October 15-November 15
No Exit, the existential drama that gave audiences Jean-Paul Sartre’s most famous line, “Hell is other people,” follows three unrepentant sinners—a cheating wife, a master manipulator, and a sniveling coward—who seem destined to torment each other for eternity. This is the fifth time Jerry Mouawad has directed the play in 11 years, and his unique adaptation includes a specially constructed 17-foot-by-17-foot stage that shifts with each actor’s movements, strengthening the illusion that the characters are adrift in the black void of an unstable universe. Mouawad infuses humor into this austere drama for an experience he describes as a mix between watching the theater and the circus. While the question of whether Sartre’s characters are in eternal damnation or in purgatory remains, Mouawad’s spirited rendition of No Exit is sure to hypnotize audiences as they travel the highway to hell.—Laura Klairmont
Ben Franklin: Unplugged
Portland Center Stage
September 29-November 22
Ellyn Bye Studio
Josh Kornbluth is Ben Franklin. Or, at least, he thinks he’s Benjamin Franklin. Kornbluth’s one-man show takes his resemblance to the turkey-loving founding father and turns it into a moving, often charming, monologue about the fiery dynamics that form the heart of the father-son relationship.
All My Sons
Artists Repertory Theatre
September 8-October 11
War profiteering, family, and the American Dream are examined in Arthur Miller’s World War II–era classic. Miller probes deeply into the ethical quandaries surrounding man’s politically motivated killing of man, a bloody topic that, sadly, remains as relevant as ever.
The Trojan Women
Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon
Cerf Amphitheatre at Reed College
Set in the bloody Bronze Age, Euripides’ play—still sharp 2,000 years after it was penned—explores the heartbreaking toll that war takes on the children and wives left behind by soldiers. Told in traditional Greek style, The Trojan Women is directed by Elizabeth Huffman and stars venerable local actress Vana O’Brien.
El Dia De Los Muertos Festival
Miracle Theatre Group
October 30-November 15
The Day of the Dead celebration began in Mexico as a way to fête life in the face of often tough times, a sentiment that seems especially noteworthy now. Portland’s longest- running such festival raises spirits literally and figuratively with a colorful and unabashedly boisterous fortnight of dance, music, and theater.