The problem is that grief blinds. People think different when the burying’s over. A soul’s just leaving, you do anything to keep hold of them. Once they’re done with ashes to ashes and paying off the doctor and the undertaker and the grave diggers and the preacher, the last thing they want to remember is the dying.
-Reilly O’Rourke, Immaterial Matters
In small-town America in the 1880s, Crane Wordsworth takes pictures for the studio owned by Reilly O’Rourke. Carrie helps Crane with the setups. Crane takes photographs of the recently dead; Carrie helps him capture the essence of the models. Reilly doesn’t understand the way it works; he just knows it does, to his financial advantage. Crane doesn’t quite understand it either, but at times he glimpses what may be the truth of his occupation. What makes us human? Is it the fate we all face or is it how we face our fate? Can that be captured on film? Can the photographer remain unaffected, or by the passing of those who previously were? Or does death take its toll on the living as well? The readings will feature the acting talents of Ebbe Roe Smith, Cassie Skauge, Adrienne Flagg, Ritah Parrish and Torrey Cornwell.
Immaterial Matters was the winning play in CoHo’s third annual New By Northwest New Play Competition. Steve Patterson is a rather prolific writer in that he is the author of over 50 plays, with works staged in Portland (OR), Los Angeles, Austin, Tampa, Chicago, Kansas City, Eugene (OR), and Christchurch (New Zealand). His work includes: gritty, tough-minded plays about reporters covering war, which delve deep into politics, the relationships of the public, media, and propaganda, and seek to unflinchingly portray the human cost of armed conflict; and bizarre, dreamlike plays about hallucinatory or extreme states of experience, meant to take the audience on a journey into the unconscious, that which defies logic and can be known only through intuition, feeling, and imagery. He’s also a photographer. In 2008, his play Lost Wavelengths was a mainstage selection at Portland Center Stage’s JAW/West festival, and, in 2008, won the Oregon Book Award (he also was an OBA finalist in 1992 and 2002). In 1997, he won the inaugural Portland Civic Theatre Guild Fellowship for his play Turquoise and Obsidian. The Centering, a one-man show Mr. Patterson co-wrote with Portland actor Chris Harder, was featured at the Edmonton Fringe Festival and the Boulder Fringe Festival, and, in 2007, Mr. Harder won a Drammy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the piece.
You can learn more about Mr. Patterson on his website: http://splattworks.blogspot.com/