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Mother Teresa is Dead

REBECCA JACOBSON
7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 pm Saturdays-Sundays through April 14., Friday April 12 | $23-$32.
Portland Playhouse
602 NE Prescott St.
 
Trembling and anxious, young mother Jane (Nikki Weaver) tells middle-aged expat Frances (Gretchen Corbett) that she doesn’t remember coming to India. But she knew she needed to help someone, or do something simple, and that’s what compelled her to leave England, unannounced, to pursue charity work in Madras. Jane, though, isn’t well. Is it a mental health crisis? A crisis of conscience? After hoping to aid others, Jane ends up in need of help when she’s found alone and wailing in a public square. Helen Edmundson’s Mother Teresa Is Dead picks up as Jane’s husband, Mark (Chris Harder), arrives from England to retrieve his wife, and the unfolding drama pulses with fraught emotion but occasionally slips into flat characterization. Slick, British-educated aid worker Srinivas (Luke Bartholomew) is a cad who’s suave enough to sound well-meaning; Mark espouses racist and paternalistic views without fully realizing it; Frances and Jane are oft-hysterical women subject to masculine manipulations. Edmundson’s play is thorny, and it frustrates in places where it should unsettle. But, as ever from Portland Playhouse, the production is deeply felt: The performers bring vulnerability and nuance to roles that can feel one-dimensional, and Isaac Lamb’s taut direction imbues the action with palpable emotional suspense.

Where: Portland Playhouse
Phone: 488-5822
Address: 602 NE Prescott St.
Website: https://app.ticketturtle.com/index.php?show=30093

 
 
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