This weekend marks the premiere of the third evening-length production Portico Dans Theatre has created. 2010’s “Project Alice” put a theatrical twist on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”; 2011’s “Super Suite” sent the company into the 1940s world of gangsters and comic book heroes. “BorN” is a different sort of beast: dark and mysterious, a psychological puzzle and a personal drama. It opens tonight at 8pm at the PAC, and plays again tomorrow, same time, same place.
When I spoke to Portico co-artistic directors Michael Lopez and Jennifer Alden about the show, they were characteristically straightforward about the challenges and the stakes of a production that not only incorporates so many different theatrical elements (visual effects, film, live music, aerial dance), but also comes from such a raw emotional place.
“We put everything we had into it,” Lopez told me. “I’d be lying if I said I put everything I had into it, because I’ve been too damn afraid. But the company has. Everything we’ve done has been to get us to this point. With every performance this past year we got more unified. If one member is missing, it’s felt. I want to do this. Very few people get to. I am really fortunate to have been called by Jen and to have done this, even with the ups and the downs. If something were to happen to me tomorrow, this would be something about which I’d say, “Yeah, this wasn’t Broadway, this wasn’t LA, this wasn’t Japan. This was something better than that, because it was something I truly believed in.”
Here’s a behind-the-scenes video of some of Portico’s rehearsal process for the show.