Our plans to run a review of Blue Monkey Theater's Altar Boyz in this column were thwarted by Snowpocalypse 2008—Blue Monkey was one of numerous companies to cancel shows last weekend, as per the showbiz mantra "The show must go on, unless something inconvenient happens." In lieu of a review, here's a hastily assembled and by no means comprehensive list of personal highlights from the last year that will probably be of no interest whatsoever to anyone not actively involved in the theater scene. Enjoy! (And thanks a lot, Snowpocalypse.) ALISON HALLETT
Best Argument for the Ongoing Relevance of Theater
A largely improvised format and a sharp cast lend Action Adventure Theatre's Fall of the House a flexibility and immediacy lacking in most other mediums: The ongoing, serialized hipster soap opera's post-election show saw characters reacting movingly to Obama's election.
Well, okay... they were the only balls. The Third Rail's Tim True went full-frontal in the company's first show at their new home in the World Trade Center, the excellent Dead Funny.
Best Attempt to Turn Portland into Something It's Not
The Bridgetown Comedy Festival is valiantly trying to establish Portland as a destination for touring standup comedians, banking on the fact that this city is full of sophisticated, risk-taking individuals willing to unplug from Hulu and take a chance on live entertainment. Best of luck.
In addition to fresh-baked cookies and salted cantaloupe, Sojourn Theatre's Built (which ran during the TBA Festival) offered tightrope walking and genuine insights about the nature of urban living. Bet you're bummed you missed it.
Best Use of Puppets
Snark alert! In The Long Christmas Ride Home, Theatre Vertigo's puppets were more charismatic than some local actors I could name.
Best Revisioning of a Beloved Northwest Classic
Aaron Posner's adaptation of Sometimes a Great Notion was a beautiful thing, and the oft-maligned (by me) Portland Center Stage gets points for hosting its world premiere. Runner-up: Tonya and Nancy, The Rock Opera.