ON-STAGE

 

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IMAGO THEATRE
503.231.9581
17 SE 8th
Portland, OR 97214

 

 

 

 

ABOUT BIOS HISTORY PAST PRODUCTIONS COMMUNITY OUTREACH BLOG


 

*From 1979 to 1993 Triffle and Mouawad created a number of variations of FROGZ as well several shorter experimental works

 


 

Black LIzard - November 2012
In Spring and Fall, 2012, Imago Theater presented the English-Language premiere of Yukio Mishima’s 1961 masterpiece, The Black Lizard, anadaptation of one of the most popular “erotic-grotesque” novels of the pre-WWII era, reset in the 1960s. The Black Lizard is Mishima’s most technically challenging modern play available in translation, incorporating many elements of kabuki acting and staging. Director Mouawad assembled a team that understood the spirit of Mishima’s gorgeous and grotesque vision for this play, and they created striking set designs, costuming, and multi-media scenes recalling the pop-art scene and jet-set fashion of 1960s Tokyo. Themes included beauty, vulnerability, and death; the incompatibility of human pride and love; the impossibility of attaining romantic or aesthetic ideals in world sullied by petty ego, greed, and fear. 


Starring: Anne Sorce & Matt DiBiasio  

 

Jerry Mouawad,  Direction and Choreography Carol Triffle, Producer ,Owen Waltz light design  Dan Meeker scenic design, Sumi Wucostumes, John Berendzen sound design, Catherine Egan & Kyle Delamarter multi-media, Toshimi Tanaka kimono.

 

“suspenseful …brilliant… sexy, surrealistic noir thriller…. a rare gem that shines!”
Joshua Hunt, The Vanguard      

 

"uncanny poetic intensity… a precise clockwork of profane surprise"

Matthew Korfhage, Willamette Week
       
“mesmerizing….fabulous…  fun…” 
Barry Johnson, Oregon Public Broadcasting

“another striking example of Imago’s creativity…”

Marty Hughley, The Oregonian

 

"fantastic, thrilling, awesome, what a winner…absolutely kills!"

Barret Johnson, Broadway World

 

"dazzling … brilliant….There’s the Portland theater scene. And there's Imago.  
Brett Campbell, Oregon Arts Watch

 

Read More

 

 


 

Zugzwang - September 2011
Zugzwang is the fifth and most abstract installment in director Jerry Mouawad's "Opera Beyond Words" series of silent theatrical experiments.  Taking its title from a chess term for a situation in which no decision results in a positive outcome, Zugzwang opens with a tense, high stakes card game which ends dramatically for protagonist Rafiffi.  In a sly play on the caper genre, Rafiffi and his entourage embark on a more contemplative and existential odyssey of redemption, through darkened corridors and mysterious chambers.  On a stark stage, imagined spaces are evoked through spectral lighting, tight choreography and emotive performances.  The narrative unravels to a startling denouement of unflinching emotional impact.  A highly entertaining and deeply moving show featuring acclaimed dancer/choreographer Gregg Bielemeier in the role of Raffifi.


Jerry Mouawad choreography, writing, direction, design; Gregg Bielemeier – lead; Carol Triffle producer

 

"Zugzwang is full of sharp, clever imagery, an intriguingly allusive concept and a powerful, surprisingly clear payoff."
-Marty Hughley, The Oregonian

Read More

 

 


 

SPLAT! - May 2011  

Meet Cinder, a Francophile femme fatale with an inconvenient history of dead husbands. With a new corpse on her hands, she's hired Inkblot, a mafia-trained private investigator, to clean up her mess. Yet her plans are foiled when two possible accomplices, Donny and Joey, arrive in search of hush money. Who's recounting of events is most reliable is up for debate but since this is a Carol Triffle musical, it's worth listening to the the widow’s last victim who's got a song to sing if you're looking for answers.

 

Carol Triffle, writer, director, designer, lyrics; Katie Griesar original music; Danielle Vermette, & Jerry Mouawad leads

 

“possesses the strangest sense of humor it has ever been my bemused pleasure to encounter.
Ben Waterhouse, Willamette Week
 
“It’s one-part horror movie, one-part demented musical and one-part situation comedy with a little burlesque slapstick thrown in for good measure.”
Barry Johnson, Arts Dispatch
 
The key here isn’t in any conventional element, it’s in the sustained air of sketch-comedy absurdism, the comically overdone gestures, the random bursts of joyfully naive dance and song. . . and little curlicues of language and logic.”
Marty Hughley, The Oregonian


 

 


 

STAGE LEFT LOST- September 2010
The fourth installment in Jerry Mouawad's “Opera Beyond Words," Stage Left Lost strips the text from Shakespeare's tragedy (or the arias from Verdi's operas) then dances around the play's signature moment as a kind of choreographic leitmotif about the nature of reality.  After having the tragedy's leading man murder his onstage Desdemona, Stage Left Lost loops its material in front of a funhouse mirror.  Suddenly, backstage dramas, domestic dramas, and onstage dramas each resurface the iconic kill in increasingly dizzying ways.  With the audience literally seated in the wings of Imago’s theater, Stage Left Lost exposes the very act of performance and the unspoken performance that is being alive.
Jerry Mouawad direction & design; Carol Triffle producer

“One of the best, most beguiling productions on any Portland stage this year. . .
Using swells and scratches of brilliantly chosen recorded music, Stage Left Lost dispenses with language almost completely in favor of dance, mime and the exquisite exaggerations of the silent movies. . . like a well-oiled dance troupe. . . expert expressionist actors, conveying action and emotion with the sort of wide-eyed broadness that silent film stars perfected. . . smooth and self-assured, reflecting a cast that was in its groove and a director who, more than 30 years into a fascinating and experiment-driven career, seems at the top of his game.”

