The recent announcement of Bag&Baggage’s 2018-19 season highlights the Hillsboro theater company’s plans to offer “LOVE. THRILLS. MAGIC. WONDER. CHANGE.” It’s an innovative lineup that fully lives up to their motto of “Real. Provocative. Theatre.” yet it’s by no means the full story on the extent of B&B’s impact on the Tualatin Valley cultural scene. From a regional point of view, equally key is that as B&B’s new venue, The Vault, enters its second season it is being made accessible as the site for a rich assortment of other arts offerings, including some that have previously been available only in Portland before now.
As of this writing, The Vault has already committed to performances by Northwest Children’s Theater, The Portland Ballet, Fake Radio, Tony Starlight, Stages Youth Academy, and Third Angle New Music. The Vault’s exceptionally flexible design gives each of these performance groups the ability to configure the stage, seating, and technical effects to meet their unique needs. Each of these very different offerings will bring new audiences into the area while simultaneously bringing new art forms to existing local audiences – truly the textbook definition of a win-win situation.
Of course, Bag&Baggage’s own offerings for the season provide the key that unlocks The Vault’s potential. Summer, 2018 opens with Associate Artistic Director Cassie Greer’s world premiere adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It (or Love In A Forest). The production continues B&B’s tradition of modifying a Shakespearian classic and offering it in an open-air setting – in this case, utilizing both The Vault’s courtyard and interior spaces. Look for this new take on rom com in the Forest of Arden from July 12 – 29th.
The next two shows, under the direction of Founding Artistic Director Scott Palmer, offer a new twist on traditional seasonal theatrical offerings. Halloween brings Broadway’s longest running thriller, Ira Levin’s Deathtrap, to town from October 4th – 31st, while the Christmas holidays are ushered in with Bell, Book, and Candle, the magical tale by John Van Druten that inspired television’s long-running Bewitched.
Next up is the first commission of the nationally acclaimed Problem Play Project. With support from the Meyer Memorial Trust, B&B is embarking on a three-year adventure as they select “an Oregon-based playwright of color to adapt one of Shakespeare’s so-called ‘problem plays’ with an equity and diversity lens.” From March 7th – 24th, 2019, Cuban-American author/actor Carlos Zenen-Trujillo, will present his adaptation The Island In Winter, Or La Isla en Invierno – based on Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale but moved from Sicilia and Bohemia to Havana and Miami.
The season closes with a Pacific Northwest premiere perfectly suited to Bag&Baggage’s often-iconoclastic approach to literary classics. In Peter/Wendy, playwright Jeremy Bloom tackles the darker side of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. From May 2nd – 19th, 2019, audiences will share “a much more adult exploration of the psychology and meaning underpinning this classic ‘children’s story’” in the words of director Cassie Greer.
While we’re still missing a few performance arts genres like opera, tap dance and puppet shows (intriguing possibilities all), B&B’s 2018-2019 season and other creative uses of The Vault are bringing a satisfying range of artistic endeavors to the Tualatin Valley that will enrich the lives of thousands of locals and help to make our corner of Oregon a visibly vibrant destination.