Presenting the traditional classic tale as envisioned in a new and far-distant setting.
The Light Opera of Portland in keeping with their custom of Absurdity done in Complete Sincerity will present Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado in September. The Mikado opened on the London stage in 1885 and immediately became a world sensation. Before the end of 1885, it was estimated that, in Europe and America, at least 150 companies were producing the opera. What’s more though is that LOoP has decided to go with Gilbert’s original intention and to present it in a distant, far-distant locale. Theirs is the small planet of Pitiyu in the constellation of Zhartan that disguises his satire of British government. It is the traditional classic comic opera that has tickled the funny bone of audiences for 133 years. Come enjoy the beautiful Sullivan melodies sung by the fabulous voices of LOoP and laugh your way through this hysterically funny comedy in its new distant and far-distant setting.
Why an Outer Space Mikado?
Gilbert & Sullivan were in the business of presenting social and political satire, often based in different settings and cultures. These include the land of Fairy, the Venetian republic and the fictional land of Barataria, the fictional south sea island of Utopia, and the fictional village of Titipu. None of their stories were about the setting but about the inequities or fallacies that existed in British society. I do not believe that their intent or their result was focused on the culture of the settings.
So, what is The Mikado about? It is about corrupt bureaucracies, despotic authoritarian rulers, and an impossible love story. The character Pooh-Bah takes on all the roles of government and then is willing to take false positions for personal gain. This reminds me of our current congress taking positions that would have been unthinkable 10-20 years ago for their own gain. The Mikado makes unilateral decisions that appear somewhat ridiculous. This reminds me of our current President. My point is that these portrayals transcend any particular setting and time and are as relevant today as they were when applied to Victorian England.
There is a time-honored tradition in literature and theatre for setting stories in unfamiliar settings in order to reflect upon social and political issues that are relevant to the society at large. This is what Gilbert & Sullivan were doing. In today’s environment (for at least the last 60-70 years) this has been done through Science Fiction. Star Trek was never about Klingons, Romulans, or Vulcans. It was about us, the people we are, and our society. This is why we have reset The Mikado on the Planet of Pitiyu in the constellation of Zhartan.
If you are interested in the historical definition of The Mikado please visit: G&S The Mikado Plot Summary. This is the same story that LOoP will be presenting but in a different setting.
|The Emperor of Zhartan||Bill Wuertz|
|Nanky-Pu, His Son||Tom Hamann|
|Co-Co, The Lord High Executioner||Carl Dahlquist|
|Pooh-Bah, Lord High Everything Else||Laurence Cox|
|Pish-Tush, A Noble Lord||Kevin Lay|
|Yum-Yum, A Ward of Co-Co||Lindsey Lefler|
|Yum-Yum, Understudy||Pollyanna Moody|
|Pity-Sing, A Ward of Co-Co||Sheryl Wood|
|Peep-Bo, A Ward of Co-Co||Mandee Light|
|Catischa, An Elderly Lady||Anne Hubble|
Ladies of the Ensemble
|Sarah Quinn Rivara|
Men of the Ensemble
|Artistic Designer||Jacob Mott|
|Musical Director||Dr. Linda Smith|
|Musical Assistant||Mele Howland|
|Production Technical Director||Dennis Freeze|
|Stage Manager/Prop Master||Amy Barnhart|
|Lighting Design||Jacob Mott|
|House Manager||Chuck Weed|
|Accompanist||Dr. Linda Smith|
|Costume Designer||Lucy Tait|
|Program and Web Site||Sheryl Wood|
|Posters||Jacob Mott/David Smith|