When Harry Widman decided to hang a show entitled “Greed War and Deception” at Blackfish Gallery, Readers Theatre Repertory decided it wanted to “play” along. Widman’s show, a scathing condemnation of the Bush Administration, opened on Thursday, April 1, and on April 9th and 10th, Readers Theatre Repertory presented the premiere of The State of the Union: an evening of original theatre, commissioned in response to Widman’s show.
Blackfish is RTR’s theatre home. Written by Oregon playwrights and directed by Jamie Miller and Mary McDonald-Lewis, the plays reacted to Widman’s controversial show, covering everything from the economy to homelessness to war.
The plays selected were Becoming a Bag Lady, by Ginny Foster, My Hat, by Ellen West, Behind Enemy Lines, by Ebbe Roe Smith, and Uncle Dickie’s Funhouse, by Francesca Sanders. The cast included Tifni Twitchell Lynch, Rick Sanders, BJ Seymour, Ebbe Roe Smith, Ken Springs, Ina Strauss, Chloe Tirabasso, and Todd Tolces.
Widman saw the show as true synergy between all of the artists involved. “What pleases me is the response to whatever I put up on the walls. An enlargement of the show. That I am very, very excited about.”
The two directors were challenged by the prospect. “Harry’s show is a scathing criticism of the current administration in Washington,” said Miller. “Not everyone is going to like it, and these playwrights have free rein to interpret his work any way they wish.” McDonald-Lewis smiled at the prospect. “All bets are off for this show.”