Stage and Studio on 04/30/13
Ursula K. Le Guin’s gender defying groundbreaking novel “The Left Hand of Darkness” gets a new original stage adaptation by two of Portland’s more innovative theatres. Portland Playhouse and Hand2Mouth Theatre have been collaborating with esteemed author Le Guin on this new staging. Dmae Roberts talks with Ursula K. Le Guin, director Jonathan Walters and actor Damian Thompson about this new venture with a legendary work.
"The Left Hand of Darkness, " named the best novel winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards in 1969, is set in the future on an ice world called Geffen where there is permanent winter . An envoy named Genly Ai is sent to Gethen to convince its people to join a world collective known as Ekumen.
On Gethen there is no female or male except for once a month for a short time when procreation could take place. Le Guin's novel brings up issues of androgyny and the cultural conventions of gender, dominance and sexuality.
The stage adaption was created by H2M's artistic director Jonathan Walters and UO Theatre Professor John Schmor. The cast includes both Hand2Mouth and Portland Playhouse actors with Damian Thompson taking on the role of Genly Ai. Also in the cast are Lorraine Bahr, Julie Hammond, Liz Hayden and Matthew Dieckman.
Le Guin is revered as a writer in Portland's artistic community and this stage adaptation of a beloved book has been eagerly awaited. The production is likely to sell out quickly in the intimate Portland Playhouse Theatre. If there is one theatre event sure to draw discussion for years to come, it's The Left Hand Of Darkness."
Le Guin has been part of the rehearsal process and here is an excerpt of her reaction she’s written on her blog:
"Actors are magicians.
All stage people are magicians, the whole crew, on stage and behind it, working the lights and painting the set and all the rest. They collaborate methodically (ritual must be methodical, because it must be complete) in working magic. And they can do it with remarkably unlikely stuff. No cloaks, no magic wands or eyes of newt or bubbling alembics.
Essentially they do it by limiting space, and moving and speaking within that space to establish and maintain a Secondary Creation."
"The Left Hand Of Darkness" premiere May 2nd and runs through June 2nd at Portland Playhouse located at 602 NE Prescott. For reservations and more info visit: Hand2MouthTheatre.org and PortlandPlayhouse.org.
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