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Debut of 'Bakersfield Mist,' a staged reading directed by David Smith-English

People expect to see drinking and eating in a bar, but now Clackamas Repertory Theatre and the Oregon City Brewing Co. have added something new to the mix — watching a play. CRT will present its first Bar Theatre event at 3 p.m. and again at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, at Oregon City Brewing Co., with the debut of PHOTO BY ELLEN SPITALERI - David Smith-English, CRT artistic director, is shown here talking to young cast members of last years production of 'The Music Man.' He will direct 'Bakersfield Mist,' CRT's first Bar Theatre venture."Bakersfield Mist," a staged reading directed by David Smith-English, company artistic director. A third performance, at 3p.m. on April 9, has been added to schedule.

The two-character play, featuring Randi Douglas and CRT favorite Tobias Andersen, is based on an actual event and "raises some very interesting questions about perception and authenticity of artwork as well as social class and education comparisons," Smith-English said.

The plot revolves around Maude, a destitute denizen of a trailer park in Bakersfield, California, and Lionel Percy, a world-class art expert. Maude thinks she has found a Jackson Pollock painting worth millions, and Percy's job is to authenticate the artwork.

The play deals with such questions as "what is real, what is unreal, what is important and what isn't," Smith-English said.

"If that sounds a little stuffy, it isn't. It is one of the most down-home scripts you are likely to encounter," he said, noting that Maude "uses the 'F' word as an integral part of her vocabulary."

He added, "This will be a traditional staged reading, with no set or blocking. The Oregon City Brewing Co. event space, the Barrel Room, is quite small with seating for 25, but I think the space will work well."

Bar Theatre

Jonathan Stone, executive director of the Downtown Oregon City Association, contacted Smith-English a couple of years ago about exploring the possibilities of bringing theater to downtown Oregon City.

"After several meetings with a variety of people with city connections and interests, it became clear that, since there is no theater in downtown Oregon City and the likelihood  of there being one in the near future is slim, we needed to think outside that box," Smith-English said.

Cyndy Smith-English, David's wife and CRT's executive director, suggested that restaurants or bars might be a reasonable starting place.

"We have been interested in adding some sort of outreach performances in addition to our regular season," David Smith-English said, adding that he has performed in bar theater in Portland and remembers it being fun for both actors and the audience.

"Jonathan discussed this idea with several owners and Craig Morrow of the Oregon City Brewing Co. invited us to do our initial performance at the Barrel Room," David Smith-English said.

Oregon City Brewing Co.

The Oregon City Brewing Co., located at 1401 Washington St., is a family business, noted Rosalie Morrow, general manager.

"Craig Morrow is one of three owners including Bryce Morrow, his son and my husband, and Rajiam Pursifull, my father," she said.

Because of those close family ties, "our goal has always been to create a community living room of sorts where residents of all walks of life could gather. We love the idea of partnering with many diverse groups to expose our customers to different experiences and to bring people together," she said.

In fact, the owners are so enthusiastic about the partnership with CRT that the bar will offer the first round of beer free to ticket holders.

"Ticket holders can choose from any OCB craft beer or soda to enjoy during the performance, and we hope that they'll try more after," Morrow said.

She noted that the Barrel Room takes it name from the fact that it houses the brewing company's barrel-aged sours. It recently opened to the public for private events, and "we are really excited to have a new space where we can bring large groups of people together, whether it be for a theater event, birthday party, wedding reception or meeting."

"Folks can rent out the Barrel Room and have access to great beer and food. This will be our first major event back there, and we can't wait to see what people think."

Morrow added that tickets to the show are going fast, and if "we continue to have a good turnout, we will be working with Clackamas Repertory Theatre to make Bar Theatre a regular event."

Eat, drink, see a play

What: Clackamas Repertory Theatre presents its first Bar Theatre staged-reading event, "Bakersfield Mist"

When: 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday, March 5, and at 3 p.m. on April 9.

Where: Barrel Room at Oregon City Brewing Co., 1401 Washington St.

Tickets: $15; space is limited to 25 people. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com.

For more information: Clackamas Rep at 503-594-6047.

Details: The first round of OCB craft beer is free to ticket holders. Parking is in the rear; doors open at 2:30 p.m.

Food: Patrons may arrive early to eat and pre-order food for the event. Pre-ordered food will be served at 2:30 p.m. Additional food will be served after the play reading has concluded.

Coming up: CRT's annual gala/fundraiser is set for 6:30 p.m. April 15 at the Osterman Theatre in the Niemeyer Center at Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave., in Oregon City.

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