Fertile Ground 2018

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“The festival within the festival” strikes again! We at PDX Playwrights proudly uphold our reputation for robust creativity with an outstanding offering of new staged readings for Fertile Ground. Scroll down to venture into an enchanting garden, an array of work taking root. With more than two dozen plays of varying lengths and an assortment of topics and forms, PDX Playwrights offers something for nearly everyone. Many productions feature more than one showing. Locavores with an appetite for creativity should consider a Festival Pass and designating PDX Playwrights in the pulldown menu at the end of the pass purchase lends support to our talented participants without any extra cost to you!

Plays are listed below in order of performance. Reading them all reveals the impressive variety of voices in our work. Events will appear appear Friday, Jan. 19 through Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. All PDX Playwrights performance events are only $10 and unless otherwise noted they will appear at our familiar venue, Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside. Two plays, created and co-produced with Northwest Theatre Workshop, have additional showings at Literary Arts, 925 SW Washington. Tickets are available at the door and in advance via the PDXP Presents Box Office Tickets page: simply scroll down the page to locate the show and date you want. You may also order by phone: 800-494-8497 (TIXS). We look forward to seeing you!

7 p.m. Friday, January 19
Daisy Dukes Shorts Night! — by PDX Playwrights
Directed by Julie Akers
Tickets: $10 | Online
A juried selection of eight shorts based on the phrase “Now is the time,” these plays explore the theme in wildly different, compelling ways. Don’t miss this urgent and thoroughly modern collection from Portland’s finest playwrights! Henry Brimble Tackles the Big Awesome by Steve Lohse, NOW by Miriam Feder, Rest Stop Confidential by Adam Harrell, The Kiss of Botrytis by Danna Schaeffer, A Blue Tarp Christmas by Carol Weliky, Now No Now by William Levesque, American Blight and Myosotis Love by Charlie LaTourette.

9 p.m. Friday, January 19
The Crazy Dukes Instant Play Festival Launch! — by PDX Playwrights
Tickets: FREE! | Online
The kickoff of PDX Playwrights’ second annual Crazy Dukes Instant Play Festival! It’s guaranteed to be the very newest, freshest work performed at Fertile Ground 2018. How do we know this? Because the work is created during the festival by our talented playwrights and company of actors! We’ll take 3-4 play prompts from our audience at intermission for Daisy Dukes Shorts Night roughly 8pm. Just after Daisy Dukes, we’ll randomly assign actors to playwrights in front of your very eyes. They won’t know anything until you do. Return for the performance Sunday, Jan 21, at 7 p.m.

7 p.m. Saturday, January 20
Cat Patrol — by Alissa Jessup and Brooke Totman
Tickets: $10 | Online
Shared love of unique characters and strong physical comedy by Alissa Jessup and Brooke Totman led to the formation of Cat Patrol. The two met through the sketch comedy scene in Portland and quickly realized that their training, background and comedic tastes were almost identical. After writing and performing sketches for a show at Portland Center Stage, Alissa and Brooke realized the magic was real … thus, Cat Patrol was born. The two are co-founders of The Ape, a comedy-based theater and training ground, alongside their co-founder, Chris Magnolia. (PLEASE NOTE: This offering replaces Jessup’s “But I’m Special!” in the Fertile Ground lineup.)

9 p.m. Saturday, January 20
Ape Comedy: Long-form Improv and Sketch — by Alissa Jessup, Brooke Totman, Chris Caniglia and Rex Marshall
Tickets: $10 | Online
The Ape at LARGE! Come see Portland’s hottest comedic long-form improvisers and sketch performers! The Ape Theater is a comedy-based theatre and training ground in NE Portland that’s committed to creating new work that ignites, engages and entertains. They offer classes and workshops in long-form improv, sketch comedy, writing, performance and collaboration. The Ape’s training is deeply rooted in the belief that solid acting is the key to great comedic performances. Founded by working professional artists Alissa Jessup (The Mindy Project, True Blood, The Groundlings Theater) Brooke Totman (The Benefits of Gusbandry, The Groundlings Theatre), and Chris Caniglia (30 Rock, Upright Citizens Brigade, The Peoples Improv Theater NY). The show also features Soul Night, a short performance piece written by Rex Marshall: Dancing is grotesque. The laws of attraction follow no rules. Meeting people is awful. This piece concerns the impossible task of finding someone who likes your tempo.

