Breaking: Theatre Vertigo Announces Its New Home

When the lights go out on Theater! Theatre!, Vertigo has a short-term and a long-term plan.

By Aaron Scott March 19, 2013

Theatre Vertigo's final show of the season, Aloha Say the Pretty Girls, opens May 10.

Rumors have been circulating about where Theatre Vertigo will go next season after Theater! Theatre! closes its curtains for good in June, with some insiders speculating it would follow Profile Theater east and move into Coho Theatre, which would’ve left the Eastside an increasingly parched theater desert.

But just now in the basement of SE Belmont's Blue Monk, where supporters were packed in for Vertigo's annual auction, company member Brooke Calcagno announced the company will stand firm for East Portland audiences and move in with Northwest Classical Theatre Company at the Shoebox Theatre, on SE 10th Avenue. "Both of our companies are dedicated to staying on the east side," she said to enormous applause. "And to looking to the future to create an even better and more exciting performance space."

Which is to say, the Shoebox co-habitation is only a stopgap. The long-term plan is more ambitious, and the one many of us were hoping for: to create a new Southeast arts space to replace Theater! Theatre!

Calcagno told the crowd that Vertigo started out their exploration with a number of options, but when they received an email from NWCTC's artistic director, Grant Turner, proposing the pairing and the longer term goals, the decision was easy. "We are so stoked as a team," she said, visibly emotional, shivering even. "The final choice was unanimous."

The path towards creating a new space will no doubt be long and challenging, if it comes to fruition at all. In the meantime, Vertigo plans to adapt to Shoebox’s 40-seat room from Theater! Theatre!'s 100-plus seats by adding Sunday matinees to its regular Thursday through Saturday evening schedule and by getting creative with design. “Audiences can expect a set that is not only in front of them, but completely around them,” stated company member Kerry Ryan in the press release.

Leading up to its climactic announcement of a new home, Vertigo members also laid out next season’s shows, which will lend themselves wonderfully to intimate, in-your-face productions. Just in time for Halloween, it’ll kick off with Jeffrey Hatcher’s 2008 adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in which more than one actor play the devilish alter ego. “The sly transformations of Hyde deepen and intensify a smart, tense and suspenseful new take on Stevenson's look at the evil that lurks in the hearts of men,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle in its review of the world premiere. Portland audiences can get a first dose of Hatcher at Artists Rep’s Ten Chimney’s next month. Following will the be the world premiere of Craig Jessen’s The End of Sex, about a new drug that remaps sexual sensation, just in time for the Fertile Ground Festival. And to conclude, pending rights, will be The School for Lies, the new work by David Ives (who wrote PCS’s recently closed Venus in Fur) that plays on the work of Moliere.

Theatre Vertigo will close out this season with Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, opening May 10.


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