Cerimon House welcomes back our esteemed colleague, Megan Cole, for a one night solo performance of Still Life. This poignant piece is based on Nighthawks by Carolyn Barbier, and explores the subject of life on a ventilator and end-of-life choices. The evening will also feature live harpists Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter.
Cerimon House is, as always, honored to present the incomparable actor, speaker & citizen: Megan Cole. Each year she supports our mission by offering a solo performance, full of heart & meaning. From The Wisdom of Wit, to Now I Must Begin Again, to Don Juan In Hell, her greatly anticipated appearances are a highlight for our audiences.
And how perfect, as we were at our very own turning point: the beginning of a construction and renovation period of our own campus. This special performance allowed the audience to pull-up a chair and revel in Ms. Cole’s Story Time for Grown-Ups series. Laughter and tears emerged, every which way, turning and re-turning.
This benefit, Turning Points, also occurred at a pivotal moment in our history: our 6th birthday, which coincided with hearing the news of our permits for construction. And the next time we turn-around, we will be 7, and back in our home to welcome you in. (A happy re-turn indeed.)
The rapid rise, and even more rapid fall, of the city of Vanport.
An engrossing family drama about the African American experience in 1940’s Oregon, written by playwright Rich Rubin and directed by Damaris Webb, the play has won recognition – and been shared locally in new play festivals and various assemblies.
The play is a tribute to the people of Vanport, Oregon: for the work they did, for the lives they led, and for the legacy they have left us. With haunting similarities to the circumstances of Hurricane Katrina, Cottonwood in the Flood, is also a buoyant nod to the human story, for Vanport stood at the crosscurrents of natural and man-made disaster.
The ensemble featured: Anthony P. Armstrong, Jeb Berrier, Joseph Gibson, Wrick Jones, S. Renee Mitchell, Kristen Lang, Seth Rue, Josie Seid.
With our thanks to the enthusiastic audiences, and the witnesses & survivors of the Vanport flood who spent time with us at each performance.
The Interracial Family
Storyteller Damaris Webb shares her provocative and tender solo performance piece The Box Marked Black that speaks to the experience of race in America. Damaris’ deeply felt story shines a light on the subjects of community and multiculturalism in America.
This performance traces the experience of growing up mulatto in the pre-Huxtable era. With only Jenny Willis from The Jeffersons as a guide, Ms. Webb creates narrative from the perspective of both sides of her interracial family, embodying multiple characters and childhood memories (including a “Roots” sock puppet re-enactment.)
“…inspires joy, pride, and wonder in our America. Webb can hold the audience close with just a whisper…”
What does it mean to be black? Is it the shade of your skin? The kink of your hair? Is it learned? What is its language, both in the body and on the tongue?
The novel Moll Flanders was a sensation in 1722 when Daniel Defoe presented it to a voracious readership. Bawdy and true, daring and ribald, this “morality tale” shows an independent woman of spirit making her way through a man’s world. Regional theatre artist Jennifer Le Blanc brings the work to life, in a frolicsome and bracing adaptation.
Ms. LeBlanc is an annual creative collaborator, having penned three popular offerings for Cerimon House: Persuasion (Austen’s masterpiece re-awakened) and The One You Feed (a look at violence in society) and an upcoming commission, adapting The Winter's Tale (Shakespeare's beautiful story of redemption.) The Cerimon House Artists Residency shepherds new adaptations of literature by women – and we are thrilled when they move on to success in new markets, as Jennifer’s have.
The Cerimon House cast included: Diane Kondrat, Sydney Somerfield, Lauren Bloom, Rändi Douglas, Gretchen Rumbaugh, Lauren Modica, Danielle Chaves, Danielle Renella, Cassie Skauge, Lily Burnett, William Wilson, Lawrence Siulagi, Rollin Carlson, Joey Copsey, Richie Bowen, Karl Hanover, Todd Van Voris
Known internationally, Tillie Olsen is honored for her powerful, poetic writing depicting the lives of working-class people, women, and people of color – with respect, profound understanding, and deep love. Her books, Tell Me a Riddle, Yonnondio from the Thirties, Silences, and her essays and lectures, have been translated into twelve languages.
