreciation for fabric despite its own set of significant cultural barriers, provides many of the play’s most touching and meaningful moments.”    Read a full review Here at Portland Monthly Magazine

    “It is exquisite!” The same could be said about the performance by Chris Harder as that magnanimous merchant, in the production just opened at Artists Repertory Theatre.”   Read a full Oregon Arts Watch review Here.

  • Othello – Portland Center Stage


    April 5 — May 11
    On the Main Stage

    By William Shakespeare
    Directed by Chris Coleman

    Set in 17th century Venice, this is Shakespeare’s profound tragedy of the power of love and jealousy. A highly esteemed general serving the state of Venice, Othello, secretly marries Desdemona, the daughter of a senator. As their marriage is revealed, jealousies around their love match and Othello’s rise to prominence are unleashed, piling secret upon secret, and betrayal upon betrayal. A society seething with intrigue sets the stage for the ultimate tragedy—when love does not trust, and power is prized above all things.

  • Fall Festival of Shakespeare

    shakespeareThe Fall Festival of Shakespeare is a non-competitive region-wide collaboration between Portland Playhouse and area high schools. The Festival is a spectacular theatrical event, in part because student actors connect well to Shakespeare; they understand the passion, the large stakes, and the disaster. High school is not unlike an Elizabethan Tragedy.

    The students are not only performers in the festival, but a large and vocal component of the audience. They are most active and vibrant theatre patrons you will ever encounter. They “oooh” and “ahhh”; call out “Oh no she didn’t”; scream and laugh. It’s the closest thing we have to how an Elizabethan audience at Shakespeare’s Globe might have reacted. It’s an unforgettable experience for the students involved, and an engaging cultural phenomenon for everyone to witness.


  • 2013 Fall festival Schedule

    Middle School Festival at the Playhouseportland-play-house

    St. Andrew’s (Macbeth)
    King (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

    * 45 minute shows, one intermission. Students in the Festival are free.
    * General admission: $10, $5(under 18). Cash, check, or card at the door.

    Fall Festival at the Winngstad Theatre

    Ridgefield (Romeo & Juliet)
    Catlin Gable (Twelfth Night)

    Trillium (The Merry Wives of Windsor)
    Roosevelt (The Taming of the Shrew)

    Franklin (The Winter’s Tale)
    Fort Vancouver (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

    Hockinson (Comedy of Errors)
    De La Salle (Twelfth Night)
    Reverance (all schools)

    * 75 minute shows
    * Dinner break between the matinees and evening performances
    * Students in the Festival are free.
    * General admission, tickets on sale soon.


  • Ten Chimneys

    artists-repertory-theatreApril 23, 2013 – May 26, 2013ten-chimneys
    By Jeffrey Hatcher
    Directed By Dámaso Rodriguez

    When life and theatre collide it is a beautiful thing, is it not?

    This revealing comedy peers into the backstage lives of Broadway power-duo Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in Jeffrey Hatcher’s new play brimming with theatre lore. Set at the couple’s legendary Wisconsin estate in the 1930s, love triangles and family dysfunction reveal themselves when the rehearsal process for an upcoming production of Chekhov’s The Sea Gull becomes a true-to-life plot. A heartwarming and hilarious look into a slightly warped mirror reflects the real depths of truth, loyalty and love in private lives behind the curtain.
    West Coast Premiere.


    Alfred Lunt Michael Mendelson*^
    Lynn Fontanne Linda Alper*
    Uta Hagen Abby Wilde*
    Hattie Sederholm JoAnn Johnson*
    Sydney Greenstreet Todd Van Voris*^
    Carl Sederholm Chris Harder*
    Louise Green Sarah Lucht*

    *Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States
    ^ Member of Artists Rep’s Resident Acting Company

    Artists Repertory Theatre

  • Mother Teresa is Dead

    mother-theresaby Helen Edmundson
    Portland Playhouse
    March 14, 2013 – April 7, 2013

    Young wife and mother Jane (Nikki Weaver), gripped by personal and moral crisis, flees her family and her home in the UK without word.

    Jane’s husband (Chris Harder) discovers her recuperating in rural India, cared for by an English expat artist (Gretchen Corbett) and counseled by an attractive, Oxford-educated Indian do-gooder.

    In this stirring play about love, choice, and personal responsibility in a global age, acclaimed British playwright Helen Edmundson urges us to consider how we set our own priorities.

    Portland Playhouse »

    Read a Review

  • Angels In America


    Part 1 Millennium Approachesportland-play-house
    By Tony Kushner
    December 2012

    Harrowing, uproarious, and magical, Angels in America is a fiercely theatrical modern morality play and a landmark of the American stage. Against a landscape of greed, sexual politics, and the cries of a sweeping AIDS epidemic, a lost America teeters on the tipping point of an unknown future. This story of love, power, and identity follows characters as diverse as a Mormon housewife, an ex-drag queen, and the fiery attorney Roy Cohn. It’s 1985, and an Angel with steel wings is hurtling toward Earth. Angels In America: Millennium Approaches.

