Since their founding in 2011, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE) has graced our city with astonishing, if infrequent, productions of thoughtful, occasionally aggressive, and generally very weird theater. The last piece we saw from them was this past summer’s Our Ruined House, which strove to collapse some big ideas surrounding modern warfare into a complicated couple fight? Did I get that right? Probably not, but it was incredible.
PETE’s new production Beckett Women draws from four works by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett—Not I, Footfalls, Come and Go, and Quad—to explore the histories of four female characters, in a garden-like setting. Beckett Women only runs 90 minutes, so that means we’re either in for tidy excerpts or mere jumping-off places, the latter being more likely for PETE. Expect poetics and hilarious, awkward moments. PETE never tries to be serious without also being funny. Let go of attaching meaning too strongly to it. One of the great benefits of any probing work is that what it means to you matters more. Whatever unfolds, I can promise Beckett Women will not be boring.(Check back for a full web review of Beckett Women on Monday, January 13.)