Raymond Carver Short Stories Meet the Stage in Portland

Raymond Carver Short Stories Meet the Stage in PortlandFans of Raymond Carver, one of the 20th century's most vital short story writers, will be delighted to find four of his earliest works staged in HUMAN NOISE, three stories and a poem directed and choreographed by Imago Theatre's Jerry Mouawad. The stories include "Gazebo," "A Serious Talk," "Neighbors," and the poem "Torture." All the pieces explore the intimate and sometimes unusual struggles and passions of male female relationships. Carver's precise and explosively simple narratives expose veins of Northwest Americans. He was born in Clatskanie, Oregon and spent most of his time on the west coast. Two of the three stories in HUMAN NOISE first appeared in print in 1980, while the earliest, "Neighbors," was published in 1971.

Carver wrote fiction and poetry that spotlighted a working class of people often absent from the literary slicks of his time, but people who nonetheless populated his vigorous imagination until his death in 1988. He crafted stories rife with tension, history and an impending sense of conflict to come. Particularly in his earlier work, he thwarted the optimistic "wrap up" in favor of the sometimes grim, but always sublime, future, where something different might happen: a lesson learned, a new path taken, a brighter future forged by that singular epiphanic moment, but maybe not. Jerry Mouawad, Imago's Artistic Co-Director, is no stranger to staging literary giants. His most recent credits include two works by contemporary composer David Lang at the Portland Opera (June/July, Newmark Theatre). This past season he brought Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin's poetic collaboration Savage/Love. to the stage, combining movement and text to create a total theatre experience, which he hopes to repeat by combining realism and lyrical gesture in HUMAN NOISE.

For long-time Imago followers, the union of Carver and Mouawad may seem surprising, but there's a beauty to the fit. Both artists start without a knowledge or plan as to where the creative process might lead. Mouawad admits to being mesmerized after picking up the short story "Popular Mechanics" and will rely on the relationship between kinetic chemistry and fanciful lyricism to convey Carver's world. Carver and Mouawad share themes of architecture, as Carver often rewrote a piece dozens of times to truly dig into the "architecture of the story" where Mouawad begins sometimes with only the spatial architecture of a play (what is the space?), then searches for the drama. See what happens when a legendary wordsmith meets a genre-defying master of movement in HUMAN NOISE at Imago Theatre, September 21 through September 30.

IMAGO THEATRE | PO Box 15182, Portland, OR 97293 | Street Address, 17 SE 8th Ave, 97214.

Related Articles View More Portland Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram