Season 12

In Lungs, Darius Pierce finds a friend

A Third Rail Company Member since 2015, Darius Pierce has appeared in our productions of Middletown and The Realistic Joneses. You may also seen him around town in the past year in The Santaland Diaries at Portland Center Stage or Feathers and Teeth at Artists Repertory Theatre. We’re excited that Darius is in our first 2017-18 Main Stage production – Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs. We asked him a few questions about the show.

You’ve been interested in the role of M for a while. Why?

From the first time I read this show, I felt like I understood who M is. Or, perhaps, that he understood who I am. I read the show and regularly found him giving voice to thoughts I have had and – even more penetrating – thoughts I didn’t even realize I had had. It was personal.

I think he’s moving and funny. And not the type of character that I usually have an opportunity to play. Plus, even beyond wanting to play this role, I wanted to be a part of bringing this show to the Third Rail stage.

The portrayal of the relationship of M and his partner W (played by guest artist Cristi Miles) rings so true. That means we’re not always experiencing these people as their best selves. Knowing what we know about him, could you be friends with M?

Sure! I actually love both M and W. I think I’d happily be friends with them. With M, he tries to do the right thing. And he fails sometimes. But in the examining and trying, he has an appealing energy. He’s supportive and insecure, and intellectual and needy, and conscientious and impulsive, and a full person. On balance, I think he’d be a good (if not occasionally trying) friend.

What do you think will surprise people about Lungs?

How many conversations and ideas they’ll recognize. And how the show will stay with them – working on this production, I’m surprised at how much it has permeated my day-to-day life. Plus, the way the story is told and how it moves through time – it’s unusual!

Lungs by Duncan Macmillan runs August 4-26 at CoHo Theatre

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August 16, 2017

Portland Choirs, Come Sing with Third Rail

We invite you to consider participating in a unique collaboration with Third Rail Repertory Theatre. The mission of Third Rail Repertory Theatre is to provide a dynamic artistic home for audiences and artists in Portland and to bring to life exceptional stories that provoke dialogue, encourage empathy, and inspire curiosity. This fall Third Rail is producing David Greig’s beautiful, challenging, and mighty play, The Events, and we want you to be a part of it.

Inspired by true events, The Events tells the story of Claire – a priest who leads a community choir. Claire experiences something terrible – a young man she vaguely knew turns a gun on her and her community in a mass shooting that she survives. This is not a biopic of such terrible events. The play is not filled with violent acts. Instead, it follows Claire’s attempts to answer the question “Why?”. It explores the desire to fathom the unfathomable and asks how far forgiveness will stretch in the face of atrocity. In the end, Mr. Greig’s award-winning play is a celebration of community and the inherent need for all of us to find a place where we belong.

The Events is written for two actors, an accompanist and a community choir. Part spectator, part performer, the choir is fully integrated into the play through songs and, in some instances, through dialogue. The choir acts as symbolic Greek-chorus, community members and witnesses to Claire’s story. It’s a wholly unique piece of writing combining the beauty of choral music and the storytelling of theatre.

This is where you come in. Third Rail will present 17 performances of The Events and we are looking to incorporate a different choir for each performance. Choirs will sing a song of their own choosing as well as preparing material that is part of the play. A full packet including accompanist music, backing tracks and recordings of the songs will be supplied to each participating choir. Choirs need to prepare the material in advance.

We’d love to schedule time to talk with you in person about the opportunity. Here are some further details:

• Performances run Thursday – Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 2 pm, October 24-November 18, 2017. October 24-26 are dress rehearsals and preview performances at the Imago Theatre space on 17 SE 8th Avenue.
• We are looking for choirs with participants numbering between 12 – 45.
• Each choir will be asked to be familiar with seven pieces of original music ranging from 1 to 7 pages and, on average, 40 measures long. Music may be held and read during the show. We do not expect, demand, or even desire, a polished performance of these songs.
• Choirs will also perform a song that is representative of their work. Something “…bright and bold and offering a strong sense of their identity.”
• Actors and director will attend a choir rehearsal to foster familiarity between the choir and the show.
• We would like to schedule at least one group rehearsal with all the choirs or an individual rehearsal with each choir.
• Choirs will be asked to arrive before the house opens on their performance night to walk through the show with the actors.
• Choir will be invited to participate in post show conversations with audiences.
• Choirs will be invited to share promotional materials for program, website and lobby.

Please note: The play does address adult themes quite directly and, as such, contains language and situations best suited to mature audiences and participants. Third Rail can provide scripts, scores, and music recordings to review. We are also available to answer and address any questions or concerns you might have.

Interested? Please contact our director, Scott Yarbrough, at scott@thirdrailrep.org

July 17, 2017