Home / Events / Theater / Detroit

Detroit

REBECCA JACOBSON
7:30 pm Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays through Nov. 3., Friday November 01 | $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

Amjad Faur: Sun Kings

Friday, Nov 28, 2014

PDX Contemporary Art 925 NW Flanders St. Web | Map

As You Like It

Friday, Nov 28, 2014
You don’t have to give Macbeth a lightsaber, turn Rosencrantz and Guildenstern into Mafiosos or set Twelfth Night at an office party in Tigard to reimagine Shakespeare. Making the Bard access ...
7:30 pm Fridays-Sundays through Dec. 13 | $15; Sundays "pay what you can"
Post5 Theatre 1666 SE Lambert St. Portland Web | Map
Also At Portland Playhouse

A Christmas Carol

Wednesday, Dec 03, 2014

Portland Playhouse brings back its adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale, which picked up a Drammy last June for best play. It's a rollicking version of A Christmas Carol tha ...

7 pm most Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 and 5 pm most Sundays through Dec. 28. For additional showtimes, see portlandplayhouse.org | $20-$36
Portland Playhouse 602 NE Prescott St. Web | Map

A Christmas Carol

Thursday, Dec 04, 2014

Portland Playhouse brings back its adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale, which picked up a Drammy last June for best play. It's a rollicking version of A Christmas Carol tha ...

7 pm most Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 and 5 pm most Sundays through Dec. 28. For additional showtimes, see portlandplayhouse.org | $20-$36
Portland Playhouse 602 NE Prescott St. Web | Map

A Christmas Carol

Friday, Dec 05, 2014

Portland Playhouse brings back its adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale, which picked up a Drammy last June for best play. It's a rollicking version of A Christmas Carol tha ...

7 pm most Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 and 5 pm most Sundays through Dec. 28. For additional showtimes, see portlandplayhouse.org | $20-$36
Portland Playhouse 602 NE Prescott St. Web | Map
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
comments powered by Disqus
 

Web Design for magazines

Close
Close
Close