June 2008 Archives

Theater Works: Perfecting the Art

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Theater! Theater! in south east Portland has a great new event called "Theatre Works" in which playwrights are given the ability to perfect their work-in-progress by staging a production of their new scripts with the freedom to tweak and edit at every rehearsal.  The writer has the opportunity to discuss with actors how the script could better portray the motivation for each character, better move along the plot and dialogue in a way that feels more natural, as well as hear feedback from the audience about what parts they love and what parts don't make sense or need more work.


This Tuesday I attended a Theatre Works presentation of Ellen Margolis's new "Trying Not to Stare."  Between poorly clarified dream sequences, a few underdeveloped plot points, and one very confusing and context-lacking kiss between the stud and his would-be girlfriend's mother--there are still some kinks to work out in this budding new play.  I will say, however, that there is very little doubt in my mind that when this work is finished, it will be absolutely phenomenal.  Despite the fact that the actors had literally been handed new lines and new scenes every day right up until hours before the performance, the story was so engaging and each character was so fascinating that I quickly forgot to notice they were all still on book for the whole show.  The funny parts are HILARIOUS, the thoughtful parts really make you think, and while some of the sadder and more emotional moments still need some work to really strike the heartstrings of the audience, I'm confident that Margolis has the talent to be able to figure that one out.


To give a brief synopsis, this play is about an assortment of people coming to terms with the fact that they are not the people they want to be--someone else is better than them, stronger than them, prettier, wealthier, more capable--but maybe that's not such a bad thing.  The two main storylines follow a cosmetic surgeon and one of his patients as they struggle with and eventually accept the fact that their lives will never be "normal." 


Before I wrap this up, I just want to say that I have tons of respect for the actors who participate in this program and weather the constant changes every night.  They did a great job.


Be sure to check this play out as soon as it's done.  I promise you're gonna love it.

Celebrating the Rose City

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I paid a visit to the Rose Festival fun center this past Friday and had quite a day.  The price I paid for this visit was 5 dollars.  No more or less.  And that's not because the fun stuff was cheap, just because I didn't want to spend a lot.


Now, I understand that the goal is to make money, and I can't hold that against anyone, but it sure did limit my options as someone who isn't willing to spend a lot of cash.


There are a few packages of tickets that can be bought in order to ride the rides, the cheapest being $20, which, to give you an idea of how cheap I am, is already more cash than I had in my purse.  (Of course, perfectly understandably, you have to pay in cash.)  So that was out.  But even if I had paid for a few tickets, it would have been in vain, because the most exciting-looking ride (The Sling Shot) was a separate $30.


Here is the sad truth about my great state of Oregon: There are no amusement parks.  So temporary carnivals like this one are really all Oregonians have in the way of riding the scrambler or the tilt-a-whirl--forget roller coasters!


At this point, some may say, "But what about Oaks Park?" Which I feel is almost an unnecessary subject to address.  Oaks Park is not an amusement park.  If you are above the age of about 8 or 9, don't bother testing the theory for yourself: because it's offerings are just as slim as the temporary carnival, with the exception of the nanosecond-long rollercoaster that you'll wait in line to ride for 30 minutes or more only to be dissatisfied.  Yet you'll immediately get back in line to do it again because there is nothing else to do.


That tangent being covered, I'd like to go back to discussing the Rose Festival fun center.  Considering that they are the same old, standard, carnival rides, the price is too high.  And I'm not completely just saying that as a miser--the other ticket packages were around $60 or $80.  I could go for Disney Land fir that much if I wanted to!


Then again, of course, I'm sure the $80 tickets are meant to be divided among several kids.  So maybe the real moral of the story is that going to carnivals by yourself isn't very cost effective.


All that aside, there was some free stuff that was a LOT of fun--the dinosaur exhibit smelt funny but was cool to see, and there were lots of live animals--reptiles, spiders, felines, and a crazed-looking lemur!  It took a long time to see it all and kept me very entertained.


Also, just walking around from different booths and performance tents I snagged a lot of free stickers, tooth paste, and a deck of playing cards.  I also got to see some fun musical performances and a program of endearingly uncoordinated child talent.


All-in-all, it was even a good day for a scrooge like me!