Monday, April 29, 2019

Tony Nomination Time Again!

Good luck to all of the brave souls who share their talent and their moxie every night on a Broadway stage!  I sure couldn't do what they do - even when I don't love the result, I greatly appreciate the process and commitment!  

Yes, it's that crazy time of year again, time for a small group of people to decide who gets to ride the crazy Tony Award ride and who doesn't.  I don't have as many friends involved in award races this year, so I'm feeling a little low-key about the whole thing.  Like last year, I focused most of my theater viewing on Off-Broadway shows, so I haven't seen a lot of stuff that's eligible for a Tony.  In fact, I only saw one Broadway musical during the season and you may recall I didn't love it all that much.  So I'm not even going to mention any of the musical categories in my predictions/hopes below, which will make this post awfully brief.  Oh well.  I have tickets to a couple of probable nominees coming up, so maybe my negative thoughts will change as we head into the award season madness...


Choir Boy, Tarell Alvin McCraney
The Ferryman, Jez Butterworth
Straight White Men, Young Jean Lee
What the Constitution Means to Me, Heidi Schreck

I haven't seen the three plays that are probably the front-runners for the award (though Constitution is certainly making some noise): Hilary and ClintonNetwork and To Kill a Mockingbird.  But I'm happy with my foursome - two women, two writers of color, four stories I haven't heard before.  That spells best new play to me.  


Torch Song Trilogy, Harvey Fierstein
The Waverly Gallery, Kenneth Lonergan

I didn't love All My Sons or True West, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them on this list.  I would love for Burn This and Lanford Wilson to be acknowledged, but I'm not sure if it will make the cut.  I need to see it, though.  Too bad no discounts are available (the Star Wars factor, I'm sure).


Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery
Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

I'm guessing the three frontrunners here are Glenda Jackson, Annette Bening, and Laurie Metcalf.  I haven't seen Glenda or Laurie (yet), and I personally wouldn't put Bening's performance above the three I have listed.  I doubt McTeer will make it, but I thought she was incredible.  Heidi Schreck is amazing and Elaine May was out of this world!  I like my list!  :)

photo credit: Joan Marcus

Paddy Considine, The Ferryman
Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy
Michael Urie, Torch Song Trilogy

Again, I'm guessing that I haven't seen the gents who are most likely to win/receive a nom: Bryan Cranston and Jeff Daniels.  John Lithgow is popular, and his show just opened, so he could wind up here.  Same with Nathan Lane.  Is this the year Daniel Radcliffe finally gets a nomination?  Hmmm.  The common thread with my nominees is charm.  You can't teach it, you can't manufacture it, but these three actors had charm to spare.  And their charm was paired with great empathy and skill.  So I'm happy with them.  Frankly, I doubt any of the three will make the list, but we'll see...


Joan Allen, The Waverly Gallery
Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman

I hope Allen is remembered here, her performance as the daughter trying to hold her family together was fantastic, very detailed and specific, but relatable and moving.  I loved her.  Flanagan has been a favorite of mine for decades, and she's received nominations elsewhere, so I'm hopeful.  


John Clay III, Choir Boy
Jason Butler Harner, Bernardt/Hamlet
Austin Pendleton, Choir Boy
Benjamin Walker, All My Sons

I wouldn't be surprised to see a bunch of Ferryman actors here, or Boys in the Band actors, or even more of the Choir Boy cast (Chuck Cooper has won before, so that probably helps him).  I just picked my two favorite actors from the supporting cast.  I'm also pretty sure Benjamin Walker will pick up a nod; Jason Butler Harner is a total longshot, I'm sure, but I'm a longtime fan and his reaction at the first act curtain still tickles me.

To sum up:  it's pretty dumb that I have no ideas about musicals, but since I've only seen one, it seemed even dumber to try to pick which performers would get attention.  So I'll just be happy for whoever gets their name called.  I'm sure when I pick up TDF tickets to some of the nominated shows, I'll be glad they were remembered.  Next year, I need to think about doing a Drama Desk nomination prediction post, so I can get all my Off-Broadway love on the page... 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Preview Thoughts on All My Sons and Tootsie

Perhaps I'm having end-of-season ennui, but I didn't especially love the most recent Broadway shows I've seen.  I probably shouldn't complain, since both tickets were free, but I will share some thoughts about them.  Both shows have officially opened, so I'm guessing there won't be any changes from now on; I saw them early-ish in the preview process, so there could've been changes of which I'm not aware...

from the 1997 production
I saw Roundabout's Off-Broadway revival of All My Sons in the late 90s, when I first moved to NY.  I was working at a pager company and was fortunate to get quite-large quarterly bonuses.  You can probably guess how I spent that bonus money: yes, on theater subscriptions.  I had a subscription to Roundabout and saw everything.  Ah, those were the days.  I don't miss the pager company but I do miss quite-large quarterly bonuses.  Moving on.  The production of All My Sons featured John Collum, long one of my favorites, as the father and Michael Hayden, who became a new favorite that night, as the son.  I was also very taken with Angie Phillips as Ann; I thought the production was terrific and very moving.  I'm ashamed to admit I didn't really know All My Sons before I saw that production, but it moved to a nice high spot in the pantheon of my love for Arthur Miller plays.  I didn't go to see the most recent revival with Patrick Wilson and Katie Holmes - when I read the reviews, I thought that production didn't seem like my cup of tea, so I skipped it.  I do regret missing Dianne Wiest on stage, though...

I'm very grateful to have received a free ticket to the current production starring Tracy Letts, Annette Bening, and Benjamin Walker.  Interestingly, Michael Hayden plays the supporting role of the doctor next door in this production; it was hard for my brain to not see him as the gleaming young man.  But that's on me.  This production is nicely produced, attractively designed, straightforwardly directed, and clearly acted.  But I was never really engaged and never moved, even at the last terrible moment.  I don't know if the cast was having a bad night, or if I was, but I was rather disappointed all the way around.

For me, I just couldn't see the reason for this play to be produced now, though I guess I often wonder at the programming of the Roundabout's Broadway stage.  I mean, All My Sons is rather timeless, with its ideas of fathers and sons and war and reckoning.  And the line (paraphrased) "You can be better! Once and for all you can know there's a universe of people outside and you're responsible to it,” resonates now.  It seems to me that everyone now is so selfish and won't think about how they're responsible to everyone else.  Anyway.  This production itself didn't make itself distinct, in my opinion, to illuminate more about the play and about the world right now, other than maybe that isolated moment.

photo credit: Sara Krulwich
I'm a big fan of Tracy Letts' and he was, as usual, terrific, though I did feel he underplayed a little too much.  Probably to balance the overplaying by Annette Bening.  Again, maybe it was an off night, but I found Bening to be pushing so hard.  She was too shrill, too strident, too nagging and I can't imagine anyone ever having any pity for her.  I needed a little balance, something to show me why everyone loved her and wanted to protect her.  Her reviews were excellent, though, so maybe it was nothing more than an off night.  I thought Benjamin Walker was very good at walking the tightrope of playing a character who can come off as too perfect.  The supporting actors were all fine as well and Michael Hayden's complex characterization in a relatively small role was welcome.  I guess I just wanted more...something - the play has often been compared to Greek tragedy and I could've used more of that lift across the board (though maybe not from Bening).  Or maybe my days of simply enjoying a handsomely produced war horse of the American theater doesn't really do it for me anymore.  I just don't know.

After a very fun week with my family in Pensacola (a post about that will hopefully arrive soon), I was treated to a free ticket to Tootsie, the new Broadway musical.  I'm a huge fan of the film and can pretty much quote the entire thing to you right now.  I actually was avoiding seeing the musical because of my love for the movie, but I'm never one to turn down a free ticket.

Again, maybe I was having an off night.  I was sitting next to horrible horrible people (thankfully, I had purchased a big cocktail on my way up to the mezzanine) and my seat was pretty high up, but I didn't love the show.  I was moderately entertained (though mainly during act one), I laughed here and there at some jokes that were pretty good, and performances that were committed, but basically I thought: why?  Even with inserting various #MeToo kinds of dialogue, I just didn't understand why we needed to be seeing this musical right now.  The whole thing felt if they thought "Oh, the title Tootsie is enough."  (Which, of course, it probably is.)  Could the fact that most of the production team is male have had something to do with my struggles?

