Three Plays Five Lives

Willamette Week, April 25, 2003

By Steffen Silvis

Its new space has granted Liminal the freedom finally to expand on the philosophy of performance that the group has been constructing over the past five years. In its latest piece, Alex Reagan’s Three Plays Five Lives, an almost perfect synthesis of the troupe’s ideas has been created. As always, an oblique script (here three story strands woven into one piece) leads to crystalline clarity, with movement and sound girding its structure. But the energy of this enterprise has been notched upward.

What can only be described as the physical score, developed by Amanda Boekelheide, is the most astonishingly fierce and complex piece of stage action I’ve seen in Portland in years. Fresh back from her studies in Poland, Boekelheide is at the top of her art, and her fellow performers (Georgia Luce, Jeff Marchant, Madeleine Sanford and Patrick Wohlmut) are not far behind. 


Text, movement, video and sound (John Berendzen’s feedback-scaping provides a powerful undertow) - all the elements present in Liminal’s work collide here brilliantly under Bryan Markovitz’s direction. This piece is about guilt and longing, and about being snared by time and the times. It’s also one of the most exciting slices of theatrical experiment around at present, performed with that rarest of qualities: commitment.