17 SE 8th
Portland, OR 97214




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Sept. 29 – OCT 22

Thurs, Fri, Sat @ 7:30

$10 - $16 (pay what you can)

Mouawad's fifth
"Opera Beyond Words"

When a man is left with little time to make a life altering gamble in a game of poker, he pauses the game to journey with his gang to mysterious locales and discovers the unexpected.


Fifth in Mouawad series of "Opera Beyond Words" ZUGZWANG is part theater, part dance and a large part sweeping operatic movements - all without words.


After a long haitus Jerry Mouawad in 2009 returned to staging silent work for adult audiences – he called the series "Opera Beyond Words." He was interested in understanding what kind of non-verbal theater would appeal to modern audiences. In these pieces, the choreographer/director explored a range of themes, including the world of the honey bee as seen through a military prison in Apis, the examination of a near-world catastrophe as played out in a swingers party in The Cuban Missile Tango, a fascist police state examined within the setting of a typing school in Tick Tack Type, and a look at the machinations of theater itself in Stage Left Lost. In each piece, Mouawad created a fusion of two seemingly disparate worlds to create a third universe.  


In his latest work in this series, Mouawad plunges into a more abstract vein. The creator talks about Zugzwang:

"Zugzwang is a play, a movement work, a dance about a man who finds himself caught in a situation in which any move he makes is a bad one. He's in a corner. I placed him in the corner at the top of the play and for the rest of the hour of this piece my protagonist who I call Rafifi takes his enemies and  his entourage with him on an odyssey to unravel his predicament."


"This is my most abstract work to date in my series The structure of the plot is simple, however the choreography is not. The performers and I have been working months on movement sequences and choreography in this little maze of an odyssey. It's a caper, a robbery, a gamble, a surgery."


Rafifi is performed by Gregg Bielemeier. The all-star movement cast includes Carol Triffle, Catherine Egan, Nathan H.G. , Keyon Gaskin, Russell Dodge, and Anne Sorce.





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