August 10th, 2020

McMinnville Takes The Arts Outside

I happened upon a Buddhist teaching that dovetails nicely with my pandemic-inspired mantra, “Art finds a way.” It’s this: “What is suppressed is expressed.” 

Opera On The Lawn 2018
Photo Credit: Portland Opera

Yes, COVID-19 has temporarily closed our theaters and concert halls, but like a balloon you try mashing to the floor, music and plays are popping up elsewhere — outdoors, namely. Masks and social distancing notwithstanding, local arts continue to find new modes of expression.

McMinnville’s cultural scene in August is busy… here’s a few coming attractions to mark on the calendar:

OPERA ON THE LAWN – Even before this new normal, Portland Opera brought their magic to wine country with performances from popular operas. They’ll be in the neighborhood Sunday, Aug. 16, 2-4 p.m. with an outdoor show at Remy Wines Tasting Room, 17495 NE McDougall Road, Dayton. “They set up a menu of different opera songs and the audience gets to choose,” says owner Remy Drabkin. “It’s a wonderful annual event that’s attended by people of all ages.” Check the website for details, and keep in mind that space and tickets are limited.

GALLERY THEATER – Taking a cue from the outdoor dining that’s been successful along Third Street, Gallery Theater — or, rather, The Pandemic Players of Gallery Theater — will take over Ford Street between Second and Third the next three Thursday evenings and offer free music, short plays and monologues by some of McMinnville’s finest performers. 

Here’s the schedule:

Aug. 13 – Out of Quarantine Cabaret!: Gallery is going to their “A-List” for this one. Songs are still TBA, but singers include Beth Sobo Turk, Seth Renne, Lance Nuttman, Richard Pratt, Kathleen Van De Veere, Noah Miller, Tegan Johnson and Daphne Riddle. Ordinarily, you’d need to see several shows to catch them all. This week, they’re together. Six feet apart.  

Aug. 20 – Actors Showcase: Several monologues and short plays, including Medea, Horseshoe Bend, The Bickersons and The Lives of the Great Waitresses.  

Aug. 27 – The Importance of Being Earnest: The players will perform a readers’ theater edition of Oscar Wilde’s popular comedy.

“This is something we’re doing for the fun of it,” says Gallery’s Carolyn McCloskey, who took the organizational lead with theater manager Seth Renne. “Audiences are looking for something, so we thought we’d bring this to them.”

Showtimes are 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited. If you plan to attend, Gallery urges you to email with your name, number in your party and the performance date. 

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.