The Evening with the Photograph

Willamette Week, June 14, 1999

By Steffen Silvis

As defined by the performance swcholar Victor Turner, “liminal” is a threshold state-the ambiguous state between reality and illusion where all theater resides. The Liminal performance group has become one of Portland’s most innovative and exciting companies and is deserving of its growing following. Fusing dance, mime, music and text, Liminal achieves what most theaters fail to: It brings its audience to the hallucinatory threshold along with it. Written and directed by Bryan Markovitz, The Evening with the Photograph begins and ends with a man’s entertainment of suicide. In between, all of existence is dragged in for scrutiny.


The Liminal corps are exceptional performers: Rich Southwick, Jennifer Olson, Christoph Saxe, Amanda Boekelheide (those who saw the company’s production of Jowl Movements I-IX will especially delight in her performance) and Trent Moore, who would make a brilliant stand-up theoretician. John Berendzen’s sound design is a rich sonic stew. Like Ionesco, Liminal strives to make something that’s truer than reality by creating a heightened theatrical state.