Bob Hicks, The Oregonian
 
 “I’m almost at a loss for words to tell you how brilliantly Stage Left Lost, Imago’s latest mute masterpiece, communicates. . .  Writer/director Jerry Mouawad’s ingenious staging leaves plenty of room for surprises—but absolutely none for misunderstandings.  The lighting unfailingly guides your gaze, the music strikes the right moods, and an arsenal of little devices spell it out better than words ever could.  Just when we thought mime was moot, it breaks out of the box!”
Anne Adams, Portland Monthly
 

 

 


 

BACKS LIKE THAT- May 2010

Carol Triffle’s uncanny ability to surface tragicomic undercurrents from beneath small, oddly significant personal moments, is on full display again in her latest anti-musical. At the center of this working man's clown show is Chloe, an awkward young woman who lands a secretarial role at a trucking company, only to find her father, her brother and her boyfriend constantly interfering with her commitment to proper office decorum. A study of control and confusion (with song), Backs Like That lies the passions of its characters bare amid the chaos of a small mom-and-pop business unlikely to provide larger meaning to anyone's life.

 

Carol Triffle, writer, director, designer, lyrics; Katie Griesar original music; Danielle Vermette, & Jerry Mouawad Leads
 
“Disturbingly funny. . . hilarious and surprisingly effecting emotionally, reviving theater's capacity to truly surprise us.”
Marty Hughley, The Oregonian
  
“Quirky. . . terrific. . . brilliant score. . .  The show is funny, poignant, absurd: fine entertainment and food for thought. I wish I could have gone back to see it again and I can hardly wait for the next in the series.”
Martha Ullman West, Art Scatter
 
“Avant Garde. . . very funny. . . wonderful, physical, comic, exploiting telling movements eloquently”
Go Geezers Guide

 

 


 

TICK TACK TYPE- March 2009

The third of Jerry Mouawad’s “Opera Beyond Words” explores power dynamics within confined spaces.  A bizarre big business take on Beckett, Tick Tack Type finds five men and four women dropped from a chute into a stark empty room where they're forced to participate in a strange typing academy ruled by a tyrannical instructor (Artistic Co-Director Carol Triffle).  Not unlike his two previous works, Apis, or The Taste of Honey, and The Cuban Missile Tango, Mouawad taps into the universally perverse aspects of competition and coercion but this time the outcome remains adamantly abstract.

Jerry Mouawad, choreography & design; Carol Triffle lead

“Delightfully unconventional. . . Imago Theatre extends its experimental hot streak with Tick Tack Type. . . fascinatingly strange. . . Mouawad knows how to set up moments of interaction between characters and within groups, setting expectations and tension, detonating little surprises -- all with a visual clarity that can make you smile, chuckle and sometimes roar. . . It may be the most nightmarish typing class you've ever attended, but it's also the most fun.”
Marty Hughley, The Oregonian
 
“Imago blurs the lines of the expected to break new ground, exploding performance boundaries, yet maintaining humor and humanity.”
Broadway World.com

 

 

 


 

Cuban Missile Tango -Aug 2009

Jerry Mouawad’s second “Opera Beyond Words,” a swingers party, transforms into a metaphor for the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Overhead supertitles teletype a series of messages between Krushchev and Kennedy that shed light on how close the world came to annihilation.

 

Jerry Mouawad, director & design; Carol Triffle producer

 



 

SIMPLE PEOPLE - May 2009
Taking place in a homeless shelter after the events of the economic crisis, Simple People is a study of lives shattered and displaced.  In her fourth off-kilter musical, Carol Triffle again casts Danielle Vermette as a clown protagonist in a timely, endearing piece about ordinary people at their lowest point, shuffling through their limited existence with amusing pathos.

 

Carol Triffle, director & design

 

“Imago is such a treasure. . . couldn’t be more timely or more rudely entertaining. . . The poetry was clear and in a well-measured dose.  Eloquence could seem really inappropriate but in this piece, it added savor.  It was all about the acting and the acting was well tuned and effortless.”
Jay Thiemeyer, Street Roots

 

 


 

ZOOZOO - April 2009

ZooZoo is Imago’s world-class touring production, its first offering with the prestigious touring agency Opus 3 Artists, and featured at the New Victory Theatre in 2010.  As the culmination of more than thirty years of innovation by directors Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad, ZooZoo is an evolution of the best of Imago’s signature touring shows, FROGZ and Biglittlethings.  This alchemy of illusion, mime, dance, acrobatics, original music and masks offers audiences worldwide an imaginative, sophisticated show for all ages.  In a series of vignettes and solo pieces, universal themes are presented with a light touch, as animals take on human characteristics and inanimate objects spring to mischievous life.  Fireflies come together to make shapes in the dark, they wink as eyes, later transforming into a flock of birds, frogs reveal the underlying tension of their stillness, a hippo couple struggles for their side of a too-small bed, a paper bag comes to life and balances delicately above the ground, a family of polar bears dances and mingles with the audience, and penguins compete against each other in a heated game of musical chairs.  In ZooZoo’s final piece, Paper, the actors appear as humans, masked in red bodysuits.  They dance and tumble across the stage, and in a thrilling finale, each actor’s identity is at last revealed.

