Anne Richardson

Month: November, 2013

Liminal vs Our Town: Bare-knuckled Berendzen Delivers A Knock Out

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Leo Daedalus makes a slithery Stage Manager in Liminal vs Our Town

There’s a moment in the third act of Liminal’s production of Our Town where Emily suddenly turns to the Stage Manager, and asks him a question. It is a tribute to director John Berendzen, founder of Portland’s most experimental theater troupe, that at that moment I truly thought Jahnavi Caldwell-Green, the luminous actress playing Emily, had gone off script. I knew Berendzen designed this production to create these moments of confusion, and even knowing that, I found myself watching the Stage Manager’s momentarily panicked expression and thinking, “Are we still in the play? Does he know what he’s supposed to say?”

John Berendzen chose Our Town on a dare. If you’re truly experimenting, he reasoned, then the biggest experiment would be to do America’s most performed play straight. His Our Town accepts the rules of Thornton Wilder’s dollhouse reality without resistance or irony. He doesn’t prod for the reasons behind our love for Grover’s Corner, with its milk wagons and choir rehearsals. He gives us the world Thornton Wilder wrote, where, unaware that they are doing exactly what they have been trained to do, Emily, who loves giving speeches, will fall in love with George, who forgets to do his chores. If you’re lazy, that’s the entire plot of Our Town.

Read the rest at Portland Stage Reviews.

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Oregon Film History Initiative: A Look Back From 20 Years Into The Future

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Not all Oregon film historians are women, but this first group was. Left to right: Heather Petrocelli,  Anne Richardson, Ellen Thomas, Rose Bond. Not pictured: Michele Kribs, unavailable because she was out riding her motorcycle.

Dateline: 2033, 20 years from now.

The Oregon Film History Initiative celebrated its 20th birthday today by blowing out candles on 20 virtual cakes scattered throughout the state.

Founded in 2013 by a group of librarians and historians, OFHI’s original mission was to ensure that key documents and artifacts essential to a full understanding Oregon’s unique film history were successfully archived within the state.

Read the rest on Oregon Movies, A to Z. 

New York Is Oregon Territory: James Blue Takes Washington Square

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In 1962, the first issue of the magazine which would become Film Comment hit the stands. On the cover was the brand new filmmaker du jour, James Blue.  This photo must have been taken just before Blue won the Critics Prize at Cannes for his French language feature, The Olive Trees of Justice, shot in Algeria.

The dates of Cannes that year were May 7 to May 23, 1962.

Blue was a frequent contributor to Film Comment during its earliest years. In 1965, Sheldon Renan, a fellow Portlander turned New Yorker, began publishing his film writing in Jonas Mekas’ Film Culture. Meanwhile, on the Left Coast, PSU professor Andries Deinum was co-editor, with Ernest Callenbach, of Film Quarterly. During this period, Portland writers were contributing to all three of these important film journals.

I will be writing about James Blue during the James Blue Tribute, organized by Richard Herskowitz to celebrate the bequest  made by The James and Richard Blue Foundation of James Blue’s papers and films to the University of Oregon.