Coming of Age:
A man and his friends.
Enjoy awesome views of the Three Sisters from a nearby peak.
Some drought-related do's and don'ts.
Coming of Age
A man and his friends.
Nice to see so many new faces decorating an opening night audience.
It'd be great if the world premiere of Judge Gregory Foote's play, SWM, which
brought his legal colleagues into the ACE Annex Friday night, would spur this usually
undramatic crowd to attend more local theater. The infusion of funds collected from
suit and settlement fees (great intermission conversation, by the way) would be a
huge shot in the arm to our local theater scene.
Massott) listens to Caroline (Valerie McMahon) in SWM.
It's important to give Actor's Cabaret credit for showcasing new
works by local playwrights. That's community building at its finest, and any venue
willing to offer local artists a chance to share their creative projects is to be
And if you're Greg Foote, you're luckily in good company. Foote,
the board president of Willamette Rep, went to none other than Kirk Boyd to direct
his play, which explores the sexed out psyche and potential maturation of Danny Travis,
a chronic bachelor.
This well-cast, well-acted, well-directed play is chock-full of
ticklish one-liners and witty references to Eugene and Seattle that strike chords
with the audience. Obviously based on Foote's own life -- with only gentle brushstrokes
altering the landscape enough to establish the "I" personae -- the script
revolves around Danny (Stephen Massott), a divorce lawyer whose job hazard is to
become romantically jaded, and his relationships with his best-friend-who's-also-gay,
Barry (Ryan Manderfeld); his other best friend, Sally (Elise Bales); Sally's son
Josh (Ezra Lebank); and the latest-woman-he's-dating, Caroline (Valerie McMahon).
The play comments not only on relationships but on types of people.
Danny is a bachelor who doesn't cook, only "heats." He's a great friend
to those he lets in. Danny's ideal woman is a "tall blonde with no morals"
and he's intimidated by chicks he can't seduce. He dates a lot of women and ends
any relationship as soon as it begins to show signs of intimacy. But he works it
out that it's the lady who leaves first. "Always be the dumpee, never the dumper,"
he advises. Got that guys?
Sally is a new-age type to be made fun of, but loved because she's
good-hearted, after all. Sally flips through the personal ads in the paper looking
for a date for Danny and comments that there are enough radical feminists around,
wouldn't want to create another one. Barry says (in a line that drew huge guffaws)
that his dad believes he wouldn't be gay if he'd gone to Oregon State, and Foote
also has Barry say that "commitment is as rare as a laughing lesbian."
You get the picture.
The script also editorializes on the effect of divorce on kids.
Josh's dad is a loser, who promises him big things then bales. His mom is afraid
his father will disappoint him and then he does. Josh reacts in an equally big way.
Barry suffers a really big blow and it's all this bigness that finally convinces
Danny to maybe change his hedonistic ways. And it's an equally big reason that in
turn affects that decision.
It's a first play, after all.
The talented cast makes for a powerful ensemble, led by Massott
who is in nearly every scene. The play is about relationships and the necessity of
friendship, and Boyd does a fine job drawing out what layers exist between each combination
of characters. Likewise, the actors fill out their roles with talent and experience.
All of the actors excel in this production, with Massott leading the way from beginning
to end. Ezra Lebank is a powerhouse as Josh. He's a teenager playing a troubled teenager
and he reveals depths of emotion that are way beyond his years.
The staging is minimalist, with a sparse set that keeps the focus
on the characters' relationships. The cast doubles as crew moving props on and off
the stage and this generally works save for a few awkward moments. But attention
must be paid to the details to make this type of set work. Chairs aligned just so,
tablecloths even on tables -- these details are absolutely crucial. What's nicely
done are Danny's onstage costume changes, from legal to athletic to casual -- very
smooth and sleek.
SWM continues at ACE Annex through June 30.
Back to Top
awesome views of the Three Sisters from a nearby park.
June is the time to knock off work early,
head up the McKenzie and ponder the Three Sisters from an alpine meadow.
If you can escape work around lunchtime, you can be on top of 5,700-foot
Horsepasture Mountain by 2 pm and back in town in time for your evening
softball game. The top of Horsepasture offers superlative views of
the snow-covered Sisters.
Directions: Take Highway 126 east from Eugene/Springfield
for about 42 miles. After McKenzie Bridge, just past the McKenzie
Bridge General Store, take a right onto Horse Creek Road. Take Horse
Creek Road for 1.7 miles. Then take a right onto Forest Service Road
1993, just past Horse Creek Campground. Stay on the paved 1993 road
for 8.5 miles to the Horsepasture Trailhead, the second trailhead
you'll pass on the right.
About 150 feet from the road, the trail splits off
into three directions. Stay to the far left. The Horsepasture Trail
climbs gently through a classic alpine forest of Pacific silver fir,
noble fir and mountain hemlock. The forest floor is covered in vanilla
leaf, bunchberry, huckleberry and devil's club. After about half a
mile you'll cross a number of small springs and begin hiking through
a more open forest of Engelmann spruce and sub-alpine fir. Grab a
handful of sub-alpine fir needles and rub them between your fingers
— it's a scrumptious smell.
Bear grass is the dominant ground cover in the more
open forests and meadows toward the end of the trail. Bear grass,
which grows in distinctive large clumps, will sprout a stalk almost
as tall as a person, topped by a fat yellow blossom later in the summer.
