It's holiday theater season in Portland—a time in which just about every theater company in town makes a grab for your overly heightened sense of consumerism and begs you to buy tickets to see Yuletide nostalgia live onstage. And while Hand2Mouth Theatre isn't exempt from this rule, the most current rendering of their play Everyone Who Looks Like You is a welcome departure from the usual December offerings.
Everyone Who Looks Like You, which has gone through several iterations since its premiere in May 2009, is billed as "a holiday show for the rest of us." But don't be fooled by the tagline—there isn't much reference to the holidays in the actual show. Instead, Everyone focuses on that element of the holidays that makes the season stressful, memorable, special, and completely fucking nuts. That is to say, Everyone Who Looks Like You focuses on family. It follows the characters/performers/creators Liz Hayden, Jerry Tischleder, Julie Hammond, Faith Helma, and Erin Leddy as they navigate their way through certain memories and conversations that they have collectively shared as a hypothetical family unit.
While there isn't a defined narrative structure in place, which at times can lead the composition into areas of self-indulgence, the fast-paced, humor-filled, and impassioned tenor of the overall play trumps the navel gazing, and what's left is an exciting performance for the discerning holiday theatergoer.