With The Ways We Cope, Red Balloon Theater Collective—RBTC for short—declared that they were a legit experimental ensemble to be reckoned with, capable of multidisciplinary performances full of wit, insight, and humor. And in the theater season since, several Balloonists have done astonishing work onstage in other companies’ productions and solo shows. In short, they are Young Creatives To Watch, and helping to drive the Portland theater scene into newer, more explorative territories.
Yellow Yellow Yellow is their newest jam and promises to be a fun, emotional Venn diagram of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a big-top circus, and group therapy.
Artpunk Club asked RBTC and their Yx3 collaborators to answer a handful of questions about the show, their experiences in theater, and the Portland arts scene.
In Rutabaga Story Co’s Fire and Meat, Claire Aldridge brought literary monster Grendel to vivid, trilling, butt-wagging life. Her performance—full of humor, wonder, naïvety, and fury—was one of the season’s best. Her solo devised movement piece for SoLowFestPDX Anatomy of A Rabbit was also a standout, bursting with raw emotion and vulnerability.
What’s the best thing about theater to you as a performer?
Those who are willing to come share space, and tell this story with us. It cannot be told without the audience.
What is the best thing about theater to you as an audience member?
The relationship between the audience and those onstage.
Which performances in the 2018/2019 Portland Theater season did you crush on the hardest?
(Note: please do not choose another Red Balloonist’s performance—too easy!)
I was greatly affected by the theater that pushed the boundaries of form this season, especially Made to Dance In Burning Buildings (Shaking the Tree), Our Ruined House (Portland Experimental Theater Ensemble) and BootyCandy (Fuse Theater Ensemble).
What should audiences expect from Yellow Yellow Yellow?
Absurdism, balloons, more questions than answers.
What’s next for RBTC?
Bittersweetly I will be stepping back from the company after this show to attend the professional training program at the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theater. [Editor’s note: please come back when you’re done]
You have 3 genie wishes to be used on the Portland Theatre Scene. What do you wish for? (No monkey paw catches)
1. More diversity without tokenization (in mainstream theaters but then more representation and funding for theaters who’s mission has been from the get go: Confrontation Theater, Theater Diaspora, Milagro, etc.) (Also a reminder that intersectional diversity means race, sexuality, gender, ability, age, class, etc. I mean where are the 60 somethings onstage? Where are the 16yos onstage? Where are the trans and non-binary characters? Where are The differently abled actors? Let’s start telling some different stories)
2. More accessibility for patrons – lets get students and marginalized communities access to the arts.
3. More collaboration between the varying artistic communities in town, dance companies and visual artists, the poetry community, the circus community, the musicians – why the fuck aren’t we all working together right now?
Yellow Yellow Yellow has closed, but Red Balloon Theatre Collective is still creating. Keep up with their latest projects at redballooncollective.org!