 

Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad Creators

 

 “Sure fire, very funny!”
The New York Times

 

“You can't do better than Imago Theatre’s ZooZoo . . .  magical. . .  skillfully shaped. . .  mask and mime theater at its best. . .  wonderfully wacky. . . saturated with eccentric personality and humor. . .  Artful as well as entertaining. . . a show that anyone can enjoy seeing again and again.”
Richard Wattenberg, The Oregonian

 

“a blur of magic. . .  hysterical and exciting. . . supremely theatrical spectacle. . .  completely immersing. . .  exactly as satisfying as great clown and mask can be. . .  as exciting as the finale of any fireworks show and perhaps among the more purely gratifying moments of theatre I have seen. . .  moments so fun, I don't think I could have helped but giggle like a child.”
Wendy Remington Bowie, NY Theatre.com

 

"Kids Go Wild for ZooZoo...Wow! is all I can say... Every minute... was engaging and hysterical... laugh out loud throughout the whole show... completely original and unlike anything I have ever seen before... a perfect first theatre experience for children!"
Mommy Poppins.com

 

"Defying physics and eliciting giggles!"
Time Out New York Kids

 

 


 

APIS, or The Taste of Honey  - March 2009 
Jerry Mouawad begins a new series, called “Opera Beyond Words,” with APIS.  Using mime, choreography and acrobatics, this wordless play attributes the characteristics of a hive of bees to the confines of a prison, and in doing so, relates the common purposes of competition, sex and murder in both the human and the insect worlds.  Carol Triffle, playing the queen bee as the focal point, seduces one drone after another until they are utterly destroyed.

 

Jerry Mouawad direction; Carol Triffle set design and lead

 

“Attention-gripping, imagination-seducing mime. . . APIS’ simple truths will continue to resonate hours after the final curtain.”
Andrew Stout, The Portland Mercury

 

“Triffle is bewitching and amusing”
Michael McGregor, The Oregonian

 

 


 

Vladimir, Vladimir -  October 2008

In an original theatrical comedy about Vladimir, a poor Yugoslavian magician, who discovers the strangeness of metaphysics, polarized clocks and tumbled worlds, Jerry Mouawad creates another work of existentialist vaudeville.

 

Jerry Mouawad, co- director and writer; Pat Patton, co-director; Carol Triffle lead

 

“Mouawad makes the ambitious but under-confident ‘balloon guy’ charming in his neediness, and Triffle’s understated but distinctive physical quirks give Natasha many of the show’s biggest laughs.  And there are many laughs throughout Vladimir, Vladimir, at situations and dialog both conventional and peculiar.”
Marty Hughley, The Oregonian

 

 


 

The Dinner - May 2008
With The Dinner, creator-director Carol Triffle completes her first trilogy of off-kilter musicals -- the others being Mix Up and Hit Me in the Stomach.  For this latest comedy with song, Triffle tells the story of Dolores, a housewife who has invited a famous writer to the family dinner.  As each increasingly absurd character dances to his or her own soundtrack, it becomes clear that when the author finally arrives, he'll be in for more than he bargained. 

Carol Triffle, writer, director, designer, lyrics; Katie Griesar original music; Danielle Vermette, lead
 
“What a fantastic show. . . The acting is consistently great. . . Writer Carol Triffle has a keen sense of the subterranean motivations driving people to act the way they do. . . It’s hilariously uncomfortable, completely original, and utterly worth seeing.”
Alison Hallett, The Portland Mercury
 
“Memorable and literally knee-slapping. . . perched on the precipice of perpetual giggles, over the abyss of belly laughs. . . original and inspired. . . Katie Griesar’s score morphs effectively from lounge to country to rock to spy-movie soundtrack, to points beyond.”
Marty Hughley, The Oregonian

 

 


 

Double Feature: Serial Killer Parents & The Father-thing - October 2007
For his return to staging original work, Jerry Mouawad creates two short, existential vaudeville skits on a bisected stage.  Serial Killer Parents.  On an all-black set, Imago's directors Mouawad and Triffle star as seasoned magicians who discuss gender politics, ageism, and even their twisted offspring, all while performing sleight of hand tricks in limbo.  The Father-thing.  On an all-white set, a typical bourgeois family discovers that their father’s body has been taken over by an alien.

Jerry Mouawad, director & designer; Carol Triffle lead; Danielle Vermette lead
 
“Inspired physical antics”
Ben Waterhouse, Willamette Week
 
“Double Feature is a really fun night of theater. . . Performers Mouawad and Carol Triffle. . . are a pleasure to watch.”
Alison Hallett, The Portland Mercury


 

 


 

Mix Up - March 2007 
Helmed by creator-director Carol Triffle, Mix Up is a poignant if off-center snapshot (with songs) of Ariel and her dysfunctional family.  With her grandmother recently deceased, and her grandfather apparently on his way out, Ariel -- suffering from something incurable herself -- must pack up the house she grew up in and ready the homestead for sale, with assistance from her off-his-rocker boyfriend.
 
