Portland Tribune, May 5, 2005
By Joseph Gallivan
Portland’s best performance art group, Liminal, returns with a show that has been 16 months in the making. “Resurrectory” is based on the story of William Burke and William Hare, two Edinburgh (via Ireland) grave robbers who killed 18 innocent people to supply corpses to medical science in 1827 and 1828.
The space is divided into three worlds—the collections, the inquest, and the jars of ashes and live researchers writing at ancient desks. Visitors are welcome to poke around as though they are in a real, fake museum. Then, three evenings a week, the Liminal hard bodies will act out eight of the 18 murders, using stylized movements and barked directions from the Controller (Madeleine Sanford). She also does phrenology examinations on audience members.
A sloping stage has been built for the six actors to bounce around on, and stunningly beautiful video images (by Jim Blashfield) are projected onto a plaster cast of a corpse. Amanda Boekelheide, Liminal’s movement director for eight years, helped choreograph such gestures as how to lift a corpse and how to drown someone in a washtub. Liminal’s two main influences are the highly physical theater of Corporeal Mime and the Gardzienice Theater.
“We’re interested in nonlinear storytelling,” says Liminal co-founder Bryan Markovitz, 31, “and also duration and simultaneity.” They’re phrases one would normally run a mile from, but in this group’s hands, the big ideas don’t smother the moments of beauty and horror. “Resurrectory” will be an ongoing process, trying to construct an identity for some of the anonymous victims.
Tours in the unattended “Resurrectory” space are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, free; tours during “Resurrectory” staff hours are 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; through June 18, $6-$10, 2045 S.E. Belmont St., 503-239-5481