Free Community Events Through PCS
In Support of 'Body of an American'
What is the responsibility of bearing witness to an atrocious act? A war photographer becomes haunted by the spirit of the soldier whose body he photographed. Portland Center Stage’s world premiere production of The Body of an American by Dan O’Brien, inspired in part by the book Where War Lives by P 2000 aul Watson, begins preview performances on Tuesday, October 2, opens on Friday, October 5 and runs Tuesday through Sunday through November 11, 2012. Tickets start at $39, with discounts available for students and those under 25. Rush tickets are $20. In his first production at PCS, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Bill Rauch is directing this riveting world premiere. Show times and a complete listing of performance dates are available online.
In support of The Body of an American Portland Center Stage is hosting the following community programs. All programs are free and open to the public.
First Thursday Gallery Reception
Thursday, October 4, 2012
4 - 7p.m.
Studio and Gallery Lobbies
Beginning on October 4 and continuing throughout the run of The Body of an America, PCS is featuring a new show in our Ellyn Bye Studio Gallery from local artist Jim Lommasson called Exit Wounds: Life After War - Soldiers' Stories. The exhibit deals with the effects of the United States’ wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by focusing, through photographs and interviews, on returning American soldiers as they reintegrate into civilian life. It is an ongoing collaborative effort, documenting in images and words the personal experiences and stories of these veterans.
Jim Lommasson is a freelance photographer and writer living in Portland, Oregon. He received the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University for his first book, Shadow Boxers: Sweat, Sacrifice & The Will To Survive In American Boxing Gyms. Lommasson is currently working on a book about American veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and their lives after their return from war. The book will be called Exit Wounds: Soldiers' Stories—Life After Iraq and Afghanistan and will be based on this exhibit.
Featured at PCS on the Gallery Level is local Portland artist Susannah Kelly. Susannah is a painter and drawer who often draws on the human figure as a source of inspiration for her work. Also featured on the gallery level are three animations playing on the monitor by video artist Matt Reynolds.
Shop Talk: New Work
Tuesday, October 9
What makes a script stand out among hundreds of submissions? What were Associate Artistic Director Rose Riordan's first impressions when The Body of an American came across her desk? How has the script changed during its development? For our second installment of this FREE pre-show discussion series, Kelsey Tyler will sit down with Rose to discuss the process of cultivating new work.
Sunday, November 4
following the 2p.m. performance
Ellyn Bye Studio
This series, a collaboration with the Oregon Psychoanalytic Society, puts theater on the couch and the audience in the conversational driver's seat. A lively post-matinee discussion will focus on the issues, themes and lessons gleaned from the plays – revealing that theater is truly a microcosm of life.
Life after War: Photography and Oral Histories of Coming Home
Monday, November 5
In honor of our production of The Body of an American, PCS will be featuring this Oregon Humanities Conversation Project. When does a war end? Does it ever? Many returning soldiers bring wars back with them, and these wars can reach beyond the battlefield or firefight, infiltrating the very thing that defines comfort and safety: home. The trials of homecoming are vast and complex, often resonating with tales of Odysseus’ journey back to Ithaca from the Trojan War. Photographer Jim Lommasson has collected oral histories from returning soldiers and documented their struggles at home. In this conversation, participants will consider the wars at home faced not only by returning veterans, but also by communities at large.
Military and Veterans Family Portraits
Sunday, November 11
1 - 6p.m.
In honor of Veterans Day, Portland Center Stage is hosting professional photographers in our lobby who will be donating their time and skills from 1-6 p.m. in gratitude to military and veteran families. All individuals or families will leave with instructions on how to access digital copies of selected portraits taken.
In addition to the above mentioned programs, Portland Center Stage in now participating in Blue Star Theatres, a collaboration between Theatre Communications Group and Blue Star Families, with leadership support from the MetLife Foundation. By offering discounted admission to all military personnel and their families, as well as veterans, this initiative is intended to recognize the contributions of service families, to build stronger connections between the theatre community and military families in communities all across the country and to help in whatever small way to aid service people and their families as they seek to be integrated into the lives of their communities.
About The Body of an American
War reporter Paul Watson has witnessed some of the most devastating scenes in modern history, and created perhaps the most disturbing image of modern warfare: the photograph of a dead American soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu. As the ghosts of the tragedies he’s recorded bear down on him, his story catches the attention of playwright Dan O’Brien, who’s battling ghosts of his own. In locations as varied as Kabul, Los Angeles and the Canadian High Arctic, the two men form a tentative friendship in a quest for absolution. The Body of an American is the story of their relationship, and the roles each take in helping the other process the responsibilities, and the damages, of bearing witness.