I understand why they moved the milieu of the piece from soap opera to Broadway/musical theater, but maybe it would've made more sense to leave the show in the 80s instead of doing it in a contemporary time period.  Just because a character mentions it's a bad idea for a man to take a role from a woman doesn't make the entire premise ok.  And the fact that the older white guy is the one to give everyone permission to live however they want was...bothersome.  I also found in this version that it took much too long for the character of Michael Dorsey to learn anything.  He was pretty much an entitled asshole for the entire show, who loved the attention and behaved in exactly the same obnoxious way, except for the last ten to fifteen minutes.  And the women characters were such heightened caricatures...I don't know.  Even when I laughed at a well-turned phrase, I was sort of mad at myself because I was uncomfortable throughout.

I know this is a Broadway musical and not a documentary, but I just couldn't wrap my brain around how the stuff surrounding the musical-within-the-musical was handled.  There is NO way, none, zero, that the plot points that happen would EVER happen.  And there is NO way, none, zero, that the ending would be resolved in the way it was resolved.  If we're expected to believe that this man learned something by 'being' a woman, shouldn't we be able to believe the way that he learned it?

photo credit: Matthew Murphy
The cast is certainly working hard (I always adore me some Reg Rogers and Julie Halston) and they seem to be having a blast.  I just wish I had had as much fun as they seemed to.  The overture and entr'acte were fantastic, though my expectations for the songs were probably too high; they were mostly fine with no real standouts for me on first hearing.  I walked out humming songs from The Band's Visit and/or Women on the Verge, which probably wasn't what the creators had in mind.   

I could say a lot more, I guess, but why yuck other people's yum.  The show got rapturous reviews, so congrats to them.  As I've struggled before, maybe I'm just not in the frame of mind right now to watch these shows glorify the white male gaze, even when they pretend to be in service of the female gaze.  The rest of the audience seemed to be having a great time and really talented people are working hard.  I guess I just need to step aside and acknowledge that I don't have to be on board with every single piece of theater that's out there right now.  And the smaller stuff is where my heart is at the moment - I recently saw a reading of a new play that was so odd, so out there, so bold, and so fascinating; it may not ultimately succeed, but that's the theatrical sandbox I want to play in right now.  I'm sure the big, brassy Broadway show will capture my heart again some day...

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Eight Years - Go Figure!

I don't know that I would've dreamed I would still be blogging eight years after my first post.  I might've imagined that once my health things had been resolved, then I could just quietly stop posting.  But, no, I've quietly KEPT posting!  I've made baby steps towards trying for a bigger online audience; maybe in year nine, I'll take even bigger steps!  There are many more things I consider writing about, then I talk myself out of it.  I probably need to stop doing that...

Things I worry about that I mainly don't post:  the (imaginary) warranty running out on my implants.  I was told when I got them that they have a shelf life of ten to twenty years.  I'm kind of close to ten years, so I worry.  I have a friend who had the same surgery as me and her body rejected her implants.  She is so desperately ill, it makes me feel guilty and I feel badly.  Then I worry.  My feet, which bothered me about fifteen years ago, have started acting up again.  So I worry.  I'm doing a bit more flying for work lately and I'm terrified of having a DVT problem like my sister did in 2014.  So I worry.  At the same time, I'm feeling pretty upbeat about the theater I'm seeing and about the new friends I've made lately and my old dear dependable loved ones.  I guess, if I have to admit it, it's an even balance between worry and feeling upbeat.  That's something to cheer.

On the other side of the coin, in this new blogging year around our planet, I'm also thinking a lot about what might happen if there isn't a complete political change next year.  Can I continue to live in this country that is run by people with no empathy?  Where would I go?  Can I continue to be silent?  I do what I can, with marches and petitions and fundraising and charitable contributions and voting, but some days, it just doesn't seem like enough.  And living my small but generally-enjoyable life seems to be a cowardly way to go through these terrible times.  I read Twitter like it's a newspaper, meaning that I'm only reading the feeds of people with whom I share opinions.  And most days I want to cry.  I fantasize about meeting some of these politicians and crying in front of them, asking them how they can live with themselves.  Their venality (and the voters' blindness) is completely beyond my comprehension.  I wish the Magic 8 Ball could help.  Though I do conversely feel that I stand up for myself in small ways more often - is that a result of feeling so powerless a lot of the time?  Hmmmmm.

