New group tackles Durang's comedy 'Beyond Therapy'

Photo Credit: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: ELLEN SPITALERI - Bruce (Tom Witherspoon) begs Prudence (Paige McKinney) not to leave the restaurant after they just met.Bruce and Prudence just want someone to care about them, but they certainly have an odd way of showing that in Twilight Theater Company’s production of “Beyond Therapy,” a zany comedy by Christopher Durang that opens Friday, Aug 1.

Bruce and Prudence’s therapists have told them to use the personal ads in the local paper in order to meet potential soulmates, but they “both have their secrets and quirks that make them an unlikely pair,” says director J.J. Harris, a founding member of the company.

This is only the second production from Twilight Theater Company, one of Portland’s newest groups, based in an old Multnomah County library building in North Portland.

From the first reading of the play, Harris knew he wanted to direct it.

“The dialogue is witty, funny and outrageous, and the characters are real — extreme but

real,” he says.

“The entire cast is amazing, and we are utilizing a very bare stage so that the actors are the focal point,” Harris adds.

Harris, along with his wife, Sue Harris, and friend, Danyelle Tinker, founded the theater company earlier this year.

They chose the name Twilight Theater Company as “an homage to the first entity that helped us out: The Twilight Room and The Annex owner, Chris Penner. His graciousness in allowing us to use his building for free was what allowed us to truly start this company,” J.J. Harris says.

The theater is in a historic building at 7508 N. Hereford Ave., directly across the street from The Twilight Room.

The seed money for the company came from “Shadows,” a Fertile Ground project that both Tinker and J.J Harris were in; the stipends that they received were used to open the Twilight bank accounts.

The three founders have paid for everything else out of their own pockets, Harris says.

Their first production last May, “Driving Under the Influence,” was written by local playwright Nick Zagone, who gave the group a very generous royalty agreement.

“Our first production was extremely fortunate,” Harris says.

“Beyond Therapy” plays at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, Aug. 1 to 10 ($15,

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