Rampant American consumerism and pop culture were lampooned in the recent Broadway comedy Jackie, but some of the same iconic figures will be looked at more seriously in a new piece conceived and directed by Anne Bogart, Culture of Desire.
Opening Mar. 19 at ME's Portland Stage Company, Desire starts at the moment artist Andy Warhol was shot and then follows him through a "dreamlike journey" into the pop culture world. Along the way he meets Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and JFK in a piece that asks, as Bogart puts it, "When did we transform from citizens of the United States of America into consumers of the United States of Amnesia?"
Bogart, an associate professor at Columbia University, has won two Obie Awards and a Bessie Award. Her directing assignments have included Hot 'n' Throbbing at American Rep, Marathon Dancing at En Garde Arts and Paula Vogel's Baltimore Waltz at the now defunct Circle Repertory Theatre in New York.
She has directed a several plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville including Miss Julie, The Adding Machine and Picnic, as well as the the 1991 world premiere of Eduardo Machado's In the Eye of the Hurricane. In addition, a salute to Bogart was held in 1995 as part of ATL's annual Brown-Forman Classics in Context Festival.
Pittsburgh's City Theatre and Bogart's own Saratoga International Theatre Institute (SITI) are co-producing the work, which runs to Apr. 5 at Portland Stage. The show played in PA Sept. 1997 and will become part of the SITI repertory after the Portland engagement. Designing Desire are Neil Patel (set), James Schuette (costumes), Mimi Jordan Sherin (lighting) and Darron L. West (sound -- here called "noize").
Appearing in Culture are Will Bond, Akika Aizawa, Jeffrey Frase, Ellen Lauren, Barney O'Hanlon, Karen June Sanchez and Stephen Webber.
For tickets ($18-$29) and information on Culture of Desire at Portland Stage Company, 25A Forest Ave., call (207) 774-0465.
-- By David Lefkowitz