Clinton St. Quarterly, Vol. 7 No. 1 | Spring 1985

PASTRIES • LUNCH • LIGHT DINNERS PAPA HAYDN 5829 S.E. MILWAUKIE • 232-9440 • CLOSED SUN-MON 701 N W. 23rd • 228-7317 • CLOSED SUN I'Ve Buy & Sell Books The 'Paper fyfoon 'Boo^ore-^ 3538 S.E. Hawthorner Portland, Or. 23 6-5105 VICTORIAN STYLE LAMPSHADES Colored Catalog Available $3.50 (refundable) includes 55 shades 15% OFF ALL BASES 12-5:30 MON THRU SAT 3534 S.E. HAWTHORNE PORTLAND. OREGON 97214 ^Kleith Scales, Portland-based director, actor, speaker and peace activist, has dedicated his life and work to helping people recognize the threat of nuclear war and to seeking out solutions posed by political and military conflict in the nuclear age. Scales grew up in London, playing on bomb sites as a child, living in a tough part of the city as a young man amidst the conflict and stagnation of the British lower classes. “I saw lots of fighting,” he says of those days. “I’ve bashed and been bashed, and after a while I just hated it. I don’t like hurting other people, and I certainly don’t like to be hurt myself. Today, a veteran of 15 years on the Portland stage, Scales sees as the continuing theme of his work his belief that “It's a wonderful world. I think we live in the Garden of Eden, and it’s healthy to Radio Soap Box "Open Mike — Speak Your Mind" April 8-12 10-10:30 a.m. A Howlin’ Live from the East Ave. Tavern April 12 8 p.m. SLEAZE ” lf ycur heart can take it” April Z€ 1 a.m. till . . . Portrait of the Artist as Activist By Margot Beutler Photo by Eric Edwards celebrate this beauty. It never ceases to amaze me how we can turn the world into such an ugly place.” Soft spoken, his English accent has become almost too Americanized for his recent role as a lecherous Britisher in Alan Ayckbourne’s Relatively Speaking. Scales supports his modest lifestyle by serving chocolate cake (and other indulgences) at Rimsky-Korsakoffee House in Southeast Portland. This and occasional maintenance work on the Victorian building in which he lives, enables Scales to pay the rent and make his monthly child-support payments. Toby, a towheaded six-year-old with his father’s inquisitive eyes, has absorbed the theatre through visitation afternoons whiled away at play rehearsals. Scales, who calls Toby his greatest teacher, was epneerned that Toby was bored with rehearsals until he overheard him tell a young friend: “Let’s play theatre. I’ll be the director and you say this line.” “Or I would be driving around town in my truck with Toby, and we would exchange lines from Private Lives." They drive around in a funny old panel truck, originally painted with an advertisement for Shakespeare in the Parks, now sporting side panels proclaiming the Portland Move-a-thon, a 1984 fundraising event for the Watkins Project. Last summer, Scales and Toby cruised up and down the Oregon coast, living in the back of the truck while Scales gave one-man Shakespeare readings. “I’ve had so many wonderful times in that truck, I couldn't possibly sell it now. The only way I’m going to get a little car is if I ever make enough money to have two vehicles." “Saying you’re an artist,” Scales notes, “can excuse a lot of eccentric behavior. But I don’t want to do that.” Does that mean he takes full responsibility for his eccentric behavior? “Well, yes,” he admits. “I know I’m strange.” Then, after a pause, “Actually, I think I’m perfectly ordinary.” HA A couple of years ago I became so frightened by the thought of nuclear war that I found it impossible to go ahead with business as usual and to do the kind of plays that were available to me around town. The main problem was that people were ignoring the threat of nuclear destruction, and I wanted to do something to draw attention to it. “Let me tell you a story about how I got involved in PAND (Performing Artists for Nuclear Disarmament) and the nuclear situation. When Linda Williams-Janke founded the Portland chapter of PAND, it started out with an inaugural rally at the Northwest Service Center. My friend Johnny Stallings directed Gaynor Sterchi and myself in a piece called When the Wind Blows. I played a character who, at one point, had to hear the news on the radio of a pre-emptive nuclear strike, that in three days the bombs would start falling. During rehearsals, when we would come to the part where I heard the radio forecast, Johnny would say, “No, I just don’t believe that moment.” As an actor, I didn’t have a very clear image of what I was supposed to be responding to, of incoming atomic bombs. “I would walk around the streets of Portland, and it all seemed so solid and very real. I couldn't imagine concrete melting and bank towers falling over. After a while, I started to force myself to see what I needed to see for that play. In the few weeks after that performance, I found myself appalled by the sheer number of nuclear weapons. We have enough to kill this planet several times over, yet we are still building them at the rate of three a week, and our control over them becomes less and less every day. “I realize now what nuclear weapons are, how they work, what it would be like if one of them landed. It was that one moment in that one performance that was the trigger for me to a kind of awakening This awakening is happening a lot in Clinton St. Quarterly 37