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About Just out. (Portland, OR) 1983-2013 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 20, 1984)
Yogurt has an
by Jay Brown
Rick Jones and
"The Blood Knot"
by Eric Pedersen
Two of Portland’s finest actors, Ted Schulz
and Rick Jones, team up in Athol Fugard’s
powerful two-man play, “The Blood Knot,”
running January 20 through February 11 at
Chateau L’Bamm, 2235 NW Savier. (Reser
vations at 228-5544.) The show is being
produced by Rick Jones, who produced
Fugard's “Sizwe Bansi is Dead” last year, a
production which earned critical acclaim.
From South African playwright Fugard’s
own notes comes the following description of
T h e Blood Knot”:/
. . . the two brothers — Morrie and Zach.
Morrie is a light-skinned Coloured who has
found out that to ignore the temptations to
use his lightness is the easiest way to live.
Rather than live with the fear and uncertainty
that would have come from ‘trying for white,’
he has settled for being Coloured. He has
some education — can read and write. In
contrast, his brother Zach — dark-skinned
Coloured, virtually African in appearance.
Zach has no education, has made no attempt
to acquire any, will never have any. Zach can
never be anything other than what he is — a
black man. There are no choices for him.
The appearance of Ethel in their lives. Mor
rie wants to have nothing to do with her. He is
frightened of her. Zach wants her but can’t
have her. It is masochism and revenge that
make Zach insist that his brother meet her.
Zach could in the beginning, and eventually
does, envy Morris the lightness of his skin.
Their relationship as brothers. . . Zach is
confused. Suspicion and envy. The question
are many more women on the regional
theatre circuit Women are making strides in
many areas, and in the arts there is much
more openness. Smaller communities are
High on the list of concerns facing theatre
people in Portland is the lack of adequate,
reasonably equipped playing spaces in the
city. ART is in residence in the YWCA’s Wilson
Center which was never intended as a
our own choices," Adams said. “We are ec
lectic in our choices. April is the second an
niversary of our not-for-profit organization.
Theatres for profit are dinosaurs. Non-profit
organizations contain a broad spectrum of
community oriented people."
For Portland Civic Theatre, that venerable
institution on SW Yamhill, Adams is directing
a top-flight cast in an increasingly popular
period piece. As The Royal Fcimily 's
matinee idol. Jay Randall Horenstein will be
playing the Mainstage for the first time in
twenty years. The last time was when he was
eight years old.
"I have to learn to play the piano, sing and
fence for this show," Horenstein said recently.
Commenting on his future plans, Horenstein
said he wishes someone would do Eugene
O ’Neill’s Long Day 's Journey Into blight. “I
want to play Edmund before I get too old. I’ve
got the old men down.”
Others in the cast of The Royal Family,
opening January 27, are Pat Gration as Fanny
Cavendish, the matriarch; Katharine King as
Julie, the premiere leading lady of her day;
and Jillayne Self as Julie’s rebellious daugh
haunting him . . . why? It was the same
The Blood tie linking them has chained
them. They are dead or dying because of it
The situation of the two brothers (impris
onment in a blood tie) cannot continue after
the appearance of Ethel. Too much has
surfaced — Zach’s envy and hate, Monie s
crippling sense of guilt and responsibility.
A last confrontation.
As the welcome winter sun streamed into
the Breadline, Ted Schulz talked about how
he spent the year-and-a-half since he last
appeared on a Portland stage.
“I left Portland in June of '82, primarily for
personal reasons. I didn’t want to leave Port
land, but I had to go back. I was in bad shape
emotionally. Some things were happening in
my family, so I went back to New York to deal
with them. Back there, two old high school
friends and I hit up some of our other friends
who are now attorneys and stockbrokers,
etc., and ended up raising about $2500. With
that, we rented our own theater space down
on Lafayette S t in Soho for a showcase pro
duction of three one-acts. We got a little soap
opera work out of it”
After some R&R in Fort Myers, Florida, Ted
wound up in Ithaca, New York, in the Finger
Lake region, where he worked for the sum
mer with some directing interns. During this
time he called Portlander Bob Nielsen, just to
keep in touch. Nielsen passed along news
from Ted to Rick Jones, with whom Nielsen
was doing an S.R.O. show at the Civic. Jones
knew Schulz well from working together in
Storefront's “Short Eyes,” and Rick called
Ted, offering him the role in “The Blood
Knot,” a play Jones had been interested in for
some time. Schulz read the play that night
and called Jones back the next day to accept
“I’d been trying to come back to Portland
for a while, and when Rick called me, he had a
date set and a play set so I got my ass in gear.
If I had gone back to New York with the goal of
doing theater, it would have been different I
wasn’t ready to go back to New York, career-
wise. I really didn’t have the survival skills or
the desire to hack out a living acting in New
York. I wasn’t ready with the resumes, the 8 x
10 ’s, the $5000 in the bank to live off til you
find work. I do think there are possibilities for
photo fov Cosmo
Taking over the Mainstage at Portland
Civic Theatre for the first time. Rebecca
Adams is directing a production of an Ameri
can drawing room comedy written in 1926.
The Royal F¿lmity, written by George F.
Kaufman and Edna Ferber, is about a family
of actors loosely based on the Barrymores.
Rebecca Adams is one of a growing
number of women directors in the Portland
theatre community; she is also one of the
founders of Artists' Repertory Company,
Portland's newest theatre company. ART will
be celebrating their second anniversary next
month with the West Coast premiere of
Angels Fall. Lanford Wilson’s new play.
Speaking about the increase in women
directors, Adams said that although profes
sional theatre in New York, San Francisco
and even Seattle is male dominated, "there
theatre, although many productions there
have been able to transcend the difficulties
inherent in the space.
Plans for the new Performing Arts Center at
the Paramount include a small theatre suit
able for productions by all the companies in
town. Adams says, “Local theatre will get
short shrift at the Performing Arts Center.
Local theatre seems to be last on the list of
cultural events. One major downtown paper
does not even have theatre listings."
"The Performing Arts Center could create
a cultural focal point for the city," Adams said.
"But you know the difference between Port
land and yogurt, don’t you? Yogurt has an
Adams directed the very successful
Awake and Sing last year at the now
moribund Theatre Workshop. She says the
loss of the Theatre Workshop playing space
has left a gap. “They allowed us to do in
teresting projects because of the city support
And we miss the intimate nature of the
theatre, but Critical Mass may take up the
ART, an off-shoot of Theatre Workshop, is
a collective organization. “We like to make
Ted Schulz and Rick Jones appearing in Athol Fugard’s The Blood Knot.
me there in the future, though.
“There’s a large quantity of theater in New
York, but on the whole, the quality is not any
better than what you can see in Portland. I
was really surprised. But in New York, you can
go to theater every night And there are some
wonderful things. I saw Pacino in "American
Buffalo, Randy and Dennis Quaid in “True
West" “Quartermaine’s Terms." There is
some fabulous theater going on. A lot of it is
good, but it is not a world above what we have
in Portland. Not at all.
"I’m really excited to be back in Portland
theater. When I left a year-and-a-half ago,
theater here was starting to make a great leap
forward. It’s nice to come back and see
people working all over town rather than at
one particular theater. We need to work to-
Just Out January 20-February 3