Carol Triffle, writer director designer; Katie Griesar original music

Strangely likable. . . maybe it’s the comedic sensibility of clowning applied to tragedy, executed with remarkable finesse by the cast of Imago regulars. . . I found myself enjoying this weird performance despite myself.”
Ben Waterhouse, Willamette Week

 


 

Betrayal - September, 2006
With Pinter's most famous play, director Jerry Mouawad takes a straightforward approach to uncover the treachery at the heart of this brilliant anti-romance.  Written in reverse chronology, Betrayal deconstructs the politics of an affair between a woman and her husband’s best friend -- beginning with the dissolution of the extra-marital relationship and ending with the promising first kiss.
 
Jerry Mouawad, director, designer; Carol Triffle producer; Maureen Porter, lead; Peter Campbell, lead
Todd Van Voris, lead
  
“Imago’s production is knife-sharp. . . Mouawad and his team give the actors stark, well-lit spaces to work in, and they do what is asked of them with both icy precision and elan.”
Eric Bartels, Portland Tribune
 
“Imago’s Betrayal is a nuanced, disturbing, and compelling accomplishment.”
Alison Hallett, The Portland Mercury

 

 


 

Hit Me in the Stomach - March 2006  

Carol Triffle's delightfully creepy and off-kilter musical Hit Me in the Stomach shows the seedier side of suburbia.  The lives of three residents -- two named Pablo, and one named Jackie (Triffle's clown-like muse Danielle Vermette) -- hope for a better future, perhaps one involving "topless coffee" (which means served in a cup with no top).  All the while, two inebriated, menacing figures slink in and out of the garage which doubles as the three friends' living room.
 
Carol Triffle, writer director, lyrics, design; Katie Griesar music
 
“Carol Triffle sets loose a fine dark silliness in her savvy, gorgeously paced, very funny new play.”
Bob Hicks, The Oregonian



 

Not Not Not Not Not Enough Oxygen - November 2005 

Following Imago’s U.S. premiere of A Number, Jerry Mouawad stages two more short plays by Caryl Churchill: Not Enough Oxygen and Heart’s Desire.  Shaped in part by the idiosyncratic choreography of Northwest stalwart Gregg Bielemeier and Mary Oslund, Not Enough Oxygen creates a claustrophobic future within the confines of four cubicles.  Heart’s Desire plays with repetition as a way to unfold the events of a family reunion. John Berendzen’s music direction infuses the production with sound performed by the cast of actors and dancers.


Jerry Mouawad, director, designer; Mary Oslund  & Gregg Bielemeier, choreographers; John Berendzen, sound designer; Carol Triffle lead


“viscerally compelling. . . inspired.” Catherine Thomas, The Oregonian

 

 


 

Uncle Vanya - September 2004  
Using a modern translation by Paul Schmidt, Jerry Mouawad's staging of Chekhov gives an upbeat spin on a writer who is often labeled as a melancholic.  A retired, pompous, irritable professor returns to his estate with his beautiful wife. Vanya, brother to the professor’s late first wife, who has been managing the professor's farm for almost no money then finds himself falling in love with his brother-in-law's new wife.  Intricate set drops executed percussively provide a sense of uplift in an otherwise bittersweet story.


Jerry Mouawad, director, designer; Carol Triffle lead


“It’s strange to leave a Chekhov production feeling joyful.  But who’s to argue against the gratification of art done well?. . . The lighting design. . . is pure sensation. . . the stage direction reveals moments of great interpretive intelligence.  All the elements come together to form a wonderfully rich and nuanced Chekhovian experience.” Dominic Luxford, Willamette Week

 

 


 

Missing Mona - April 2004 
This multimedia, multilayered work by Carol Triffle recounts both the historic 1911 theft of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa from The Louvre, and the modern day story of a young woman whose obsession with da Vinci leads her to explore her own creative and sexual impulses.  With 12 slide projectors and 3 film projectors, the visuals are both an homage and extension of da Vinci's own constantly evolving artistry.


Carol Triffle, writer, director, design; Jerry Mouawad lead

“Jerry Mouawad, as Leo, brings theatrical snap to his lines. . . his set. . . is wonderfully inventive.  Wonderful, too, are some isolated visual images, most notably Triffle’s slow, hypnotic gymnastic turn in the famed da Vinci circle.” Bob Hicks, The Oregonian

 

 


 

Biglittlethings - December 2003
Biglittlethings is the acclaimed follow up to Imago’s signature show FROGZ.  Once again drawing on their training in the renowned Lecoq approach to mime theatre, contemporary dance, physical comedy and traditional mask styles, co-creators Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad have crafted Biglittlethings into another madcap spectacle for all ages.  In a series of short and surreal vignettes, audience perceptions of scale and physical reality are challenged as surprising creatures are brought to mischievous life through ingenious costumes, evocative lighting, original music, and a cast of highly skilled physical performers.  A darkened stage transforms into an inviting sea of glowing fish, dancing seahorses, and a gliding stingray, a family of polar bears dances and mingles with the audience, a hungry anteater at a restaurant can’t seem to get a waiter’s attention, and in the action packed finale Bows and Arrows, acrobatic archers transform the stage with colorful and kinetic streamers, in a celebration of the simple joys of theatrical magic.