Bears eat the succulent bases of the grass clumps in the spring. The
Kalpuya and Mollala people who once frequented these alpine meadows
in the summer months used the tough wiry grass extensively to make
After a mile and a half, the trail brings you to the
top of the mountain where you'll find two rocky outcroppings and several
beautiful wildflower meadows. Among the many flowers in the riot of
color are penstemon, larkspur, paintbrush and phlox. Four iron anchors
at the top of one rock outcropping are the remnants of an old lookout
tower. From here the Three Sisters will seem near enough to touch.
On most fairly clear days you'll also be able to see rugged Three
Fingered Jack, the church-steeple shape of Mount Washington, as well
as Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood to the north. Bachelor and Diamond
Peak are the peaks to the south of the Sisters.
The Oregon Cascades are actually two different mountain
ranges. The high jagged peaks you contemplate from Horsepasture are
the so-called "new" Cascades, the result of lava flows and volcanic
upheaval from 10 million to 2,000 years ago. The newest of the Sisters,
the South Sister, last erupted 1,900 years ago. Interestingly, scientists
have recently detected a 12-mile-long bulge to the west of the Sisters
that has pushed the earth several inches skyward, probably as a result
of magma accumulation more than 4 miles underground. The forests surrounding
the Sisters are protected as the 290,000-acre Three Sisters Wilderness;
the sweeping valley of unbroken forest you see to the east is Separation
The "old" Cascades — approximately 25-45 million
years old — are the somewhat shorter hills and mountains to
the west of the Cascade crest, including Horsepasture Mountain. The
advance and retreat of glaciers during past ice ages created the extremely
steep and rugged valley walls of this region. The pristine, high-elevation
forests protected as wilderness to the east have relatively little
commercial value. But the lower elevation national forest lands to
the west of Horsepasture contain some of the most valuable timber
in the world, and have been heavily logged over the past 50 years.
Enjoy your half-day off, and return in late summer
for the bear grass blooms.
do's and don'ts.
All over the Northwest, gardening columnists are writing about
drought-tolerant plants. Why do they bother? It's far too late to establish the kind
of yard that could survive the coming months without water. Perhaps they hope we'll
clip and save their columns until fall, when, following this year's grim experience,
we will wisely start drought-proofing our gardens for the future.
But I'll tell you the real reason writers are casting around for
drought-related topics. Those annual rainfall figures are like the proverbial elephant
in your sitting room: they make it very, very difficult to think about anything else.
The rain that fell this month is a welcome refresher, but summer
rain is unlikely to change things very much. We may have to cut back on water use,
if only voluntarily. I have to believe that gardens are a legitimate use of water.
But I also know that, living as we do where there is usually plenty of it, most of
us use water rather thoughtlessly. We've all seen the run-off from yards where sprinklers
hit the patio, or deliver water faster than the lawn can take it up. In-ground sprinkler
systems are relatively indiscriminate, especially where the zones have not been revised
to keep up with a changing garden. If you have such a system, and a manageably small
garden, this could be the year to turn it off. By watering according to need rather
than location or habit, you may be able to cut your water use in half without permanently
compromising the garden.
Vegetables probably require the most water. Fruiting plants (until
harvest), annuals and container plants come next, along with newly planted perennials
and small shrubs. Established gardens need less frequent watering. If you have been
slipping annuals and new plants into established beds, supplemental spot watering
with a soft-spray attachment on a hose may be the answer. Letting a lawn go brown
usually won't kill it, although it gives the advantage to deep-rooted weeds such
as dandelions. Walking and playing on a brown lawn will inflict serious damage, however.
If you need to use your lawn this summer, keep it green by watering once every week
or 10 days.
Don't neglect established trees and shrubs completely. To let them
die is just another form of waste, and you can't always tell when they are in serious
trouble until the following year. Trees and shrubs need much less water later in
summer than they do in May and June. After that, a good soak once a month can make
the difference between life and death. Drought-tolerant landscapes, including native
plantings, may survive without any water but they'll look a whole lot better with
a monthly watering.
Some drought-related do's and don'ts:
-- Don't use sprinklers on hot, dry gardens when the sun is shining.
You'll lose more water to evaporation, and you may damage your plants. Wait until
evening, or even the next morning, and make sure you run the sprinkler long enough
to moisten the soil several inches down.
-- Don't assume that summer rain eliminates the need to water.
Check to see if it actually reached the root zone. Container plants, in particular,
usually transpire more water than any summer rainfall can provide.
-- Mulching is a great way to conserve soil moisture, but make
sure the ground is damp before you mulch. Once the mulch is on there it can be surprisingly
difficult to moisten dry soil with sprinklers.
-- Black soaker hoses made of porous, recycled tire rubber are
efficient, cheap and easy to install. They work best under several inches of mulch.
-- For watering small areas without waste, check hardware stores
for inexpensive "small area coverage" sprinklers with no moving parts made
by Green Thumb. They deliver water fast. Set out empty tuna cans to see how they
are doing. Another inexpensive device is a simple slotted head on a spike you stick
in the ground. It delivers a fan-shaped spray which I find useful for small slopes
and awkward corners.
The price I quoted last month for Ellen Schlesinger's Guide to
Nearby Nurseries was incorrect. It costs just $12.95, plus $1.50
for shipping and handling if you order it by mail. The address, again,
is Waccabuc Books, P.O. Box 26009, Eugene 97402.
Back to Top
| News | Views | Arts & Entertainment
Classifieds | Personals