Everybody Loves Liminal's Our Town
Portland Mercury, November 26, 2013
BY Alison Hallett
Critics pretty much agree that you should get out there and see Liminal's performance of Our Town, which runs Thorton Wilder's endlessly over-produced show through a blender. Or woodchipper.
It's a brilliantly produced show; the actors are committed, the music is great, and the design and multi-media elements are as well-considered and effective as anything you're going to see on a Portland stage. I don't particularly like Our Town, and this show did not convince me to like Our Town, but it does wring gobs of meaning and relevance and existential intensity from Wilder's script. That said, the night I saw it the show clocked in at three hours, which is entirely too long—the last act drags interminably—though the hosts of the theater podcast 5 Useless Degrees found the length "courageous," concluding that Liminal effectively subjects the audience to the same experience that a young woman is confronting as she comes to terms with death. I can see the point, but man was that scene boring and aggravating to sit through; I also remain confused as to why the wedding scene was played so dark and ominous that it felt like a community sacrifice. (It was a cool scene, but seriously, why? Someone explain it to me.) That said, this is a show in which decisions have been made—there's a sense that every element of the production is there for a reason, even if I really didn't understand (or was annoyed by) some of the elements. I talked about this show for about an hour at the bar afterward, and I'd absolutely recommend it to anyone with an interest. I'm looking forward to Liminal's next original work.
This weekend's your last chance to see the show—it runs through Dec 1, with no show on Thursday.