Tuesday, July 19, 2016

If you are in Portland, I urge you, entreat you, request you, beseech you to attend one of the final performances of Coriolanus at PettyGrove Park on 3rd & Harrison between PSU and the Waterfront. Coriolanus is a return to directing after a longer than desired break and it was a daunting production to get back in the saddle on, however, as always happens the brilliance of the cast and the genius of Shakespeare carried the day.

Coriolanus manages to be highly enjoyable despite the depths of its despair and cynicism. There are no heroes here. Peace is fragile. Men prefer war. The people are starving and still manage to earn a place as the butt of a great many jokes. Their tribunes are tempted and their warrior leader does the equivalent of defecting to Russia during the Cold War with the nuke codes when things don’t go his way. There is revolt without revolution.

And there is POETRY – Coriolanus speech as he seeks exile, Volumnia thundering at the tribunes and later pleading in the Volscian camp to save her son and Rome, Aufidius laying his soul bare to Coriolanus as he welcomes him into the camp. There are echoes and distortions of Romeo and Juliet, of Macbeth, of Julius Caesar, and Antony and Cleopatra throughout. The language is just dazzling.

Oh and there’s blood! Deep red blood that pours and spurts and oozes in the aftermath of staffs and punches, kicks and blades – all accompanied to percussion provided by an ensemble member atop the futuristic sculpture in the center of the fountain. I would love for you to join us.