A century after her birth, Tillie’s award-winning writings are newly available in an expanded collection, including the haunting “lost” story Requa I. We presented a retrospective, featuring the actors Sandy Kelly Hoffman, Gretchen Rumbaugh, Dawn Lisell, Andres Alcala, Paul J. Susi, Lawrence Siulagi, Fernanda Stier, and Lauren Modica.
The evening included an aural sampling of Tell Me A Riddle, I Stand Here Ironing, I Want You Women Up North To Know, O Yes, The Strike, Requa I, and featured special guest Kathie Olsen (Tillie’s daughter) sharing stories of her Mom’s life and times.
Revival planned for 2016
Dignity and Healing
Dorothy Pitkin was a writer & photographer who chronicled her last months in a nursing home. Fiercely funny & brave, she struggled with the stripping away of dignity so common to drawn-out end-stage disease, while also living with a fervent love of life in all of its terrible beauty.
Award-winning actor of stage & screen Megan Cole performs her transcription of Pitkin’s final writings in this moving solo monologue, followed by a symposium on the topic of “aging in place.” Ms. Cole has crafted a remarkable career, balancing a life in the Cultural Arts and the Medical Arts.
Megan has been a stalwart supporter of Cerimon House (performing with us annually,) and her newest work in the field of medical empathy includes the solo presentation Still Life, a compelling piece about ventilators and their uses.
Humans & Monsters May Bite
The new play The One You Feed by J. Pizarro, is a spine-tingling allegory of howling town-folk who are on-the-loose. A symposium The Beast Within followed the presentation, to discuss the escalating violence in our society, and how the Arts might provide viable and creative solutions.
This Cerimon House commission emerged out of a search for a modern American ghost story with a moral, and brought together a large circle of local artisans.
Direction by Randall Stuart, masks by Jane Clugston, musical score by Katy Stephan, photography by Travis Williams, and Art Show by Mr. Riddle
The ensemble included:
Gretchen Rumbaugh, David Buttaro, Cecily Overman, Dawn Lisell, Dave Bodin, Jennifer Le Blanc, Diana Boos, Gilberto Martin del Campo, Sascha Blocker, Lily Burnett, Kate Lacey, Cassie Skauge, Sean Lindsay, Aron Farrar, Jeffrey Gilpin
An Evening of Steinbeck
Meet the iconic Trask twin boys, their surrogate parent Mr. Lee, and witness their naming. A sharing of four short sections from the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel East of Eden, rich in American prose. Adapted, directed, and co-produced by Gilberto Martin del Campo.
Lee, Adam & Sam (The Sons of Cain) was a special Autumn 2012 revival of one of our most beloved presentations from Spring 2012, and was presented at the Alberta Little Church as part of our Salons & Symposia series. The return engagement allowed the artists to dig deep into the text, and mine Steinbeck’s words.
The Ensemble: Dawn Lisell, Paul J. Susi, Kevin-Michael Moore, Cassie Skauge, Amaya Villazan, Aron Farrar
Puppetry: Sarah Gahagan
Photography: Travis Williams
Amaya Villazan & Craig Stewart
A journey to the Other Side
A re-telling of the compelling Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey featuring the fascinating characters of Clara, Pepita, the Marquesa, Perichole, Uncle Pio & the Abbess, in a story of just ‘one split second’. Adapted by theatre artist Dawn Lisell for Cerimon House.
“There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.” – Thornton Wilder
The Cerimon House ensemble: Amaya Villazan, Debbie Hunter, Dawn Lisell, Gretchen Rumbaugh, Eva Rotter, Gilberto Martin del Campo, & Sam A. Mowry.
Cerimon House stands at a wonderful bridge of its own, in the Alberta Arts District of Portland – and we are sure of our footing. And we hope you’ll join us there in the Concordia neighborhood for even more connection to the Humanities – and soon, within our very own restored building.
Photography by Gary Norman
A Jane Austen Dream, with the Rustling of Paper
This buoyant new adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion by Jennifer Le Blanc, featured an epic staging at Cerimon House. The words swept off of the pages – and up into the air – while the actors were beautifully wrapped in paper!
