An original, outdoor theatrical performance, Jimmy Blue is a dark fantasia of the American psyche. A faith healer from the Old West travels through a harsh and surreal desert landscape, and along the way he encounters seers, ghosts, violent townspeople and supernatural spectacles. Vibrant masks, clowns, stilts, fiery sculptures, a cappella song and riveting physical work create unforgettable and breathtaking images.
Director: Jonathan Walters
Writers: Jack Gibson & Jonathan Walters
Puppet, Object & Prop Designer: Dawn Panttaja
Mask Designers: Aaron Link & Amy Jo McCarville
Costume Designers: Jessica Grindell & Anjelica Singer
Fire Sculpture Designer: Peter Musselman & Andrew Dannhorn
Set Designer: Abram Goldman-Armstrong
Original music composition: Peter Musselman
Additional sound & music: Richard Garfield
Graphic Designer: Brian Cossar
Stage Manager: Justin Akers
Production Assistants: Molly Gittelman, Nicholas Hope, Summer Dawn, Julie Hammond
Performers: Sarah Dyrhaug, Faith Helma, Erin Leddy, Jacob Mooney, Timothy Scarrott, Paul Susi & Nicole Turley
"Some of the best dialogue I heard at Hand2Mouth's exhilarating new outdoor spectacle, Jimmy Blue, came from the audience. A sample from the unofficial transcript: (The scene: The protagonist, Jimmy Blue, is tormented by a black-clad demon on stilts, who glowers high above him, howling and waving a torch. The demon lights part of the set on fire. Smoke and flame fill the night air. In the crowd of spectators, a father covers his young son's eyes. ) FATHER: It's not real, Lil' Timmy. It's just make believe. It's not real, okay? ( Pause. The scene changes and three screeching Macbeth -ian witch characters enter the performance area, represented by eerie flowing robes and masks that extend high above their shoulders. The effect is terrifying. FATHER has had enough. He scoops LIL' TIMMY up, and rushes him away. ) LIL' TIMMY: ( Staring over his shoulder, wide-eyed.) Where are we going? Why are we leaving? FATHER: This is too scary. When was the last time you observed a reaction like that at a play? Jimmy Blue, a work directed by Jonathan Walters and written by Walters and Jack Gibson, is a complete three-dimensional experience; a barrage of images, sounds, and sensations that, aided by the great outdoors, seems to exist everywhere at once. The story follows Jimmy Blue, a disillusioned faith healer who leaves behind his world of freaks and carneys to embark on a literal/spiritual journey that plays like a staged nightmare, with lucid hallucinations bleeding together like water. Jimmy watches a mother watch her children die in the back of a rickety cart. Jimmy battles a fiendish bear, whose angry snarls sound disconcertingly real. Walters draws on ancient storytelling tricks brilliant in their simple profundity: Flame against a night sky; towering stiltwalkers; those awful witches, composed of little more than masks and some cloth. Hand2Mouth is living proof that vision and imagination will always trump material excess, and Jonathan Walters remains the most resourceful director in Portland."
-Justin Wescoat Sanders, Portland Mercury, June 2004
"A young faith healer connected to an Old West medicine show escapes into the wilds to find himself on a spiritual journey. Hand2Mouth's latest park piece is a festival of stilt-walking, fire-dancing and song, with masks and clowning thrown in for good measure. Though this piece is filled to the brim with invention and features any number of haunting, beautiful images, director Jonathan Walters has over-egged the pudding. Protagonist Jimmy Blue's journey becomes such an epic that he himself gets lost in the details. We never develop a full idea of who he is or what his adventure means, as the character is too busy reacting to the onslaught of scenes and stimuli around him to be an active agent in his own story. And so the evening becomes a string of 'and now this' moments of street-theatre artistry rather than an engaging narrative of a classic hero's quest. The performances by Sarah Dyrhaug, Faith Helma, Erin Leddy, Jacob Mooney, Timothy Scarrott, Paul Susi and Nicole Turley are all energetic. But their skills would be better utilized in a story with a tighter structure, such as Hand2Mouth achieved with The Wild Child andJerusalem."
- Steffen Silvis, Willamette Week, June 2004
Jimmy Blue is not currently available for touring.
- June, 2004 - Performed in Grant Park, Laurelhurst Park & Wallace Park (Portland)