    Read a review.

  • Antigone Now

    Antigone Now

    By Melissa Cooper
    December 2, 2010 through December 5, 2010

    Presented by the Young Professionals of Oregon Children’s Theatre.

    Directed by Val Landrum and Chris Harder

    In the midst of a bombed-out city still feeling the aftershocks of war, the rebellious Antigone defies her uncle to bury her disgraced brother. This deeply stirring adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone transforms the poetry of ancient Greece into a contemporary, electrifying production. Great for ages 11 and up.

    All tickets are a $5-$10 donation. Call in advance to guarantee seats.
    Performances are held in the YP Studio Theater in the Galleria, 600 SW 10th Avenue, 3rd floor.

  • Stage – Fool For Love
    Val Landrum & Chris Harder

    by Sam Shepard
    October 16, 2009 through November 21, 2009

    ‘Fool for Love’ explodes with emotion at CoHo Theater

    It might seem strange to think of a play that features just a few people in a seedy motel room as a spectacle. But however small the frame in which Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love” unfolds, it’s an eye-popping display, full of little emotional explosions that illuminate the surrounding shadows of American myth. Clocking in at barely more than an hour, this taut one-act drama at CoHo Theater is, on the surface, a lovers’ joust between Eddie, a working cowboy, and May, a cook whose low-rent room on the edge of the Mojave Desert provides the decidedly unglamorous setting for them to rehash their on-off, obsessive, possessive, topsy-turvy thing.

    On one level, this set-up is widely presumed to represent the end of Shepard’s marriage to actress O-Lan Jones and the beginnings of his relationship to the Oscar-winner Jessica Lange (May skewers Eddie for his involvement with a woman she derisively calls “the Countess”). In a looser metaphorical sense it also reflects the oft-noted motif of Shepard’s work, a lament for the faded Old West.

    But this hardly is a well-made-play approach to these subjects. Thematic clarity, narrative plausibility, resolution — those aren’t priorities here. Shepard’s approach isn’t about a literary construct of meaning so much as image, emotion, impact. Amid the rocket-fueled push/pull of the relationship, feeling is truth, all the more so for its contradictions.

    Eddie claims to have driven 2,480 miles to visit May. “Where were you, Katmandu or something?” she shoots back. Cleveland would be around the right milage, but the point isn’t how much Eddie did or didn’t drive, it’s what the probably hyperbolic number says about his passion. And are we really supposed to believe the Countess would follow him all those miles to spy on May’s room from her big, black Mercedes? Doesn’t matter, as long as we get the sense of people out past the frontiers of self-control.

    As Eddie, Chris Harder dances through this minefield with a cowboy’s crooked gait and a crocodile grin, relishing his gamesmanship. He really captures Eddie’s combination of rough allure and sly menace in a performance that’s as unsettling as it is wonderful to watch. As May, Val Landrum lurches between despair over him and disdain for him, along the way shifting from frump to femme fatale to fighter. Tim Stapleton, best known as a scenic designer (and he’s nailed the cruddy details of the motel room, down to the cracked, dirt-streaked plaster) does terrific double duty here as an actor, by turns whimsical, proud and cranky as the Old Man, a sort of dream-like presence who speaks to both Eddie and May. And Spencer Conway, as May’s mild-mannered new suitor Martin, represents more rational modern ways with a kind of Clark Kent handsomeness and slight air of befuddlement.

    Director Megan Kate Ward keeps it all hurtling forward with a crackling energy, but the production includes a few choices that feel like shortcuts. Shepard’s script makes much of the slamming of doors while Eddie and May argue their way around the apartment. On Stapleton’s wide-open set, Landrum and Harder look mighty odd hurling closed imaginary doors over and over. The choice for set simplicity also blurs the nature of the Old Man; having him sit right in the room with the others rather than on a separate platform does suggest what an essential presence he is in the lovers’ minds and lives, but it blunts the impact of the moment he stands up to insert himself more directly into the action.

    Such quibbles aside, there’s a rich atmosphere to the production (credit to Stapleton’s set, Don Crossley’s expressive lighting and a few apt touches from sound designer Annalise Albright). Between that and the impact of its car-crash couple, there’s plenty here to keep making you sit up and pay attention. And what more can you ask from a spectacle.

    Read more: Roles as lovers not much of a stretch for these Portland actors.

    CoHo opens its fourteenth season with Fool for Love by Sam Shepard; a vicious, erotic and funny, tale set in a rundown hotel room on the edge of the Mojave Desert where Eddie and May fight tooth and nail to escape their catastrophic past.

    Dark secrets are revealed in a haunting story of gripping jealousy, brutal betrayal, and the deepest kind of love. Told with reckless abandon and infinite care by one of America’s most renowned and audacious playwrights, Fool for Love is full of unforgettable images and heartbreaking truth.

    Read a review.

    Photo by Win Goodbody