The audience assembled at the environs of the historic Ainsworth House in Oregon City. And yes, the costumes were created of cardboard, paper, tyvek & buckram, and stenciled with tempura paint by award-winning costume designer Sarah Gahagan. Ms. LeBlanc’s adaptation has, to date, gone on to four professional regional theatre stagings.
The Cerimon House ensemble featured: Brenda Hubbard, Sascha Blocker, Gemma Whelan, Jennifer Le Blanc, Amanda Soden, Cassie Skauge, Adair Chappell, Gilberto Martin del Campo, David Bodin, Joel Morello, Paul J. Susi, Rollin Carlson and Kevin Yell.
With original piano composition by Adam Stockman. Photography by Gary Norman.
A heartfelt plea to fix gun checks in America.
A concert to promote sanity in the streets and safety in the schools. S.O.S. – Songs of Sondheim reunited the award-winning cast of the highly-praised local production of Sondheim’s Assassins, as well as other beloved local vocalists and musicians.
The concert honored victims of gun violence everywhere, and Cerimon House partnered with Stumptown Stages and Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation to raise funds and consciousness. Performed at the Alberta Rose Theatre.
See the related Portrait Project, created for this live event.
The Ensemble: Sharonlee McLean, Isaac Lamb, Kirk Mouser, Randall Stuart, Kevin-Michael Moore, Shawn Rogers, Dainichia Noreault, Ammon Morris, Genevieve Andersen, Rebecca Kimball, Susannah Mars…& with the participation of Margie Boule, Juliannne Johnson, Dale Johannes, Brian Bartley, Andrew Bray & many more.
“All the best performers bring to their role something more, something different than what the author put on paper. That’s what makes theatre live. That’s why it persists.” – Sondheim
Playing with Literary Fire: Shaw’s Masterpiece
In George Bernard Shaw’s theatrical allegory Don Juan In Hell, Don Juan Tenorio finds his way to Heaven with a little help from an old & artful friend named Lucifer. The one-act play is regarded as one of the 20th Century’s masterpieces of literature.
Featuring Gilberto Martin del Campo as Don Juan Tenorio and Jennifer Le Blanc as Dona Ana (both pictured below in Artist Rep’s Eurydice). The Devil was portrayed by the award-winning actor Megan Cole (the original Dr. Bearing in the play WIT) and local favorite Joel Morelloassayed the role of the stately-&-merry statue Don Gonzalo.
Directed by Cerimon House founder Randall Stuart, and adapted by Jennifer LeBlanc, Don Juan In Hell played in the intimate surroundings of Stonehenge Studios in Portland. Plans are in the works for an epic & immersive full-production within the great halls of our newly renovated campus: stay tuned, for all hell may break loose.
A celebration of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and film critic.
A performance featuring excerpts from many of James Agee’s most beloved writings and cinema reviews, including portions of his classic novel A Death in the Family, as well as biographical elements of his short life.
Created by founders Randall Stuart & Gemma Whelan – and performed by members of the Cerimon House Board of Directors and special guest Megan Cole – this was our first official “salon”, and performed at Stonehenge Studios in Portland. Folk songs filled the air, and Agee’s words were heard afresh.
With the dualistic voices of Tennessee and New York in his writing, Agee was an American treasure and an American son. His life was as epic as his stories and discoveries: bittersweet, brilliant, ageless. Part of Cerimon House’s creative and educational model is to create evenings focused on great literature and authors, and Agee paved the way for us.
Anything can happen during an eclipse.
Within 24 hours (in which, coincidentally, the moon covers the sun) the innocent hero Mr. P.T. Glee awakens on A Lovely Day and accomplishes at least five major things: comradeship, love, liberation, a trial, and a trip into the future.
In a full re-imagining of the 1929 play Pantagleize by the Flemish playwright Michel de Ghelderode, this “sleeper classic” bolts-wide-awake on the troubling morning of a completely interesting day. The benefit performances were performed at Artists Rep in 2010, with an original score by renowned composer Rody Ortega.
With abiding thanks to the original cast [Gilpin, Grace, Izambard, Palmer, Rooney, Rumbaugh, Ryan, Stuart & Susi]…and with a devoted tip-of-the-hat to the remarkable student cast & staff designers of Pacific University (led by Ellen Margolis, Tal Sanders & Caitlin Quinn) for bringing the play to a glorious theatrical life.