Film simple one acts in front of a blue background. Two characters talking. One character talking to the camera.
Film Hot Little Hands, a Portland performance troupe. Portraits of warm-ups, set design, and performance. Cut to song from unknown band.
Two men sit at a local lunch counter.
Fat Man seated with computer and book titled: The Culture of Fear
Thin Man (sits across from him): Is that a good book?
(This movie can be done any number of times with a different book each time. The only requirement is that it’s done in a public place.)
Everything’s connected. We recognize our connection to a meaningful existence through storytelling. Entertainment exists through laughing at ourselves. The film is not reality. The film approximates reality. A film can model new ideas.
Realism is an illusion. The trick is to forget about the camera. A LEED movie happens with no constructed sets, no explosions, no special effects, no catering, and no script. The visual medium requires pulling back from talking heads to find meaningful coincidence in the scene. If it is a meaningful coincidence, what does it mean?
We tell ourselves a story everyday. This is my life. This is me. This is my family. These are my friends. Sometimes there is a dramatic change and we tell ourselves a new story. We seek a new understanding.
Everything is alive and significant. The camera transforms reality into a symbol. The viewers interpret symbols to understand themselves. The LEED actor is drawn to scale – six and a half billion to one. The individual recedes into the big picture. There is no celebrity. The viewer celebrates life.
“I don’t ever leave the stage,” actor Cody Nickell explains. “It’s an exhausting journey that this guy Charlie takes. I had to learn to pace myself, so I’m not exhausted at the end of the day.” Nickell landed in Portland with his wife Kate Eastwood Norris to start rehearsal on Dec 29th. The actors work with voice coach Stephanie Gaslin to get the London accent. “The union allows a certain amount of hours during the day,” Nickell clarifies. “So we opted for straight sixes with a twenty minute break.” They did four weeks of rehearsal.
Nickell plays an ad executive whose life crumbles around him. “The cast and director are people I really trust, so that makes it easier to go to the darker places I have to go.”
“Your wife Sophie’s in the play?” Julian Chadwick says.
“Yeah, she plays the pathologist.”
Norris and Nickell met playing the love interest in “As You Like It”. Being a pair of nomadic actors requires a lot of travel. Fortunately they got cast in another Shakespeare production after a year of dating. The Portland Center Stage brings the married couple to the stage this month in the U.S. premiere of Fin Kennedy’s “How To Disappear Completely and Never Be Found”.
All things visual conspire to hide in the walls of the forced perspective set design. The crew builds the stage set at a scene shop. It takes a few days to load it in and then it goes through rehearsals itself, and some changes. After all the rehearsals there’s a week of previews in front of an audience. “Most theaters do have previews,” Nickell says, “sometimes only two or three.” It’s a time for students and artists to buy tickets at a discount and see the work. Subscription sales are strong and the show was sold out last weekend.
Warning: You might see Nickell in his underwear on the stage at the Gerding Theater.
Upstream Battle showing at the Portland International Film Festival is one of the few, the proud, the only German film to feature Oregon politics?! What? Our squabbles over a few dams along the Klamath river interest the Germans? What gives?
Gotta love the Germans. All that historical guilt running them in the right direction. When you’re unconscious of evil, you can commit evil acts and believe you are doing good. The German people seeing themselves portrayed as the bad guy in every popular entertainment from the Great War: it’s bound to repel everyday Germans from anything that reeks of wrong-doing. The green movement is on good footing in northern Europe. Continue reading