Returning after a successful stint on Broadway, the critically acclaimed Imago Theatre brings dramatic dexterity through animated storytelling appropriate for all ages inhabiting Portland. Its current production, ZooZoo, instills the officiousness of humans into a gaggle of creatures, ranging from mammal to amphibian. With only music and movement, ZooZoo immerses audiences in a surreal theatrical world filled with insects performing gymnastics, penguins playing musical chairs, and anteaters serving meals at a restaurant.
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Portland Opera has always set its collective eyes on the horizon. Since filling the gaps left by touring troupes and sporadically performing local companies in 1964, it has endeavored to expand the art form on the stage and beyond. Twenty years after its inception, it became just the second company in the US to project English translations of foreign lyrics above the stage, enabling audiences to leave their Italian dictionaries at home. The company also pushes the boundaries of the shows themselves, staging world premiers of classic stories such as Wuthering Heights, commissioning the work Lucy's Lapses, and producing the West Coast premiere of Philip Glass's Orphée. Not to be contained within one performance space, it also established Portland Opera To Go, a touring division that performs works such as Cinderella and La Bohème at schools and community centers.
Like the philosophy-based salons and cafes of 19th-century Europe, Funhouse Lounge is a place where locals can revel in local art and entertainment over drinks. On many nights, the stage plays host to local acts showing off skills at karaoke, open-mic comedy, and music. Saturday evenings also welcome local improv groups that take the stage with off-the-cuff comedy scenes. While watching neighbors and friends show off their talents, guests split eccentric appetizers such as Irish nachos made from potato chips, cheese sauce, and sour cream or the Ho Ho trifle. The drink menu is equally as whimsical, with bartenders mixing up carnival-themed drinks such as the Bumper Car with Southern Comfort, amaretto, and sloe gin. The Midway Mojito boasts fresh-squeezed lime and a very slim chance of going home with an oversized stuffed tiger.
Four Horsemen Haunted Attractions spooks its guests twice over with two connected haunted houses spanning more than 18,000 square feet. The gut-wrenching walkthroughs kick off with Primus, where scientists have uncovered strange organisms that showcase advances in science and medicine. But what they uncovered is not at benign as it seemed, causing horrific mutations of the most ancient kind. Four Horsemen's actors elicit screams through dialogue and shocking reveals, elevating the genre beyond cheap-and-dirty scare tactics that usually include dressing up like each guest’s high-school gym teacher. In the connected Hellhouse, guests follow in the footsteps of a film crew hoping to find the mysterious place where a band of serial killers kept their victims. Scripted live-action sequences and seamlessly integrated video back up roving monsters, creating a uniquely immersive haunted experience.
Eschewing the over-the-top costumes and writing that typify many other murder-mystery dinners, The Dinner Detectives’ cast of improvisational actors blends in with audiences, holding secrets tight to their chests while steering each night’s tension-filled storyline. After a diner is found murdered, a resident detective helps lead the investigation, allowing guests to interrogate one another with Tickle Monster tactics to distinguish the culprit among the crowd of fellow diners and dissembling thespians. Multicourse meals keep bodies well fueled during spurts of crime-solving intuition, and a prize basket awaits the gumshoe who comes closest to solving the case.