What does it mean to remember? The ancient cartographers found that to represent the world in perspective, they had to draw it in the shape of a heart. I began to notice in working with people on the poetry of their stories that landscape shaped memory in particular ways, and in this sense, shaped the character of the person remembering. Like the land itself, autobiography is a living, breathing, moving, changing dance.
-- writes Susan Banyas, co-founder of Dreams Wells Studio and the eclectic theatre, SO&SO&SO&SO, Inc., in Portland.
The Nye Beach Writers’ Series welcomes the six performers in "THE MEMORY PLACE," a choreographed literary performance. The show is a combination of f storytelling, dance, comedy, song and drama performed in Portland this past winter to sold-out audiences.
THE MEMORY PLACE layers film, dance and monologue into 10 scenes of memories. Normally, the Nye Beach Writers’ Series hosts just two writers each month, but in this Special Performance, we are privileged to experience a collaborative foray into words and linked pieces expressing perception and memory where love and food and landscape play prominent roles. The result is a tight and meaningful wander through deep conceptual waters presented in a mix of storytelling, dance, comedy, song and drama.
Susan Banyas, a writer and the director of Dreams Well Studio, spent the past several years developing a method for helping performers turn their own personal histories into performing material. Her title piece, which begins the show, incorporates dance into two love stories evoking 1940s San Francisco.
Elizabeth Tschalaer, a movement artist, performs her bilingual passage from Switzerland to Portland in "Between Places," a haunting and sparse memory drama.
Gregg Bielemeier, dancer and choreographer, recalls a Catholic holy day of his childhood in the dance monologue "Pilgrimage to Crooked Finger," which is as much about the physical images of a story as it is about the story itself. He also provides smooth dance cameos with his signature quirkiness and intuitive awareness of how movement reads on the stage.
Wendy Westerwelle, master storyteller, shines like a diva, casually fanning herself as she recounts the flamboyant characters of Storefront Theatre’s glory days and of her childhood summers at a Jewish resort community.
Steve Sander reflects on discovering the world of sensuality through literature in "The Burrough of Queens," as he recounts his first experiences of erotic literature in a tale woven around family life.
Leanne Grabel shows a polished craft in the beat-poetry saga "The Family That Fate Ate" and paints her landscape — 1950s Stockton, California -- in hilarious detail as she searches for a Bohemia paradise.