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State of Wonder

On Stage: Three Productions

This week we wanted to skim a few productions now onstage. Be sure to look for our post about how the August Wilson Red Door Project is helping theaters diversify the audiences coming to shows.

Charlotte’s Web

We begin with Oregon Children’s Theatre’s Production of Charlotte’s Web.

Director Lava Alapai told us, as a child born in Japan and raised in Hawaii, E.B. White’s classic was the first English language book she laid eyes on. The story, with its themes of love and hope, continues to move her. In this clip, we talk about the values she wanted to preserve in her show’s re-telling.


Elsewhere, Portland Center Stage’s production of Chinglish explores East-West relations, the misunderstandings when Americans and Chinese people come together, and questions whether love can fill in the gaps.

David Henry Hwang's play is about an American businessman who's trying to expand his company's profile in China, but gets more than he bargains for.

David Henry Hwang’s play is about an American businessman who’s trying to expand his company’s profile in China, but gets more than he bargains for.

Patrick Weishampel/Portland Center Stage

It’s a sophisticated and funny show. But creating the sound design was a challenge for PCS’s chief sound designer, Casi Pacilio. She tells us about her process, working with composer Jana Crenshaw to blend music, spoken Chinese, and other elements in a way that supports the love story onstage.

By the way, here’s an interesting blog post about how the subtitles for Chinglish show were pulled together.

Eyes for Consuela

Finally, Profile Theatre continues its season-long exploration of Sam Shepard’s work this weekend, opening Eyes for Consuela.

Part-psychological drama, part comedy, the show explores an encounter between Henry, an American tourist on the run from personal problems, and Amado, a mysterious guy who waylays Henry, seemingly intent on unspeakable violence.

Michael Mendelson (left) and Andres Alcala (right) face off as Henry and Amado.

Michael Mendelson (left) and Andres Alcala (right) face off as Henry and Amado.

David Kinder/Profile Theatre

Andres Alcala, well-known in Ashland and Portland theater circles, plays Amado. He talked to us the role, Shepard,  and the play’s journey.






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