last week leslie and i took advantage of portland center stage‘s last minute rush $10 tickets to see apollo by nancy keystone. a couple of weeks ago i skimmed a review of it enough to know that i would probably like it. we went in knowing it was about the space race of the 50’s and 60’s, and the u.s.’s use of nazi war criminals to get ahead. we also knew it was close to four hours long with two intermissions.
the first act was an almost whimsical look at how the u.s. recruited the nazi scientists. the second act was an interrogation of one of the scientist by an attorney, bringing him up on war crimes in the eighties. and the third act connected the civil rights movement and the cotton industry to the launch of apollo. the play was amazing, and didn’t seem like four hours. the actors deserve some big praise for pulling off this play, the second and third acts were pretty intense.
the play did not follow any real sort of linear story, and is staged in a rather robert wilsonesque style. meaning, the soundtrack played and important part, there were elements of interpretive dance used, and rather avant garde staging was used. i really enjoyed most of the staging, i feel that it needs to be restaged with a different stage director though. some of the dance sequences and transitions were clunky and awkward, and the soundtrack needs a little tweaking. the sets at portland center stage always impress me, and apollo was no different. the set for the second act was a wall of carboard boxes that the actors reorganized during the act, full of all sorts of artsy symbolism.
i wish we saw it earlier in the run so that we could have recommended it to more people.