I did not know the late Portlander Joan Hayward, but I sure know her dinnerware. That would be Fiestaware, donated by Hayward to Triangle Productions for American Fiesta
. Those brightly colored dishes fill the stage and, in the spirit of collectibles, are available for sale to the audience. Initially produced in the Depression, Fiestaware is highly—or addictively—collectable, especially for playwright Steven Tomlinson, portrayed in this one-man show by the phenomenal Gary Wayne Cash. Tomlinson’s first problem is that he can’t stop buying Fiestaware on eBay. “Collect them all,” he says, “and you’ve got serotonin on tap.” The other problem is his parents won’t accept him as a gay man, and they certainly aren’t going to travel to Canada for his marriage to Leon. Cash takes on a huge responsibility as the show’s only player. He has at least seven major voices to incorporate, and he does so with grace and talent. As his mother, he’s saccharine and passive-aggressive, only to switch in seconds to Leon’s optimistic, Latin-accented speech. Tomlinson may also have a third problem in using Fiestaware as a metaphor for everything, from the 2004 presidential election to philosophical quandaries akin to the Ship of Theseus. But thanks to Cash and director Don Horn, American Fiesta
is as riveting and colorful as a play about plates can be.
Sanctuary at Sandy PlazaPhone:
1785 NE Sandy Blvd.Website: http://www.tripro.org/