12 p.m. Sunday, January 21
Living Things: A Musical Anthology — by Archie Washington
Music by Curtis Settino and Courtney Rainwater

Directed by Evan Tait
Tickets: $10 | Online
While existing in its own reality, Living Things: A Musical Anthology will engage your imagination in entertaining and moving vignettes, with a unique assortment of characters that live and sing in love, in fear, and in hope. A lost butterfly is rescued by a sex-crazed moth. Martian probes fight over the meaning of life. A tree in a mall falls for a carousel horse. Carnival targets are tired of being hit. Model rocket parts resist another mission. House flies devour experiences before the inevitable. Children’s bedclothes escape into the night for an adventure. This show is being presented for the first time to the public with local actors and live music. Comment cards will be available before and after the performances.

2 p.m. Sunday, January 21
New York Nights — Written and Directed by Adam Harrell
Tickets: $10 | Online
In this romantic comedy with a magical twist, Annie, a struggling young actress, is having trouble adjusting to the mean streets of New York until she summons a “fallen” genie named Jinn who must help her as part of a cosmic rehabilitation program.

5 p.m. Sunday, January 21
4×4: A Collection of One-Acts — by Karin Polinsky, Merridawn Duckler, Christopher Serra and Charlie LaTourette
Tickets: $10 | Online
Two comedic and two dramatic one-acts presented by PDX Playwrights. Contraband by Karen Polinsky: An ex-marine storms security at a busy airport to get back his runaway son, and then decides to leave the dumb kid with the authoritiesa true story. The Mystery of the Glass Ceiling by Merridawn Duckler: In this gumshoe-in-stilettos comedy, Leila, P.I. is drawn by the foxiest of clients into a Hollywood den of fake Lacanian therapists deep in the phony headshot business. Can the ghost of proto-feminism past (yes, that’s a thing), film legend Ida Lupino, help her prove that nothing is more noir than sisterhood? The Sea by Christopher Serra: Elle struggles through a reconciliation of guilt, rage, resentment, and love from the wreckage of a lost relationship. Steve & Steve by Charlie Latourette: Two sprocket salesmen with a great deal in common enjoy tuna sandwiches and consider the importance of individual creative expression in a society that favors conformity.

7 p.m. Sunday, January 21
Crazy Dukes Instant Play Fest — by PDX Playwrights
Tickets: $10 | Online
The Crazy Dukes Instant Play Festival is guaranteed to be the very newest, freshest work performed at Fertile Ground 2018. How do we know this? Because the work is created DURING the festival! Think of it as theatre on a highwire with no net. Our talented playwrights got 3-4 prompts a couple days ago after Daisy Dukes Shorts Night on Jan 19 and they were randomly assigned cast members. The playwrights had 48 hours to write and rehearse their 10-minute plays that will be presented tonight. Guaranteed crazy and guaranteed amazing!

7 p.m. Tuesday, January 23
Spellbinders — by Brad Bolchunos
Directed by Michelle Seaton
Tickets: $10 | Online | Venue: Literary Arts, 925 SW Washington St.
Presented by PDX Playwrights and Northwest Theatre Workshop
Desperate to heal in the aftermath of war, Russian scientist Leon Theremin dives into the world of hypnosis. His choice could crush his career, destroy his friendships, and maybe even end his life. Where citizens starve on the streets and suspicions run rampant, an innovation can launch national acclaim and a misstep can bring execution. Yet he fixates on hypnosis pioneer Franz Anton Mesmer and his controversial techniques to help a blind young piano prodigy. Theremin’s obsession approaches lunacy as he struggles to allay the distrust of his superintendent, the worry of his mentor, and the interest of a young woman who reminds him of his troubled past. Between brilliance and madness, art and science, showmanship and scandal, a note of change hangs upon his creation of an odd new musical instrument played without touchif he dares to confront what haunts him. The January 23 event at Literary Arts includes a post-reading panel discussion with local theremin and hypnotherapy practitioners.

