Portland Center Stage presents
an interpreted performance of
Written by Adam Bock
Directed by Rose Riordan
LOCATION: Portland Center Stage, The Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR. On the main stage.
TICKETS: order online and use promo code SIGN for tickets at the right price, right section, right date; or call the box office at 503-445-3700
INTERPRETERS: Rich Hall and Cheryl Witters
SIGN COACH: Irene Jazowick
A Small Fire follows John and Emily Bridges, a long-married couple whose happy, middle-class lives are upended when Emily is overcome by a mysterious disease. As this indomitable woman’s senses are slowly stripped away—smell, taste, sight—she finds herself suddenly and completely dependent on the husband whose endless devotions she had always taken for granted, and their lives transform in ways neither could have imagined.
The show runs 90 minutes with no intermission.
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A Small Fire Follows a Family’s Struggle With a Strange Isolating Disorder
“Adam Bock’s A Small Fire, currently appearing at Portland Center Stage, might be a small play but it asks some pretty big questions…this lean, spare drama explores the nature of life, love, and human connection — big subjects indeed.”
“Directed by PCS associate artistic director Rose Riordan, who also directed the PCS productions of The Thugs and The Receptionist, the play’s four-member cast works wonderfully well together.
Peggy J. Scott ably portrays Emily’s fiery feistiness and her irascibility, and yet even from the start she allows us to see that beneath the crusty exterior there is a woman, who in her own way really means well. As Emily’s disabilities reduce her to helplessness, some of the abrasive edge that is predominant early on gives way to a reluctant patience and finally at play’s end to something approaching a subdued ecstasy.
Scott’s Emily is nicely complemented by Tom Bloom’s John Bridges. Bloom’s Tom is low-keyed, even tempered. His movements are restrained, thoughtful, and deliberate, and he speaks with an unruffled easy rhythm. Sure, occasionally he allows us a glimpse of a tortured grimace but only when no one else on stage could possibly detect his dismay. As Billy, Emily’s construction company employee, Isaac Lamb gives us a good-hearted teddy bear of a man, and Holleye Gilbert, as John and Emily’s daughter Jenny, very ably conveys the frustrated deep-seated ambivalence she feels toward her mother — a woman who could never offer Jenny the tenderness she so desperately sought.”