Fertile Ground 2011

Fertile Ground was January 20-30, 2011. PDX Playwrights contributed over 10 plays this year. Thank you for helping to make it such a success!

This year’s Fertile Ground festival encompasses nearly 70 new Portland-generated arts events.  Here’s your guide to all shows connected to PDX Playwrights.

Want to see them all?  Buying a festival pass will get you into ALL Fertile Ground shows (not just ours!) for a single, low price of $50. If you go that route, please use the following link to make your purchase — it’s the only way for PDXP to receive a cut from sales to passholders.

https://robot.boxofficetickets.com/800-494-TIXS/WebObjects/BOTx2005.woa/wa/inspectSubprogram?id=826645&passKey=c63444b8f9

…See you at the shows!

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JAN 21 FRIDAY
12:30pm Little Brown F***ing Machines
10:00pm It Takes All Shorts (five short plays)

• Up, Up & Away
• Sundowners
• The Nucleus of Pander
• Street Corner Profit
• Backtalk

JAN 22 SATURDAY
12:30pm Death of the Party

JAN 23 SUNDAY
12:30pm All Together
7:00pm Little Brown F***ing Machines
9:00pm Sinking Spring

JAN 24 MONDAY
6:00pm That Was The River, This Is The Sea

JAN 25 TUESDAY
6:00pm That Was The River, This Is The Sea

JAN 26 WEDNESDAY
6:00pm That Was The River, This Is The Sea
7:00pm Little Brown F***ing Machines

JAN 27 THURSDAY
6:00pm That Was The River, This Is The Sea

JAN 28 FRIDAY
7:00pm That Was The River, This Is The Sea
10:00pm Letters To Bruce

JAN 30 SUNDAY
12:30pm YARP?!
7:00pm Hello My Name Is
9:00pm The Dark Things

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(Alphabetical by Play Title)

ALL TOGETHER – by John Servilio
VENUE: Mezzanine, Gerding Theater at the Armory,128 NW 11th Ave, Portland OR 97209
DATE: Jan 23 at 12:30pm
TICKETS: $5 – at the door, cash only

A one-woman show inspired by the life of America’s first lady of nude artists’ models. Decades after a scandal has ruined her career and banished her to the anonymity of an institution, the once-famous Audrey Munson receives unexpected and unwanted visitors. But instead of sending them away, she tells her own truth of the infamous scandals surrounding her life in what may be her last chance to reclaim her good name.

THE DARK THINGS – by Rachel Tusler
VENUE: Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside St. Ste 104, Portland OR 97214
DATE: Jan 30 @ 9pm
TICKETS: $7 – at the door, cash only

It’s twelve years since the war against the vicious Dark Things was won, but the air is still filled with smoke and the stench of death. A group of young people face their initiation into adulthood: Sam wants to prove he’s a real man, Thea wants to trick the others into thinking she’s one of them, and Ross just wants to cause trouble. But will they survive their initiation into society? And what abominable acts will be required of them to do so?

DEATH OF THE PARTY – by Sven Bonnichsen
VENUE: Mezzanine, Gerding Theater at the Armory,128 NW 11th Ave, Portland OR 97209
DATE: Jan 22 at 12:30pm
TICKETS: $5 – at the door, cash only

A frolicky pansexual disco boy goes to despicable lengths trying to unlock his best friend’s untouchable heart.  Claude, who thinks other people’s suffering is the height of comedy, has the power to bed anyone he wants…  Anyone, that is, except Dean: Man of Mystery, and rising musical sensation.  When Claude pursues clues to Dean’s past through a series of one-night-stands, unscrupulous infatuation will be punished with the romance that both monsters deserve.

HELLO MY NAME IS – by Jenni Miller
VENUE: Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside St. Ste 104, Portland OR 97214
DATE: Jan 30 @ 7pm
TICKETS: pay what you will, cash only

This is a story about a Man and a Woman and the heartbreaking circumstances that change her life. It’s about how this Woman cannot amend her circumstances and her struggle to regain her innocence. It’s about time, the reality of time, time without hope and without revolt. It’s about forgetfulness and passing into nothingness. It’s about rape, but it’s not about rape. It’s about a Woman who is searching to find reason in a sea of confusion. … “All rape is an exercise in power, but some rapists have an edge that is more than physical. They operate within an institutionalized setting that works to their advantage and in which a victim has little chance to redress her grievance.”Against Our Will: Men, Women & Rape (Susan Brownmiller)

IT TAKES ALL SHORTS – by Cassidy Barnes, Brad Bolchunos, Jenni Miller, John Servilio
VENUE: Mezzanine, Gerding Theater at the Armory,128 NW 11th Ave, Portland OR 97209
DATE: Jan 21 @ 10pm
TICKETS: $10 – at the door, cash only

Five short plays from PDX Playwrights members. Up, Up and Away by Brad Bolchunos: Desperation drives a balloon pilot and her husband to question their relationship, the nature of power, and existence itself in this darkly comical flight of fancy. Sundowners by Cassidy Barnes: An Alzheimer’s home caregiver negotiates bedtime with two people entrusted in his care. One is back in Viet Nam War and the other can’t seem to find her mother. The Nucleus of Pander by Jenni Miller: A Duke and Martha Stewart have a tryst, the Byron runs for office and two down-home would-be Hispanics find happiness in the trap door of life. Street Corner Profit by John Servilio: What can an End of Days preacher and drag queen sex worker possibly want from each other? It may not be sex or religion, but in the wee hours of the morning, a Chicago street corner brings these two together in an unexpected collision of human desire. Backtalk by Brad Bolchunos: When a passenger on the back of a bus dares to object to another passenger’s behavior, the ride takes a turn into the surreal.

