PORTLAND Coos Bay native Adria Malcolm is currently starring in a highly lauded production of Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play How I Learned to Drive at Twilight Theater Company in Portland.
How I Learned to Drive is part of Twilight’s “In the Buff” season, which is driven by director Toner’s desire to “strip away all the excess and get down to the heart of the matter.” Toner, who is also the production’s director, designed the season as a targeted response to the #metoo movement and features shows that are, according to Toner, “stripped down in content, form, scope, staging, emotion and story,” with Vogel’s play as the crown jewel of the season. The theater was voted runner-up for “Best Theater in Portland” by Portland residents, despite being a fairly recent addition to the Portland theater scene.
Malcolm began her theatrical career in Coos Bay at the age of 8, playing the titular role in The Christmas Sprite at The On Broadway Theater. Malcolm graduated from Marshfield High School and her parents still live in Coos Bay. She was last seen performing in the Bay Area in 2016 as The Witch in Into The Woods and Morticia Addams in The Addams Family Musical, both at Liberty Theater in North Bend.
Malcolm’s role of Li’l Bit, which was originated by Mary-Louise Parker in the original Off-Broadway production, is both protagonist and narrator in a story recalling years of sexual abuse by an uncle through fragmented, non-linear memories. She portrays the lead character from the ages of 11-44. Her performance in the production has received raves by local critics (click links for full reviews) including:
“…radiating emotion and toggling effortlessly between the embarrassed squirming of a child and the self-possessed stillness of an adult. You feel the force of her presence in every scene…” – Willamette Week
“Brilliant…She shifts seamlessly from scene to scene, expressing the character’s jumps in time and maturity, and somehow making us believe her at each age and stage. Innocent, needy, curious, tough, flirtatious, grieving, emotionally dead, heartless, lascivious, sometimes smart and witty beyond her years” – Westside Theatre Reviews
“Malcolm as Li’l Bit does a fantastic job maintaining that distinction between memory and reality, clearly switching between the hyper-vulnerability of her youth and raw edge she’s acquired as an adult retelling the story. She commits fully…” – Dennis Sparks Reviews
The show runs through this weekend (Thurs., Aug. 8 – Sun., Aug. 11). For press release, production photos, or more information, please contact Twilight Theater Company Artistic Director Dorinda Toner at [email protected].
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