Blah blah blah, right?  Let's talk about fun stuff - numbers!  At least my blogging numbers.  I recently topped 100,000 views!  That seems amazing to me!  How in the world are there that many people who have looked at my blog?!  Of course, I have a Facebook friend who recently posted he just topped the two-million-view mark.  So...I guess I'm small potatoes.  But it still seems like a lot to me!  Now that I have a Facebook page exclusively for the blog, I do feel more of a responsibility to post with better frequency.  I see shows at least twice a week, so getting my thoughts about the shows out in a timely fashion is a goal.  Although I'm still loath to post about shows I didn't enjoy.  There's enough negativity in the world (as I am always complaining), so why add to it?  I read on Twitter the other day that someone wished people would stop writing personal back stories before they actually review something.  That made me think.  I mean, I'm not actually a critic, but I like the personal back stories!  I think they add context and then the opinion doesn't exist in a vacuum.  I mean, yes, you either like a show or you don't, but with context, you can help the reader decide for themselves whether to take your opinion with a grain of salt or not.  If that even makes sense.  So I've decided to not listen to that Twitter-person and keep to my own style.  What little style there is, anyway.

In the past eight years, I've written 832 posts that have been looked at over 100,000 times!  Wheeeee!  That's crazy, right?!  Interestingly, last year I wrote 69 posts, which is the same as the year before.  I still wonder why some posts are more popular than others and I'm still unsure why most of my posts from the last few years have three times as many hits as my earlier posts.  Is it that no one was interested in my health posts?  Maybe, though when I was going through my travails, I found some blogs helpful (some were depressing, too, I guess).  Oh well.  Ours is not to wonder why.  

I love that half of my views are from the US and Italy (though the Russian number makes me nervous - I'm guessing they check on my ballet blogs when I mention Russian dancers and not on my vaguely political musings).  Though the stat in the photo at left is interesting - where the heck is Unknown Region?!  Can my computer not detect the location?  Are they in outer space?  The possibilities are intriguing.

Without further ado, here are my post popular posts (with links this time!):

All-Time Most Popular Posts:

Review – Street Theater, 10/23/15, 416 views, LINK
ABT Fall Season - GUEST BLOGGER ALERT, 11/13/13, 374 views, LINK
Burrowing…but not, 10/10/17, 362 views, LINK
Review - The Healing, 6/17/16, 311 views, LINK
Terror and Rage, 8/16/17, 309 views, LINK

Not much movement in the top five, though one did fall off and a new one snuck in.  I find it interesting that two of my more personal, political-y pieces are in my top five right now.  Perhaps my goal for this year is to do more of them and see what happens.

Top Posts since April 2018:

ABT 2018 - Don Quixote, 6/26/18, 212 views, LINK
Review - Twelfth Night, 8/13/18, 199 views, LINK
Review - The Ferryman, 10/22/18, 194 views, LINK
Review - Teenage Dick and a little extra, 7/3/18, 192 views, LINK
Reviews - The Confession of Lily Dare and Three Tall Women, 4/19/18, 189 views, LINK
Preview thoughts on I Was Most Alive With You, 9/24/18, 183 views, LINK

Yeah, yeah, I know, there are six posts up there instead of five.  When a Craig Lucas play is so close to top five, he must be mentioned.  It's a rule.  I guess I don't see a trend or theme in those top posts, except that they were really popular productions.  People probably just landed on them in random searches of the internet.  I could probably do a deeper dive into analytics and stuff, but that seems like a lot of work.  I'll just be happy that people are finding me.  I could actually invest funds to insure people find me, but, again, that just feels weird.  In my ever lasting 'avoidance and denial' way of life, I guess I'd rather just let chance guide my blog's future.  At least for now.  We'll see how I feel in year nine.  Thanks for sticking with me, everyone!  I appreciate it more than I can say.  Hopefully, I'll start thinking about my reviews more quickly so there's a lot less lag time...