7 p.m. Thursday, January 25
Voodoo Snowball — by Gary Corbin
Directed by Eric Lyness
Tickets: $10 | Online | Venue: Literary Arts, 925 SW Washington St.
Presented by PDX Playwrights and Northwest Theatre Workshop
Philip, a man of ritual, somehow reached his 40s without ever committing to anythingat least, nothing that matters to his parents or his almost-fiancée, Elise. But then his sister Danielle informs him that Gus, his estranged father, is dying of lung cancer and clings to life only through his wife’s prayers and his own superstition, embodied in Danielle’s gift to him of a Voodoo Snowball. Elise views Philip’s willingness to reconcile with Gus as symbolic of his ability to commit to family and, thus, to their future together. But when Philip’s half-hearted attempts fail to break through the protective shield his mother maintains around morphine-addled Gus, Elise is ready to give up on him. As Gus’ health deteriorates, Philip’s last hope is a showdown that no one, including Philip, thinks he has in him. Join us January 25 at Literary Arts for a post- reading panel discussion with professional counselors in death and dying.

7 p.m. Friday, January 26
Voodoo Snowball — by Gary Corbin
Directed by Eric Lyness
Tickets: $10 | Online | Venue: Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside
Presented by PDX Playwrights and Northwest Theatre Workshop
Philip, a man of ritual, somehow reached his 40s without ever committing to anythingat least, nothing that matters to his parents or his almost-fiancée, Elise. But then his sister Danielle informs him that Gus, his estranged father, is dying of lung cancer and clings to life only through his wife’s prayers and his own superstition, embodied in Danielle’s gift to him of a Voodoo Snowball. Elise views Philip’s willingness to reconcile with Gus as symbolic of his ability to commit to family and, thus, to their future together. But when Philip’s half-hearted attempts fail to break through the protective shield his mother maintains around morphine-addled Gus, Elise is ready to give up on him. As Gus’ health deteriorates, Philip’s last hope is a showdown that no one, including Philip, thinks he has in him.

9 p.m. Friday, January 26
Spellbinders — by Brad Bolchunos
Directed by Michelle Seaton
Tickets: $10 | Online | Venue: Hipbone Studio, 1847 E Burnside
Presented by PDX Playwrights and Northwest Theatre Workshop
Desperate to heal in the aftermath of war, Russian scientist Leon Theremin dives into the world of hypnosis. His choice could crush his career, destroy his friendships, and maybe even end his life. Where citizens starve on the streets and suspicions run rampant, an innovation can launch national acclaim and a misstep can bring execution. Yet he fixates on hypnosis pioneer Franz Anton Mesmer and his controversial techniques to help a blind young piano prodigy. Theremin’s obsession approaches lunacy as he struggles to allay the distrust of his superintendent, the worry of his mentor, and the interest of a young woman who reminds him of his troubled past. Between brilliance and madness, art and science, showmanship and scandal, a note of change hangs upon his creation of an odd new musical instrument played without touchif he dares to confront what haunts him.

7 p.m. Saturday, January 27
Daisy Dukes Shorts Night! — by PDX Playwrights
Tickets: $10 | Online
A juried selection of eight shorts based on the phrase “Now is the time,” these plays explore the theme in wildly different, compelling ways. Don’t miss this urgent and thoroughly modern collection from Portland’s finest playwrights! Henry Brimble Tackles the Big Awesome by Steve Lohse, NOW by Miriam Feder, Rest Stop Confidential by Adam Harrell, The Kiss of Botrytis by Danna Schaeffer, A Blue Tarp Christmas by Carol Weliky, Now No Now by William Levesque, American Blight and Myosotis Love by Charlie LaTourette.

