For Immediate Release
Media Contact—Bryan Markovitz, 503 890 2993,

Portland, Ore.—From April 17 to May 17, Liminal Performance Group will present Three Plays Five Lives, an original new work opening at the ensemble’s performance space in downtown Portland. Arranged in counterpoint, three different stories unfold simultaneously as five actors travel between them on three sharply raked stages. As time passes, the three plays reveal subtle connections and synchronicities between people far removed from each other in place, but deeply connected by experience.

Three Plays Five Fives first emerged as an idea for a new work in June 2001. For more than a year, Liminal developed the text and technical design for the project before rehearsals began in January 2003. For those who have followed Liminal’s work since 1997, they will find much in Three Plays Five Lives that is distinctly Liminal. As with past projects, physical action is expansive and dynamic. The performance feels like it is balanced on a tense tightrope. Situations are ambiguous and the performers’ motives are not always apparent on the surface. Events take place simultaneously throughout the space and it is often impossible to see every detail at any given moment.

Written by Playwright Alex Reagan, Three Plays Five Lives presents five characters in the prime of their lives who are paralyzed by the distinctly American ethos of zero loss. Whether exerting the will to build the future or using it to destroy the past, Americans maintain the belief that there will always be more to gain, without considering the potential losses of their actions. The same is true of Liminal’s characters. In play one, a young architect longs to build his only masterpiece before a rare disease leaves him blind, and before the crime that he committed is discovered. In play two, the children of a dying world-famous artist destroy her priceless works of art to overcome her last will and testament. In play three, a group of foreign aid workers fight over the goals of their mission in a war-torn village.

Audiences may recognize techniques in Three Plays Five Lives that are completely new to Liminal. The ensemble shaped much of the performance by executing conceptual processes without knowing their eventual outcome. While the three plays flow seamlessly in performance, each is constructed of several small independent elements of action, text and media. Sometimes these elements are shown in isolation. Often, they are combined to form complex events.

Repetition and feedback also plays a more prominent role in Three Plays Five Fives than in previous Liminal projects. Events are repeated in loops that invite audiences to shift their attention from the story and the characters to the way that the action is played within the live moment. Similarly, some actions are stretched over long periods of time to reorient the viewer’s perception of the event. Media contributes to the performance by responding to the live action. Video fills stage surfaces with symbols from the play text, while the sound design captures words and noise from the live performance and returns them to the space as synthesized layers and feedback.

“Liminal’s new work is a snapshot of individuals on the brink,” says Director Bryan Markovitz. “The characters stand at the edge of a terrifying abyss. No matter how many times they retreat to repeat the gestures of their past, they must eventually confront the future. The characters in Three Plays Five Lives advance and retreat so many times that the abyss becomes their only way out.”

Three Plays Five Lives is performed by Amanda Boekelheide, Jeff Marchant, Georgia Luce, Madeleine Sanford and Patrick Wohlmut.

Three Plays Five Lives
April 17-May 17, 2003
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 PM
Liminal Space, 403 NW Fifth at Flanders
Reservations: 503 890 2993,
Tickets $12 (half-price on Thursdays)

Liminal (1997-) is a Portland-based ensemble of artists producing performance and media works. Liminal has produced ten original performances, and most recently presented Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s epic opera The Seven Deadly Sins at Panorama, Minimal at Liminal, a concert of American Minimal Music and Fluxconcert PDX, a Portland concert of historic and new events based on the Fluxus anti-art movement. This summer, Liminal will begin work on a new project based on the epic story of Faust that will premiere in September 2003.