(Regarding the pics in this post: I love the Schoolhouse Rock song "Figure Eight," sung by the sublime Blossom Dearie.  So I had to include a little screenshot of that piece, along with the other goofy "eight" images.  Always grand to have that song floating through my head and I'm also always ready to show off my loopy ideas.  I've also started a loopy random Throwback Thursday-type thing on my blog's Facebook page - I found a random date generator app and it spit out some dates to play with.  Here is a link to the post that was randomly selected for this week - it didn't get many hints when I posted it, but I think the universe is trying to tell me to keep the faith:  OVERJOYED.  May that be true for all of us.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Hello, Portland!

I've always heard nice things about the Pacific Northwest, but I've never been there.  When I went to Portland, OR for not one, but two work events, I was happy to visit and experience a new place.  Since I was also going to be there on my birthday, I did a little (very little) extra research on a good place for a birthday dinner.  I probably didn't do enough research...

My birthday was on a Wednesday and I didn't really take into account that it takes FOREVER to get out to Portland, or else I wouldn't have made a 7pm dinner reservation.  I flew to Minneapolis, had a longish layover, then flew to Portland.  I got in around 4:30pm, Pacific time, then took a cab to our Airbnb.  The ride from the airport took quite a while and the cabbie couldn't quite find the address.  My GPS wasn't having any problems, but my cabbie's was.  Once we finally found the place and I figured out all of the lockbox issues, it was almost 7pm already.  I briefly toyed with the thought of not going out for my birthday dinner, but I forced myself to go.  

After a really long Uber ride (this is where my research was lacking - Portland is spread out over a wide area and I didn't check to see how close things were to each other), I finally made it to a Cena, which is highly rated on Open Table.  When I looked at their menu, there were several dishes that I wanted to try, not to mention their housemade limoncello, so I made a reservation.  By the time I got there, I was really tired and not all that hungry anymore after all the travel.  But they were very nice to me and gave me their special window table.  The pre-meal focaccia and bread sticks were delicious and my glass of nebbiolo was fantastic.  I thought about getting their special appetizer salad of fennel and apple, but I didn't think I'd make it through more than one course, and if I did, I wanted the second course to be dessert.  So I ordered the dish that my eye kept landing on, the agnolotti, which was homemade pasta filled with corn and mascarpone, and topped with butter-poached lobster.  OHMYGOD, this was so amazing!!!  Truly one of the most delicious dishes I've ever had in my life.  It was light yet rich, creamy and soft, with a bit of texture from the lobster.  They serve two sizes of their entrees at a Cena, and I'm so glad.  I got the smaller size and it was perfect.  I think the larger size would've just been too much.  But it was so amazing and sweet and savory that I didn't even need dessert.  I was completely full and satisfied.

I walked around the cute neighborhood for a few minutes, stopped and picked up a few things for the Airbnb, then called Uber to take me back to the apartment.  The description of the driver said "good conversation," so as we were driving, I asked him about his favorite restaurant in Portland.  After a pause, he looked into the rearview mirror and said, "No English."  Um, ok.  I'm thinking that Uber needs to change his bio.  It was fine, though, because a quiet ride was pleasant at the end of a really long day.  When I got back to the apartment, I had to struggle to stay awake until an appropriate Pacific time zone bedtime (I didn't want to wake up at 3am), so I sat at the dinner table and looked at all my Facebook birthday posts.  That was a nice way to end the evening.  By 10pm, I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, so off I went to bed.

The Airbnb apartment was very nice, with large bedrooms and nice-sized closets, a big bathroom and a huge kitchen.  I only wish I had had enough time to cook something in that kitchen.  When I woke up Thursday morning, I looked on my phone to see if there was a coffee shop nearby.  I was happy to see that there was a locally owned coffee shop around the corner!  I wandered over there and was delighted with B Street Coffee House.  The owner also takes your order and runs the espresso machine - he was kind and funny and really happy to be chatting with everyone in the place.  B Street is very small, only three tables, but it's so warm and inviting.  The coffee was great and the breakfast sandwiches were also really tasty.  I was so happy I found it and I went back every morning I was in Portland.  I was also so happy that when my co-worker arrived, she loved the place as much as I did.  

