Suicide in B-Flat
Willamette Week, August 13, 1997
By Steffen Silvis
After an inauspicious start with the criminally dull feminist tract Women in Limbo, the fledgling Pan Theater is showing signs that it is a serious company. It’s current production of Sam Shepard’s seldom-seen meditation on the siege and distress of existential crisis and questions of identity is a revelation. Director Bryan Markovitz has taken Shepard’s text and fashioned it into a performance piece of great power, casting actors who handle the lines and riffs with vigor. Jeff Marchant and Rich Southwick play Pablo and Louis, two homicide detectives who wander into an unfathomable mystery wrapped around the murder of a musician named Niles (Victor Troxel).
Christoph Saxe and the especially good Georgia Luce play the remaining members of Niles’ trio, who confound the detectives further. The play includes Jennifer Olson along with an onstage quartet led by Composer John Berendzen, admirably replacing the lone pianist Shepard calls for in the script. The company’s production values are also greatly improved. Trent Moore’s set and lighting design, as well as Kate Bowie and Miro O. Chun’s projection design, are excellent, and Pan has crossed the limen from unfledged to winged.