At the mercy of Mercy Killers

One-man play about health care and the American dream comes to the Very Little Theatre

Michael milligan in Mercy killers

Joe, the blue-collar mechanic at the center of VLT’s Mercy Killers, considers himself the ultimate all-American — a red-state, Rush Limbaugh-listening son of the American dream. All that changes when Joe’s wife is diagnosed with cancer and he falls through the rabbit hole into a world of exorbitant medical costs and unyielding insurance networks. Out-of-pocket costs are demanded from “pockets that just aren’t that deep.” A man who has staked his life in the value of hard work now stands to lose everything to a heath care system that seems not to care at all. Continue reading 

Futuristic Fairy Tale

Degenerate Art Ensemble gives voice to Predator Songstress via Oregon Performance Lab

The fires of oppression rage in Degenerate Art Ensemble’s Predator Songstress

A curious girl can raise only so much hell for a totalitarian regime: When Ximena makes too much noise, the state takes away her voice. Literally. Set in a faceless authoritarian state, Degenerate Arts Ensemble’s Predator Songstress — produced in conjunction with the new Oregon Performance Lab — sets out to examine repression, surveillance, interrogation and the power of noise. The play runs Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29, at Lane Community College’s Ragozzino Hall. Continue reading 

Faith, Fate and Family

A new vision of the hero in OCT’s Dontrell, Who Kissed The Sea

Maya Thomas (left), Lanny Smith, Seth Alexander Rue, Jonathan Thompson and Carmen Brantley-Payne in OCT’s Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea

The drums beat, heavy and slow at first, then picking up speed like a heartbeat. The rhythm pushes for answers, for ancestry. Dontrell cannot escape the dreams calling him to this quest — dreams of a forebearer who leapt to his death from a slave ship during the Middle Passage. But Dontrell has a scholarship to maintain, a family to deal with and he can’t swim. Making his way into the middle of the Atlantic feels as hopeless as any hero’s journey. Faith, fate and family will all step in to shuffle his chances of success. Continue reading 

Melodramatic Mystery

ACE’s Clue: The musical

Jenny Parks and Alex Holmes in ACE’s Clue: The musical

How is it the board game Clue has so captured our imaginations? One would never consider creating a film out of Chutes and Ladders, and I can feel my eye start to twitch just thinking about what Monopoly: The Musical might look like. But a dramatization of Clue? We’re so there. The who-done-it game has inspired stage and screen adaptations, and Actor’s Cabaret of Eugene’s current production focuses the energy on the 1993 musical for dinner theater fare. Continue reading