THE EVENING WITH THE PHOTOGRAPH
The Oregonian, June 19, 1999
By Richard Wattenberg
Judging from the recently opened production of Liminal’s “The Evening with the Photograph,” avant-garde, experimental theater is alive and well in Portland.
Toying with theatrical conventions and audience expectations, the production provides adventurous theatergoers with eccentric mind-teasing entertainment.
Written, arranged and directed by Bryan Markovitz, the play ostensibly revolves around the mysterious life of Clyde Buxworthy (Amanda Boekelheide), who was also the focus of Liminal’s last piece, “Jowl Movements I-IX.” In its exploration of a space where science and aret as well as reality and illusion meet, Buxworthy reveals himself to be a herself.
Structurally, the piece is complex. It is, in fact, a world within a world within a play. We accompany Buxworthy’s friend Morgan (Jennifer Olson), who with the assistance of Dr. Saxe (Christoph Saxe) enters a different reality, where she joins Buxworthy in the creation of a pseudo science radio show. Under the auspices of Max (Rich Southwick) and Friedrich (Trent Moore), the show is meant to disseminate Buxworthy’s theories of quantum art, an art that bridges order and chaos.
Confusing? Yes. But the play, saves itself both from complication overload and pretentiousness by calling attention to its own bizzare nature. At one point, Trent Moore, seemingly stepping out of character, humorously notes the tension between the play’s convoluted action and the need for accessibility.
The small company of five does a fine job of filling the Rose City Ballroom. In this regard, credit should go to movement director Amanda Boekelheide.
[Evening] captures the complexity of the contemporary or postmodern sensibility. The lines separating science from art, order from chaos and illusion from reality disappear. Intellectual comprehension gives way to movement and flow.