Portland actress Helena de Crespo was in Ashland recently to give a one-woman, one-night performance of “Elective Affinities” by playwright David Adjmi. You may remember de Crespo’s performance in the title role of “Shirley Valentine” at Oregon Stage Works in 2009.
De Crespo is performing “Elective Affinities” on tour as a fundraiser for SaveWorldArt, a Portland-based charity that fosters support for indigenous art forms threatened with extinction. On this evening, de Crespo was raising money specifically for Bassac Theatre in Northwest Cambodia.
“Elective Affinities” is a site-specific play meant to be performed in a large home for about 30 invited guests. This evening was hosted by Maurine and Stanley Mazor at their Chateau Herbe.
Guests entered through a lovely garden, then drifted into a large and well-appointed room where they were served refreshments. Then Mrs. Hauptmann (de Crespo) entered to “visit” with her “guests.”
Highly coiffed and stylishly dressed, the charming Mrs. Hauptmann chatted away, gradually revealing her elitist world view. She told her guests she had selected them for preferential treatment, and that they had been spared the inhuman treatment foisted upon the rest of the human race (such as torture), about which she had no opinion. They were safe with her, she said.
It was a pleasing evening with a very pointed message. De Crespo and I visited a few hours before her performance.