Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Portland Story Theater Offers Workshops


We humans tell stories to remember, to understand, to connect with each other. Everyone has a story that deserves to be heard. To meet the demand for participation in our work with story, Portland Story Theater now offers three different workshops: Storytelling Starter (1.5-2 hours), Storytelling Bootcamp (1 day), and the Art of Personal Narrative (5 weeks).

Through a generous grant from the Libraries of Eastern Oregon (LEO), we have two Storytelling Starter workshops coming up that are free and open to anyone 18+. The first happens this Saturday at the Community Center in Cascade Locks from10 am-noon. The second takes place in Hood River on Saturday, March 5 from 2-4 pm. Join us for one of these lively, interactive two-hour workshops on the contemporary art of personal storytelling. As participants, you will learn how to identify your stories and what it takes to share them with an audience. We will explore the necessity of vulnerability in storytelling, as well as techniques for bringing your stories alive. No performance.

Portland Story Theater’s Storytelling Bootcamp is a one-day (7.5 hour) intensive, where you will create new story material, learn about narrative structure and intentional storytelling techniques, and have a chance to share your stories while getting individual feedback. No performance. The next session takes place on Sunday, March 20 from 10:30 am-6 pm in Portland at the Home Studio of Portland Story Theater. Cost $150. Preregistration required. Click here to register online.

Portland Story Theater’s Art of Personal Narrative workshop gives participants an opportunity to discover and craft a personal story and deliver it in its true form: naked, fresh, revealing. This workshop does include a performance and every participant is required to perform a 10-12 minute story before a live audience at an Urban Tellers show. This is a modern take on an ancient tradition: personal narrative, spoken straight from the heart. Only six adults (18+) are eligible to participate in each workshop. The 3:1 teacher-student ratio allows for a great deal of individual attention and is a reflection of our commitment to your success. Call 503-284-2226 to find out more. Check our website for dates and prerequisites.

May The Narrative Be With You!®

Lawrence and Lynne
Portland Story Theater

email: tellers@pdxstorytheater.org
office: (503) 284 2226
web: portlandstorytheater.org mailing: 3333 NE 15th Avenue, Portland, OR 97212
Tax ID - EIN #27-0670834

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Capsule Movie Reviews by Bill Johnson for 2016


These capsule reviews of current movies offer a basic overview of what these stories did (or didn't do) to engage an audience. They are not meant to convey a full review of the movie, or a scene by scene breakdown. All reviews by Bill Johnson, copyright 2016.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

posted 2/6/16

The conceit in this movie is that it's the same characters from Jane Austen's novel, with the addition of a zombie plague. What makes for a great horror film, however, is that it says something about the human condition. Alien with its issue of male rape and the corporation being the real alien killing the crew. Zombies in this film are just a plot device, and could have been changed to a different plot device (alien invasion, demons rising, birds attacking humans) without changing anything. Which means half the movie carries no dramatic weight connected to what the story is about and what the characters are reacting to.

Early in the film, a character encounters a young mother and baby zombie. The moment seems about to suggest something deeper about life in that situation, but the moment is just another plot device conveying nothing more than a plot question, how will this play out?

The mixture of horror and literary fiction is amusing, but not really that amusing until Parson Collins shows up.

In the end, there are no universal truths in this movie, although for a moment it seemed someone had an idea about zombie servants rising up against their masters, and another scene tosses in the four horsemen of the apocalypse, but to what story purpose, who knows.

The Fifth Wave

posted 1/30/16

The Fifth Wave begins with waves of exposition that explain the first four waves. The underlying problem with the movie is that its impulses all seem to come from TV production, so it looks like a pilot for a tv series created about 2008. So it doesn't look as good as what's on tv now. It's not bad, so much as it's like watching an episode from an old tv series. This is movie studios pushing product through metro plexes to fill screen slots.

Joy

posted 1/3/16

This film demonstrates the problems with being realistic. Joy the main character is a single mother in a dysfunctional environment. It takes a good twenty five minutes to set out all those characters and their many issues and get to a significant turning point, Joy inventing a mop and then getting onto one of the early cable TV sales channels to promote it into a huge success. By the end of the film, still surrounded by dysfuctional family members trying to sabotage her, Joy has created and manages a business empire.

That's all plot, but what's the story about? That remains buried under the ruble composed of all those dysfuctional relationships and events. It's probably something to do with Joy overcoming all her disadvantages to make something of herself, encouraged by her grandmother. But I'm not sure. And, based on the reviews and audience reactions, I don't think others were sure, either.

There's not enough else going on to make up for that.