Oh Lost Weekend
Imago, 231-9581
Through Feb 17

Oh Lost Weekend, back in Portland after a highly successful run last year, is not a very coherent (linear) play--if it's a play at all. It teeters on the abstract plank of performance art, incorporating modern dance, music, semi-traditional theater, and an artful set that, on its own, would be a riveting installation piece. Its script traverses the possibly schizophrenic mind of Vickie Brown, who dreamed for a whole weekend that she is, in fact, Queen Victoria. Her story and mind is decorated with its own innocent, white-clothed, dancing minions and two very scowling bewigged antagonists.

Regardless of the lack of coherency, Oh Lost Weekend is both brilliant and innovative. Writer, director, and lead actor Carol Triffle has done an excellent job of connecting art forms in a cohesive and stunning way. The slightly disjointed, minimalist dance conveys the character's upset as much as any of the lines, and the bright and fluctuating lights and sound add an eerie depth to the production.

As an actor, Triffle takes an emotion (in this presentation, primarily confusion, dysfunction, and plain old creepiness) and explores it to its fully pressured boundaries, contorting her face from a fearful, quivering gaze to a confident, hip-shaking grin in a second. Her concise, convincing acting both distances and envelops the audience into the story--you will become as confused as Vickie Brown--which is, most likely, exactly how she means it to be.

The set consists of a huge, fenced-in box with opaque curtains that are used to cast atmospheric silhouettes. It's as sparse as possible; instead of using props, the actors must rely on their own forms and senses of space to portray emotion and drama. Some of their lines are whispered, and their singing is ghostly soft, rendering them scared and innocent figureheads of Vickie's scrambled subconscious.

Triffle has succeeded in using her space and actors to construct an extremely unique production that chips away at the walls that separate several non-traditional art forms. Oh Lost Weekend is funny, haunting, and will leave a profound mark on your subconscious.