The 3rd Annual Richard Foreman Mini-Festival
Performance Works North-West, 4625 SE 67th, 777-1907, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $15-50
Richard Foreman, the tripped-out director who achieved fame in the '60s and '70s through his Ontological-Hysteric Theatre company, is perhaps best known these days for the royalty-free script notebooks he provides public access to on his website (www.ontological.com). These pages are typically nothing more than unconnected lines of dialogue designed not as works of theater in and of themselves, but as launch pads for other artists to bounce off of and create their own original works.
In that wonderfully inclusive spirit, Performance Works' 3rd Annual Richard Foreman Mini-Festival brings together local dance and theater practitioners, all riffing on prompts taken from Foreman's catalogue. After five years of existence (the Foreman Fest is a birthday party of sorts as well), PWNW's place in the Portland performance arts scene seems cemented. Some excellent talents are flocking to this thing, including the duo of choreographer Tracy Broyles (Theory 1: dance) and stellar actress Christine Calfas (a regular in Portland Center Stage productions), choreographer Angelle Hebert and her composing partner Phillip Kraft, and the ambient team-up of smooth-voiced poet David Abel and the Liminal Group's talented sound designer John Berendzen.
The extreme variety in styles and methods will ensure that the two-day Festival is never boring. For example, Mike Barber of 10 Tiny Dances presents on Friday "kind of a late-night Parisian taxi bar" piece that will feature himself, Margretta Hansen, and Robyn Conroy in "little black dresses." He'll go on the same night as, say, Catherine Egan of Eggshell, whose decidedly literal interpretation of the Foreman text finds dancers spelling out his words in physical manifestations of alphabet letters. The next day, Saturday, brings in, among others, composer Heather Perkins' collaboration with dancer Linda Austin, "A Child's Journey in Time," wherein the words are set to the pulse of a ticking clock, with instruments like a ukulele providing the sonic surroundings. Writer/editor/performer Tiffany Lee Brown also pops in on Saturday, with a work she claims will "involve a little black dress and my big white ass." Richard Foreman would be proud.