Comments by Playwright Sue Mach
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the historical festival (8/28-9/3 1970), the Vortex I musical team gathered (in a socially distanced fashion ) at Falcon Recording Studio to capture a few of our favorite songs. We had so much fun getting together and are excited to share part of that day with you. Very special thanks to: Owen Carey for his exquisite video and photography, Dennis Carter for his extraordinary sound engineering, Malia Tippets, Charles Grant, Colin Kane, Paul Harestad, Leif Norby, and Nathan Dunkin for their amazing energy and talent..
ACT 1 – SCENE 1 THIS MOMENT
Rumor has it that meetings between the hippies and the government bureaucrats would sometimes end with an Ohm Circle (initiated by the hippies of course.) I love that image, and used it to shape the structure of the show. This Moment is the play’s first breath.
ACT 1 – SCENE 2 NO MORE BULLSHIT
After the Kent State Massacre, in which four college students were killed by Ohio National Guard troops, Portland State University students occupied the Park Blocks in front of campus to rally against the murder of these peaceful protestors. They were also objecting to Nixon’s lying about the invasion of Cambodia, toxic nerve gas that was being shipped to Umatilla by the federal government, the imprisonment of Bobby Seale, and military recruiters on campus. A recurring chant was, “No more bullshit!” I thought that would be a great title for the big opening number of the play. Featuring Malia Tippets, Charles Grant, Paul Harestad, Colin Kane and Bill Wadhams. Soundtrack arranged by Paul Trubachik
ACT 1 – SCENE 3 WHAT ARE THE ODDS
What are the Odds is the “I want” number of the show. It’s Tom McCall, alone in his office trying to figure out how to deal with the potential threat of violence while at the same time wanting to be liked. In his younger days, McCall was said to have a bit of a gambling addiction, so I went with that metaphor. Piano arrangement by Reece Marshburn. Leif Norby as Tom McCall.
ACT 1 – SCENE 8 POLITICAL SUICIDE
When McCall agreed not only to Vortex I but also to its financing, he described his decision as “political suicide.” So many great metaphors to choose from in that phrase!” Leif Norby as Tom McCall. Nathan Dunkin as Ed Westerdahl. Piano – Tom Grant. Musical arrangement – Paul Trubachik.
ACT 1 – SCENE 9 THE MOUNTAIN DOESN’T MOVE
A subplot of the story is the relationship between two activists, Sally and Peter. Sally is one of the architects of Vortex, and Peter believes that not confronting the American Legion in the street is tantamount to selling out. Their differing approaches to opposing the war and dealing with social unrest finally makes it impossible for them to be together, in spite of the fact that they are still very much in love with one another. The Mountain Doesn’t Move is Peter’s breakup song. Featuring Charles Grant. Soundtrack recording arranged by Paul Trubachik.
ACT 2 – SCENE 1 MAKING THE LIGHT MOVE
Vortex I would never have happened without the prompting, not to mention the strategical skills, of McCall’s assistant, Ed Westerdahl. Right Hand Man is Ed’s moment in the spotlight. Nathan Dunkin as Ed Westerdahl.
ACT 2 – SCENE 2 YES, BECAUSE ESTACADA
This is a song about finding the perfect place. Estacada is such a lovely name to say and sing, and Bill’s catchy Byrdsy riffs make this tune a real ear worm. After our readings, more than a few friends have contacted me to say, “I can’t get that Estacada song out of my head!” Bill and I think that perhaps one day we might get some royalties from the city! Singers: Malia Tippets, Bill Wadhams, Colin Kane, Paul Harestad and Charles Grant. Recorded at Falcon Studios. Video by Owen Carey. Music production by Paul Trubachik.