9 p.m. Saturday, January 27
Living Things: A Musical Anthology — by Archie Washington
Music by Curtis Settino and Courtney Rainwater

Directed by Evan Tait
Tickets: $10 | Online
While existing in its own reality, Living Things: A Musical Anthology will engage your imagination in entertaining and moving vignettes, with a unique assortment of characters that live and sing in love, in fear, and in hope. A lost butterfly is rescued by a sex-crazed moth. Martian probes fight over the meaning of life. A tree in a mall falls for a carousel horse. Carnival targets are tired of being hit. Model rocket parts resist another mission. House flies devour experiences before the inevitable. Children’s bedclothes escape into the night for an adventure. This show is being presented for the first time to the public with local actors and live music. Comment cards will be available before and after the performances.

12 p.m. Sunday, January 28
Like You Mean It — by Michael S. Kelly
Tickets: $10 | Online
A young Argentine is trying desperately to go on his date. His narcissistic boss is in the throes of a spiritual epiphany. The boss’ lover wants to leave her revenge-seeking Russian husband. And then there’s the two Greek gods. What could go wrong?

2 p.m. Sunday, January 28
Cat Patrol — by Alissa Jessup and Brooke Totman
Tickets: $10 | Online
Shared love of unique characters and strong physical comedy by Alissa Jessup and Brooke Totman led to the formation of Cat Patrol. The two met through the sketch comedy scene in Portland and quickly realized that their training, background and comedic tastes were almost identical. After writing and performing sketches for a show at Portland Center Stage, Alissa and Brooke realized the magic was real … thus, Cat Patrol was born. The two are co-founders of The Ape, a comedy-based theater and training ground, alongside their co-founder, Chris Magnolia. (PLEASE NOTE: This offering replaces Jessup’s “But I’m Special!” in the Fertile Ground lineup.)

5 p.m. Sunday, January 28
Revelations — by James Kim
Directed by Alex Haslett
Tickets: $10 | Online
A group of high-ranking angels and biblical figures are holding a secret meeting to debate the merits of God’s Final Judgment of the human race, and it’s not going well. John, the Revelator, is worried things aren’t going his way. Gabriel, the Archangel, just wants everyone to follow the rules. Michael, the Angel of Death, wants to prolong humanity’s suffering. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who’ve sent a Representative in their stead, are champing at the bit. And the Seraphim, heaven’s highest-ranking angel, needs to juggle all of these egos, including God’s, so that everyone can come to an agreement. Equal parts drama and dark comedy, this one-act play shows how “Thy will be done” isn’t as easy as it sounds.

7 p.m. Sunday, January 28
4×4: A Collection of One-Acts — by Karin Polinsky, Merridawn Duckler, Christopher Serra and Charlie LaTourette
Tickets: $10 | Online
Two comedic and two dramatic one-acts presented by PDX Playwrights. Contraband by Karen Polinsky: An ex-marine storms security at a busy airport to get back his runaway son, and then decides to leave the dumb kid with the authoritiesa true story. The Mystery of the Glass Ceiling by Merridawn Duckler: In this gumshoe-in-stilettos comedy, Leila, P.I. is drawn by the foxiest of clients into a Hollywood den of fake Lacanian therapists deep in the phony headshot business. Can the ghost of proto-feminism past (yes, that’s a thing), film legend Ida Lupino, help her prove that nothing is more noir than sisterhood? The Sea by Christopher Serra: Elle struggles through a reconciliation of guilt, rage, resentment, and love from the wreckage of a lost relationship. Steve & Steve by Charlie Latourette: Two sprocket salesmen with a great deal in common enjoy tuna sandwiches and consider the importance of individual creative expression in a society that favors conformity.

Thank you for your interest and support of new work through the Portland Area Theatre Alliance, Fertile Ground, and PDX Playwrights. We can’t wait to see you at the festival within the festival!

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