 

Carol Triffle, Jerry Mouawad creators, designers, directors; Katie Griesar original music

 

 “Biglittlethings at Imago Theatre spills across the stage with visual inventiveness, creating a sumptuous journey into a dream world where the imagination turns some tight corners. . . the perfect nonverbal show for a child's first theater experience. . . the audience frequently crowed with delight and laughed uproariously as antics unfolded onstage. . . The show balances dark images with sweet ones, and an edge of fear and mystery makes ideas resonate.”
Holly Johnson, The Oregonian

 

 


 

A Number - September 2003 

The United States premiere of Caryl Churchill’s new play stands as a unique accomplishment even for a company with plenty of firsts to its credit.  The irony is that this dark family drama doesn't have to do with uniqueness at all.  It has to do with cloning.  A man whose wife has died and left him with an unmanageable son takes the opportunity of cloning to start his life over.  Freed from alcohol and drug addiction, he gives up for adoption his neglected child and, while in recovery, waits for his second, cloned son to be born.  As the play unfolds 35 years later, the adult sons confront the father about buried secrets.  The family is tragically reunited after hospital records reveal that 20 more clones of the same son were illegally produced.


Jerry Mouawad, director, designer; Tobias Andersen, lead; Carol Triffle producer


Tobias Andersen plays Salter with chilling conviction. . . Mouawad’s direction is superb. . . his glorious set design. . . is a prizewinner for both function and looks.  Original music by Imago composer Katie Griesar is perfect.”
Holly Johnson, The Oregonian

 

“Mouawad brings a touching bewilderment to Bernard-2, and Andersen is marvelous with Churchill’s dark humor.”
Steffen Silvis, Willamette Week

 

 


 

Exit the King - October 2002

For the fourth entry in his series of contemporary classics, Jerry Mouawad tackles Eugene Ionesco’s absurdist play about a 400-year old king facing his end:  the end of his life, the end of his reign, the end of his world.  As death looms in every corner, his castle collapses around him with walls crashing to the ground and even more inexplicably, furniture disappearing.  Some monologues are sung; others declaimed.


Jerry Mouawad, direction and design; Carol Triffle lead

 

The cast adeptly weathers Ionesco’s drastic changes in tone, from slapstick comedy to melodrama.  Regal costumes and the gritty, dilapidated set further Imago’s well-established reputation for visual invention.”
Stephen Blair, The Tribune

 

 


 

No Can Do - March 2001

“What’s the difference between bad luck and fate?”  That’s the central question of Carol Triffle’s No Can Do in which an invisible God probes the mind of an Actor with split-personality.  This jigsaw narrative eventually pieces together a barren landscape of heroes and bums, actors and wannabes, critics and audience members.  Even Oedipus gets in the mix.  Sitting in the middle of a series of squares of light, the Actor interacts with the Voice, an unknown force which is eventually revealed to be a ventriloquism of the Actor himself.

 

Carol Triffle, writer; Drammy Award, Best Lighting Design, Jerry Mouawad

 

What finally makes this a fun-filled, provocative theater experience are the performance and production values that Imago’s Triffle and Mouawad bring to bear. . . Mouawad wonderfully captures the cosmic buffoonery of the play’s focal character. . . Triffle punctuates the action with an ethereal and mysterious presence.”
Richard Wattenberg, The Oregonian

 

“This funny and challenging production will stick with you far longer than your average night at the theater. . . Manic in the best sense of the word.”
Stephen Blair, Ourtown

 

“Jerry Mouawad. . . is both an actor of great depth and range, and a skilled ventriloquist.”
Justin Sanders, The Portland Mercury

 


 

Imaginary Invalid - November 2000 

From his series of contemporary classics, Jerry Mouawad adaptation of Moliere From his series of contemporary classics, Jerry Mouawad’s adaptation of Moliere takes place in the apartment of an affluent Lebanese family in NYC.  Argan, a hypochondriac obsessed with the opinions of increasingly absurd doctors, desires to make one of them his daughter’s husband, and thereby allow him access to all the consultations he requires.  But his daughter, Angelique, rejects these suitors in favor of her guitar-playing boyfriend, Cleante.  A cast of twelve plays a variety of oddball characters motivated by selfishness and greed.  True to Imago, the ingenious set also includes an elevator with a personality all its own.

 

Jerry Mouawad, director, designer Company Members: Carol Triffle, Danielle Vermette, Jonathan Godsey, Rex Jantze, Graydon Kouri, Michael Vertlieb

 

Every actor and actress in this production needs to be commended for their strong character development. . . definitely worth seeing. . . outrageous. . . sure to have you laughing loud and hard.”
Carrie Dixon, Vanguard

 

“Mouawad, as usual, brings a highly creative imagination to bear on the play’s scenic elements. . . An elevator door with a life of its own typifies Mouawad’s particular brand of anarchic humor, as do some of the costume and makeup touches.  Mouawad especially exercises his playfully surreal sensibility.”
Richard Wattenberg, The Oregonian

 

 


 

Oh Lost Weekend - January 2000 

Vickie Browne, of Goshen, New York, is on trial for falsely impersonating Queen Victoria of England.  Yet is she the reincarnated monarch herself?  Carol Triffle’s highly original performance piece sets Goshen’s warped trial in a metallic cage equipped with 19-foot-high walls and a 300-gallon water tank.  As a chorus of tight-skinned acrobats sing, dance and dive around her, Vickie Browne must defend her belief in reincarnation both in her prison cell and while performing an Esther Williams-style underwater ballet.

