Oh, it is a challenge to keep batting away like summer mosquitoes our national bad news. Especially when I start the day by reading the local, daily newspaper. The Oregonian shapes its content to appeal to dwellers on some far-off planet. Many of them live right here in oppostion to the trendy, very young and hip types celebrated on Portlandia.
If mine were one of those everybody-reads-blogs on Huffington Post, I'd run a contest to name the group of dailies across America that ignore/disparage all ideas sensible people hold dear...gun control, CHOICE, climate change. I wish Rachel Maddow, an excellent "namer" would come up with something. See her post "This Week in God" for the latest on a a favorite category she calls, "the God Machine."
However, in the tradition of What Would Rachel Maddow Do? Let's turn to my good news. As privileged old lady and man, we take advantage of our reasonably good health (thank you Medicare and Maryland retirement system) and disposable income to go to the theater often. [Too many disclaimers but often have company at Hattie's Web. Especially today it turns out.] Since we're drawn to what we knew in New York as "off" and "off-off Broadway," the cost of the habit is reasonable.
"The Road to Mecca," presented in a small space by Profile Theater was one of three we've seen in the last week. (Overdosing due to baby-sitting schedule.) Glorious photo by Jamie Bosworth; enlarge it to see the perfect set--worn rugs, many glass bottles on tables, hanging from above.
It was invigorating to be with actress Eileen DeSandre, who embodies aging perfectly as Miss Helen, the central character, has found her own bliss through non-traditional art-making. Of course, I could very much identify with that. Though South African playwright Athol Fugard writes about his own country, it could be mine. The other two actors played parts familiar to many of us. There was Elsa, played by Amanda Solden, the young friend, both powerful and gentle, who wants Miss Helen to embody personal strength she seeks in herself. David Bodin was an oppressive church minister, determined to convince Miss Helen to move to an old people's home. He had more dimension than we'd expected as he ultimately revealed a softer side wrapped in his judgemental exterior.
Talkback. As I've written elsewhere, Ron and I gravitate toward these. How else can strangers in a city, women and men who may never meet again, share our pleasure, our questions about a theatrical experience. Last night's included two of the actors, the young director (how do they have so much insight so early), and Katy Liljeholm, Artistic Director of Well Arts, an arts-in-medicine nonprofit theatre company. "Voices of Elders" is one of their life-review projects at a local senior center.
We were a most suitable audience for her: a mostly over 50 group, mostly women, with much to relate to about our own roads to Mecca. Great evening...preceded by that other thing Portland does well: FOOD, delicious, moderately priced for happy hour (unknown to us in New York), a short walk from the theater at Accanto.