• James Douglas

Hey! It's theater season again! And just in time, the NEA and Americans for the Arts both released reports finding that participation in theater is down—by 9% in the musical theater category, and 12% for non-musical theater. Is anyone surprised? If you're inclined to do your part to reverse that trend, there's some good stuff opening this weekend:

Grim and Fischer, Wonderheads: I'm quite curious about this show, from mask/physical theater touring company the Wonderheads. Though Portland-based, they've been touring since 2009, which is why neither you nor I have heard of 'em. But based on photos, their masks are incredibly impressive, and this show—about a grandma who refuses to go when death comes for her—has picked up awards at fringe festivals across North America. That show runs tonight and tomorrow, and next week Thurs-Sat, at the IFCC in Interstate. Details here.

Sweet and Sad, Third Rail Rep: Last year, with That Hopey Changey Thing, Third Rail kicked off a four-year, four-play cycle about one progressive family living in upstate New York. The first play in the cycle was set in 2010; the second, Sweet and Sad, is set in 2011, on the 10th anniversary of September 11. I didn't see the first show in the cycle, but I love the idea of a cast returning to the same characters year after year. And it helps that the cast is top-notch: Maureen Porter, Bruce Burkhartsmeier, Isaac Lamb, Michael O'Connell, Rebecca Lingafelter, and Jacklyn Maddux are some of Portland's best. Tickets here.

Mistakes Were Made, Artists Rep: The second show of Artists Rep's season—after the great The Big Meal—is a one-man show about a tightly wound theater producer coping with the demands of putting a show together. So it's almost appropriate that Mistakes Were Made hit some snags early on. Namely, it's a one-man show, and a few weeks ago its lead actor, the wonderful Todd Van Voris, had to drop out, citing family troubles. Director Michael Mendelson stepped into the role, new Artistic Director Damaso Rodriguez took over as director, and opening was pushed back... until this weekend. Mendelson is a pro and I have no doubt he'll pull off the role, though I have to admit I'm disappointed that we won't get to see Van Voris in the role. (I kind of wish Van Voris played every role*.) Tickets here!

We've got plenty more theater listings right over here.

*While we're on the subject of my favorite Portland actors—did everybody know Tim True moved to LA? Tim True moved to LA.