Three Plays, Five Lives was three short plays about five people. Unlike a play in three acts, the three plays were performed simultaneously. The plays unfolded on three raked stages where dialogue and action overlapped to create a contrapuntal arrangement of voices, sound, images and movement.

The fragmented stories involved five people on the physical and psychological brink—five people desperate for change. In play one, a young architect longs to build his only masterpiece before a rare disease leaves him blind, and before the people in his town discover the murder that he and his closest friends have committed. In play two, the children of a dying world-famous artist destroy her priceless works of art while betraying her and each other. In play three, a group of foreign aid workers and a young politician wait for violence to erupt in a war-torn village.

Three Plays, Five Lives also focused on the collision of several independent elements of action and media in live space. The ubiquity of technology in the space forced performers to respond to its constant magnifying presence. John Berendzen’s sound design filled the space with sounds sampled in the live moment from the actors’ voices and movement that, when processed by a computer, became entirely new sonic landscapes. Catherine Egan’s video design projected dozens of recorded video clips and captured live action down on to the stages and the actors’ bodies.

Image of the raked-stage ground plan

Link to the News Release

Press

The Oregonian, May 5, 2003
Willamette Week, April 25, 2003
Portland Mercury, April 24, 2003
Portland Mercury, April 17, 2003

Three Plays, Five Lives was produced in spring 2002 with the support of the Flintridge Foundation and the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

Directed by Bryan Markovitz. Performed by Amanda Boekelheide, Jeff Marchant, Georgia Luce, Madeleine Sanford and Patrick Wohlmut.

Amanda Boekelheide and John Berendzen each received a 2003 Portland Drammy award for the production—Amanda for movement direction, and John for sound design.