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The Jim Pepper Project

LAURA HANSON
7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays (no show Sunday, May 11) through May 31., Sunday May 25 | $15-$35.
Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza
1785 NE Sandy Blvd.
 
An original play by Triangle Productions’ Don Horn, The Jim Pepper Project aims to illuminate the life of Jim Pepper, the late Oregonian who used his Native American heritage to inform his jazz music. Pepper, who died from cancer in 1992 at the age of 50, brought together Native American chants and saxophone in his music—1969's “Witchi Tai To” is the only song in the history of the Billboard charts to feature a Native chant—and he lived a rich life beyond his music, the details of which could have made for a compelling play. Unfortunately, this well-intentioned effort actually plays like a spoken-word performance of a Wikipedia page about Native Americans, with very little story about Pepper himself. The actors recite long lists of facts, many of which lack a clear connection to Pepper’s life or family history. An opening-weekend performance was also dogged by technical difficulties: dropped props, missed beats on musical numbers and frequently forgotten and misspoken lines. As Pepper, M. Cochise Anderson had to serve as something of an onstage prompter. With a more satisfying script and smoother performances, Horn might be able to achieve his stated goal of bringing The Jim Pepper Project to local schools and tribal groups, but there’s a ways to go.

Where: Sanctuary at Sandy Plaza
Phone: 239-5919
Address: 1785 NE Sandy Blvd.
Website: http://www.tripro.org/24th-season/jimpepper.php

 
 
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