Beyland and Brown have gathered a dream ensemble of actor’s actors for this challenging show. The cast creates a complex rapport among the troupe members, with all their insecurities, battles, and deep-seated love; they excel equally at clowning in loincloths, enacting torture and disembowelment, and finding unlikely communion (when Shag helps Wintour simply to hold a pen, the prisoner falls sobbing against him in gratitude and release). The work especially of Gagne, Carlsen, and Holt, as each navigates their wide-reaching roles, is breathtaking.
And Cain’s breadth and depth of allusion and comment are formidable, from monarchical lineage to Cecil’s critique of Shag’s safe-playing oeuvre as “all things to all men” and “endless and universal flattery.” Above all Equivocation cares about the art — and the artifice — of narrative in our lives. “Torture is against British laws,” James chirps glibly. “Therefore, we don’t have torture.” And: “You can’t legislate a soul into a country,” sneers Cecil. “For that, you need a story.” As Shag reconsiders his responsibilities as a storyteller, Cain’s play seems to propose that not just his troupe, but other equally theatrical cooperative ventures — families, communities, nations — could stand some practice in the art of telling truth.

Equivocation, by Bill Cain | Directed by Keith Powell Beyland and Peter Brown | Produced by Dramatic Repertory Company, at the Portland Ballet Studio Theater, through June 8 | 800.838.3006 or

< prev  1  |  2  | 
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   HOW TO DRESS A WOUND  |  October 24, 2014
    Kayleen and Doug first meet when they’re both eight years old and in the school nurse’s office: She has a stomachache, and he has “broken his face” whilst riding his bike off the school roof. Their bond, though awkward and cantankerous, is thus immediately grounded in the grisly intimacy of trauma.
  •   TRAUMATIC IRONY  |  October 15, 2014
    A creaky old oceanfront Victorian. Three adult siblings who don’t like each other, plus a couple of spouses. A codicil to their father’s will that requires them to spend an excruciating week together in the house. And, of course, various ghosts.
  •   OVEREXTENDED FAMILY  |  October 11, 2014
    “I’m inclined to notice the ruins in things,” ponders Alfieri (Brent Askari). He’s recalling the downfall of a longshoreman who won’t give up a misplaced, misshapen love, a story that receives a superbly harrowing production at Mad Horse, under the direction of Christopher Price.   
  •   SOMETHING'S GOTTA FALL  |  October 11, 2014
    While it hasn’t rained on the Curry family’s 1920’s-era ranch in far too long, the drought is more than literal in The Rainmaker .
  •   SURPASSED MENAGERIE  |  October 03, 2014
    Do Buggeln and Vasta make a Glass Menagerie out of Brighton Beach Memoirs? Well, not exactly.

 See all articles by: MEGAN GRUMBLING