Home / Events / Theater / Detroit

Detroit

REBECCA JACOBSON
7:30 pm Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays through Nov. 3., Wednesday October 30 | $27.75-$38.75
Portland Playhouse
602 NE Prescott St.
 
The streets in the unnamed suburb of Detroit—which is not necessarily set anywhere near the Motor City—evoke light. Ultraviolet Lane. Fluorescent Avenue. Sunshine Way. But this suburb, built in the postwar housing boom and filled with prefab homes, is no longer the luminous place of its original inhabitants’ fantasies. Detroit is set in 2009, and the four central characters occupy a world of foreclosures, layoffs and fractured dreams. It’s a world that should be familiar to us, but in this Portland Playhouse production, it feels both alien and alienating. Lisa D’Amour’s Pulitzer-nominated play centers on two couples: Mary and Ben enjoy the trappings of a middle-class lifestyle, while Sharon and Kenny are recovering addicts. Unfolding over two acts, the play’s vignettes make for a fractured structure. At its best, the dialogue buzzes with an offbeat poetry that echoes this sense of fracture. “Cheetos are always the first thing to go at a party, even when they’re next to the brie,” says Sharon (Kelly Tallent). But the choppy, episodic narrative has to work overtime to keep the audience engaged. The bigger problem, though, with this Portland Playhouse production, is its inability to resolve warring senses of slapstick and pathos. The characters spend more time bonking their heads, crashing through porches and vomiting on each other than they do exposing or salving their wounds. Tallent and Brooke Totman (who plays the middle-class wife) opt for caricaturish portrayals that grate for the wrong reasons—they’re uncomfortable not because they niggle at something true, but because they’re forced. Tallent plays her role like an overgrown child, all graceless flailing and squeaky voice. It’s an interesting choice: There’s a case to be made that these characters are essentially children, thrashing about in a dangerous new world and scrambling for survival strategies. But in practice, it’s just distracting, and Detroit comes up cold.

Where: Portland Playhouse
Phone: 488-5822
Address: 602 NE Prescott St.
Website: http://portlandplayhouse.org/frontpage/front-page

 
 
Other events in Theater

Theory of Achievement

Saturday, Sep 05, 2015

This summer, Portland's Yale Union and the Parisian art collective Castillo/Corrales will swap houses, share people and exchange money. On Aug. 1, Castillo/Corrales will open its group exhibition � ...

Through Sept. 6. Opening 7–9 pm Saturday, Aug. 1.
Yale Union (YU) 800 SE 10th Ave., Portland Web | Map

A Peanut in a Suit is a Peanut Nonetheless

Saturday, Sep 05, 2015

Daniel Long's work appropriates common painting techniques and visual symbols into an open-ended rumination on representation and narrative. The ensuing world—populated by scenes of largely ancie ...

Opening reception 2-5 pm Sunday, Aug. 9. Through Sept. 19.
Nationale 3360 SE Division St. Portland Web | Map

Beauty in the Age of Indifference

Saturday, Sep 05, 2015

This group exhibition both celebrates and challenges our notions of what is beautiful, and what role beauty plays in a contemporary society obsessed and dist ...

Through Sept. 12.
Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art 2219 NW Raleigh Ave. Portland Web | Map
Also At Portland Playhouse
There's no more events in Portland Playhouse
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
comments powered by Disqus
 

Web Design for magazines

Close
Close
Close