A simple industrial kitchen with an oversized clock on the wall. A lone woman carrying a box of ingredients and supplies needed to bake an apple pie.  That is what greets audience members at the beginning of Bag & Baggage’s newest production, Apples in Winter, and is what carries them through this incredible show.

Photo by Casey Campbell Photography, courtesy Bag & Baggage Productions

The protagonist, Miriam, sets to work preparing an apple pie in what is soon revealed to be a prison kitchen.  Though she has made pie many times before, this one is different.  It is to be served as her son Robert’s last meal prior to his execution later that evening.  As she carefully makes the pie, she tells us stories from her kitchen, her own childhood, motherhood, and the present day.

The pie Miriam prepares is real, and as it bakes in the small oven on stage, the theater fills with the sweet and comforting smell of apples, spices, and butter.  It is a stark contrast to Miriam’s harsh reality.  


That dialectic is what is at the heart of this show.  In a time in our society when we tend to want to view things and people in extremes — good or bad, right or wrong, loved or hated — we are helped to see the space in between.  Yes, Robert’s crime was horrible.  But he is still someone’s son.  Yes, Miriam is horrified and confused by what Robert has done.  But she loves him and looks to mother him in the small ways she is still able, despite the consequences she has faced as a result of his actions.

Miriam finds herself in a situation unimaginable to most of us.  And yet, Miriam could be any of us.  She is a mother who loves her son.  A mother with the best of intentions who still made mistakes.  A mother questioning her choices and wondering what could have been done differently.  She marks the seasons by baking the same treats in her kitchen that I bake to mark the seasons in mine.  She loves her son despite his many imperfections, just as I love my children despite theirs (although theirs are thankfully much smaller in scale).  By seeing ourselves in her, we feel empathy, connection, and understanding — all things our world could use a little more of.

Actor Kymberli Colbourne is perfection as Miriam.  She portrays strength, vulnerability, courage, anger, compassion, humility, dignity, humor, and love, and the audience feels all of it right along with her.

This show is a must-see for you and a partner or friend.  It is not a show appropriate for children. 

Bag and Baggage is located in downtown Hillsboro, close to the Max as well as several restaurants, breweries, cafes, and wine shops.  Take advantage and extend your time away from your favorite small humans to talk about the amazing show you have just seen.


I loved it, and I hope you will, too!  Purchase your tickets here today!  This show will be on stage through March 26.

Erica Vo
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