About my two work events - one was a conference of writers and one was a playwriting intensive.  Both of the events went very well; I met many nice people and I think everything went smoothly.  I'll just talk about the food and fun of Portland from here on in.  Oh, and the plays we saw.  Thursday night, we ate dinner at a restaurant recommended by a mutual friend, Clyde Common.  I got a very delicious cocktail with mezcal, lime, and jalapeno bitters (among other things) - it was very yummy, though the tiniest bit spicy.  I liked it.  My friends and I shared a charcuterie plate that had amazing mostarda with it, a burrata appetizer that had an amazing pear butter on it, and then I had the roast chicken dish.  I only ordered that because I wanted the creamed farro that came with it.  WOW!  Creamed farro is incredible!  The chicken was moist, the skin was crisp, the cippolini onions were deliciously carmelized, and marcona almonds added a nice crunch.  I loved this dish.  I was so full, however, that I didn't order dessert.  Thankfully, I did order a spoon, because my friends each got an incredible dessert and I got to try them.  One ordered the donuts and the other ordered the pavlova.  Both were yummy, but the pavlova was out of this world!  And a work of art as well!  I'll share a photo below.  It was an amazing meal with two lovely friends - a great night.

Friday night, after our long workday ended (though I should also mention that we had a delicious lunch at the Driftwood Room inside the Hotel Deluxe!), we were headed to Portland Center Stage at the Armory, so there wasn't a lot of time to eat.  We ended up at Life of Riley, which was a cute pub nearby.  We were there during happy hour, so I got a huge basket of tater tots for $4!  It even included a yummy spicy ketchup!  I had to run over to the theater to distribute our group's tickets, so I didn't have a cocktail, but I did enjoy those tater tots.  After eating, we were so lucky to be able to see Dael Orlandersmith's fabulous Until the Flood, which I had seen at Rattlestick last year (you can remind yourself of my rave review HERE).  I don't really have anything to add to my rave - the show is still a powerful piece of theater, with empathy and truth in every pore.  But this time the post-show talkback came with Dael Orlandersmith herself!  She is a kind and generous soul, and she gave our group her undivided attention and deeply introspective answers to their questions, for about 45 minutes after the play ended.  I can't express how grateful I was that she shared so much of herself with our group.  And I was so happy to be able to share the experience of seeing that amazing play with my co-workers.

Saturday was mainly work work work, though my co-worker and I did sneak out at lunchtime to try some famous Portland food truck cuisine.  About four blocks from our venue was an entire city block of food trucks.  After walking around and trying to figure out which would be best, we were offered a sample of the lamb being served in lamb wraps.  But then I saw the Danya truck, offering tonkatsu.  Choice made for me.  And oh my goodness, that was one of the best sandwiches I've ever had!  The piece of fried pork was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside (and not greasy at all), the bread was toasted perfectly and the tonkatsu sauce was simply one of the most delicious sauces I've ever had in my entire life!  It was sweet and salty and rich and light, all at the same time.  Eating that sandwich on a gloriously sunny spring day was a true delight.

After our Saturday work event, we were going to see another play, but we had just enough time to get some ice cream at Ruby Jewel.  When I saw they had a flavor called Brown Sugar Sour Cream with Rhubarb Jam, I knew what I wanted.  I love rhubarb and you just don't get it that many places.  And it was perfect in that ice cream - the brown sugar part of the base was sweet, the sour cream was a bit sour, and the rhubarb was tart.  The three flavor sensations together were fantastic!  As I write about it, I wish I could try it again!  All of the flavors looked delicious; one of my co-workers was surprised I didn't try the meyer lemon option, since I love lemon, but rhubarb season is so brief and rare, I just couldn't pass it up.  And I'm glad I didn't.

photo credit: David Kinder
Saturday night's play was at Artists Repertory Theatre - Wolf Play by Hansol Jung.  Here is how the playwright described her work (from Artists Rep website):  "A Korean boy is ushered into a new house by his adopted American father. This new house belongs to an American boxer and her wife. American father un-adopts boy by a single signature on a piece of paper. But just before he leaves the new house, ex-father finds out that the new couple to whom he has "re-homed" his ex-son, is a lesbian couple. American Ex-father spends the rest of the play trying to get the boy back. In his corner is Ryan, the Boxer's coach, and Wife's brother. Ryan has insecurities about being the protector, the alpha male, and he doesn't like the new Korean boy who is a bit weird.  The boy is actually not a real boy. He is a puppet. The puppeteer is the Emcee of the evening, and spinner of the night’s tale: a lone wolf who slips in and out of the story as is needed.  Yes, the puppeteer is a wolf. At least he believes that he is. Because wolves are a god figure in many Eastern myths, a frequent villain in many Western tales and biologically famous for their adherence to pack mentality.  Wolf Play is a messy funny disturbing theatrical experience grappling with a wolf, a puppet, and a very prickly problem of 'what is a family, and what do we need from them, today? Is it very different from the things humans have needed from families before?'"