Carol Triffle, writer, director; Demetri Pavlatos, scenic design; Jerry Mouawad lead

 

“Oh Lost Weekend is a godsend to adventurous entertainment seekers.  In 90 entrancing minutes, Triffle and company invite the audience to tinker with a truckload of provocative questions.”
Stephen Blair, Ourtown

 

“An exciting theatrical realm where the eerie and the fantastic playfully mingle.”
Richard Wattenberg, The Oregonian

 

“Brilliant and innovative. . . Oh Lost Weekend is funny, haunting, and will leave a profound mark on your subconscious.”
Julianne Shepherd, The Portland Mercury

 

“One of the finest pieces of clowning I’ve ever witnessed.”
Steffen Silvis, Willamette Week

 

“Triffle’s stagecraft is breathtaking.”
The Southeast Examiner

 

“Triffle’s stagecraft is breathtaking.”
The Southeast Examiner

 

 


 

Blood Wedding, Blood Wedding - October 1999
In the second in his series of contemporary classics, Jerry Mouawad bisects Federico Garcia Lorca’s tragedy -- about a bride, a groom, and their lamented love -- by splitting every part between two actors.  Using blackouts as if they were real-time jumpcuts, Blood Wedding, Blood Wedding presents two different sides to every role and every relationship.  The result is a multifaceted view of the nature of personality, conflict and love.  Half ghost story, half tragicomedy, this unconventional interpretation revealed sides of Lorca no one even imagined before.


Jerry Mouawad, director, designer; Carol Triffle lead


“Fiercely original staging and fine performances. . . near flawless lighting changes and nimble blocking. . . several powerful effects. . . pure surrealism. . . brilliant. . . delicious interplay. . . stunning. . . breathtaking.”
Jeremy Kemp, Back Stage West

 

 


 

House Taken Over -  July 1999  

An eccentric middle-aged brother and sister are caught in a mysterious architectural mousetrap: the house of their childhood.  Isolated from the world, the two live here contentedly until a mysterious, unseen force evicts them.  In one secret room, the strange lady in red sings for brother or sister separately, but never together.  Will the pair ever find peace (or a way in) again?  A poignant piece of magic realism (Mouawad’s third homage to the genre), House Taken Over features an astonishing Imago set as the enormous house is revealed via a series of shifting, oversized blueprints.  A toy instrument chamber orchestra performs the score by Katie Griesar.

 

Jerry Mouawad, writer, director, designer; Katie Griesar, composer; Carol Triffle & Lyndie Mah, co-leads

 

“Beautiful costumes. . . spine tingling vocals. . . flawless music composition.”
Jeremy Kemp, Back Stage West

 

“Imago is one of the few companies that succeed in creating new or altered realities on stage through a combination of technical brilliance and imagination. . . Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad are back in top form. . . Haunting, humorous and unabashedly theatrical.”
Steffen Silvis, Willamette Week

 

 


 

Trailer Park Paradise -  January 1999

placed Snake and Apple in her own Mad Max world where the diabolical duo careen aimlessly while pursuing Adam and Eve on the road to Limbo.  Much of the chase takes place in a car that doubles as a projection screen that’s hit with an artillery of animation and live action footage.  A background of live music drives this journey to an intentionally dubious destination.

 

Carol Triffle, writer, director, designer; Waltzing Mice, original live music; Paul Regan and Shari Miller, guest musicians

 

“The effect is simply delightful.  So are the many visual and sound-effect jokes.  The music of Waltzing Mice, a frequent Imago collaborator (here bolstered by Paul Regan and Shari Miller) is pertinent and funny, too. . . curiously engaging.”
Barry Johnson, The Oregonian

 

 


 

No ExitOctober 1998  

 mysterious and vaguely sinister Valet leads a reporter, a socialite and a postal worker to a single, unadorned room.  In Jean Paul Sartre’s vision of Hell, the psychological shifts within and between character states are dramatic and unceasing.  Director Jerry Mouawad locates the absurd humor and ramps up the tension through his audacious and innovative staging of No Exit on a tilting square platform.  The actor’s movements, corresponding so directly to the dramatically shifting stage, are rigorously choreographed and physically demanding, contributing to an onstage atmosphere of palpable danger and genuine surprise.  One of Imago Theatre’s most celebrated productions, No Exit premiered in Portland, OR in 1998, and returned for runs in 2000, 2004 and 2009.  Additional productions include a restaging at the renowned American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA (2005) and at the award winning Hartford Stage Co., Hartford, CT (2006).

