Eugene Weekly : Theater : 8.2.07

Socially Responsible Theater
Anti-war play previews in Eugene

Theaters often go dark for an off-season while people zip off on vacation. But the Lord Leebrick has had quite a summer, what with theater camps, LCC’s Ruby by the River and now Seattle playwright Elena Hartwell’s premiere of In Our Name, an anti-war play that heads for the New York International Fringe Festival after one night in Eugene.

Eugene actor Rebecca Nachison (recently seen in Mother Courage at theLeebrick), who has worked in theater in NY, Southern Cali and Eugene, stays at the center of attention during the entire piece. Essentially three plays in one, the three near-monologues concern the affects of the war on women (played by Hartwell and Nachison).

But the themes of the performances aren’t simple. “It’s too easy to comment on statistics and sound-bites,” Hartwell says. “Our goal is to remind everyone that regardless of your political beliefs, it is individuals and their families who pay for our government’s actions.”

In Our Name came out of a new theater company, Iron Pig. The theatrical folks involved wanted more opportunities in Eugene and out of town, and this piece certainly succeeded: The NY Fringe Fest isn’t exactly a small-town event. Still, says Hartwell, “We are both thrilled to perform this piece for the Eugene audience,” and the Leebrick’s support, she says, “has been invaluable.”

Nachison says the experience of delivering three different monologues is both exciting and draining. “The play has been emotionally wrenching for me because I believe so strongly in what it speaks to,” she says, adding that she’s impressed with the “intimate connection with the audience” created in In Our Name.

Unless you’re flying to the City for the Festival, head to the Leebrick at 8 pm Saturday, Aug. 4, for the preview. Tix are by donation — and the Leebrick’s small, so get there early! More info at the Iron Pig website (