A night with PSU’s School of Music and Theater

All photos by Chad Lanning; performers listed left to right.
Interpreter (Sami Yacob-Andrus), Richard (Jackson Toole), Interpreter (Emily Buss),
Dick Jr. (Nate Linton), Jane (Amy Bui), Spot (Olivia Henry)

Picture this: an escape from the typical rainy winter evening in downtown Portland, combined with an entertaining and insightful student performance. I found this (and more) in the PSU School of Music and Theater’s performance of Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally, a play exploring the adult lives of the “Dick and Jane” characters of our childhoods, with themes of coping with grief, learning to open up emotionally, and life for someone who is deaf. 

We watch as Richard (played by Jackson Toole) juggles raising his children (Sally, played by deaf actor Daniela Chavez Camarena, and Dick Jr., played by Nate Linton) who are simultaneously coping with the death of their mother (played by Myra Wang) and the news of his fatal illness, when his sister Jane (played by Amy Bui) comes to visit and steps back in to the suburban life that she left behind. Of course, there is also the beloved family dog and best friend to Jane, Spot (played by Olivia Henry). 

Mother (Myra Wang), Dick Jr. (Nate Linton), Interpreter (Sami Yacob-Andrus)

The performance my partner and I attended was an intimate showing, with the audience seated on the stage surrounding the set. As an audience member, you almost feel as though you are part of the show, laughing along with the characters and feeling their emotions with them. The play embraces the deaf and ASL community, featuring on-stage signers (Emily Buss and Sami Yacob-Andrus) and an inclusive experience for all involved. The cast is made up of obviously passionate student performers, some of whom are studying ASL, making the show all the more entertaining and enthralling to watch. From family barbecues on the front lawn to watching Dick Jr’s strenuous trek to find his mother (one of my favorite scenes), this show is a must-watch.

Richard (Jackson Toole), Interpreter (Sami Yacob-Andrus), Interpreter (Emily Buss),
Jane (Amy Bui), Sally (Daniela Chavez Camarena)

Whether you’re a student looking for a worthwhile evening activity, or a fun date night to escape the weather, you won’t regret catching a showing of Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally. I genuinely couldn’t stop raving about the performance afterward to my friends and family. If you’re looking to keep the party going afterward, Lincoln Hall, where the performance is being held, is a central location for a variety of yummy places to stop for a bite to eat. My personal recommendations are McMenamins Market Street Pub for some scooby snacks or a black & tan brownie sundae, or, if you’re attending the Saturday matinee performance, the Park Avenue Cafe has deliciously crafted coffee and tea, sandwiches, and baked goods. If you’re planning to catch a showing of Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally, there are a few more performances left! All are located on the PSU campus in the Lincoln Performance Hall, and you can find showtimes and ticket information here.

About Makayla: I’m a Portland State University junior from the Washington coast, majoring in English and a member of the PSU Honors College. I compulsively hoard books, am an avid home cook, and will show anyone and everyone unprompted photos of my cat.