 

Jerry Mouawad design & direction; Demetri Pavlatos, set engineering; Carol Triffle co-lead


"Superb!" The New York Times


"Great!" Variety


"Wonderfully imaginative!" The Wall Street Journal


"Deliciously entertaining!" NPR


“Imago's innovative No Exit is a fall-off-the-edge-of-your-seat thriller infused with comedic vaudevillian gags, bringing out the funny in the unexpected.”
Followspot

 

“a dynamic and constantly moving production. . . far exceeds anything that could be done on a conventional stage. . . Jerry Mouawad and the Imago Theater company have found something immensely entertaining and even absurdly enjoyable within this play.  Through its innovative staging and deliciously performed characters, Imago has created a fantastic piece of theater that is extremely enjoyable and absolutely worth seeing.”
Geoff Kleinman, On Portland

 

 


 

Dead End Ed - April 1998 

Dead End Ed is Jerry Mouawad’s first foray into existential vaudeville.  (See also Double Feature and Vladimir, Vladimir.)  A heady mix of optical illusion and tongue-in-cheek philosophy, the play presents the five lives of Ed (Mouawad), a mensch haunted and killed five times by nemesis Lady Lavinia (Carol Triffle), only to be resurrected to endure another life.  Like a kind of noir meets Beckett, this production poses questions on the afterlife, double identity, and metamorphoses as Ed combats a barrage of talking tape recorders, projections of projections and a revolving set of nearly-identical rooms.

 

Jerry Mouawad, writer, director, designer; Drammy Award, Best Actor, Jerry Mouawad


Drammy Award, Best Original Play, Jerry Mouawad & Carol Triffle

“Any description of Dead End Ed must employ that blend of joy and astonishment used to recount dreams. . . rivals the Marx Brothers’ inspired mayhem. . .metaphysical vaudeville of hallucinatory beauty. . . Mouawad and Triffle. . . are masters of their craft. . . Bold, fresh and imaginative.”
Steffen Silvis, Willamette Week

 

 

 


 

Ginger’s Green - November 1997 

Quirky and spirited, Ginger’s Green takes place in the Golden Galaxy, a white plastic nightclub in Reno, Nevada.  Ginger is a croupier who never wears green for two reasons; her boyfriend King has gone missing, and so has all the green in the world.  In their dramatic reunion, King throws knives at Ginger who’s strapped on a spinning wheel.  A kind of meta cabaret with its use of confessional show tunes and its blurring of the line between public and private personas, Ginger’s Green was Carol Triffle’s first production after returning from her third and final year of training in Paris with renowned mentor, Jacques Lecoq.

 

Carol Triffle, writer, designer, director; Waltzing Mice, original music; Jerry Mouawad lead

 

“Funny, tuneful, sexy and campy. . . Triffle is positively bubbly. . . propelling the show along its course.”
Barry Johnson, The Oregonian

 

“A cunning mixture of open-mike poetics, dance and musicals a la Foreman.”
Steffen Silvis, Willamette Week

 

“Dramatic brush-strokes fill the space with sharp comedic monologues and ecstatic motion in well-choreographed dance numbers. . . hilarious, head-spinning theatre.”
Jeremy Kemp, Back Stage West

 

 


 

Half Light -  June 1997

Half Light is Jerry Mouawad’s second entry in his trilogy indebted to Latin America’s Magical Realists.  (Verdad is the first; House Taken Over, the last.)  A multimedia dreamscape of wonderment and disillusion, the show is performed by a trio of sleepwalking puppeteers who tell the tale of an ocean town invaded by a disturbing and mystical smell.

 

Jerry Mouawad, design, direction, writer; Waltzing Mice, live original music

 

“A perfect balance between form and content. . . A combination of adroit physical expression and timing. . . Imago’s latest production is one of its best.”
Tanya Ignacio, Willamette Week


 

Symphony of Rats - October 1996

The second Richard Foreman piece directed by Jerry Mouawad, Symphony of Rats was staged during the 1996 presidential elections -- unique in that they found the country voting among three (not two) final candidates: Clinton, Dole, and Perot.  Foreman’s equally unconventional political satire concerns a U.S. President who hears voices from outer space. Outlandish both ideologically and visually, Imago’s explosively chaotic production was further distinguished by a gigantic 12-foot metallic wheel embodying the alien visitors.

 

Jerry Mouawad, design, direction; Demetri Pavlatos, set and wheel design; Waltzing Mice, original music
Set Collaboration, Annie Abel and Rob Bonde

Drammy Award, Best Sound Design, Katie Griesar and Kahlil Aisha

 

“The Imago visual style - rambunctious, startling, homemade and technologically astute all at the same time - punches up the whole affair.”
Barry Johnson, The Oregonian

 

“An astonishingly creative production.  The combination of the script’s disjointed dialogue and spasmodic action with Imago’s flair for spectacle and physicality makes for a disconcertingly delirious experience.”
Tanya Ignacio, Willamette Week

 

 


 

Ajax -  August 1996

Sophocles’ classic Greek tragedy tells of the fall of the great Trojan warrior who, when he attempts to revenge his rivals Agamemnon and Odysseus, is tricked by the goddess Athena to kill livestock instead.  Staged in Imago’s second floor ballroom and re-imagining the monologues as “speech-songs,” director Carol Triffle’s production was remarkable for both its use of natural light on its white muslin sets (a sophistication that recalls artist James Turrell) and its equally bold costumes -- visually shocking splashes of colors.