That description is pretty perfect, and yet it doesn't describe the depth of emotion and spirit and theatricality that was portrayed on stage.  The play begins with the wolf narrator speaking some lines that at first seemed very meta-theatrical and self-aware, but as the play unfolds, they lose that self-awareness and by the time we get to the end of the play, the powerful emotional punch of those words very nearly made me sob in a grotesquely loud (but good theatrical) way.  I was incredibly moved by Wolf Play, by the situations and the characters, by the topicality of the plot, by the puppet and the way it was used.  I always find puppets to add such a profound quality to a play, but this puppet really moved me.  And I thought the actor playing the wolf narrator was spectacular.  He is giving one of the best performances I think I've ever seen, he was that amazing.  I adored Wolf Play and I hope hope hope that a theater in New York picks it up so I can see it again.

Sunday, we had a half day of work, then when it was over, my co-worker and I headed back over to the food trucks.  Well, first we stopped at Blue Star donuts - most people had told us to try Voodoo Doughnuts, and we planned to, but all of our Uber drivers told us that Blue Star was better.  Plus, it was on the way to the food trucks, so that helped us make our decision.  I got a Mexican hot chocolate doughnut - YUM.  That's all I can say.  Those doughnuts are absolutely amazing.  The cake is tender and not-too-sweet and the frostings are wonderful.  I can't recommend them enough.  When we made it to the food truck area, a lot of them were closed because it was Sunday (darn, we didn't get to try the bao).  We ended up getting some delicious pork dumplings and eating them in the sunshine as we walked over to Powell's books.

Everyone I know said I had to go to Powell's.  It's a huge incredible bookstore, with zillions of titles and lots of cool branded products, too.  After our long work weekend, it was actually a little overwhelming to be in such a huge bookstore; there was so much to choose from.  I did get an adorable t-shirt and a couple of books, but we didn't linger all that long.  We probably should've gone there at the beginning of the weekend instead of the end, but we'll know better next time.  After Powell's, we took an Uber over to Twisted, a famous yarn store.  They had a very comfortable couch where I could rest while my chum shopped, though I did pick up some very pretty yarn for a knitting-crazy friend.  We had hoped to find a coffee shop nearby before heading to another play, but we couldn't find one that was open.  We just sat outside the Portland Playhouse in the beautiful weather and waited for the house to open.  

One of the participants in the playwriting intensive we presented was having a production of her one-act at the Playhouse.  Since my co-worker and I were flying out on the red-eye, we had plenty of time to check out her play, which was sweet and delightful and was being given a lovely production.  By the time the play was over, though, we were starving, so my co-worker and I walked over to Pok Pok, yet another recommendation from a mutual friend.  We sat at the bar, had a delightful ginger beer (on tap!), and ordered delicious Thai food that we suddenly realized we wouldn't be able to finish (big portion/small amount of time before going to airport) and that we wouldn't be able to take with us on the plane (too fragrant).  We did get the leftovers wrapped up and coincidentally our Uber driver used to live in Bangkok and loved Thai food.  Woo hoo!  He took our leftovers with delight and told us very interesting stories about living in Bangkok.  

Actually, all of our Uber drivers were fun - one guy wanted to share his vape with us and our doughnuts with him; one gent was knowledgeable about all liquors so we talked about the merits of mezcal vs tequila vs bourbon; our driver to the airport was just a doll and laughed and had fun with us all the way to the airport.  I don't usually use Uber, but I think I will start to.  We'll see if NYC drivers are as universally fun as Portland drivers.  

I had a wonderful time in Portland, even with all the work we had to do!  I am already dying to go back - there's so much I didn't see and apparently there's a lot of food I didn't eat.  I'll have to find a time and reason to get back there soon.