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 Artpunk Club's Favorite 

 Portland Theatre Moments 

 of 2019 



Favorite Comedy  — Tragedy: A Tragedy (Defunkt)

Pitch-perfect cast, impeccable timing, staged economically and elegantly in Defunkt’s sexy speakeasy-style space. Will Eno’s script has a laugh every few seconds—truly!—and every single line landed. Flawlessly acted & fun for anyone who has ever watched the news and worried about if tomorrow will ever come. 

“Be daughterly with me, Constance”

“I wish more than anything my mother were here with me now… but if she were here, I would ask her to leave”

Constance losing the thread & frantically cycling through accents

“Michael on bended knee”


Favorite Drama — Wolf Play (Artists Rep)

Genuinely moving. This took a very specific story and made it universally about family, and emotionally resonant to anyone who has ever wanted to belong and be loved. Astonishing script by Hansol Jung which uses a puppet to play a child, illustrating the child’s disconnect as well as allowing a more nuanced actor to inhabit the part. Perfect. 


Favorite Experimental — Our Ruined House (PETE)

From the faux Q and A start to the transformation of a suburban home into a Soviet submarine, Our Ruined House was the shit. The extremely game cast sold every twist and turn, however absurd. The tensions in this marriage are literal characters wearing balaclavas; people crawl out of refrigerators; multiple scenes exude a palpable menace; there are laughs. 


Favorite Nontraditional Staging — Undine (Speculative Drama)


Magical. Silent-movie-style storytelling with expressive musical score, highlighted by a touching and vulnerable performance by a force of nature in the Portland art scene, Megan Skye Hale. 




Favorite Theatre of 2019 — Defunkt


Defunkt was the theatre to beat in 2019. All three of their shows were brilliant. Any one of them would be a great introduction to locally produced theatre for that friend who somehow hasn’t been to an east side show. Tragedy: A Tragedy, Brilliant Traces, and Smokefall were all beautifully acted by sharp, ideal casts. Their space, in the back of Common Grounds Coffee Shop, is a literal dream. Their shows always feel like they end on a positive note. They don’t send you out into the night feeling terrible… their shows often explore dark themes but their worldview feels encouraging and positive. They’re never afraid to look at the worst of us—the worst of family, the worst of our culture—but their good vibes and passion set them apart. Company members Elizabeth Jackson and Matthew Kern were glorious every moment they were onstage. 



Favorite Snacks — Headwaters


Favorite Lobby Experience — Milagro


Favorite Costumes — The Bakkhai, Elyse Grimaldi


Favorite Program — Bad Bad Bad / Calamus (Shaun Keylock Company)


Favorite Dance Piece — Scrambled by Amelia Unsicker


Favorite Set — Our Ruined House (PETE)

Favorite Original Script: The Killing Fields by Anya Pearson (Orphic)


Breakout Theater Company 2019 — Rutabaga Story Co


What an outstanding year. From readings of Danny Gray’s An Irish Exit to a massive-puppeted staging of Eve Johnstone’s Fire and Meat to a co-production of Stephanie Woods’ Trash Diggers, Rutabaga’s work represents passionate independent theater at its best—full of ideas, emotion, clever turns of phrase, humor, pathos, and PUPPETS. Never stop.




Favorite Ensemble, Drama — Jesus Hopped The A Train  (Beirut Wedding/CoHo)


Favorite Ensemble, Comedy — Smokefall (Defunkt)


Favorite Ensemble, Experimental — Hamletmachine


A huge thank you to every single artist who made Portland a great place to get out and go art this year. We can't wait to see you onstage in 2020!