Hand2Mouth Theater Showcases Recent Work

My Mind Is Like An Open Meadow (Selected Scenes) from Hand2Mouth Theatre on Vimeo.

This week is the official beginning of the TBA Festival in Portland, PICA’s yearly showcase of performances that this year includes everyone from the Rude Mechs to Michel Groisman (coming to NYC shortly as part of PS 122’s season), Andrew Dinwiddie, and choreographer Zoe Scofield, to off just a few of the names familiar to readers. (See here for our preview.)

Opposite the festival, though, Portland’s Hand2Mouth Theater, a well-established and adventurous devising company, is offering  a series of free showcase performances of their recent work over the next two weekends that are worth checking out. This Sunday, September 11, they’ll be presenting two remarkable solo shows be company members. At 2 pm at Conduit Dance,  918 SW Yamhill Avenue, Erin Leddy will be showing My Mind Is Like An Open Meadow. This show has been winning accolades since it debuted last year, and while I haven’t seen it live, I really hope it makes it somewhere near where I’ll be. Based on a series of interviews Leddy conducted with her grandmother in her convalescence, it’s a smart, moving, powerful piece of theater.

Undine – by Faith Helma – Highlight video – 9 min from Hand2Mouth Theatre on Vimeo.

Fellow company-member Faith Helma debuted Undine (Sun., Sept. 11 4:30 pm) a few years ago, and it has toured pretty far (it was at the Incubator two years ago, if I recall). The story is an adaptation of the Undine fairy tale, in which a water spirit falls in love with a man she then kills in a jealous rage. But the Helma’s performance in the piece is a tour-de-force. Looping her own vocals onstage to create a cacophony of sound worthy of an early My Bloody Valentine concert, the show is  a one-woman, no-orchestra polyphonic opera. Truly spectacular. It’s part of Oregon Ballet Theater’s Fall.ART.Live at 4:30 pm. (Interested parties can check out my interview from a couple years ago with Helma and director Jonathan Walters.)

Then, on Sat., Sept. 17, the company is staging a presentation of its latest full work, Uncanny Valley, an exploration of collectively memory and shared experience. It’s at the Portland Actors Conservatory at 2 pm.

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