LETTERS TO BRUCE – by Jay Frank
VENUE: Mezzanine, Gerding Theater at the Armory,128 NW 11th Ave, Portland OR 97209
DATE: Jan 28 @ 10pm
TICKETS: $10 – at the door, cash only

Playwright and performer Jay Frank returns to his hometown with “Letters to Bruce,” 17 years after drawing national acclaim for his one-man show “Bedroom,” written at the age of 17. “Letters to Bruce” explores the themes of fame, sickness, the elusiveness of history, and the intimacy of mentorship. At its heart is a “play within a play,” conjuring the mysteries and lies surrounding a murder and kidnapping of a century ago. Jay’s awards include the Presidential Scholar in the Arts Medal and the highest honor in Writing given by the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. “Bedroom” received a reading and exhibition in the Smithsonian Museum, while Jay remains best known for his time on MTV’s “The Real World – London.”

LITTLE BROWN F***ING MACHINES – by Sharon Sassone
VENUE: Mezzanine, Gerding Theater at the Armory,128 NW 11th Ave, Portland OR 97209
DATE: Jan 21 @ 12:30pm
VENUE: Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside St. Ste 104, Portland OR 97214
DATE: Jan 23 @ 7pm
VENUE: The Multnomah Meeting House, 4312 SE Stark Street, Portland OR 97215
DATE: Jan 26 @ 7pm
TICKETS: pay what you will, www.fertilegroundpdx.org or 1-800-494-8497 (TIXS)

1970’s Olongapo City, the Philippines—the largest US Naval Base outside of mainland USA—and where America sends its servicemen for their “rest and recreation” during the Vietnam War. Taking care of the sexual needs of the soldiers is serious business, and big business for the U.S. and the Philippines alike. Everyone in Olongapo is making a living somehow from the soldiers’ needs. The women and children of Olongapo are born and raised into the life—Asia’s “Little Brown Fucking Machines” as Playboy Magazine dubbed them—and they all need to cooperate, follow orders and smile. And if they don’t? Well—disobedience is dangerous. When one woman attempts to change the status quo and one very young girl is too innocent to realize what the status quo is, the other women are endangered too. Torn in a million different directions in their allegiance, they have to make some quick decisions to save themselves—and each other!

SINKING SPRING – by Dave Chapman
VENUE: Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside St. Ste 104, Portland OR 97214
DATE: Jan 23 @ 9pm
TICKETS: pay what you will, cash only

The residents of Sinking Spring, Iowa have learned to live with neglect. Kids grow up and leave forever. There are few jobs left. No one pays much attention to this little town except for the brief few days during campaign season when caucus candidates make their obligatory stops at the local pizza parlor. No one notices the desperation and resentment that threatens to tear the community apart. And certainly no one expects the senseless tragedy that gains national attention and shakes one family to its core … but that just might be the clarion call for which Sinking Spring has been waiting.

THAT WAS THE RIVER, THIS IS THE SEA – by Claire Willett & Gilberto Martin del Campo
VENUE: The Art Department, 1315 SE 9th Ave, Portland OR 97214
DATES: Jan 24, 25, 26, 27 @ 6pm; 28 @ 7pm
TICKETS: $12; $10 students/seniors | www.fertilegroundpdx.org or 1-800-494-8497 (TIXS)
Flash your “DIG IT!” Button and Save: $2

When Leo takes his American girlfriend Rose to Mexico for his sister’s wedding, she is ecstatic to meet his family for the first time. But she finds herself in the middle of a family conflict when Leo’s cousin, Javier, skips the wedding. Leo and Javier have not spoken in years, though nobody can tell her why. Determined to mend the rift and get answers, Rose digs relentlessly into Leo’s family history. But what she finds may change their relationship and their lives forever. As Leo’s past and his future are drawn inexorably towards each other, a Greek chorus of Mexican aunts and uncles guide the audience on a journey through two countries and into the furthest reaches of the human heart. This world premiere staged reading is a bilingual, multimedia collaboration by Claire Willett and Gilberto Martin del Campo.

YARP?! – by Jeremy Benjamin
VENUE: Mezzanine, Gerding Theater at the Armory,128 NW 11th Ave, Portland OR 97209
DATE: Jan 30 at 12:30pm
TICKETS: $5 – at the door, cash only

The true story of two friends: Chad—a modern-day ninja with a foul mouth—and Jeremy—a writer, philosopher and father in the throes of a divorce and a life threatening illness—who cooperatively ran a food cart on Hawthorne that catered to a late-night crowd, dedicated to serving restaurant quality food for dirt cheap, and thereby building community. If you drive by Hawthorne and 12th today, you will see a metal merry-go-round standing next to a sign advertising “Fried Pies!” Where that merry-go-round is now, “Yarp?!” tells the story of what took place on that square of concrete in the not-too-distant past.

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Top: Jenni Miller, John Servilio, Sharon Sassone, Sven Bonnichsen. Middle: Cassidy Barnes, Jeremy Benjamin, Amy Doherty, Dave Chapman. Bottom: Brad Bolchunos, Claire Willett, Jay Frank, Rachel Tusler.