Black-box results show success

By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  February 20, 2013


This new company presents two one-acts whose young, stubborn protagonists are trapped and static, as events surrounding them intensify. Sam Shepard's 1966 Chicago (directed by Patti Anne Miller) centers on the expressionist, stream-of-conscious rant of Stu (Kelsey Taylor), who remains planted in an empty bathtub, spouting entertainingly profane marine fantasies, as his lover Joy (Amanda Painter, with knowing restraint) prepares to leave him. Taylor impressively sustains what is basically one long monologue (now play-acting a screeching, bitter old lady; now conjuring a beach filled with screwing sailors and virgins). He manages to break it up nicely, finding beats of affection and dejection as well as the high antics, all the way through to Stu's rather pointedly symbolic (but nevertheless endearing) retreat from the water.

Rather than a bathtub, the heroine of Antígona Furiosa, Griselda Gambaro's Argentine riff on the Sophocles (directed by Lila Rachel Becker) is trapped in a triangle of strung-up rope and the inevitabilities of pride and Greek myth. Antígona (April Singley, fiercely) relates the tragedy of her death sentence and suicide with the colloquial, sometimes stooge-like narrative help of two men in a café (Hal Cohen and Adam Ferguson) in perhaps the 1970s. Straddling ancient Thebes and, presumably, the state-sponsored terrorism of a recent Argentina, together the three tell the story (Cohen charmingly re-enacting Creon's ruling with a military jacket and a mannequin with a light bulb at its neck) and parse its themes of power, justice, repentance, and pride.

IN HER GLORY Bess Welden exercises her Big Mouth (and) Thunder Thighs.

This one-woman vaudeville show, starring Welden and directed by Jennie Hahn, takes on food and the body. Weaving storytelling, memoir, and poetry with jokes, roller-skating, and "death-defying acts," Welden's show is a variety act about self-acceptance.

IF WE WERE BIRDS, by Erin Shields, produced by Lorem Ipsum | FOR THE LULZ, by Ben Ferber, produced by Horn and Ivory Productions | MOMENTS OF INERTIA: CHICAGO, by Sam Shepard and ANTÍGONA FURIOSA, by Griselda Gambaro, produced by The Seeing Space | BIG MOUTH THUNDER THIGHS, by Bess Welden | At the Portland Stage Studio Theater | through March 10 | 207.774.0465

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