With The Ways We Cope, Red Balloon Theater Collective—RBTC for short—declared that they were a legit new experimental ensemble to be reckoned with, capable of multidisciplinary performances full of wit, insight, and humor. And in the theater season since, several Balloonists have done astonishing work onstage in other companies’ productions and solo shows. In short, they are Young Creatives To Watch, and helping to drive the Portland theater scene into newer, more explorative territories.
Yellow Yellow Yellow is their newest jam and promises to be a fun, emotional Venn diagram of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a big-top circus, and group therapy.
Artpunk Club asked RBTC and their Yx3 collaborators to answer a handful of questions about the show, their experiences in theater, and the Portland arts scene.
Alanna Archibald is RBTC’s artistic director, whom you may remember got riotous laughs in The Ways We Cope as a medical patient with an extreme aversion to needles. She also popped up in Third Rail’s The Events, and is an active Red Ballooner on social media. Follow her exploits on Instagram: @alannaarchie
What's the best thing about theater to you as a performer?
Stories and empathy, empathy and stories. Those are honestly the seeds for everything i can think of and it is radical to use them as both a salve and as a weapon amidst the current state of the world. IDK, I’m answering this with the headspace after listening to NPR and reading articles so i’m feeling ultra importance upon the things that fill me up personally.
What is the best thing about theater to you as an audience member?
The opportunity to be enveloped into the feelings of the performance. The chance to have a shared experience with strangers. The chance to have my perspective changed and challenged. The chance to be surprised and honest.
Which performances in the 2018/2019 Portland Theater season did you crush on the hardest?
(Note: please do not choose another Red Balloonist’s performance—too easy!)
JOANN JOHNSON IN THE UNDERTAKING
Our Ruined House was supreme, obviously. What a feat for EVERYONE involved. Wowzee.
JENN LIN IN JOHN. I did not like the script of John and forced myself to finish it when i first read it a while ago, but I still think about that show and how raw and honest it was (and saw that long ass show like 3 times and it zoomed by? Her performance especially destroyed me).
I love Pina Bausch and still think about (and cry about) palindrome machines from ICP’s Lost. Found. Claire and Keegan created something technically intense but so simple and beautiful and pure. It was creation serving the story they were telling, nothing extra necessary.
I have more…
What should audiences expect from Yellow Yellow Yellow?
CLOWNS. CRYING. CREATURES. SWEAT. SILLINESS. SURPRISES.
What’s next for RBTC?
Sept 29th we have our next Red Poets Society: Fight or Flight at the Alberta Abbey! Then we are diving head first into Fertile Ground 2020 for our fully staged production of The Ways We Cope. then more tricks up our sleeve naturally that we will reveal when the time is right ;)
You have 3 genie wishes to be used on the Portland Theatre Scene. What do you wish for? (No monkey paw catches)
1) More work written by/made for poc/trans/queer folx—not tokenizing them/their stories or making those characters the one moment of meaningful diversity in your season to prove a point-- but actually listening to the communities that are silenced about what they need and what we as people with a privileged artistic platform can do to AMPLIFY them.
2) MORE SITE SPECIFIC PRODUCTIONS! A PLAY ON A ROOF! IN A POOL! UNDER THE SEA! IN LITERAL HELL! As long as it makes sense for the story, I strongly encourage all of the Portland theatre scene to go a full year without doing a show in a traditional theatre and lets see all the resourceful creations that can happen!
3) New shit and new people in general! There are so many talented people that i know (and even more that i don’t!) and i wanna see their work and see them on the stage instead of the same 6 folks appearing in the same theaters across town. IDK maybe that’s just me!!!!!
Yellow Yellow Yellow runs Thursday/Friday/Saturday August 22nd to 31st, so hustle & get your tickets here! Performances are at Wild Lilac, 3829 SE 74th in Portland, 8pm. Tickets Here!