Review: The Secretaries

The time is 1994; the place is Big Bone, Oregon, a company town run by the Cooney Lumber Mill, an old-fashioned firm with a high fatality rate and, for reasons never quite explained, a reputation for employing only the best secretaries in the world. They are, by their own admission, a clique, dressed in pink cashmere sweaters and pencil skirts, slurping SlimFast and communicating in giggles and chittering chipmunk noises. Also, once each month, they murder a man and chop his body into pieces.

There’s blood in the typing pool in Profile Theatre’s ‘The Secretaries’

Roundup: Ten great restaurants and bars in Vancouver

Good things are happening in downtown Vancouver. Like Portland, our northern suburb let its once-vibrant center become a bleak desert of parking lots and pawn shops for decades after I-5 bisected the city. Major efforts at revival starting in the late 1990s filled in many of downtown’s vacant lots with condos, and organic growth has followed. While empty buildings still abound these days, the areas east and north of Esther Short Park are now home to excellent breweries, cafes, restaurants and bars. Here are a few that are worth crossing the Interstate Bridge for—traffic allowing, of course.

10 great restaurants and bars in downtown Vancouver

Review: The Thanksgiving Play

“The Thanksgiving Play,” a biting new comedy by the Sicangu Lakota playwright Larissa FastHorse, exposes the uselessness of good intentions. Its yoga-practicing, privilege-checking, farmers-market-shopping characters know that performing Native characters in “redface” is wrong, that the Thanksgiving narrative is “problematic,” that the history of the United States is one of oppression and subjugation, but they’re blind to the arrogance of their enterprise.

‘The Thanksgiving Play’ is a biting satire of white progressive posturing

Review: The Mermaid Hour

Given the awful violence all too often perpetrated against trans people, I watched the first half of “The Mermaid Hour” with a growing sense of dread. I needn’t have worried; this isn’t that sort of show. Though there are plenty of tears and self-questioning — when Pilar realizes the hormonal treatments Violet wants will make her sterile; when Violet is rejected by her gay best friend, Jacob (Kai Hynes); when Bird admits to missing the son he thought he had — everyone winds up pretty much OK.

‘The Mermaid Hour’ explores ups and downs of parenting a transgender child

Review: Between Riverside and Crazy

“I may look how I look, but that don’t mean I am how I look,” Lulu tells Walter as they share a joint on his balcony, and she speaks for everyone in the show. “Between Riverside and Crazy” rejects predictable narrative and neat morality. It celebrates self-liberation but acknowledges the harm one person’s freedom can inflict on others. It reflects the grime of real life but teeters on the edge of fantasy.

‘Between Riverside and Crazy’ looks at the cruel cost of moving on

Review: Macbeth

Beyond finding interesting parts for women in a play that otherwise has little room for them, Van Der Merwe’s erasure of gender shines a light on the Macbeth’s obsession with manliness: feeling like a man, fighting like a man, killing like a man, dying like a man. In “Macbeth,” as all too often in our own times, manhood is inextricably tied to violence.

Gender-bending ‘Macbeth’ finds horror in the shadows

Review: Kodachrome

In its bittersweet tone, as in many other respects, “Kodachrome” recalls Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” It is set in a small New England town — the real and very New-Englandy Colchester, Connecticut. And it’s driven by an all-seeing, third-wall-breaking narrator: The Photographer (Lena Kaminsky), a shutterbug whose luminous images of buildings and people have made her the unofficial recorder of local life.

In Portland Center Stage’s ‘Kodachrome,’ the focus is on love’s blurred lines