“The same emotion that is required for theater to work is the emotion that is required for democracy to work: the idea we need to care about each other’s experience.” So said Oskar Eustis, famed artistic director of the Public Theater in New York. That emotion and that idea are at the forefront for the 2017–18 Portland theater season as this progressive city grapples with current issues and the ongoing experience of being human.
THE THEATER COMPANIES
Portland has many terrific smaller theater companies, but it’s the larger companies that produce full seasons announced in advance. Portland Center Stage, founded in 1988 as an offshoot of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, is the city’s biggest company. Artists Repertory Theatre was founded in 1982. Like Portland Center Stage, it has two stages and programs recent plays, world premieres and the occasional classic.
Three smaller but highly proficient companies — Third Rail Repertory Theatre, Profile Theatre and Shaking the Tree Theatre — complement the “big two.” Third Rail has a penchant for dark comedies and Profile produces the work of a single playwright for a full calendar year. Shaking the Tree is also known for its deft and visceral adaptations of theater classics.
Below are some of the most intriguing offerings in store for the 2017–18 theater season in Portland.