 

Carol Triffle, writer, director, designer; Drammy award, Best Costumes, Carol Triffle; Drammy award, Best Original Lighting, Jerry Mouawad

 

“Never undernourished for ideas, Imago consistently presents full, vibrant theater.  Ajax is no exception.”
Tanya Ignacio, Willamette Week

 


 

Samuel’s Major Problems -  June 1996

The Portland debut of the work of avant-garde icon Richard Foreman establishes Imago’s reputation as the city’s cutting edge company.  An admittedly strange piece of chamber theater, Samuel’s Major Problems revolves around three nervous, sinister characters -- Samuel, Marie Helene and Dr. Martino -- who are in the midst of a nightmarish birthday party.  Drawing on both Imago’s vaudevillian roots and Foreman’s non-linear narrative style, Samuel’s Major Problems allows director Jerry Mouawad to reveal the subconscious onstage and in triplicate.

 

 Jerry Mouawad direction and design; Carol Triffle, Drew Pisarra leads

“Theater of exceptionally - and unusually- high quality.”
Tanya Ignacio, Willamette Week

 

“It points the way to states of mind we don’t usually find in American theater.”
Barry Johnson, The Oregonian

 

 


 

Buffo - May 1995

The Divine Comedy gets a comical spin from creator Carol Triffle who turns Dante’s descent into hell into an adventure story for all ages:  After getting locked out of the house, Buffo, a 12-year-old boy, falls down a manhole that leads to the center of the earth.  There he encounters singing snakes, a dog who guards books, and the strangely protective mud people who help him to find his way home.

 

Carol Triffle, writer director designer; Dan Ackerman, animation and cinematography; Tom Arndt, animation and cinematography; Jerry Mouawad lead

 

“Buffo is a great show. The effects are dazzling and the characters well drawn.”
Tanya Malia Ignacio, Tonic

 

 


 

Phoenicians in the House - November 1994

Inspired by the epic productions of Robert Wilson, Jerry Mouawad refashions Inspired by the epic productions of Robert Wilson, Jerry Mouawad refashions Euripides’ Orpheus as something akin to a surreal opera without songs.  Rich in pageantry with a chorus of white-faced spirits, Phoenicians in the House is part expressionist movement theater and part fabulist freak show.  This experimental theater piece follows Orpheus and Eurydice to an underworld ruled by a devil who meditates on consciousness and haunted by three female bakers who emerge from hell’s fiery oven.

 

Jerry Mouawad, choreography, direction, design; Drew Pisarra, writer; Carol Triffle lead

 

“Bold and bizarre, Phoenicians goes where no Greek myth has been before.”
Krista Koontz, The Oregonian

 

 


 

Verdad -  October 1993    

Inspired by Latin America’s magical realists, Imago’s Verdad is a multimedia spectacle about a snake oil salesman who falls in love with a carnival runaway named Luna, only to be imprisoned by her for eternity after she’s revealed to be a sorceress.  One of Imago’s largest-scale productions, Verdad incorporates magic and masks, film and the company’s signature physical comedy.

 

Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad, writers, directors, designers; Paul Harrod, art director and scenic design; Tracy Prescott, art direction and illustration; Michael O’Donnell, cinematography and animation; Tom Arndt, animation
Dan Ackerman, cinematography; Greg Ives, original music

 

“A dazzling combination of magic of every order” 
Jill Kantor, The Oregonian

 

“The set. . . has all the qualities of a gifted actor.  A Technicolor chameleon with multiple faces, tremendous expressive range and a stage presence that fills the entire room.”
Kevin Francis, Willamette Week


 

FROGZ - April 1979

FROGZ is Imago’s signature production.  Dating back to 1979, Carol Triffle and Jerry Mouawad began creating masks and costumes and developing movement to bring the essence of their creatures to life.  With the addition of new actors, designers and original music over the years, FROGZ has earned its status as an international success.  Imago's work has been seen on television and on tour in Europe, Asia, and throughout North America, including twice on Broadway at the acclaimed New Victory Theatre, and an extended run at the Tony Award-winning American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  The show, which evolves over time, currently features such favorites as the introverted frogs, slippery lizards, a playful paper bag, dancing strings, mysterious orbs, a curious giant baby, an acrobatic larva and mischievous penguins.  Sophisticated, universally appealing and highly entertaining, FROGZ has fans of all ages returning again and again. 

 

Carol Triffle, Jerry Mouawad creators, designers, directors; Original Music Katie Griesar

 

“Terrific! . . . It is hard to name a show better suited to introduce kids to the imaginative power of theater.”
National Public Radio

 

“Masters of mime, dance and acrobatics... inspired fun!”
The New York Times

 

“A simple, elegant work that embraces the joy of imagination.”
Variety Magazine

 

“A cross between a circus, vaudeville, and the zoo. . . . One of the wildest, weirdest, wackiest shows ever to play NYC.”
New York Daily News

 

FROGZ is a rare theatrical event:  family friendly entertainment that is actually friendly to everyone in the family. . . Imago Theatre's lively varied program of genuinely inventive theatrics provides true aesthetic pleasure and truly goofy fun. . . makes you realize you see such magic every day, and reminds you to pay attention when you do.  I can't think of a better way to introduce my son to the rewards of art”
The Boston Globe

 

“Crowds will leap for FROGZ... Wacky, thoroughly enchanting... New Age vaudeville mixes Cirque du Soleil-like acrobatics and Mummenschanz-style puppetry with a hip, post modern sensibility... high drama, comedy and breathtaking visual effects... amazing... hilarious... sure fire entertainment for all ages.”
The Boston Herald